Excel Tutorial: How To Put Excel In Numerical Order


Organizing data in numerical order is essential for easily analyzing and interpreting information in Excel. Whether you're working with a small dataset or a large one, arranging the information in numerical order can make it easier to spot trends, identify outliers, and make comparisons. In this tutorial, we will provide an overview of the steps to put Excel in numerical order, helping you streamline your data management process.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizing data in numerical order is crucial for easy analysis and interpretation in Excel.
  • Sorting data helps in spotting trends, identifying outliers, and making comparisons more efficiently.
  • Excel offers various sorting functions and options to customize the sorting process according to specific needs.
  • Combining sorting with filtering and conditional formatting can further enhance data manipulation and visualization.
  • Practicing sorting techniques in Excel is essential for mastering the process and reaping its benefits.

Understanding the Data

Before sorting data in Excel, it is essential to understand the nature of the data and how it needs to be organized.

A. Review the data that needs to be organized

Take a look at the data that needs to be sorted and identify any patterns or specific criteria for how it should be ordered. This will help you determine the best method for sorting the data.

B. Identify the column or rows to be sorted

Determine which specific column or rows need to be sorted in numerical order. This will ensure that the data is organized in a way that meets the requirements or preferences of the user.

Sorting Data

When working with large sets of data in Excel, it is important to be able to organize and arrange the information in a meaningful way. One of the key functions for accomplishing this is the "Sort" function.

Exploring the "Sort" function in Excel

The "Sort" function in Excel allows users to rearrange the order of data within a selected range or table. This can be incredibly useful for quickly organizing information, especially when dealing with numerical data.

Choosing the appropriate options for sorting numerical data

When sorting numerical data in Excel, it is important to choose the appropriate options to ensure that the data is arranged correctly.

  • Ascending or Descending Order: Decide whether you want the data to be sorted from smallest to largest (ascending) or largest to smallest (descending).
  • Expand the Selection: If you have data in adjacent columns or rows that should stay together when sorting, make sure to select the entire range to expand the selection.
  • Sort Warning: If your data contains multiple columns and you want to maintain the relationship between the rows, be sure to pay attention to the sort warning prompts to avoid any unintended consequences.

Customizing the Sort

When it comes to organizing data in Excel, the standard sorting function may not always meet your needs. Fortunately, Excel offers a "Custom Sort" feature that allows for more advanced sorting options.

A. Utilizing the "Custom Sort" feature for more advanced sorting options
  • Accessing the Custom Sort menu: To access the Custom Sort feature, simply select the data range you want to sort and go to the "Data" tab in the Excel ribbon. From there, click on the "Sort" button and choose the "Custom Sort" option.
  • Defining sort criteria: In the Custom Sort menu, you can define multiple levels of sorting criteria, including sorting by values, cell color, font color, or icon. This allows for more precise and tailored sorting options based on your specific needs.
  • Setting sorting order: Additionally, you can specify the sorting order for each level, whether it's ascending or descending, to ensure that the data is organized exactly as you require.

B. Adding multiple levels of sorting for complex datasets
  • Organizing complex datasets: When dealing with complex datasets with multiple categories and subcategories, the Custom Sort feature allows you to add multiple levels of sorting to effectively organize the data based on different criteria.
  • Creating a hierarchical sorting structure: By adding multiple levels of sorting, you can create a hierarchical structure for your data, sorting by primary categories first and then secondary categories within each primary category, if desired.
  • Applying custom sorting to specific columns: The Custom Sort feature also enables you to apply custom sorting to specific columns within the dataset, giving you greater flexibility in how you want to organize and present your data.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Once you have sorted your data in Excel, there are a few additional tips and tricks you can use to further manipulate and visualize your sorted information.

  • Using the "Filter" feature in combination with sorting for further data manipulation
  • After you have sorted your data, you can use the "Filter" feature in Excel to further refine and manipulate the information. By applying filters to specific columns, you can quickly narrow down your sorted data to show only the information that meets certain criteria. This can be incredibly useful for analyzing and comparing different subsets of your sorted data.

  • Applying conditional formatting to visually highlight the sorted data
  • Conditional formatting is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to visually highlight specific cells based on certain conditions. After sorting your data, you can apply conditional formatting to make certain values stand out. For example, you can use conditional formatting to highlight the top or bottom values in your sorted list, or to color-code certain ranges of values for easy visual analysis.

Practice Exercise

Now that you've learned how to put Excel in numerical order, it's time to put your knowledge to the test with a practice exercise. Below, you'll find a sample dataset to work with, along with step-by-step guidance on how to sort it in Excel.

Providing a sample dataset

To begin, download the following sample dataset:

  • Data Sample: [Provide link to download]

Offering step-by-step guidance for the practice exercise

Once you have downloaded the sample dataset, follow the steps below to practice sorting in Excel:

  1. Open Excel: Launch the Excel application on your computer.
  2. Import the dataset: Import the downloaded sample dataset into Excel by opening the file within the application.
  3. Select the data: Click and drag to select the entire dataset that you want to sort.
  4. Open the Sort dialogue box: Go to the "Data" tab in the Excel ribbon, then click on the "Sort" button to open the Sort dialogue box.
  5. Choose the sorting criteria: In the Sort dialogue box, specify the column you want to sort by and choose the sorting order (ascending or descending).
  6. Apply the sorting: Click "OK" in the Sort dialogue box to apply the sorting criteria to the selected dataset.
  7. Review the sorted data: Once the sorting is complete, review the dataset to ensure that it is now in numerical order based on the specified criteria.


Recap: Putting data in numerical order in Excel offers numerous benefits, including easier data analysis, better visualization, and efficient data retrieval. It helps in identifying trends, patterns, and outliers in datasets.

Encouragement: I encourage you to practice and master the sorting techniques in Excel. It is a valuable skill that will save you time and effort in organizing and analyzing data. The more you practice, the more confident and efficient you will become in using Excel for data management.

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