Sometimes the data in your worksheet doesn’t appear in the order you want it to. You can reorder the data by sorting it.

To sort data in a worksheet, select it using your mouse, or click inside the data area and press Control + Shift + * to select all the cells in the current block. In Excel 2003, choose Data, Sort and then choose the column which contains the data to sort from the Sort by: dropdown list. To sort on more than one column choose the second column from the dialog’s Then by: dropdown list. For example to produce a ‘phonebook’ type of sort, first Sort by the column containing the last name and Then by: the column containing the first name. If you do this, two people with the same last name will be grouped together but appear in alphabetical order by first name.

You can also sort in order of a custom list. So, for example, if you wanted all the people who live in Victoria to appear at the top of a list then those who live in NSW, etc.. create a custom list with the state names (or abbreviations) in the order you want to use for sorting. Then choose the State column in your data list as the Sort by: column and click Options. From the First key sort order dropdown list choose the custom list containing the state details and click Ok, and Ok again. The list will be sorted in order of the entries in your custom list and any entries which don’t match an item in the list will appear at the end, in alphabetical order.

Helen Bradley