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: Storing Sorting Criteria.

Storing Sorting Criteria

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 24, 2014)

Stephanie often has to perform sorts of her data using the same criteria over and over again. For instance, she often needs to perform a sort that uses the same three columns. She wonders if there is a way to "store" a set of sorting criteria so she doesn't need to enter them over and over again.

There are a couple of ways that you can approach this issue. The first is to create custom views (described in other issues of ExcelTips) that include your data sorted in a desired manner. You can always store and recall the view to see it sorted as you want.

Perhaps the most flexible approach, however, is to perform your sorting in a macro instead of by using the Sort dialog box. You can easily use the macro recorder to set up and execute your sort; later running the macro will sort the same area over again, using the same criteria.

A more general macro would be one like what is shown below. It sorts columns A, B, and C in descending order. All you need to do is select the data you want sorted before running the macro. (You should, of course, make sure that the range you select includes columns A, B, and C.)

Sub SortMyData()
    Selection.Sort _
        Key1:=Range("A1"), Order1:=xlAscending, _
        Key2:=Range("B1"), Order2:=xlAscending, _
        Key3:=Range("C1"), Order3:=xlAscending, _
        Header:=xlGuess, OrderCustom:=1, _
        MatchCase:=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, _
        DataOption1:=xlSortNormal, _
        DataOption2:=xlSortNormal, _
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8344) 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: Storing Sorting Criteria.

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. ...


Changing How Footnote References Appear

Footnote references normally appear as superscripted digits, both in the main body of your document and in the footnotes ...

Discover More

Turning Off Bothersome Windows Messages

Bothered by messages from Microsoft letting you know about their various apps and tools? Here's a way to configure ...

Discover More

When in Rome, Count Like a Roman

Do you remember working with Roman numerals when you were in school? Sheets allows you to put those lessons to work by ...

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)

Performing Complex Sorts

One way you can easily work with data in a worksheet is to sort it into whatever order you find most helpful. Excel ...

Discover More

Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting

If you use Excel to maintain a list of text strings (such as movie, book, or product titles), you may want the program to ...

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

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 1 + 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

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.