How to Unsort in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reverting Data Order

How to Unsort in Excel

Ever sorted your data in Excel and then thought, "Oh no, I need it back the way it was!"? No worries! Unsoring in Excel is easier than you might think. By simply using a few steps, you can revert your data to its original order. Let’s dive in and get your data back to normal.

Step-by-Step Tutorial to Unsort in Excel

In this section, we’ll walk through the steps to unsort your data in Excel. Whether you accidentally sorted your data or just want to go back to the original order, these steps will guide you through the process.

Step 1: Add a New Column

First, add a new column next to your data.

This new column will serve as a reference for the original order of your data. Label it something easy to remember, like "Original Order."

Step 2: Number the Rows

In the new column, number your rows from 1 to however many rows you have.

These numbers will help you remember the original order of your data before it was sorted.

Step 3: Sort Your Data

Now, go ahead and sort your data however you like.

This could be by alphabetical order, numerical order, or any other sorting criteria you need. Don’t worry; this is just a temporary change.

Step 4: Re-sort Using the Original Order Column

Finally, sort your data again, but this time use the column with the numbers you added.

By sorting based on this "Original Order" column, you’ll revert the data back to its initial arrangement.

What Happens After You Complete These Steps

Once you complete these steps, you’ll see your data returned to its original order, just as it was before any sorting took place. It’s like hitting the undo button, but more reliable!

Tips for Unsorting in Excel

  • Always save a backup: Before making any major changes, it’s a good idea to save your work or create a backup.
  • Label clearly: Use clear labels for your reference column to avoid confusion later.
  • Use filters cautiously: If you use filters, remember that they can affect how you sort your data.
  • Practice: Try unsorting a small dataset first to get comfortable with the process.
  • Documentation: Keep notes on what changes you’ve made in case you need to reference them later.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I forgot to add a reference column?

Unfortunately, if you didn’t add a reference column, you can’t revert back easily. Always add one before sorting.

Can I unsort data without using a reference column?

No, a reference column is essential for reverting back to the original order.

What if my data is too large to number manually?

You can use the fill handle in Excel to quickly number a large range of rows.

Is there an undo button for sorting?

Yes, but it only works if you haven’t made other changes since sorting. It’s not reliable for long-term.

Can I use this method for filtered data?

Yes, but be careful. Filters can complicate the sorting process, so double-check your work.


  1. Add a New Column
  2. Number the Rows
  3. Sort Your Data
  4. Re-sort Using the Original Order Column


So there you have it, folks! Unsoring in Excel is not as daunting as it may seem. By simply adding a reference column and numbering your rows, you can always revert your data to its original state. This technique is super useful, especially when you’re handling large datasets where mistakes can be costly.

Remember, the key to mastering Excel is practice. So, don’t be afraid to try these steps with a small dataset first. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll be able to unsort data in no time, even with more complex spreadsheets.

If you found this guide helpful, be sure to check out other Excel tips and tricks to make your data management smoother and more efficient. Happy unsorting!

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