Row- and column-wise sorting of a field of cells in Excel 2010

Sometimes you want to sort a set of rows depending on the values in one shared column or columns depending on the values in one shared row. I used this for example to rearrange the frequency tables for the character combinations.

Easier done than said – first you select the area you want to sort and and click on the respective ‘sort’ button, which you find in the ‘Data’ segment of the ribbon.

In the first field you select the column that keeps the values to be sorted (column H), then the aspect about the cells to consider for the sorting (values in this case – luckily it is also possible to sort by the cell color) and finally the direction of the sorting.

To sort by a row you switch the mode to “sort rows” in the “options …” dialogue. Then – same procedure as every row.

And this is what the table would eventually look like:

One issue I encountered was that Excel didn’t seem to recognize always that my cells are containing  numeric data and then offered me “A-Z” and its like for the direction of sorting. I found that the easiest way to work around this bug was to just sort alphabetically and then restart the sorting process. Apparently Excel internally refreshed its categorization of the data as it now offers numeric sorting.

As you can see it is also possible to sort a field of cells using a list of sorting rules which can be added by the “add layer” button in the sorting dialogue.

The sorting logic for a set of cells is stored in the file but not applied automatically. If the data changes one has to trigger the sorting process manually to rearrange the data.

Sort ahoi, then! Arrrrrr …

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