3.1 Sorting – Intro to Excel 2016 Data Analysis

3.1 Sorting

You can sort one column (field) or multiple columns (fields) using the Ribbon.

Sorting Choices on the Ribbon

There are two tabs on the Ribbon which contains sorting choices, the Home tab and the Data tab. Although you have the same sorting choices with both tabs, they are displayed differently on the Ribbon.
Home tab – found in the Editing section of the Home tab toolbar (left-graphic below).  Notice the arrowhead in the Sort & Filter choice. When you see an arrowhead, you can expect a drop-down menu of choices (right-graphic below).

  • Sort Smallest to Largest and Sort Largest to Smallest are selected for conducting a one column (one field) sort.
  • Custom Sort is selected for conducting a multi-column (multi-field) sort.
​Data tab – found in the Sort & Filter section of the Data tab toolbar (graphic below). Notice there are three separate icons used for Sorting in this section. 
  1. Smallest to Largest Sort (one column)
  2. Largest to Smallest Sort (one column)
  3. Custom Sort (multiple columns – have more options in filtering the sort)
  4. Excel Table Column Header Filter buttons (can be turned on or off)

Rules to Remember Concerning Sorting Data and Using Functions/Formulas: 

  • General rule: Sort before applying functions/formulas to a table. This does not preclude usage of functions for cleaning data. That still applies.
  • Sort when you first begin cleaning your data. A sort will show empty rows that might remain undetected otherwise.
  • When using a VLOOKUP/HLOOKUP function and user omits 4th argument so default is TRUE or specifically specifying a TRUE by supplying a 1 or entering the word TRUE, this would equate to an approximate match. If a sort is not performed prior to this VLOOKUP, you will get error results from the VLOOKUP/HLOOKUP execution. This sort requirement does not apply when the 4th argument is FALSE, or 0.