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

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

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Use Excel 2016 with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to sort and filter tables. 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.

Notes: 

In this topic

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 with R

Learn about sorting in Excel

You can sort data by text (A to Z or Z to A), numbers (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.

Note: Once you sort the data, you cannot restore the original order. If you haven't saved the file after sorting, you can use undo (Ctrl+Z) to go back.

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 key to move to the column header for the data that you want to sort.

  3. Press Alt+Down arrow key 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 from 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 key 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, Group box, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Ribbon tabs, Selected, Data tab item.”

    • 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, OK button.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Sort, OK button.”)

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Options button," and press Spacebar to open the Sort Options dialog box. You hear “Sort options dialog, Case sensitive checkbox, not checked.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Sort options. Unchecked, Case sensitive check box.”)

  4. Press Spacebar to select the Case sensitive check box.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and press Enter. The Sort dialog box opens, and you hear: “Sort dialog.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Sort, OK button.”)

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear "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 key 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, Group box, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Ribbon tabs, Selected, Data tab item.”)

    • 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.”)

  2. To move to the Number tab, use the Left arrow key (or press Ctrl+Tab). You hear: “Number tab.” (In Narrator, you hear: "Number tab item.")

  3. Press the Tab key. The Category list opens, and you hear the currently selected category, such as "General" or "Date."

  4. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear “Number.”

  5. To close the dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "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, Group box, Data tab.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Ribbon tabs, 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, OK button.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Sort, OK button.”)

  3. Press the Tab key until you find 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, press the Tab key until you find 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 press the Tab key until you find 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 key. The AutoFilter drop-down menu opens. In Narrator, you hear: “Menu.”)

  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.”)

  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, press the Tab key until you find 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. Press Alt+Down arrow key. The AutoFilter drop-down menu opens, and you hear: “Context menu.” (In Narrator, you hear: “Menu.”)

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

  5. 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.

See also

Use a screen reader to title a table in Excel

Use a screen reader to create column headers in a table in Excel

Excel keyboard shortcuts and function keys for Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to sort and filter tables. Sorting helps you organize and analyze data. Filtering data is especially helpful when your worksheets contain large amounts of data.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Sort data in Excel

You can sort textual and numeric data in an Excel worksheet to arrange it in a specific order, such as texts from A to Z or Z to A, numbers from smallest to largest or largest to smallest, and dates and times from earlier to later or later to earlier.

Note: Once you sort the data, you cannot restore the original order.

  1. Tap somewhere in the Excel sheet. TalkBack announces the selected cell.

  2. Swipe left or right until you are in the column you want to sort. Double-tap to activate the selection.

  3. To explore by touch, slowly drag one finger around the upper part of the screen until TalkBack announces: "More options button." The focus is now on the button and you can lift your finger.

  4. Double-tap anywhere on the screen to activate the button. TalkBack announces: "Tab menu, Home selected." On the lower part of the screen, swipe up with two fingers repeatedly, until you reach the end of the list. TalkBack plays sounds when you swipe, and stays silent when you have reached the end of the list.

  5. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. TalkBack announces the list items as you drag your finger.

  6. When TalkBack announces “Sort and Filter menu,” lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  7. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. Talkback announces the list items as you drag your finger.

    • Select Sort Ascending to sort alphanumeric data from A to Z, or from smallest to largest, or to sort dates and times from earlier to later. TalkBack announces: “Sort Ascending, switch not checked.”

    • Select Sort Descending to sort alphanumeric data from Z to A, or from largest to smallest, or to sort dates and times from later to earlier. Talkback announces: “Sort Descending, switch not checked.”

    When you find the option you want, lift your finger, and then double tap. The items are sorted accordingly.

  8. To return to the worksheet, swipe right until you hear: “Expand switch checked.” The Expand button is now selected, double-tap to activate it.

Sort a range of cells

If there are empty cells in your workbook, you can select a range first, and then sort the range.

  1. In the workbook, slowly drag one finger around the upper part of the screen until TalkBack announces: "More options button". The focus is now on the button and you can lift your finger.

  2. Double-tap anywhere on the screen to activate the button. TalkBack announces: "Tab menu, Home selected."

  3. On the lower part of the screen, swipe up with two fingers repeatedly, until you reach the end of the list. TalkBack plays sounds when you swipe, and stays silent when you have reached the end of the list.

  4. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. TalkBack announces the list items as you drag your finger.

