Sorting by Columns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 22, 2014)

Most sorting in Excel is done by row, meaning that you order the rows based on the contents of a particular column in the information being sorted. At times you may have a need to change the orientation of your sorting, meaning you need to sort columns based on the contents of a particular row.

Excel makes sorting by column easy, although it is not particularly intuitive. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells you want to sort. Make sure you select the column headers in the range.
  2. Choose the Sort option from the Data menu. Excel displays the Sort dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Sort dialog box.

  4. Click on the Options button. Excel displays the Sort Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.

  6. Choose the Sort Left to Right option button.
  7. Click on OK to close the Sort Options dialog box.
  8. Click on OK to sort your data.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2709) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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

Turning Off Borders for Data Series

Don't want a border to appear around a data series represented in a Microsoft Graph chart? You can easily control the ...

Discover More

Noting Changes at the Left of the Text

The Track Changes feature allows you to easily see where changes have been made in a document. Resolve those changes, and ...

Discover More

Inserting from the Clip Art Gallery Doesn't Work

Ever insert a picture and it won't display in your document? It could be due to some of the display settings in Word. ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Alphabetizing Worksheet Tabs

As yo get more and more worksheets into a workbook, you'll find yourself moving them around into different sequences. You ...

Discover More

Sorting by Five Columns

Excel allows you to sort but up to three columns, but you may want to sort by more than that. This tip provides ways you ...

Discover More

Storing Sorting Criteria

Need to do the same sorting operation over and over again? Excel doesn't provide a way to save your sorting criteria, but ...

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 6Mpixels. 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 eight minus 5?

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.