Custom Sorting in Excel
Sorting is one of the most useful things Excel can do for you and your data. At least in my very humble opinion. 😎 Most of the time the default sorting options work quite well. However there seem to be exceptions to every rule doesn’t there? For example, if you want to sort the months of the year, the default alphabetical results are probably not very useful. This may also be true for other things like days of the week, geographic regions (East, West, North, South) and ratings (High, Medium, Low; Hot, Warm,Cold; Small, Medium, Large), etc.
Creating a Custom Sort:
There are two ways to create a custom list. If your custom list is short, you can type the values directly in the dialog box. If your custom list is long, you can import it from a range of cells.
To start, go to the Tools menu and select Options...
1. On the Custom Lists tab click NEW LIST
2. Enter your list entries. Simply press the Enter key after each one until you have them all input.
3. Click the Add button.
If you have a lot of items in your custom sort list you can import it from an existing range of cells using the Import button instead of manually typing them all one-by-one.
Using a Custom Sort:
When you’re ready to apply your custom sort go to the Data menu and select Sort.
1. Use the Sort by drop-down to select the column you want to apply the custom sort to.
2. Click the Options… button.
3. Use the drop-down list in the Sort Options dialog box to select the custom sort you want to use, then click OK.
4. If necessary, specify any other Sort settings then click OK to sort your data.
If you’re working with a newer version of Office the steps are similar but located in a different place. You can get those details here.
Bonus Feature: Fill Handle Series
If you act within the next ten minutes, you’ll also receive absolutely free this special offer – a free custom fill handle action. Yes, that’s right – a $19.99 value absolutely FREE!
When you set up one of these custom series it will also work with the fill handle.
What do you think? Do you have any use for custom sorting? Let me know I’d love to hear about it.