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 Files.

Sorting Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2015)

When you choose to open a workbook in Excel, you are presented with a fairly standard Open dialog box. This dialog box is the same as those used in many other Windows programs. One of the neat features you can do, however, is to control how the files are sorted in the dialog box. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Open from the File menu, or click on the Open tool on the Standard toolbar. Excel displays the Open dialog box.
  2. Click on the down-arrow at the right side of the View tool on the toolbar in the Open dialog box. Excel displays a drop-down menu.
  3. Choose Arrange Icons from the drop-down menu. Excel displays some choices on how the files in the Open dialog box can be sorted.
  4. Select the order in which you want the files sorted. The files are reordered right away.

On some combinations of Excel and Windows, these steps won't work because there is no Arrange Icons option on the drop-down menu. In this case, right-click in the file area of the Open dialog box. On the resulting Context menu you should see the Arrange Icons option or a Sort By option.

When you are done using the Open dialog box, Excel remembers the setting you specified for arranging files. This means that the next time you display the Open dialog box, the files displayed will still be sorted according to your specifications.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2240) 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 Files.

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. ...

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