How to Sort by Month in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Sorting data by month in Excel can seem tricky, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. All you need to do is make sure your dates are in the correct format and use Excel’s built-in sorting features. Let’s break it down step by step, so you can quickly and easily get your data sorted by month.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Sort by Month in Excel

To get your dates sorted by month in Excel, follow these straightforward steps. By the end of this guide, you’ll have your data neatly organized, making it easier to analyze and report.

Step 1: Select Your Data

First, open your Excel spreadsheet and highlight the column containing the dates you want to sort.

Make sure to include any adjacent data that you want to keep aligned with these dates. This prevents any misalignment of your rows.

Step 2: Format Your Dates

Next, ensure that your dates are in a consistent format, such as mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy.

If your dates are not in a recognizable format, Excel won’t be able to sort them correctly. You can format your dates by right-clicking the selected cells, choosing "Format Cells," and selecting the appropriate date format.

Step 3: Add a Helper Column

Insert a new column next to your dates. This will be your "helper" column to extract the month from each date.

Adding a helper column allows you to sort by month while keeping the original dates intact. This way, you don’t lose any important information.

Step 4: Extract the Month

In the first cell of your helper column, type the formula =TEXT(A1,"mmmm") or =MONTH(A1) where A1 is your first date cell. Drag this formula down the column to apply it to all your dates.

This formula converts your dates into their respective month names or numbers, which makes it possible to sort them by month.

Step 5: Sort Your Data

Now, highlight all your data, including the original dates and the helper column. Go to the "Data" tab and click "Sort." Choose your helper column as the basis for sorting, and select either "A to Z" or "Z to A."

Sorting by the helper column will rearrange your original dates by month, making it much easier to find specific data.

After completing these steps, Excel will have sorted your data by month. You’ll see your dates neatly organized, which can help you spot trends and make better decisions.

Tips for Sorting by Month in Excel

  • Always back up your data before making big changes to avoid losing important information.
  • Use clear and consistent date formats to prevent sorting errors.
  • If you need to sort by both month and year, add a year helper column as well.
  • Double-check your data for any inconsistencies or typos before sorting.
  • Utilize Excel’s built-in tutorials and help features for additional guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn’t my data sorting correctly?

Ensure your dates are in a recognizable format. Inconsistent or incorrect date formats can cause sorting issues.

Can I sort by month and year simultaneously?

Yes, use two helper columns: one for the month and one for the year. Then, sort first by the year column and then by the month column.

Do I need to format the helper column?

It’s not necessary, but formatting the helper column to show only the month can make your sheet look cleaner.

What if my dates are text and not recognized by Excel?

Convert your text dates to actual date formats using the "Text to Columns" feature or date functions.

Can I undo the sort if I make a mistake?

Yes, you can use the undo feature (Ctrl+Z) to revert back to your original data arrangement.


  1. Select your data.
  2. Format your dates.
  3. Add a helper column.
  4. Extract the month.
  5. Sort your data.


Sorting by month in Excel doesn’t have to be a complex task. With a few simple steps, you can transform your jumbled data into a neatly organized spreadsheet. Remember to use a helper column to keep your original data intact and always format your dates consistently. By following this guide, you can streamline your workflow and enhance your data analysis.

If you found this tutorial helpful, feel free to explore more Excel tips and tricks. Mastering Excel’s features can save you a ton of time and boost your productivity. Happy sorting!

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