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: Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 29, 2018)
Arn has a need to exclude certain words when sorting a column. For instance, he is trying to exclude 'The' when sorting a list of movie titles, so that "Alpha, Charlie, The Bravo" would sort as "Alpha, The Bravo, Charlie."
There is no built-in way to do this. The best solution is to set up an intermediate column for your data. This column can contain the modified movie titles, and you can sort by the contents of the column. For instance, if column A contains your original movie titles, you could fill column B with formulas, such as this:
This formula will strip the word "The" (with its trailing space) from the start of the line. If you want to add the word "The" at the end of the string, then you could modify the formula in the following manner:
=IF(LEFT(A1,4)="The ",MID(A1,5,50),A1) & ", The"
If you wanted to delete all instances of the word "the" without regard to where it appeared in the title, you could use the following instead:
Sorting, again, would be done by the results shown in column B. This will give the list in the desired order.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3892) 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: Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting.
Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!
Protect a worksheet and you limit exactly what can be done with the data in the worksheet. One of the things that could ...Discover More
Using the sorting tools, on the toolbar, may result in some unwanted results, such as jumbled data. If this happens to ...Discover More
Sorting information in a worksheet can be confusing when Excel applies sorting rules of which you are unaware. This is ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.