Let’s take a look. The easiest way to sort in Excel is to use the Sort commands on the Data tab of the ribbon, in the Sort and Filter group. Here you’ll find three basic options: two quick sort buttons—one for sorting in ascending order, and one for sorting in descending order—and a large button for custom sorting. We’ll look at custom sorting in an upcoming lesson. The ascending quick sort button sorts A-Z if the content is text, and smallest to largest for numeric content. The descending quick sort button works just the opposite. Just click anywhere in a column you’d like to sort, and click a quick sort button. Excel is very good about detecting column headings and will ignore them when sorting. We can sort letters, numbers, and mixed content in ascending order. Then, sort them in descending order using the descending quick sort button. If the content you are sorting is in more than one column, Excel will assume a table and keep related columns together as the rows are sorted. So, in this example, you can easily sort by city name, by state, by population, and by area, and the information related to each city is kept together. If you do select just part of a column, for example the first five cities, in this case, Excel will display a notice, asking you if you want to expand the current selection to include adjacent data before sorting. Normally, you’ll let Excel expand the selection, since sorting just a portion of a column in a table will make the data meaningless. You can also get to quick sort options from the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Sort & Filter menu. Here, you’ll find the same three options that are on the Data menu. As before, to sort using a quick sort command, just select a cell in a column you’d like to sort and then choose the appropriate quick sort option in the menu.

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.