How To Sort Alphabetically In Excel

Productivity Software

Sorting data alphabetically in Excel can be a useful skill, especially when dealing with large sets of information. I often find myself needing to organize names, titles, or any other text-based data, and Excel makes it easy to do so. In this article, I’ll take you through the step-by-step process of sorting alphabetically in Excel, and I’ll also share some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way.

Sorting Alphabetically in Excel

To sort alphabetically in Excel, you’ll first need to select the range of cells that you want to sort. Once the range is selected, navigate to the “Data” tab on the Excel ribbon. In the “Sort & Filter” group, you’ll find the “Sort A to Z” button. Clicking on this button will immediately sort the selected range in ascending alphabetical order based on the first column.

If you want to sort based on a different column or in descending order, you can use the “Sort” dialog box. To access this, click on the “Sort” button within the “Sort & Filter” group. In the dialog box, you can choose the column you want to sort by, the sort order (A to Z or Z to A), and even add additional levels for more complex sorting requirements. Once you’ve configured the settings, click “OK” to apply the sorting.

It’s important to note that when sorting alphabetically in Excel, it’s best to ensure that the entire dataset is selected to avoid any misalignment of data. Additionally, if your data has headers, be sure to check the “My data has headers” option within the “Sort” dialog box to avoid sorting the header row with the rest of the data.

Personal Touch: Custom Sort Orders

One interesting feature in Excel is the ability to define a custom sort order. This can be particularly useful if you have specific sorting requirements that don’t follow the standard alphabetical order. For example, if you’re dealing with a list of priorities labeled as “High,” “Medium,” and “Low,” you can create a custom sort order to arrange them in that sequence rather than alphabetically.

To create a custom sort order, go to the “File” tab, select “Options,” and then choose “Advanced.” Scroll down to the “General” section and click on “Edit Custom Lists.” Here, you can input your custom sort order or import it from a range of cells. Once defined, you can use this custom sort order when sorting your data, providing a tailored approach to organizing your information.


Sorting alphabetically in Excel is a straightforward process that can greatly enhance the readability and organization of your data. Whether you’re working with lists of names, categories, or any other text-based content, Excel’s sorting capabilities provide a powerful tool for managing your information. By following these steps and leveraging custom sort orders when necessary, you can take control of how your data is arranged, making it easier to analyze and interpret.