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Excel Guide

Column Couture: A Guide on How to Sort Columns in Excel

In the world of Excel, the ability to sort columns provides a powerful mechanism for organizing data systematically. This guide will navigate you through the process of sorting columns in Excel, giving you the skills to arrange your information with precision and enhance your overall spreadsheet proficiency.

Understanding the Role of Sorting Columns

Before we dive into the steps, it's essential to grasp the significance of sorting columns. Whether dealing with numerical values, dates, or text, sorting columns allows you to structure data in a meaningful way, providing clarity and facilitating better analysis and decision-making.

Selecting the Column to Sort

The first step in sorting columns is selecting the specific column that contains the data you want to organize. This section of the guide will guide you through the process of highlighting the entire column, ensuring your focus is on the information you wish to sort.

Accessing the Sort Feature

Excel simplifies the sorting process with an intuitive toolbar. We'll provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how to access and initiate the sort feature, allowing you to effortlessly arrange your data based on the specific column's criteria.

Choosing the Sort Order

Excel offers multiple sorting options, including ascending (from smallest to largest) and descending (from largest to smallest). We'll explore how to choose the appropriate sort order for your column, tailoring the sorting process to meet your specific needs.

Sorting by Multiple Columns

For more complex datasets, sorting by multiple columns becomes valuable to achieve a precise order. We'll guide you through the process of sorting by multiple columns, ensuring your data is arranged accurately according to your criteria.

Sorting by Custom Order

In certain scenarios, custom sorting is necessary, such as sorting by a specific order of days or months. We'll briefly introduce you to custom sorting options, providing flexibility in arranging your column data according to unique requirements.

Handling Header Rows during Sorting

When sorting columns that include header rows, careful consideration must be given to whether the header should be included in the sort or excluded. We'll provide insights into managing header rows during the sorting process, ensuring your column labels remain intact.

Managing Changes to Sorted Columns

After sorting, you may encounter situations requiring adjustments to your data. We'll guide you on how to manage sorted columns effectively, offering tips to maintain the integrity of your organized arrangement when making updates.

Undoing the Sort Operation

If necessary, Excel allows you to undo the sort operation. We'll walk you through the process of undoing the sort, ensuring you retain the flexibility to adjust and refine your column organization as needed.

Best Practices for Sorting Columns in Excel

Understanding best practices ensures efficient and accurate sorting. This guide will share tips on organizing your data, handling potential errors, and creating a reliable system for sorting columns in Excel.


Sorting columns in Excel is a fundamental skill for optimizing data organization and analysis. This guide equips you with the knowledge and step-by-step instructions needed to seamlessly sort your columns, empowering you to structure information logically within your spreadsheet. As you enhance your Excel proficiency, remember that thoughtful data organization contributes to the clarity and usability of your spreadsheet. Stay tuned for more insights and tips to optimize your Excel experience.