How to Sort Dates in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Data

Sorting dates in Excel can be a breeze with just a few simple steps. Whether you’re organizing a list of birthdays, scheduling deadlines, or managing project timelines, sorting dates helps you keep everything in order. By using Excel’s built-in sorting features, you can easily arrange your dates in ascending or descending order to suit your needs.

How to Sort Dates in Excel

Sorting dates in Excel is straightforward if you follow these steps. You will learn how to arrange your dates either from oldest to newest or vice versa. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Select Your Date Column

First, click on the column header that contains your dates.

Ensure you select the entire column to avoid leaving out any dates, which might mess up your data alignment.

Step 2: Open the Sort & Filter Menu

Next, go to the "Data" tab and click on the "Sort & Filter" button.

This menu provides various sorting options. Make sure you are in the "Data" tab before proceeding.

Step 3: Choose Ascending or Descending Order

Click "Sort Oldest to Newest" for ascending order or "Sort Newest to Oldest" for descending order.

Choose the option that best fits your needs. Ascending order sorts dates from the earliest to the latest, while descending order does the opposite.

Step 4: Confirm Sort Range (If Prompted)

A prompt may ask if you want to expand the selection. Click "Expand the selection" and then "Sort."

This ensures that any data tied to your dates, like names or events, stays intact and aligns correctly with the sorted dates.

Step 5: Check Your Sorted Dates

Finally, review your sorted dates to ensure they appear as desired.

Double-check your data to verify that everything is in the correct order. If something looks off, you can always undo and retry the sorting process.

After following these steps, your dates should now be neatly organized in the order you specified. This makes it easier to analyze your data, identify patterns, and manage your timeline effectively.

Tips for Sorting Dates in Excel

  • Ensure Dates Are in Date Format: Before sorting, make sure all entries in your date column are in a recognizable date format.
  • Consistent Data Entry: Ensure your date entries are consistent (e.g., all in MM/DD/YYYY format) to avoid sorting issues.
  • Check for Blank Cells: Blank cells can disrupt the sorting process. Fill or remove any empty cells.
  • Use Custom Sort for Complex Data: If you have a more complex dataset, use the "Custom Sort" option for more control over sorting.
  • Backup Your Data: Always make a copy of your data before sorting. This way, you can revert back if anything goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sort dates in a mixed data column?

Yes, but it’s best to separate your dates into their own column for accurate sorting.

What if my dates won’t sort correctly?

Check that all dates are in a consistent and recognizable format.

Can I sort dates in a table format?

Yes, simply select the entire table and use the Sort feature. Excel will keep your rows intact.

How do I sort dates by month only?

You can use Excel functions to extract the month and then sort by that new column.

Can I sort dates automatically?

You can set up Excel to sort dates automatically using macros, though this requires more advanced knowledge.


  1. Select Your Date Column
  2. Open the Sort & Filter Menu
  3. Choose Ascending or Descending Order
  4. Confirm Sort Range (If Prompted)
  5. Check Your Sorted Dates


Sorting dates in Excel is a fundamental skill that can greatly enhance your data management capabilities. By organizing your dates, you can keep everything in a logical order, making it easier to track deadlines, analyze trends, and make informed decisions. With the steps outlined in this guide, along with the additional tips and FAQs, you should have no trouble sorting dates in Excel with confidence.

Remember, attention to detail is key. Ensure your dates are in the correct format, watch out for blank cells, and always back up your data. By doing so, you’ll save yourself time and avoid potential headaches down the road.

Ready to master more Excel tricks? Stay tuned for our next article where we delve into more Excel functionalities that can help streamline your workflow. Happy sorting!

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