How to☝️ Sort in Google Sheets

Imagine having a long list of items written without any regard to order. Your eyes strain to find the information you need in such a mess. Thankfully, there is a quick and easy solution—all you need to do is to sort that data.

Sorting data in Google Sheets is a useful tool to help you find what you’re looking for in seconds. There are options to sort it alphabetically or numerically, depending on the data you are using.

In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to use the sorting features available in Google Sheets.

How to Sort One Column in Google Sheets

In the example below, we have a long list of countries in Europe. The task is to sort this single column of data.

the list to sort

NOTE: If the list has a header, freeze the header row before sorting it, otherwise you will lose your header in the list – if you don’t know how to do that, check out our guide on how to freeze rows or columns in Google Sheets.

To freeze the header row, highlight that row and select View > Freeze > 1 row. 

freeze one row

Now that the header has been frozen in place, we are prepared to sort the list.  

1. Click on any cell in the column of data. 

sort the list

2. Go to Data in the menu bar

3. Select the Sort sheet option. 

4. From there, choose Sort sheet by column A (A to Z or Z to A, depending on what you need). 

how to sort sheet

Voila! As easy as that, the list is sorted alphabetically. For those looking for more advanced sorting options, read our guide on how to alphabetize in Google Sheets.

the sorted list alphabetically

Also, this method is how to sort by date in Google Sheets without using third-party tools.

How to Sort Multiple Columns

You can also sort more than one column at a time in Google Sheets. 

1. Highlight the dataset you need to sort. 

NOTE: In the example below, the header row is already frozen. 

how to sort multiple columns

2. Select the Data tab.

3. Go to the Sort range option.

4. Choose Advanced range sorting options.

sort multiple columns

The window of advanced range sorting options will appear. 

5. Indicate that the columns have a header.

6. To add additional columns, select Add another sort column.

add another sort column

7. Click the Sort button to sort each of the columns you have selected. 

sort columns

By following these simple steps, the columns have now been sorted. 

How to Sort Only a Range of Cells

When working with many datasets, you might find the need to sort a range of data separately from the whole sheet so it won’t affect the rest of the data. If you need to do this, go through the following:

1. Highlight the range of cells you have to sort (B2:B11). 

highlight a range of cell to sort

2. Navigate to the Data menu. 

3. Choose Sort range > Sort range by column B (A to Z). 

sort only a range of cells

The range of cells you highlighted is now sorted alphabetically. 

the sorted range of cells

How to Sort Data in Numerical Order in Google Sheets 

If the list you need to organize consists of numbers, you can still sort it—in numerical order. 

Don’t forget about the header row, if you have one. Remember: View > Freeze > 1 row to freeze it in place.

freeze the row

1. In the toolbar, click on the Data tab. 

2. Go to the Sort sheet option.

3. Select Sort sheet by column A (A to Z).

how to sort in numerical order

When sorting “alphabetically” with numbers, Google Sheets automatically converts it to sort numerically. As you can see, the list is now sorted from 1 to 30. 

numerically sorted list

Being able to sort your data quickly and efficiently is an extremely valuable tool when working with information. Now you know how to organize your data in Google Sheets.

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Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith is automation consultant with a passion for technology, data, AI, and machine learning.