Screenshot of sales data in Excel

Have you ever needed to sort your Excel column headings?  In the data set above, I have sales figures for four products, each listed in no particular order.  What if I wanted to see those columns sorted alphabetically, from Apples to Zooms.  To do that:

1. Select the column headings you wish to sort and the complete data below them.  Do not select any columns on the left or right that you do not want to be sorted.  In the screenshot below, columns A and F are not selected, as I want to keep in place the Month and Total columns.

Screenshot of Excel data, with columns B, C, D, and E selected


2. On the Home tab, click on the Sort & Filter button.  From the menu, choose Custom Sort… 

Excel's Sort & Filter button with the Custom Sort option chosen

3. In the Sort window, click on the Options… button.

4. In the Sort Options window, click the option next to Sort left to right.  Then click OK.

Screenshot of Excel's Sort window


5. Back in the Sort window, click on the drop-down box next to Sort by, and select the appropriate row that contains your headings.  In this example, Row 1 is selected because that is where the column headings are located.

Screenshot of Excel's Sort option with Row 1 selected in the Sort by drop-down box


6. Make sure that the Order option is correct.  The default given is A to Z.  However, if you want your headings sorted in reverse order, choose Z to A from the drop-down menu.

7. Press OK.

Now, the headings have been sorted alphabetically, and the data underneath has moved with the column headings.  Both the Month and Total columns remain unmoved.

Screenshot of data in Excel, with column headers sorted alphebetically


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