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: Use Filenames that Sort Properly.

Use Filenames That Sort Properly

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2013)

It is not uncommon to work on projects that require several workbooks. When you are naming files for your project, you should use names which will later sort properly when you use various functions of Excel. For instance, the Open dialog box shows the files in the current directory. If your files are named properly, they will always appear in order on the list.

I ensure this by starting all files related to a project with a number of digits that represent the order in which the workbook appears in the project. For instance, if the project entails workbooks from the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, then the files may be named as follows:

201210 Actual Figures.xlsx
201211 Actual Figures.xlsx
201212 Actual Figures.xlsx
201301 Actual Figures.xlsx
201302 Actual Figures.xlsx
201303 Actual Figures.xlsx

The files sort properly because they begin with the year. If they began with the month, then the first quarter of 2013 would sort before the last quarter of 2012, which is not nearly as helpful an order.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2233) 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: Use Filenames that Sort Properly.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Capturing a Screen

A picture is worth a thousand words, but getting the picture—particularly a screen shot—into a workbook may seem ...

Discover More

Insert AutoText Tool Unavailable on Header and Footer Toolbar

When creating headers or footers, you might notice at some time that the "Insert AutoText" tool on the Header and Footer ...

Discover More

Can't Find or Delete a Style

Using the shortcuts available in the Styles pane to select text can be very helpful. It may, however, be quite frustrating if ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Crashing when Searching

If you use Excel's Open dialog box to search for files and you notice that doing so ends up crashing your system, you may ...

Discover More

File Formats that Include Field Formats

If you import data into Excel that is created by other programs, you know that it can be bothersome to get your data ...

Discover More

Short-Lived Book1

If you have a problem that crops up when you first start Excel, it can be a bear to track down the cause of the problem. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.