how to sort by date in excel

Sorting Dates in Excel Made Easy

When it comes to managing data in Excel, the ability to sort information by date can be incredibly useful. Whether you’re organizing sales figures, project deadlines, or personal events, sorting by date allows you to analyze and prioritize your data efficiently. In this article, we will guide you step by step on how to sort dates in Excel, ensuring that you can easily locate and arrange your important information.

Step 1: Formatting Your Date Columns

Before you can sort by date, you need to ensure that Excel recognizes your data as dates. If your dates are currently formatted as text or numbers, you must convert them to the date format. To do this, select the column with your dates, right-click, choose “Format Cells,” and then select the desired date format from the list.

Step 2: Selecting the Data

how to sort by date in excel

Once your date columns are correctly formatted, it’s time to select the data you want to sort. You can either select the entire sheet or choose a specific range. It’s important to remember that selecting only the columns containing dates will prevent Excel from rearranging other unrelated data in your worksheet.

Step 3: Accessing the Sort Dialog Box

To access the Sort dialog box, navigate to the “Data” tab in the Excel toolbar and click on the “Sort” button. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt + A + S.

Step 4: Choosing the Sort Options

Within the Sort dialog box, you can specify your preferred sorting options. First, select the date column you want to use as the primary sort criteria. Next, choose whether you want to sort in ascending or descending order. If you have multiple columns with dates, you can also define secondary and tertiary sorting criteria to further organize your data.

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Step 5: Specifying Other Sort Options

In addition to sorting by date, Excel offers additional sorting options. By default, Excel includes a header row when sorting, but you can uncheck this option if your data does not have headers. You can also choose to sort only a specific range, sort numbers as text, or ignore any leading or trailing spaces when sorting.

Step 6: Sorting the Data

After confirming your sort options, click the “OK” button to sort the selected data. Excel will rearrange your information based on the chosen criteria. If you have selected multiple columns for sorting, Excel will apply the secondary and tertiary criteria as specified.

Step 7: Undoing or Reapplying Sorting

If you accidentally sorted your data incorrectly or wish to revert to the original order, simply press Ctrl + Z or click on the Undo button in the toolbar. Excel will undo the sorting and restore the data to its previous state. Conversely, if you want to reapply the sorting, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Y or click on the Redo button.


Sorting data by date in Excel is a valuable skill that allows you to quickly organize and analyze your information. By following the seven steps outlined in this guide, you can effortlessly sort your data by date, ensuring that you stay on top of important deadlines, events, or business metrics. Excel’s robust sorting capabilities give you the power to efficiently manage your data and make informed decisions.

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