How To Sort Data In Excel With A Few Unique Twists

In this tutorial we are going to go through the various ways to sort data in Excel, while adding a few unique twists and shortcuts that you might find interesting and useful.

You can download the file here and follow along. If you get a preview, look for the download arrow in the upper right hand corner.

Here I have a data set that is currently sorted in chronological order by the Date column:


If I want to sort this by any single column, for example the Location column, all I need to do is click in that column and click on either the A to Z or Z to A buttons on the Data tab in the Sort & Filter group and it will sort the data accordingly:


If I want to sort by multiple criteria, for example by Vendor, then by Buyer, I need to click on the “Sort” command and enter the levels in the order I want the data to be sorted:


Notice that you can choose the order to be A to Z or Z to A. If you want to change the sort order, you can select one of the criteria listed, then using the arrows at the top, move that selection up or down:


Now, if you have the ability to think backwards (which many people say is how I think!), you can accomplish the same result without using the Sort command, but just using the A to Z options. For example, if I want to sort by Vendor then by Buyer, I can click in the Buyer column, click on A to Z, then click in the Vendor column, click on A to Z, and my data will be sorted by Vendor then by Buyer:


Next, if you want to sort by the fill color of a cell, you can do that very easily by using the Sort command. But, since there is no inherent order of color, you will need to enter each color in the order you want them sorted. In our example, we have only three colors, so I only need to list two, the third will go to the bottom by default:


Lastly, in addition to sorting by cell color, if you want the text within each color to be sorted alphabetically, you just need to add another level indicating that requirement:


And now within each color, the descriptions are in alphabetical order:


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