Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Use Filenames That Sort Properly.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2018)
It is not uncommon to work on projects that require several workbooks. When you are naming files for your project, you should use names which will later sort properly when you use various functions of Excel. For instance, the Open dialog box shows the files in the current directory. If your files are named properly, they will always appear in order on the list.
I ensure this by starting all files related to a project with a number of digits that represent the order in which the workbook appears in the project. For instance, if the project entails workbooks from the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, then the files may be named as follows:
201710 Actual Figures.xlsx 201711 Actual Figures.xlsx 201712 Actual Figures.xlsx 201801 Actual Figures.xlsx 201802 Actual Figures.xlsx 201803 Actual Figures.xlsx
The files sort properly because they beginning with the year. If they began with the month, then the first quarter of 2018 would sort before the last quarter of 2017, which is not nearly as helpful an order.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12553) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Use Filenames That Sort Properly.
Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!
When you choose to save worksheet data in CSV format, Excel gives you three choices for file formats. Those choices are ...Discover More
What would you do if every time you opened a workbook Excel told you it was locked? Here's how you can try to recover ...Discover More
Need to know what the full path name is for the current workbook? With a simple macro you can display the full path name ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.