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Keeping your data organized in your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets is important. One way of doing that is by alphabetizing your data, in either ascending or descending order. We’ll show you how to do this in both rows and columns.

RELATED: How to Alphabetize Lists and Tables in Microsoft Word

How to Alphabetize a Column in Microsoft Excel

To sort data A to Z (descending) or Z to A (ascending) in a column, use Excel’s quick sort option. This option moves the relevant data in other columns as well so your table remains intact.

To get started, open your spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel. In the spreadsheet, click the header of the column in which you want to alphabetize data.

Select a column in Excel.

In Excel’s ribbon at the top, click the “Data” tab.

Click the "Data" tab in Excel.

In the “Data” tab, under the “Sort & Filter” section, you will find options to alphabetize your data. To sort your data A to Z, click the “AZ” icon. To sort your data Z to A, click the “ZA” icon.

Click the "AZ" or "ZA" sort option in Excel.

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A “Sort Warning” window will open. This window suggests that you allow Excel to adjust the data in other columns so your data remains intact. Enable the “Expand the Selection” option and then click “Sort.”

Enable "Expand the Selection" and click "Sort" in the "Sort Warning" window in Excel.

And instantly, Excel will alphabetize your data in your spreadsheet.

An alphabetized column in Excel.

You’re all set.

If you want, you can sort by date in Excel, too.

RELATED: How to Sort by Date in Microsoft Excel

How to Alphabetize a Row in Microsoft Excel

To alphabetize the data in a row in Excel, you will have to configure an additional option.

To do so, first, launch your spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel.

In the spreadsheet, select the entire table whose data you want to alphabetize. Do not select any table headers. In the following spreadsheet, we will not select “Name,” “Age,” “City,” and “Country” as they are table headers.

Select the table in Excel.

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In Excel’s ribbon at the top, click the “Data” tab.

Click the "Data" tab in Excel.

In the “Data” tab, under the “Sort & Filter” section, click “Sort.”

Click "Sort" in the "Sort & Filter" section of the "Data" tab in Excel.

In the “Sort” window that opens, at the top, click “Options.”

Click "Options" on the "Sort" window in Excel.

You will see a “Sort Options” box. Here, select “Sort Left to Right” and click “OK.”

Select "Sort Left to Right" and click "OK" in the "Sort Options" box in Excel.

Back on the “Sort” window, click the “Sort By” drop-down menu and select the row which you want to alphabetize. Then click the “Order” drop-down menu and select either “A to Z” or “Z to A” sorting.

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Finally, at the bottom of the “Sort” window, click “OK.”

Configure the sort options on the "Sort" window in Excel.

And immediately, Excel will alphabetize the selected data in your spreadsheet.

An alphabetized row in Excel.

And you’re all set.


On a related note, there are many other ways to sort and filter data in your Excel spreadsheets. Check out our guide on that to learn what those options are.

RELATED: How to Sort and Filter Data in Excel

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Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
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