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Sorting a Range of Cells

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Sorting a Range of Cells.

Peter asked if it is possible to sort a range of cells, and just that range. In other words, not to sort entire rows or entire columns. The answer is a resounding "yes," Excel allows you to do the sorting rather easily.

As an example, let's assume you want to sort the cells in the range of C10:F40, based on the values in column D. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells.
  2. Choose Sort from the Data menu. Excel displays the Sort dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Sort dialog box.

  4. Using the Sort By drop down list, choose Column D.
  5. Make sure the No Header Row radio button is selected.
  6. Click on OK.

You can also sort by using the Sort Ascending or Sort Descending tools on the toolbar. The steps you follow are just a bit different:

  1. Select the range of cells.
  2. Press the Tab key to make sure that column D is selected. You can tell when it is selected because one of the cells in column D will appear in white, rather than being shaded.
  3. Click on Sort Ascending or Sort Descending.

Regardless of the technique you use, only the range of selected cells are sorted. All other information in the data table remains unaffected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2708) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Sorting a Range of Cells.

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