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

Sorting Pivot Tables in Excel

Sorting a pivot table in Excel can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. By following a few simple steps, you can sort your data in no time. Whether you’re sorting by value, alphabetical order, or custom lists, the process is easy and efficient. This guide will walk you through each step to get your pivot table organized exactly how you need it.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Sort Pivot Table in Excel

In this tutorial, we’re going to break down how you can sort a pivot table in Excel. You’ll learn how to sort by row or column, and by values or labels. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

The first thing you need to do is open your Excel file that contains the pivot table.

Make sure your file is saved, just in case something goes wrong. Better safe than sorry!

Step 2: Click on the Pivot Table

Step 2 involves clicking anywhere inside the pivot table you want to sort.

This action will bring up the PivotTable Tools on the ribbon, giving you access to all the options you need.

Step 3: Go to the "Sort" Option

Step 3 is to go to the "Sort" option, located under the Data tab on the ribbon.

Clicking this will bring up sorting options like "Sort A to Z," "Sort Z to A," and "More Sort Options."

Step 4: Select the Column or Row to Sort

Step 4 is to select the column or row you wish to sort by.

It’s crucial to click the small drop-down arrow next to the row or column label to get the sorting options specific to that field.

Step 5: Choose the Sorting Criteria

Step 5 involves choosing your sorting criteria, such as ascending, descending, or custom sort order.

You can sort by values, labels, or even create a custom sort based on specific needs.

Step 6: Apply the Sort

Step 6 is to apply the sort by confirming your choices.

Click "OK" or "Apply" to finalize the sorting. Your pivot table will update automatically.

After completing these steps, your pivot table will be sorted based on the criteria you chose. It should be much easier to read and analyze now.

Tips for Sorting Pivot Tables in Excel

Here are some handy tips to help you get the most out of sorting pivot tables in Excel:

  • Always save your work before making any big changes.
  • Use the "More Sort Options" for more complex sorting needs.
  • If sorting isn’t working, check for merged cells; they can mess up sorting.
  • Remember you can sort multiple columns or rows.
  • Use custom lists if you need a specific order not covered by regular sort options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sort multiple columns in a pivot table at once?

Yes, you can sort multiple columns. Just repeat the sorting process for each column.

How do I sort by a custom list?

Go to "More Sort Options" and select "Custom List" to create or choose a list.

Why is my sort option greyed out?

Your sort option might be greyed out if you have merged cells. Unmerge them to sort.

Can I sort by values in my pivot table?

Yes, you can sort by values under the "More Sort Options."

What if my pivot table doesn’t sort correctly?

Double-check your data and ensure there are no errors or merged cells.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open your Excel file.
  2. Click on the pivot table.
  3. Go to the "Sort" option.
  4. Select the column or row to sort.
  5. Choose the sorting criteria.
  6. Apply the sort.


Sorting a pivot table in Excel is a crucial skill that can save you a ton of time and effort. By following these simple steps, you can ensure your data is organized in a way that makes sense for you. Whether you’re working on a school project or a business report, understanding how to sort your pivot table will make your life a whole lot easier.

Feel free to experiment with different sorting options to see what works best for your data. And don’t forget to save your work frequently to avoid any mishaps. Sorting pivot tables is just one of many powerful features that Excel offers, so keep exploring and learning!

For more in-depth Excel tutorials, consider subscribing to a course or checking out additional resources. Happy sorting!

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