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How to Sort Columns by Date in Excel

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that can help you maintain a large amount of data. When you enter data, you don't always enter it in the order you need it. For example, if you are entering receipts at the end of the year for tax time, you may not enter the receipts in date order. Instead of trying to sort the items manually and entering them in date order, get Excel to do the heavy work for you. Type your items in any order, then use Excel's sort feature.

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  1. Click on the columns you would like to sort. For example, if you want to sort column A, click on the "A" column header to highlight the entire column.

  2. Click on the "Data" tab, then click on "Sort." This will open the sort dialogue box.

  3. Click on the "Continue With the Current Selection" radio button, then click on "Sort."

  4. Click on the arrow underneath "Order" and select either "Newest to Oldest" or "Oldest to Newest" depending on which way you want to sort the dates.

  5. Make sure the "Sort on" selection box reads "Values," then click on "OK." Excel will sort the column according to date.

  6. Tip

    You can sort by multiple levels by clicking on the "Add level" button in the sort dialogue box. For example, if you have one column with year and another column by month, you can sort by year first (choose the column with the year in the top level), then sort by month (choose the month column as the second level).

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Things You'll Need

  • Excel 2007 or Excel 2010

About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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