Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel 2016

You can sort and filter tables in Excel 2016 by using a keyboard and a screen reader. Sorting data helps you organize and find the data that you want quickly, for faster analysis. Filtering data helps you focus on a particular set of data, which is especially useful in large worksheets. s.

In this article

Keyboard shortcuts for sorting and filtering

This table shows keyboard shortcuts for sorting and filtering.

To do this

Press

Filter a selected range of cells or clear a filter in a range of cells

e

Turn off the AutoFilter drop-down menu in a column heading

r

Find the top or bottom values in a range of cells or table

r

Open the AutoFilter drop-down menu from a column header

Alt+Down Arrow

Sort smallest to largest, or A to Z

Alt+A, S+A or Alt+Down Arrow, S

Sort largest to smallest, or Z to A

Alt+A, S+D or Alt+Down Arrow, O

Open the Sort dialog box

Alt+A, S+S or Alt+H, S, U

Reapply a sort after you change the data

Ctrl+Alt+L (or Alt+A, Y+3)

Filter by color Filter by number or text

Alt+Down Arrow, I

Open the Format Cells dialog box

Alt+Down Arrow, F

Use the TRIM function

Alt+M, T, and then move to TRIM r

Learn about sorting in Excel

You can sort data by text (A to Z or Z to A), n umbers (smallest to largest or largest to smallest), and dates and times (oldest to newest or newest to oldest) in one or more columns. You can also sort by a custom list (such as Large, Medium, and Small) or by format, including cell color, font color, or icon set. Most sort operations are column sorts, but you can also sort by rows.

When you sort a table, Excel saves the criteria that you used with the workbook so that you can reapply it each time that you open the workbook. This is especially important for multicolumn sorts or for sorts that take a long time to create. However, this only works for data in a table, it doesn’t apply to just a range of cells. If you want to save sort criteria so that you can periodically reapply a sort when you open a workbook, it's a good idea to use a table.

Sort text in a table or range

Sort text in a table
  1. Navigate to the header row in the table.

  2. Press the Right or Left Arrow to move to the column header for the data that you want to sort.

  3. Press Alt+Down arrow to open the filter menu, and then press the Tab key to move into the menu.

  4. The options that appear depend on the kind of data in the column. For example, you can sort numeric data Smallest to Largest or Largest to Smallest. You can sort alphanumeric data from A to Z, from Z to A, or by color.

    Use the Down Arrow to browse the options, and press Enter to select an option.

Sort text in a range
  1. Select a column of alphanumeric data in a range of cells, or make sure that the active cell is in a table column containing alphanumeric data.

  2. Press Alt+A. The Data tab opens, and you hear “Upper ribbon, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear “Selected, Data tab.”

    • To sort in ascending alphanumeric order (Sort A to Z), press S+A. •

    • To sort in descending alphanumeric order (Sort Z to A), press S+D.

Make a case sensitive sort
  1. Select a column of alphanumeric data in a range of cells, or make sure that the active cell is in a table column containing alphanumeric data.

  2. Press Alt+H, S, and then U. The Sort dialog box opens, and you hear “Sort dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear “Sort, Custom, OK button.”

  3. Tab to the Options button and press Spacebar to open the Sort Options dialog box. You hear “Sort options dialog, Case sensitive checkbox.” (In Narrator, you hear “Sort options windows. Case sensitive check box.”)

  4. Select the Case sensitive check box.

  5. Tab to the OK button and press Enter. The Sort dialog box opens, and you hear “Sort dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear “Sort, Custom, Options button.”)

  6. Tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Tips: 

  • If the column you sort contains a mixture of numbers and text, you might have to format them all as text. Otherwise, Excel sorts the numbers as numbers first, and then sorts the text. To format the data, select all the data in the column, and then press Alt+H, F, N. Use the Left Arrow key to move to the Number tab, then use the Tab key to move to the Category list and press the Down Arrow until you hear "Text". Press the Tab key once to move to the OK button and press Enter.

Tips: . When you import or copy data from a different location, it can have leading spaces inserted before data. For example, the name "Sue Lidman" might be entered as "(space)(space)Sue Lidman".

If you use a screen reader, you might not know about the spaces, because JAWS doesn’t read empty space in cells.

To help you find them, Excel places cells that have leading spaces at the top of a sorted column.

Sort numbers

Sort numbers
  1. Select a column of numeric data in a range of cells, or make sure that the active cell is in a table column containing numeric data.

  2. Press Alt+A. The Data tab opens, and you hear “Upper ribbon, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear “Selected, Data tab.”)

    • To sort from Smallest to Largest, press S+A.

    • To sort from Largest to Smallest, press S+D.

Check that numbers are stored as numbers
  1. Press Alt+H, F+N. The Format Cells dialog box opens, and you hear “Format Cells dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear “Format cells window.”)

  2. To move to the Number tab, use the Left Arrow key (or press Ctrl+Tab). You hear “Number tab.”

  3. Press the Tab key. The Category list opens, and you hear “Category colon list box, General.” (In Narrator, you hear “General, one of twelve.”)

  4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Number.”

