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Excel allows you to organize and filter your data by criteria you specify. This is very useful when you have rows and rows of data and need to find something specific.
In our example below, we have a list of people who donated money. We are going to start by sorting our data from the oldest to the newest.
We will do this by clicking on cell A2. Now select the Data tab and click on the Sort command in the Sort & Filter group. As you can see in the image below, the Sort dialog box appears with many sorting options.
In the Column section, choose Date from the drop-down menu. The Sort On section can remain at Values and make sure the Order section shows Oldest to Newest. Select OK after making your selections.
The rows have now changed to depict the donations in the order they were given from oldest to newest (as shown in the image below).
Now we will sort our data alphabetically by last name so the donors are easier to locate. We will click on cell C2 and select the Sort A to Z button in the Sort & Filter group. As shown in the image below, the last names are now in alphabetical order.
Finally, we want to sort our worksheet from the largest donations to the smallest. Click on cell H2 and select the Sort command. Again, the Sort dialog box will appear. In the Column drop-down box select Donation, leave the Sort On section as Values and change the Order section to Largest to Smallest. Select OK when you are finished.
We can easily see that Christian Santana made the largest donation of $2,500.00.
In addition to sorting, you may find that adding a filter allows you to better analyze your data. When data is filtered, only rows that meet the filter criteria will display and other rows will be hidden. With filtered data, you can then copy, format and print your data without having to sort or move it first.
To show how filtering works, we will use our monthly sales worksheet below.
Let’s first start by filtering the region, so that we can only see the East region. We are going to click in cell B4 and then select the Filter command from the Sort & Filter group of the Data tab.
Notice that each heading now has a drop-down arrow next to it.
Click on the Region column drop-down arrow and you will see a menu similar to the one in the image to the right. We want to filter this column to show only the East region. We are going to click the box next to Select All and this will uncheck everything. Now click on the box next to East and select OK.
The only region we see now is East. It is not deleted, just filtered and displaying only the data for that region.
You can do multiple layers of filtering. Let’s say we wanted to filter out the Gold kits sold for the East region. We will now select the drop-down menu for the March Kits Sold column. Ensure only the Gold box has a check next to it and select OK. We are now only seeing the data for the East region Gold kits sold in March (shown in the image below).
You can clear a filter by simply clicking on the heading with the filter and selecting Clear from the Sort & Filter group.
If you enter new or modified data into your worksheet, it won’t be filtered until you select the Reapply command.
This concludes the Sort & Filter tutorial.
Click next to continue to the Excel 2010 Data Tools tutorial.