Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Sorting Data Lists
Up and down the ascending and
descending sort orders
When you use the ascending sort order on a
field in the data list that contains many
different kinds of entries, Excel places numbers (from
smallest to largest) before text entries (in
alphabetical order), followed by any logical values
(FALSE and TRUE), error values, and finally,
blank cells. When you use the descending sort
order, Excel arranges the different entries in
reverse: numbers are still first, arranged from
largest to smallest; text entries go from Z to A;
and the TRUE logical value precedes the FALSE
logical value.
The best and most common example of when you need more than one field
is when sorting a large database alphabetically by last name. Suppose that
you have a database that contains several people with the last name Smith,
Jones, or Zastrow (as is the case when you work at Zastrow and Sons). If
you specify the Last Name field as the only field to sort on (using the default
ascending order), all the duplicate Smiths, Joneses, and Zastrows are placed
in the order in which their records were originally entered. To better sort
these duplicates, you can specify the First Name field as the second field to
sort on (again using the default ascending order), making the second field
the tie-breaker, so that Ian Smith’s record precedes that of Sandra Smith, and
Vladimir Zastrow’s record comes after that of Mikhail Zastrow.
To sort records in a data list on multiple fields, follow these steps:
1. Position the cell cursor in one of the cells in the data list table.
2. If the Home tab on the Ribbon is selected, click Custom Sort on the
Sort & Filter button’s drop-down list (Alt+HSU). If the Data tab is
selected, click the Sort command button.
Excel selects all the records of the database (without including the first
row of field names) and opens the Sort dialog box, shown in Figure 11-4.
3. Click the name of the field you first want the records sorted by in the
Sort By drop-down list.
If you want the records arranged in descending order, remember also to
select the descending sort option (Z to A, Largest to Smallest, or Newest
to Oldest) in the Order drop-down list to the right.
4. (Optional) If the first field contains duplicates and you want to specify
how the records in this field are sorted, click the Add Level button
to insert another sort level. Select a second field to sort on in the
Then By drop-down list and select either the ascending or descending
option in its Order drop-down list to its right.
 
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