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How To Sort In Excel (By Columns)?

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Do you know what is sorting in excel?? Or how to sort in excel? 

What a useless question it is! Obviously, you don’t know about the sorting thing, that’s the reason you are on this page. Isn’t it?

Well, I must appreciate your choice of landing on this web page. You will get to know everything important about sorting once you go through this tutorial whether it’s excel sort by column or sorting by date and time.

So let’s get started with the guide!

How To Sort In Excel:

Before we get our hands on sorting the data, we should go through the actual meaning of Sorting so that we can procure the things better, what say?

What Is Sorting?

Sorting simply means, arranging the data systematically. Suppose you have a long list of names arranged all unsystematically, you have to find out the people whose names start with the English letter ‘S‘.

How will you find out those people from the list?? Skimming through the whole list and finding out the names, right?

If the list is short, this method works fine but what when the list is too long to skim through?

Now think of another situation when the list is organized alphabetically from A-Z or Z-A.

How long will you take to fetch out details of the people starting their name from “S”, just a few seconds, isn’t it??

That’s what sorting is all about. You can sort columns in excel by date, time, order i.e ascending or descending and there are certainly more types of sorting available.

We won’t cover all types of sorting in this post but we will surely tell you how to sort by date in excel and how to sort columns in excel. 

#Sorting Columns In Excel:

You can sort single columns or multiple columns depending upon your needs. We will tell you both the ways.

To sort columns in excel, open an excel sheet with one or more columns filled with data that is to be sorted. Now select any cell from the column you want to sort. Once done, click Data and then select AZ for smallest to largest or ZA for Z to A sorting.

Easy, isn’t it?? But this method is applicable when you have only one column to sort. Now let’s see how to sort multiple columns.

#Multiple Columns:

By applying the single-column sorting you can sort the data in ascending or descending order, like the following screen. In the below screenshot you can notice the data are sorted alphabetically but the second column i.e sales column is not sorted.

Multiple Columns

For instance, you can see the first two names starting with ‘T’, so as per the sorting rule they have come to the last, but the second column i.e sales are not sorted in any particular order.

If you want to sort the first column alphabetically i.e A to Z and the second column in descending or ascending manner, multi-column sorting is the answer for you!

To apply multi-column sorting, open the sheet and click on Data, and click Sort.

Multiple Columns 2

In the new dialog box that appeared, under Sort by, select the name of the column you want to sort. The other two fields Sort on and Order are optional. You can leave them as is or can modify them as per your suitability.

Multiple Columns 3

Once you are done with the above-mentioned settings, click Add level on the top of the sort window and you’ll see a new cell Then by will appear just below the Sort by a cell.

Multiple Columns 3

Under Then By select the Sales column since we want to sort this column, rest two fields you can leave as is or change it accordingly. Once done, click Ok.

Multiple Columns 1

Similarly, if you want to sort the data in descending order, select the order Z to A or a custom list.

Isn’t sorting really easy to be done?? I’m sure after going through the steps your fear of sorting has gone vanished. Now let’s see how to sort by date in excel.

#Sorting By Date In Excel:

Like sorting columns in ascending or descending order, sort them by date is also extremely easy.

Suppose you have a datasheet and one of the columns is Date of Birth and you want to sort the dates from newest to oldest or vice versa.

Now to sort the columns from oldest to newest date, select any cell from that columns, and click on Data and then go to Sort, exactly the way we did above.

In the Sort window, select column C from the drop-down list under Sort By(You will see it already selected). Now select the desired sorting order under Format and click on Ok.

 Since your data is in the date format, excel will automatically set it Oldest to newest. 

Alternatively, select the range of the dates to want to sort, go to the home tab and click Sort and Filter option at the top right, and select the desired sorting format.

Sorting out things is a good habit and when we are working officially, we can’t keep the data in an unsorted manner.

Whether it’s a name list, some data in dates or time, we should always try keeping the data in an ascending order or in descending order, alphabetically or if it’s about the date or time, arrange them in either newer to older or older to newer.

Keeping the data in a sorted manner speaks out about your personality!

It gives a nice impression to the one who is going to review your work!

Quick Links –

With this, we have reached the end of this guide and it’s my time to wrap up this tutorial! But before closing everything off, I want to get assured about yours not having any doubt linger regarding how to sort in excel.

If you still have any unanswered queries remain, put them in the comment section below and get them solved ASAP.

Also, consider sharing it on your various social platforms, if you find it worth sharing!


A graduate of the IIMC, Diksha enjoys testing out new tech products and services. Her goal is to help others make more informed purchases of tech products and services. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, and listening to music. An ardent reader loves to be surrounded by technology.

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