How to Sort a Date Column in Excel 2016: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sorting a date column in Excel 2016 can be a breeze once you know how. To accomplish this, you select the column, head to the ‘Data’ tab, and use the ‘Sort Oldest to Newest’ or ‘Sort Newest to Oldest’ option. That’s it! In less than a minute, your dates will be in the order you want.

Step by Step Tutorial: Sorting a Date Column in Excel 2016

Before we dive into the steps, understand that sorting a date column will rearrange your data based on the date values. This feature is handy when you have a long list of dates and need to organize them chronologically.

Step 1: Select the Date Column

Click on the header of the column that contains the dates you want to sort.

This step ensures that Excel knows exactly which data you’re looking to organize. It’s crucial that you click the column header and not just a single cell within the column.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Data’ Tab

Look at the top menu and click on the ‘Data’ tab.

This tab contains the tools you need to sort and filter your data. It’s where all the magic happens!

Step 3: Choose ‘Sort Oldest to Newest’ or ‘Sort Newest to Oldest’

Click on either ‘Sort Oldest to Newest’ or ‘Sort Newest to Oldest’ depending on how you want your dates arranged.

If you’re tracking upcoming deadlines, you might want to sort from oldest to newest. But if you’re reviewing past events, sorting from newest to oldest could be more helpful.

After completing these steps, your date column will be sorted in the order you chose. All related data in other columns will move along with the dates to keep your rows intact.

Tips for Sorting a Date Column in Excel 2016

  • Before sorting, always make sure that all your dates are in a proper date format. Excel might not recognize them otherwise.
  • If you have headers in your data, make sure to select the ‘My data has headers’ option so that Excel doesn’t sort your header into the date list.
  • Remember that sorting will change the order of your data. If you need to maintain the original order, consider making a copy of your data before sorting.
  • Use filters in conjunction with sorting to manage and view your data more effectively.
  • If sorting doesn’t work as expected, check for blank cells or inconsistencies in your date column.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my dates are not in a traditional date format?

Excel may not recognize them as dates. You’ll need to reformat them using the ‘Date’ format in the ‘Home’ tab.

Can I undo a sort if I make a mistake?

Absolutely! Just press CTRL + Z to undo the last action.

Will sorting the date column affect the rest of my data?

Yes, it will. Excel moves the entire row of data to keep everything aligned with the sorted dates.

Can I sort by month or year instead of the full date?

Yes, you can. To do this, you’d need to use a custom sort option or separate the month or year into a new column and sort by that.

What if I only want to sort a part of the column?

You can select the specific range you want to sort instead of the entire column. Just highlight the cells before following the sorting steps.


  1. Select the date column.
  2. Click on the ‘Data’ tab.
  3. Choose to sort oldest to newest or newest to oldest.


Sorting a date column in Excel 2016 is a straightforward process that can help you organize and analyze your data efficiently. Whether you’re tracking project deadlines, organizing events, or simply reviewing data, sorting by date can give you a clearer picture of the timeline you’re dealing with. Remember to ensure your dates are in the correct format before you start sorting, and don’t forget to take advantage of Excel’s undo feature if things don’t go as planned. With the steps and tips provided in this article, you’re now well-equipped to sort date columns like a pro. Keep practicing, explore the other powerful features Excel has to offer, and you’ll be an Excel wizard in no time!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy