Alphabetizing is an easy, common way to quickly sort data. It’s easy to perform in a spreadsheet, even for very lengthy sets of data. Let’s learn how to alphabetize in Excel.
How to Alphabetize in Excel
Imagine that you have a list of cities and states, and you want to alphabetize them. But you didn’t think of typing them out in order, so they’re currently in a random sequence. In Excel, that’s no problem.
Begin by clicking and dragging to highlight the range of cells. In this example, that’s B2:C5.
Make sure you’re working on the Home tab on Excel’s ribbon. Then, find the Sort & Filter dropdown. There are two alphabetization options right at the top: Sort A to Z, and Sort Z to A.
For standard A to Z, click the first option. Watch as your data reformats, now in alphabetical order. Notice that Excel is smart with the data: it alphabetizes based on the left-most column only. This way, states (or other types of data, like last names) stay paired correctly. If this didn’t work, you’d have scrambled data.
If you want to alphabetize in reverse order, go back to the dropdown and choose Sort Z to A. This is a different, but also useful way of listing data.
Need your data back in its original order? Simply click Undo and it will revert.
What Can I Alphabetize in Excel?
There are plenty of usage cases for alphabetizing in Excel. Consider lists of the following, and how they might be easier to read if alphabetized:
- Cities and states like the example above
- First and last names
- Last and first names
- Team names and points
- Customer lists
No matter what your data contains, Excel can alphabetize it. It’s a fast and easy way to sort data of any kind.