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Sort By Rows in Excel

We all know that we can get Excel to run a sort on columns of data; that is to sort the data in a column either ascending or descending. But, did you know that you can do the same thing to data that is in rows?


Well, maybe that’s because it’s sort of “hidden” in the fine print of a Custom Sort.

Now I do realize that we most often put data into columns but sometimes the setup just makes more sense set up in rows. Or maybe you’re someone who “thinks” that way and will naturally set things up from left to right instead of top to bottom.

In any case, Excel can sort data from left to right either ascending or descending so it’s not a bad idea to know how.

To find Excel’s setting for sorting from left to right we need to start in the Custom Sort dialog box.

Once again, different versions, different directions:

– In older versions of Excel it can be found in the Data menu, Sort choice.

– In Excel 2007 & 2010 you need to go to the Home tab of the Ribbon, click the Sort & Filter button and choose Custom Sort.

At this point we’re all looking to click the Options button.

Select Sort left to right.


Click OK and proceed with your sort settings as usual.

This handy little tidbit combined with your previous abilities to sort in columns should allow you to manipulate the data just about any way that’s necessary.