Excel Tip of The Month - Sorting Data
By Aaron Cooper, Partner, Brown Smith Wallace

As you enter more information into your Microsoft Excel worksheet, it becomes especially important to organize your data. You can quickly reorganize data in your worksheet by utilizing the Sort function in Excel.

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Data can be sorted alphabetically, numerically, and in many other ways.

Sorting rearranges the rows of data you select (or within a table) based on criteria you set. It is very important when sorting data to select all of the columns of your dataset (if you are not using a table).

Sorting can more quickly remove blank rows spread throughout data.  It can also speed up operations when you are trying to clean data.  It is important to remember to select all of your columns before you sort (more recent versions of Excel are pretty good about identifying when you may have forgotten to selected all columns).

Follow these 5 simple steps to successfully sort your data in Excel.

Step 1: Select the cell range you want to sort.

Step 2: Select the Data tab on the Home tab, then click the Sort command.

Step 3: The Sort dialog box will appear. Choose the column you want to sort by.

Step 4: Decide the sorting order (ascending, descending, etc.). Once you’re satisfied with your selection, click OK.

Step 5: The cell range will be sorted by the selected column. The other data in the worksheet will not be affected by the sort.

The next time you find yourself with a large amount of unorganized data in Excel, remember to utilize the Sort function since it provides a quick and simple way to rearrange your rows of data.

Aaron is a partner in the Brown Smith Wallace Insurance Advisory Services practice. He is a regular content contributor to IASA national and the St. Louis chapter. You can reach Aaron at acooper@bswllc.com. 
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