How Do I Sort Dates In Excel

Productivity Software

Sorting dates in Excel is a useful skill that can save a lot of time and effort when working with date-based data. Personally, I’ve found this feature to be incredibly handy when organizing project timelines or analyzing trends over time. Let’s dive into the process of sorting dates in Excel and explore a few tips and tricks along the way.

Understanding the Data

Before sorting dates in Excel, it’s crucial to ensure that the date values are recognized as dates by Excel. If the dates are in a recognizable date format, such as “mm/dd/yyyy” or “dd/mm/yyyy”, Excel will automatically identify them as dates. However, if the dates are not recognized, you may need to convert them to the appropriate date format using the Text to Columns feature or the DATEVALUE function.

Simple Date Sorting

To perform a basic sort on dates in Excel, select the range of cells containing the dates, then navigate to the “Data” tab and click “Sort”. Choose the column containing the dates in the “Sort by” dropdown, and then select the desired sort order. This method works well for straightforward date sorting when the dates are in a single column.

Custom Sorting

For more complex sorting scenarios, such as sorting by month or day of the week, Excel offers custom sorting options. To sort by the month, you can create a helper column using the MONTH function to extract the month from the date. Then, you can sort based on the values in the helper column to achieve a sort by month. Similarly, sorting by the day of the week can be accomplished using the WEEKDAY function.

Dealing with Multiple Date Columns

Sometimes, you may need to sort data based on multiple date columns. For example, you might want to sort a list of projects based on their start dates and end dates. In such cases, it’s essential to use the “Sort” dialog box in Excel to specify the primary and secondary sorting criteria. This allows you to sort the data by one date column and then by another, providing a comprehensive and detailed view of the information.


Sorting dates in Excel can be a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing date-based data. Whether it’s for project management, financial analysis, or any other purpose, mastering the art of date sorting can greatly enhance your efficiency and productivity. So, the next time you find yourself working with date values in Excel, don’t hesitate to explore the various sorting options and tailor them to suit your specific needs. Happy sorting!