The SORT function takes four arguments: array, sort_index, sort_order, and by_col. The first argument, array, is the range or array to be sorted. This is the only required argument. By default, the SORT function will sort values in ascending order using the first column in array. Use the optional arguments sort_index and sort_order to control which column to sort by, and the order to sort by (ascending or descending). Sort_index should be a number corresponding to the column (or row) used for sorting. For example, to sort by the third column in a range of data, use 3 for sort_index. The optional sort_order argument determines sort direction. Use 1 for ascending order and -1 for descending order. By default, the SORT function will sort data vertically by rows. To sort a range horizontally by columns, set the fourth argument, by_col, to TRUE.

### Basic Examples

To sort a range by the first column in ascending order: To sort a range by the first column in descending order: To sort a range by the second column in descending order: To sort a range horizontally (by column) using values in row 1 in descending order, set the fourth argument, by_col, to TRUE or 1:

### Example - sort by score

In the example shown above, data includes names in column B and scores in column C. In cell E5, the SORT function is used to sort the data by score in descending order: The SORT function extracts all values, sorted in descending order by score, and results “spill” into the range E5:F14. To sort by score in ascending order, omit sort_order or to 1 like this:

### Sort by more than one level

Unlike the SORTBY function, the SORT function does not provide a way to sort data by more than one level. However, by using array constants for sort_index and sort_order, it can be done. This video explains how.

### Notes

SORT returns a #VALUE error if sort_index is out of range.

### Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.