When you struggle to keep track of birthdays, your weekly or monthly budget, or anything else, you need to organize it so that you don’t get confused. And sorting data in Excel is your go-to solution. But how to sort by date in Excel? So, for example, if you have a list of dates in a column in Excel, you may sort the dates from oldest to newest or from newest to oldest right? Don’t stress! We’ll get into it step by step, but first, let us look at what does sort by date in Excel means and how to sort dates in Excel by month.
How to Sort by Date in Microsoft Excel
Sorting data by date in Excel can be useful in a variety of situations. For example, if you have a large dataset with multiple columns, sorting by date can help you quickly find and analyze specific date ranges or trends over time. Keep reading further to find the steps explaining how to sort by date in Excel in detail with useful illustrations for better understanding.
What does Sort by Date in Excel Mean?
Sorting by date in Excel is the process of arranging a range of cells that contain dates in a specific order, either ascending (from oldest to newest) or descending (from newest to oldest).
- Sorting by date is useful for organizing and analyzing data that has a temporal element, such as transactions, events, or deadlines.
- Sorting by date in Excel can help you quickly find and analyze specific date ranges or trends over time and can make it easier to create charts, pivot tables, and other data visualizations.
- It can also help you organize and clean your data by removing duplicates or identifying and fixing errors.
Overall, sorting by date is a useful tool for working with and analyzing data in Excel. These also work when you want to know how to sort date in excel with multiple columns.
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How to Sort Dates in Excel by Month?
To arrange dates in Excel by month, you can use the Sort feature and specify the column in Excel that contains the dates as the Sort key. When you do this, Excel will automatically sort the dates by month and year, with the earliest dates appearing first and the latest dates appearing last.
For instance, this is the data you have.
1. Open Microsoft Excel and type the following formula in the adjacent cell of cell B2.
2. Then, press the Enter key.
2. Drag the autofill handle over further cells to obtain the value of the month for each cell.
3. Select the range of cells that you want to sort and click on the Data tab from the top.
4. Then, click on Custom Sort.
5. In the Custom Sort dialog box, select desired Column, Sort On, and Order fields.
Note: You can select Sort Ascending or Sort Descending depending on whether you want to sort the dates in the Smallest to largest or Largest to Smallest way, respectively.
6. Finally, click the OK option to sort the dates.
How to Sort by Date in Excel without Mixing Data?
Selecting all necessary columns before sorting is a way of sorting data in Excel without mixing up the data in different rows. This is especially useful when you have a large table with multiple columns, and you want to sort the data based on multiple criteria. Follow the steps below to learn how to sort by date in excel without mixing data.
1. First, select the desired cell you want to sort.
2. Click on the Data tab > Custom Sort option.
3. In the Sort dialog box, select the Column that you want to use as the primary sorting criteria.
4. In the Order field, select either Smallest to Largest or Largest to Smallest, depending on how you want the data to be sorted.
5. Click on OK.
6. Finally, your data is now sorted accordingly.
These steps are also useful if you want to learn how to sort date in excel with multiple columns, the process is all the same.
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What to Do When Excel Doesn’t Sort the Dates Correctly?
If Excel is not sorting your dates correctly, there are a few things you can try.
- Make sure that your dates are in a date format. If Excel is not recognizing them as dates, it will arrange them as text. To fix this, select the cells with the dates, right-click, and select Format Cells. Then, select Date from the list of options and choose the appropriate format.
- Check for any extra spaces or characters that may be causing Excel to arrange the dates incorrectly. For example, if you have a date like 1/1/2022 (notice the space at the end), Excel will not arrange it correctly if it is not a valid date.
- Try sorting the dates in a different order (e.g., sort oldest to newest instead of newest to oldest). This can help you identify any issues with the way the dates are being sorted.
- If you are sorting many dates and you have multiple header rows, make sure you are selecting the correct range of cells to sort. If you do not include all the rows with dates, Excel may not arrange them correctly.
- If you are using a formula to generate the dates, make sure the formula is returning a valid date. For example, if you are using the TODAY() function, it will return the current date, which may not be what you want if you are trying to sort past dates.
Although sorting by date in excel is an easy-going task these could be some of the areas to keep in mind if in case it does not provide you with an accurate answer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is date descending order?
Ans. Date descending order refers to a way of sorting dates from the most recent to the least recent.
Q2. Why is Excel not sorting all data?
Ans. There could be several reasons why Excel is not sorting all the data in a worksheet as expected.
- One reason could be that there are blank rows or cells within the data range that is being sorted. Excel treats blank rows as if they come after non-blank rows, so they will be sorted to the bottom of the list.
- Another reason could be the data being sorted includes both text and numbers. Excel sorts numbers as if they are text, so they will not be sorted in numerical order.
Q3. Can you automatically sort by date in Excel?
Ans. Yes, you can automatically arrange a range of cells by date in Excel.
We hope that you learned how to sort by date in Excel. Feel free to reach out to us with your queries and suggestions via the comments section below. Also, let us know what topic you want to learn about in our next article.