Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sorting Data in an Excel Spreadsheet Column

Let's face it at some point in your life if you use Excel you are going to have to sort some data. It does not matter if it is ten numbers or ten thousand numbers the process is the same. Once you learn how to sort numbers in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program, you will never sort numbers by hand again. Here are the steps you need to sort some data.
Go ahead and open up Excel. You should be staring at a blank worksheet. The first thing we need to do is enter some data into a column. For our purposes we will use column "A" to enter our data. In rows one through ten go ahead and type some numbers in. It doesn't matter what they as long as they are not in numerical order.
You can enter in as many numbers as you would like and as large as you like it all depends on how much typing you want to do.
No click on the column header labeled "A". You will notice that this highlights the entire column. This signifies that we will be working with all of the data in column "A".
There are two ways you can sort the data automatically and both are correct and exactly the same. You will see at the top of the spreadsheet some menu options. They are "File", "Edit", "View", "Insert" and so on. Look for the "Data" menu option and click it. Clicking the "Data" menu option will bring up a sub menu. On the sub menu option labeled "Sort". This will bring up a window asking you for specific sorting options. The window already has the defaults set that we want so go ahead and click the "Ok" button.
The data in your column that was highlighted should now be sorted in an ascending manner or in others one through ten as opposed to descending which would be ten through one.
The second method to sorting the data would be to just click the sort button located on the toolbar. There are two sort buttons. One is displayed as the letter "A" sitting over top the letter "Z" with a down arrow, meaning to sort the data in an ascending manner and the second button is the letter "Z" sitting over top the letter "A" with a down arrow, meaning to sort the data in a descending manner.
You need to reset your data so that it is jumbled up again like it was before. To do this click on the "Edit" menu bar option then click on "Undo Sort". You will see this unsorts the data.
Now go ahead and highlight the column of data just the same way as you did before. Click on either sort button described earlier and you will see that your data is now sorted. You will also notice that you did not get that window of options this time. By using the sort buttons you are telling Excel that you are ok with the defaults they have chosen.
So there you have it, sorting data in Microsoft Excel in its most basic explanation and definition. If you want to try more complicated data to see how it works, add in additional columns of data.
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