How to Sort Date in Excel Using Formula: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sorting dates in Excel using a formula might seem complicated at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you understand the process. All you need to do is use the SORT function, combined with the DATE function, to organize your data in ascending or descending order. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.

How to Sort Dates in Excel Using a Formula

These steps will help you sort dates in an Excel spreadsheet using a formula. By following these instructions, you’ll be able to arrange your dates from the earliest to the latest or vice versa in no time.

Step 1: Open your Excel file

Open the Excel file that contains the dates you want to sort.

Make sure the dates are in a recognizable date format (e.g., MM/DD/YYYY) to prevent any errors during sorting.

Step 2: Select a blank cell for the sorted list

Pick a blank cell where you want the sorted list to appear.

Choosing a blank cell ensures that your original data remains intact and allows you to compare the sorted list with the original.

Step 3: Enter the SORT formula

Type the formula =SORT(range, column, order) into the blank cell you selected.

The ‘range’ is the group of cells containing the dates you want to sort, ‘column’ is the column number within the range that contains dates, and ‘order’ is 1 for ascending or -1 for descending.

Step 4: Press Enter

Press the Enter key to apply the formula.

Excel will automatically sort the dates based on the criteria you provided, giving you a new list in the specified order.

Step 5: Review the sorted list

Check the sorted list to ensure everything is in the correct order.

If the results are not as expected, double-check your formula for any errors or misplaced parameters.

After completing these steps, your dates should be neatly organized in the order you specified, making your data easier to analyze and understand.

Tips for Sorting Dates in Excel Using a Formula

  • Make sure your dates are in a consistent format before sorting.
  • Use the SORTBY function for more complex sorting needs.
  • If your dates aren’t sorting correctly, check for any text entries.
  • Use filters to quickly sort dates without using formulas.
  • Save your work before applying formulas to prevent data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my dates are not in a recognizable format?

Ensure all dates are formatted correctly using Excel’s date format tools to avoid errors during sorting.

Can I sort dates in descending order?

Yes, set the ‘order’ parameter in the SORT formula to -1.

Do I need to use a formula to sort dates?

No, you can also use Excel’s built-in sort feature under the Data tab.

What if my sorted list doesn’t look right?

Double-check your formula for any mistakes, ensuring the range and column parameters are accurate.

Can I sort dates within a specific range of cells?

Yes, specify the desired range of cells in the ‘range’ parameter of the SORT formula.


  1. Open your Excel file.
  2. Select a blank cell for the sorted list.
  3. Enter the SORT formula.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Review the sorted list.


Sorting dates in Excel using a formula can save you a lot of time and effort, especially when dealing with large datasets. While the built-in sorting features are useful, formulas offer more flexibility and precision. By mastering the SORT function, you can ensure your data is always organized exactly how you need it. If you’re interested in further optimizing your Excel skills, consider exploring additional functions like SORTBY or FILTER. Happy sorting!

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