In This Issue: Excel Sorting with Text and Numbers

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1 In This Issue: Sorting with Text and Numbers Microsoft allows you to manipulate the data you have in your spreadsheet by using the sort and filter feature. Sorting is performed on a list that contains a consistent group of data that is displayed in columns and/or rows. This feature can be found by going to Data and then Sort to access the Sort dialog box. Sorting with Text and Numbers First, there are a couple things to remember before sorting data in. 1. Make sure that all of the information being sorted is in numerical format and in a list. 2. If there is text and numbers in the spreadsheet, ALL cells need to be formatted as text before the data can be sorted. 3. Dates and times must be formatted correctly. 4. All rows and columns must be unhidden if they are hidden and check for blank cells. 5. The list should contain column headings (defined in some way; centered, bolded, etc.). 6. There are specific sort orders to arrange data in a worksheet that go according to the value and not the format of the data. If performing an ascending sort, numbers will be sorted from the smallest negative number to the highest positive number. If performing a descending sort, numbers will be sorted in reverse. All of the formatting mentioned above that must be done to the data before sorting can be done in the menu featured below. You can access this menu by going to the title bar in the Format menu and select Cells. 2009, BSM Consulting 1

2 Sorting a Single Column of Data 1. Click a cell within your list. Below we clicked in cell C2. 2. Go to the title bar in the Data menu and select Sort. *Notice that your list becomes highlighted (headings not included). Once you click within a cell in the list, does a search in all directions from your selected cell to the end of the list. * 3. In the Sort by dropdown menu, you will see all of the column headings that are in the list. Select the heading you wish to sort the data by. Below we have selected to sort by Last Name. 4. Next you will choose to sort in Ascending or Descending order by ticking either option. Below we have selected to sort in Ascending order. 5. In the My data range has menu, make sure the Header row option is ticked. If you have No header row selected, will include the headings in the list as part of the sort function. 6. To complete sort, click OK. You will now notice that the list is sorted in alphabetical order by last name in Ascending order. 2009, BSM Consulting 2

3 Sorting Multiple Columns of Data When performing a multiple column sort, each column is sorted one at a time. The list will be sorted by the first column and then will check each of the entries for duplicates. If duplicates are found, they will be sorted by the second column and so on. 1. Click a cell within your list. Below we clicked in cell E4. 2. Go to the title bar in the Data menu and select Sort. 3. Click in the Sort by dropdown menu to view the other column headings available and select the heading to sort by. Below we have selected to sort by Location and in Ascending order. 4. Next click in the Then by dropdown menu to view the other column headings available and select the heading to sort by. Below we have selected to sort first by First Name. 5. To complete sort, click OK. You will now notice that our list is sorted in alphabetical order by Location in Ascending order and then First Name. 2009, BSM Consulting 3

4 Sorting Numbers You can also sort numbers in the same way that you can sort with text. In this next example, we ll take a look at which department generated the most revenue for the month of November in the order of least to greatest revenue generated. 1. Click in a cell within the list. Below we clicked in cell D2. 2. Go to the title bar in the Data menu and select Sort. 3. Click in the Sort by dropdown menu to view the column headings available and select the heading to sort by. Below we have selected to sort by November in Ascending order. 4. Next click in the Then by dropdown menu to view the other column headings available and select the next heading to sort by. Below we have selected to sort by Department. 5. To complete sort, click OK. Notice that our list for the month of November is sorted in Ascending order showing least to greatest revenue for each department for the month. 2009, BSM Consulting 4

5 Using the Sort Buttons By selecting the Sort icons, you can by-pass the Sort dialog box and perform an Ascending / Descending sort. The A on top of the Z next to a downward pointing arrow is the Ascending sort icon and the Z on top of the A next to a downward pointing arrow is the Descending sort. If you have previously performed a sort on a list, will remember the last sort that you did, but be aware that if you are uncertain of the last sort, your list data may not sort as you expect. In other words, if you are using a file or computer that is shared, it is always best to use the Sort dialog box. 2009, BSM Consulting 5

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