Sort data using a custom list

With built-in custom lists, you can sort data —either by days of the week or months of the year. Optionally, you can create your own custom lists to sort by any other characteristic that doesn’t sort well alphabetically—such as high, medium, and low—or S, M, L, XL.

With custom lists you could sort this worksheet by delivery (month) or by priority.

Sample table

For example, to sort by days of the week or months of the year with a built-in custom list, you do the following:

  1. Select the columns you want to sort.

    For the best results, each column should have headings.

  2. On the ribbon, Click Data > Sort.

    Sort button

  3. In the Sort dialog box, in the Sort by box, select the column you want to sort by.

    For example, if you want to re-sort the previous example by delivery date, under Sort by, choose delivery.

    Sort by the delivery column

  4. From the Order dropdown, select Custom List.

    Sort dialog box

  5. In the Custom Lists tab, select the list you want, and then click OK to sort the worksheet.

    Custom lists dialog box

Create your own custom list

  1. In a column of a worksheet, enter the values to sort by. Arrange them in the order that you want to define the sort order—from top to bottom. For example:

    Custom list example

  2. Select the cells in that list column, and then click File > Options > Advanced.

  3. Under General, click Edit Custom Lists.

  4. In the Custom Lists box, click Import.

    Import a custom list

Tip: For a short list, such as high, medium, and low, it may be faster to type it directly into the List entries box in the Custom Lists dialog box.

More about ways to sort data

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.