Excel Tutorial: How To Change Order In Excel


Being able to change the order of data in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone working with spreadsheets. Whether you are organizing a list of names, arranging dates, or sorting sales figures, the ability to rearrange information is essential for visualizing and analyzing your data effectively. In this tutorial, we will provide step-by-step instructions for changing the order of data in Excel, helping you become more proficient in managing your spreadsheets.

Key Takeaways

  • Being able to change the order of data in Excel is essential for effective data visualization and analysis.
  • The Sort function in Excel is a powerful tool for rearranging data based on specific criteria.
  • Sorting data in ascending or descending order can help organize information in a meaningful way.
  • Custom sorting and sorting by multiple criteria provide additional flexibility for managing data in Excel.
  • Practicing and exploring the various sorting options in Excel can help improve proficiency in managing spreadsheets.

Understanding the Sort function in Excel

Explain how the Sort function works in Excel: The Sort function in Excel allows users to organize data in a spreadsheet based on a selected criteria. This function arranges the rows of data in ascending or descending order, based on numerical or alphabetical values in the specified column.

Provide examples of when sorting data is useful in Excel: Sorting data in Excel is beneficial in numerous scenarios. For instance, when organizing a list of names, sorting them alphabetically can make it easier to find specific names. In the case of financial data, sorting numerical values can help identify the highest or lowest figures at a glance.

  • Alphabetizing names: When managing a list of employees or clients, sorting names alphabetically can help in quickly finding specific individuals.
  • Organizing financial data: Sorting numerical data such as sales figures or expenses can aid in identifying the highest or lowest values, providing insights for decision-making.
  • Arranging dates: Sorting dates can be useful for arranging events, deadlines, or transactions in chronological order.

Sorting Data in Ascending Order

Sorting data in ascending order is a common task when working with Excel spreadsheets. It allows you to rearrange the data in a specific column from the smallest to the largest value. Here's how to do it:

Explain the steps to sort data in ascending order

  • Select the Column: First, click on the column header to select the entire column that you want to sort in ascending order.
  • Go to the Data Tab: Next, navigate to the "Data" tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of the window. This is where you'll find the sorting options.
  • Click on Sort A to Z: In the "Sort & Filter" group, click on the "Sort A to Z" button. This will rearrange the selected column in ascending order based on the values in that column.

Provide screenshots or visuals to illustrate the process

Below are screenshots to help illustrate the process of sorting data in ascending order in Excel:

[Insert screenshots here]

By following these simple steps, you can easily change the order of your data in Excel to better organize and analyze it.

Sorting data in descending order

Sorting data in descending order is a useful feature in Excel that allows you to arrange your data from the highest to lowest value. This can be helpful when you want to quickly identify the top performers or the most significant values in your dataset.

Explain the steps to sort data in descending order

To sort data in descending order in Excel, follow these simple steps:

  • Select the range of cells - First, select the range of cells that you want to sort in descending order.
  • Open the Sort dialog box - Go to the "Data" tab and click on the "Sort" button to open the Sort dialog box.
  • Choose the sort criteria - In the Sort dialog box, select the column you want to sort by from the "Sort by" drop-down menu. Then, choose "Z to A" from the "Order" drop-down menu to sort in descending order.
  • Finalize the sorting - Click "OK" to apply the sorting and arrange the selected range of cells in descending order based on the chosen criteria.

Provide examples of when sorting data in descending order can be useful

Sorting data in descending order can be useful in various scenarios, such as:

  • Top sales or revenue - When analyzing sales or revenue data, sorting in descending order can help identify the top-performing products, regions, or salespeople.
  • Highest scores or rankings - In a list of scores or rankings, sorting in descending order can quickly reveal the highest scores or top-ranked items.
  • Budget priorities - When managing a budget, sorting expenses or investments in descending order can highlight the most significant expenses or investments that require attention.

Custom sorting in Excel

Custom sorting in Excel allows you to arrange the data in a specific order based on your criteria. This feature is useful when you want to organize your data in a way that is not covered by the standard sorting options in Excel.

Explain the concept of custom sorting in Excel

Custom sorting in Excel refers to the ability to sort data based on user-defined criteria, rather than the default options like alphabetical or numerical order. This allows you to arrange the data in a way that makes the most sense for your specific needs.

Provide examples of when custom sorting may be necessary

  • Sorting by month: If you have a list of sales data and you want to see it arranged by month, custom sorting would be necessary as Excel's default sorting options may not recognize the month names.
  • Sorting by custom categories: In cases where you have data that doesn't fit into standard categories, such as sorting a list of products by their popularity rating, custom sorting would allow you to order the data based on this specific criteria.
  • Grouping similar items: Sometimes you may want to group similar items together, such as organizing a list of tasks based on their priority level or due date. Custom sorting can help you achieve this.

Sorting by multiple criteria

When working with a large dataset in Excel, you may need to sort the data by multiple criteria to organize it effectively. This feature allows you to arrange the information in a way that makes it easier to analyze and understand.

  • Explain how to sort data by multiple criteria in Excel:
  • 1. Select the range of cells that contains the data you want to sort.

    2. Go to the "Data" tab on the Excel ribbon and click on the "Sort" button.

    3. In the Sort dialog box, you can specify the first criteria in the "Sort by" dropdown menu and choose the sort order (either ascending or descending).

    4. Then, click on the "Add Level" button to add another level of sorting criteria. You can continue adding levels to sort by multiple criteria.

    5. Once you have specified all the sorting criteria, click "OK" to apply the sorting to your data.

    Provide tips for effectively using this feature:

    1. Plan your sorting criteria: Before you start sorting the data, think about the criteria you want to use and the order in which you want to sort.

    2. Use the "Custom Sort" option: If you have specific requirements for sorting, such as sorting by a custom list or sorting by cell color or font color, you can use the "Custom Sort" option in the Sort dialog box.

    3. Be mindful of the data format: Ensure that the data format in the selected range is consistent, especially when sorting by multiple criteria. For example, if you are sorting by date and then by name, make sure that the date format is consistent across all cells and that the names are spelled and formatted correctly.


In conclusion, this tutorial has covered the key points of changing the order in Excel, including how to sort data alphabetically and numerically, as well as how to filter and customize sorting options. By practicing and exploring these various sorting options, readers can become proficient in changing the order of their data and improve their efficiency in Excel.

I encourage you to experiment with the sorting options in Excel to gain a deeper understanding of how to manipulate and organize your data effectively. The more you practice, the more confident and skillful you will become in utilizing these powerful Excel features.

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