How to Alphabetize in Excel: Your 2024 Guide to Sorting Data

Alphabetizing in Excel is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Basically, you’re going to highlight the data you want to sort, click on the “Data” tab, select “Sort,” and then choose whether you want to alphabetize from A to Z or Z to A. And just like that, your data will be in order. Let’s dive into the details so you can become an Excel alphabetizing pro!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Alphabetize in Excel

Alphabetizing in Excel is a handy skill, whether you’re organizing a list of contacts, categorizing inventory, or just trying to make sense of a jumble of data. Here’s how to get your Excel sheets in tip-top alphabetical order.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Click and drag to highlight the cells you want to alphabetize.

Selecting your data is the first step and it’s crucial. Make sure to include any headings or titles because this will help Excel understand how you want your data sorted. But be careful not to select any columns or rows you don’t want to be alphabetized, as they will get jumbled up in the sorting process.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Data’ Tab

Find and click on the ‘Data’ tab at the top of Excel.

After selecting your data, the next step is to navigate to the ‘Data’ tab. This is where all the magic happens. You’ll see a bunch of different options here, but don’t get overwhelmed. We’re just looking for the ‘Sort’ button.

Step 3: Select ‘Sort’

Choose the ‘Sort’ option from the ‘Data’ tab.

Once you’ve clicked on ‘Sort’, a new window will pop up. This is where you’ll be able to specify exactly how you want your data sorted. Excel is pretty smart, but it still needs a little guidance to get things just right.

Step 4: Choose Your Sorting Preferences

Pick whether you want to sort from A to Z or Z to A.

This step is where you decide how you want your data alphabetized. Do you want it starting with A and ending with Z? Or do you prefer a reverse alphabetical order? Select your preference and Excel will do the rest.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’

Hit the ‘OK’ button to sort your data.

After you’ve chosen your sorting order, all that’s left to do is click ‘OK’ and watch Excel work its magic. Your data will be neatly alphabetized in the blink of an eye.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your Excel data will be neatly organized in alphabetical order. This not only makes your data look cleaner, but it also makes it easier to find and analyze specific information.

Tips for Alphabetizing in Excel

  • Always make sure to include any headers or titles when selecting data to sort; this helps Excel sort the data correctly.
  • If you have a mixture of numbers and letters, Excel will sort numbers first by default.
  • Remember that Excel is case-sensitive when it comes to sorting. This means that it will sort capital letters separately from lowercase letters.
  • If your data includes merged cells, you may need to unmerge them before sorting to avoid any errors.
  • Use the ‘Sort by’ drop-down in the ‘Sort’ window to specify a particular column that you want to use as your sorting reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I alphabetize multiple columns in Excel?

To alphabetize multiple columns, select all columns you want to sort, and then follow the same steps. In the ‘Sort’ window, use the ‘Add Level’ button to add multiple levels of sorting based on different columns.

What if I want to alphabetize by last name, but my list is in ‘First Last’ format?

You’ll need to split the names into two separate columns first using the ‘Text to Columns’ feature under the ‘Data’ tab. Then you can sort by the last name column.

Can I save my sorting preferences?

Yes, you can save your sorting preferences by creating a custom sort list. This is useful if you have a specific way you want to sort data that you use frequently.

What should I do if I want to sort by date or time?

Excel can sort by date or time as well. Just make sure your data is in a recognizable date or time format, and then choose to sort from oldest to newest, or vice versa.

Can I undo a sort in Excel?

Absolutely. If you sort data and then change your mind, you can use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) to revert to your data’s previous order.


  1. Select your data.
  2. Click the ‘Data’ tab.
  3. Choose the ‘Sort’ option.
  4. Pick your sorting preferences.
  5. Click ‘OK’.


Alphabetizing in Excel can transform your chaotic spreadsheets into organized, easily navigable documents. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or just someone who loves to keep things tidy, mastering the art of sorting data is a valuable skill that will save you time and prevent headaches down the line. Remember, the key to success with Excel is practice, so don’t be afraid to play around with different sorting options to see what works best for you. Take it step by step, and before you know it, you’ll be alphabetizing like a pro. And, if you ever get stuck, there’s a wealth of resources and guides available to help you out. Happy sorting!

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