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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 19, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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, _
        DataOption3:=xlSortNormal
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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. ...

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