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: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

Moving Cell Borders when Sorting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 20, 2014)

4

Frank has a simple two-column table that contains random dates in the first column and the letters A through E in the second column. He formats the cell containing the letter C so it has a background color and a border around the cell. When Frank sorts the table according to what is in the first column, Excel moves the background color with the C cell, but it doesn't move the border. Frank wonders if there is a way to move both the color and border of a cell when sorting.

The solution is to change how you are doing your formatting. Excel provides two types of formatting that can be applied to cells—regular formatting and conditional formatting. If you apply regular formatting, then what moves when you sort can seem rather arbitrary. If you apply conditional formatting, then all the formatting applied by the condition (or conditions) will move with the cell when you sort.

So the answer to the question is to change how you do your formatting in this instance. Just apply a conditional format that modifies the border of the cell, and then you can sort in peace. (The condition you set could easily be one that is always True, and thus the formatting always applied.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8881) 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: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

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

Quickly Changing Font Sizes

A quick little shortcut can help you easily step through different font sizes for whatever text you've selected. Word ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory in a Macro

One of the things you can do with macros is to work with disk files. As you do so, you may have a need to create a new ...

Discover More

Formatting Partial Results of a Search

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are, simply, quite astounding. This is particularly true when using wildcard ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

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 can ...

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 Letters and Numbers

Sorting information in a worksheet can be confusing when Excel applies sorting rules of which you are unaware. This is ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 4 + 7?

2016-09-27 08:45:53

Rob

Hi, I have followed the instructions for tip 8881 i.e.
Conditional format
New rule
"Use formula to determine which cells to format" and select range (=$A$1<>$H$1)
Format for outside border and save

The borders appear but when I do a sort the borders disappear. What am I doing wrong? Can you assist please? I have had a look through your excel tips but cannot find anything to help.


2016-09-01 22:17:40

allen@sharonparq.com

James: Yes, that capability is now gone and has been for almost a decade. Sorry!

-Allen


2016-09-01 14:57:15

James LaValley

Allen,

I remember back in the day when you could add animated borders around words in Word. Either flashing or ants running around the word. Is that still possible today...and is it possible in Excel? I want to do it in a spreadsheet I am sending electronically so the recipient will see the animation and cannot figure out how to do it. So I went to Word and I don't see it there anymore. Any thoughts?

James


2015-07-21 05:50:56

Dawn

This does not tell me how to do it once I have selected Conditional Formatting


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.