Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working with the Sort Command
To use the Sort dialog box, follow these steps:
Tip
1. Click in any cell in the database/list. Unlike
using the A-Z or Z-A sort buttons, it doesn’t
matter which column you’re in—you just
have to be in a cell that contains data.
The best field to sort by first is the one
with the most duplicate entries. This
creates groups (as explained in the note,
“Using Sort to Create Groups”), and makes
it easier to choose second- and third-level
fields to sort by within those groups.
Using the Cities list, a good choice for first
field is State, then perhaps by economy
or healthcare rating, and then by city. The
State groups are then broken down by
their ratings, and then for each group of
ratings within a state, the cities will be in
alphabetical order. The last field in your
multiple-field sort should be one with
few or no duplicates.
2. Click the Sort button. The dialog box shown
in Figure 7-4 appears.
3. Choose your first field to sort on by clicking
the Sort by drop-down menu, as shown in
Figure 7-5. All of the fields in your database
should appear in this list.
Figure 7-5
Choose from your list of field names and
pick the field you’ll sort by first.
4. Click the Sort On drop-down menu to choose
from alternatives to Values (the default), as
shown in Figure 7-6. You can choose to sort
on the color of the cell (if you’ve applied fills
to certain cells), by font color, or by cell icon.
As most of the time you’ll only want to deal
with the value in the cells, you don’t have to
change from the default here.
Formatting Headers
What, no field names? If you see Column A,
Column B, and so on instead of your field
names in the Column Sort by section of the
dialog box, you need to either tell Excel you
have a header row (click the My Data Has
Headers checkbox) or perhaps make a change
to your list’s layout. Having a title row
directly above the headers row can confuse
Excel and make it see the row with your
field names as data and not as a header row.
Delete any row above the headers, or put at
least one blank row between them so that
Excel can see where your headers are and
where your data begins and ends.
Figure 7-6
Sort by the values in the selected field, or perhaps
by the color of the cells or their content.
 
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