  5. When TalkBack announces “Select Range,” lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  6. The Select Cell or Range dialog opens, and the focus is in the range field. Type the range you want to select, such as “A1:C15”. Drag your finger on the screen until you hear TalkBack announce “OK button”. Lift your finger and double tap. The range is now selected.

  7. Drag one finger around the upper part of the screen until TalkBack announces: “More options button”. Lift your finger and double-tap to activate the button.

  8. Explore the list on the lower part of the screen by dragging one finger on the items. When TalkBack announces “Sort and Filter menu”, lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  9. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. Talkback announces the list items as you drag your finger.

    • Select Sort Ascending to sort alphanumeric data from A to Z, or from smallest to largest, or to sort dates and times from earlier to later. TalkBack announces: “Sort Ascending, switch not checked.”

    • Select Sort Descending to sort alphanumeric data from Z to A, or from largest to smallest, or to sort dates and times from later to earlier. Talkback announces: “Sort Descending, switch not checked.”

    When you find the option you want, lift your finger, and then double tap. The items are sorted accordingly.

Format data

Sometimes you may need to reformat the data to get the right results when sorting.

  1. Navigate to the cell or column you want to format. Double-tap to activate the selection.

  2. To explore by touch, slowly drag one finger around the upper part of the screen until TalkBack announces: "More options button." The focus is now on the button and you can lift your finger.

  3. Double tap anywhere on the screen to activate the button. TalkBack announces: "Tab menu, Home selected." On the lower part of the screen, swipe up with two fingers to scroll down the list.

  4. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. TalkBack announces the list items as you drag your finger.

  5. When TalkBack announces: “Number Format menu,” lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  6. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. Talkback announces the list items as you drag your finger.

    You can choose from the following formats: General, Number, Currency, Accounting, Date, Time, Percentage, Fraction, Scientific, Text, and Special. When you find the format you want to use, lift your finger and double-tap to apply it.

Tips for resolving issues with sorting

If you get unexpected results when sorting your data, check the following:

  • If the data 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 sort again to get up-to-date results.

  • 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. To unhide, in the Excel workbook:

    1. Navigate to a row or column next to a hidden column or row. TalkBack announces: “Adjacent to hidden cell.”

    2. Drag your finger to move up to the column header, or left to the row number, and lift your finger. Double-tap to select the entire column or row.

    3. Double-tap again to open the menu.

    4. Swipe right until you hear: “Unhide button.” Double-tap to unhide. TalkBack announces your current location in the workbook and the column or row is unhidden.

  • Check the locale setting on your phone. Sorting results can vary depending on the locale setting.

Filter data in a table

By inserting data in a table in Excel, you can use filters to quickly find values that meet your criteria.

  1. In Excel, drag your finger on the screen until you reach the table. TalkBack announces the selected cell.

  2. Swipe left or right until you are in the header of the table you want to filter. You can also drag your finger around the screen to find the header.

  3. Slowly drag one finger around the upper part of the screen until TalkBack announces: "More options button." The focus is now on the button and you can lift your finger.

  4. Double-tap anywhere on the screen to activate the button. TalkBack announces: "Tab menu, Home selected." On the lower part of the screen, swipe up with two fingers repeatedly, until you reach the end of the list. TalkBack plays sounds when you swipe, and stays silent when you have reached the end of the list.

  5. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. TalkBack announces the list items as you drag your finger.

  6. When TalkBack announces “Sort and Filter menu,” lift your finger and double-tap the screen.

  7. Explore the list by dragging one finger on the lower part of the screen. Talkback announces the list items as you drag your finger. When you reach Show Filter Buttons, lift your finger, and double tap.

  8. To return to the worksheet, drag your finger on the upper part of the screen until you hear TalkBack announce the table header.

  9. Swipe right once to reach the filter button. TalkBack announces the location, such as: “Column zero, row zero header, no filter applied”. Swipe left to go to the next item. TalkBack announces: “Filter Items button.” Lift your finger and double-tap.

  10. The Filter Items menu opens. The focus is in the search field. Double-tap to activate the search field and to show the keyboard on the lower part of the screen.

  11. Drag your finger across the on-screen keyboard to type the criteria you want to filter with.

  12. When done, drag your finger on the upper part of the screen until you hear TalkBack announce the correct criteria. Lift your finger and double-tap to select.

  13. Drag your finger on the screen until TalkBack announces the Done button (in the upper right-hand corner). Lift your finger and double-tap.

  14. The Filter Items menu closes and you return to the table with the selected filter criteria applied.

See also

Use TalkBack to insert and edit a table in Excel for Android

Use an external keyboard with Excel for Android

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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