  5. To close the dialog box, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Sort dates and times

  1. Select a column of dates or times in a range of cells, or make sure that the active cell is in a table column containing dates or times.

  2. Press Alt+A. The Data tab opens, and you hear “Upper ribbon, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear “Selected, Data tab.”)

    • To sort from Oldest to Newest, press S+A.

    • To sort from Newest to Oldest, press S+D. •

    • To reapply a sort after you change the data, select a cell in the range or table and then press Ctrl+Alt+L.

Sort by more than one column

You may want to sort by more than one column or row when you have data that you want to group by the same value in one column or row, and then sort another column or row within that group of equal values. For example, if you have a Department column and an Employee column, you can first sort by Department (to group all the employees in the same department together), and then sort by name (to put the names in alphabetical order within each department). You can sort by up to 64 columns.

Note: For best results, the range of cells that you sort should have column headings. To sort by rows, make sure the My table has headings check box is cleared in the Sort dialog box.

  1. Select a range of cells with two or more columns of data, or make sure that the active cell is in a table with two or more columns.

  2. Press Alt+A, S+S. The Sort dialog box opens, and you hear “Sort dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear “Sort, Custom, OK button.”)

  3. Tab to the Column: Sort by combo box, and use the arrow keys to select the first column that you want to sort.

  4. To select the type of sort, tab to the Sort On combo box and use the arrow keys.

    • To sort by text, number, or date and time, select Values.

    • To sort by format, select Cell Color, Font Color, or Cell Icon.

  5. Select how you want to sort:

    • To sort by values, tab to the Order combo box and use the arrow keys to select how you want to sort.

    • To sort text and number values, select Smallest to Largest or Largest to Smallest.

    • To sort based on a custom list, select Custom List.

    • To sort by cell color, font color, or cell icon, use the arrow keys to make your selection and then tab to the next Order combo box and use the arrow keys to select On top or On bottom.

  6. To add another column to sort by, tab to the Add Level button, press Enter, and then repeat steps three through five.

  7. To reapply a column sort after you change the data, select a cell in the range or table and then press Ctrl+Alt+L. (Ctrl+Alt+L does not reapply a row sort.

Tips for issues with sorting

If you get unexpected results when sorting your data:

  • Check to see if the values returned by a formula have changed. If the data that you have sorted contains one or more formulas, the return values of those formulas might change when the worksheet is recalculated. In this case, make sure that you reapply the sort to get up-to-date results.

  • Unhide rows and columns before you sort. Hidden columns are not moved when you sort columns, and hidden rows are not moved when you sort rows. Before you sort data, it's a good idea to unhide the hidden columns and rows.

  • Check the locale setting. Sort orders vary by locale setting. Make sure that you have the proper locale setting in Regional Settings or Regional and Language Options in Control Panel on your computer.

  • Turn on or off the heading row. It's usually best to have a heading row when you sort a column to make it easier to understand the meaning of the data. By default, the value in the heading is not included in the sort operation. Occasionally, you may need to turn the heading on or off so that the value in the heading is or is not included in the sort operation.

  • To exclude the first row of data from the sort because it’s a column heading, press Alt+H, S, and then U. In the Custom Sort dialog box, select the My data has headers check box.

  • To include the first row of data in the sort because it is not a column heading, press Alt+H, S, and then U. In the Custom Sort dialog box, clear the My data has headers check box.

Filter data in a table

When you put your data in a table , Excel automatically adds an AutoFilter drop-down menu to each column header. You can open this menu to filter quickly. To remove the AutoFilter drop-down menu from a column heading, select the header and then press Ctrl+Shift+L

  1. In the table header of the column you want to filter, press Alt+Down Arrow. The AutoFilter drop-down menu opens, and you hear “Type words to search for, Menu.” (In Narrator, you hear “Group.”)

  2. On the AutoFilter menu, if the column has numbers, use the Down Arrow key to move to Number Filters and press Enter. If the column has text entries, move to Text Filters and press Enter. The submenu opens, and you hear “Equals.”

  3. To move to the filtering option you want, use the arrow keys and press Enter. The Custom AutoFilter dialog box opens, and you hear “Custom AutoFilter dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear “Custom AutoFilter window.”)

  4. Type or select your filtering conditions.

    For example, to show numbers above a certain amount, select Greater Than Or Equal To and then enter the number you have in mind in the next combo box.

    To filter by two conditions, enter filtering conditions in both sets of edit combo boxes, and then pick And for both conditions to be true, or pick Or for either of the conditions to be true.

  5. To close the dialog box, tab to the OK button and press Enter.

Filter data in a range

  1. Select the cells you want to filter.

  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+L. Excel adds an AutoFilter drop-down menu to the first cell in the range.

  3. Select the cell with the AutoFilter drop-down menu.

  4. Press Alt+Down Arrow. The AutoFilter drop-down menu opens, and you hear “Type words to search for, Menu” (In Narrator, you hear “Group.”)

  5. Use the arrow keys and the Tab key to move to the filtering options you want.

  6. When you’ve made your selections, tab to the OK button and then press Enter.

To clear the filter, select any cell in the range and then press Ctrl+Shift+L.

More information

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel 2016 worksheet

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel 2016 for Windows

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