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Video:Microsoft Excel Sort Feature

with Don Schechter

Microsoft Excel allows you to manage large amounts of data on spreadsheets. Learn how to sort that data so you can organize and retrieve exactly what you need.See Transcript

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Transcript:Microsoft Excel Sort Feature

Hi. I'm Don Schechter for About.com Computing.

Today, I am going to show you how to sort any information you want with Microsoft Excel.

Sample Excel Sort

Let's start with a list of first and last names, phone number, town, and state. If I want to sort this list by last names, I need to highlight all the data I am using. Now, I will go up to Data, and click on Sort. This brings up a list that asks what I want to sort by.

Sorting Alphabetically in Excel

I want to view the list by last names, so I'll look for my column for last names, Column B. I want to start at the end of the alphabet so I will click on descending.

For now, let's just click OK. There's my sorted list, starting with S and working its way up to A. Look at the bottom of my list. I have three people with the last name of Arkin.

Secondary Sort Columns

Suppose I want to sort out all my Arkins by the town they are located in AND I want to start with Last names beginning with A and work my way down.

Well, with my data still highlighted, I will go back up to Data, and click on Sort.

I still want to sort by Column B, but now I will click on ascending. That will put the last names in alphabetical order.

To sort out the Arkins by town I then need to go to the next field. After it sorts the list in ascending order by last name I need to tell it to sort by Column D, my list of towns. I'll choose ascending order for the towns as well.

If I wanted to sort the list even further I could choose yet another option. Let's click OK. Now my list is sorted by last name and all the people with a last name of Arkin are sorted by their town name.

Excel Sort With a Header Row

Now let me show you another trick. Highlight all of the text, including the top row.

Let's go back to Data, Sort. If I click on the button that says my list has a header row, the words under Sort by change. Instead of saying Sort by Column A, B, C D, or E, it now says sort by First, Last, Phone Number, Town, and State. Just watch out.

If I choose sort by First and click OK, it sorts my list just fine. However it got rid of that empty row. To put it back in I have to click on the first name and go up to Insert, Rows.

Sorting is a very powerful tool that allows you to maintain and view databases efficiently.

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