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Creating a custom sort order

From: Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Creating a custom sort order

Most sorting operations arrange data into numerical or alphabetical order. Well, what do you do if your data doesn't make sense if it's sorted into alphabetical order? In that case, you can create a custom list, which you can use to sort your data. In this case, I have a data list that shows my number of customers for each season of the years 2008 through 2010. If I want to sorts the data by the values in the Customers column, I can do that by clicking the down arrow and then clicking Descending, which will put the highest value on top. If I want to undo the sort, I can press Command+Z, but in this case let's say that for whatever reason I am not able to do that.

Creating a custom sort order

Most sorting operations arrange data into numerical or alphabetical order. Well, what do you do if your data doesn't make sense if it's sorted into alphabetical order? In that case, you can create a custom list, which you can use to sort your data. In this case, I have a data list that shows my number of customers for each season of the years 2008 through 2010. If I want to sorts the data by the values in the Customers column, I can do that by clicking the down arrow and then clicking Descending, which will put the highest value on top. If I want to undo the sort, I can press Command+Z, but in this case let's say that for whatever reason I am not able to do that.

Maybe the worksheet got saved in the state and then closed and then reopened, and there is no way to undo the operation. In this case, if I want to sort by Year and then by Season, I can create a multilevel sort. Going up to the Sort button, clicking Custom Sort, deleting the rule that I have here right now by clicking the Remove Level button, and then adding a sort that sorts by the Year, Smallest to Largest, which is correct, and then a second rule where I sort by the Season, and I'll just leave it on A to Z for now.

When I click OK to sort, you'll see that I have 2008, but the seasons are out of order. This year we're going from Fall, to Spring, to Summer, to Winter, which doesn't make any sense. If I want to be able to sort by season, or any other list, then what I need to be able to do is create a custom list. In other words, I need to put these four values into a definite order that Excel can identify, and that I can use in my sorting. To do that, you open the Excel Preferences dialog. So I will press Command+Comma. I could also go through the Excel menu and click Preferences, but once I'm here in the Preferences dialog, I can click Custom Lists, and from here, I can create a new list.

In this case, I have a very short list of entries, so I will just type them in. I have the order of the seasons, which is Spring, Summer - and I am just pressing the Return key every time I put in the list item - Fall, and Winter. Just verify my spelling quickly, make sure everything is in order, and everything is correct. That looks good, so I will click Add, and when I do, the list appears here in the Custom list. You'll notice that the existing lists are January, February, all the way through December, so those are the months.

You have the abbreviations for the months, then you have the days, Sunday through Saturday, and then Sunday, Monday, and so on, in three-letter abbreviated form. Everything looks good, so I'll click OK, and now when I sort my data, I can use that custom list. So I will click the Sort button's down arrow again, click Custom Sort, click the Season rule, so I'll sort by season, but now instead of sorting from A to Z, I'll click the arrow and select my custom List.

That's here at the bottom: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Click OK. So my rules look correct, by year and then by season. Click OK again and Excel sorts my list into proper order. One other item that I want to mention is that any time that you have a custom list, you can use that to drag the fill handle to extend the series. So let's say, for example, in cell E3 I type Spring, and I want to have the sequence of cells that I have the different seasons in order, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and so on. If I click this cell, move the mouse pointer until it turns into a black arrow - which you do by hovering over the bottom right corner of the cell and then clicking and dragging - I get Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, the sequence that I'd identified before.

Creating a custom list let's you sort your data using orders that are specific to your business. Creating a list of seasons in the order Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter helps you sort data by time, with the added benefit of being able to extend the list using Auto Fill.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 30360 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
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  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 20m 56s
    1. Exploring the Excel 2011 window
      4m 16s
    2. Introducing the Ribbon for Mac
      4m 44s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      4m 20s
    4. Setting program preferences
      3m 20s
    5. Getting help in Excel
      4m 16s
  3. 20m 4s
    1. Opening, creating, and saving workbooks
      5m 23s
    2. Setting workbook properties
      4m 14s
    3. Creating and modifying workbook templates
      4m 18s
    4. Managing workbooks across multiple versions of Excel
      6m 9s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Selecting cells and groups of cells
      4m 58s
    2. Copying and pasting cell data
      2m 39s
    3. Entering data using AutoFill and other techniques
      4m 32s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      5m 3s
    5. Creating an Excel table
      4m 43s
    6. Locating and changing data using Find and Replace
      4m 57s
    7. Restricting input using validation rules
      4m 42s
    8. Using lists to limit data entered into a cell
      2m 32s
    9. Sorting worksheet data
      3m 2s
    10. Creating a custom sort order
      3m 54s
    11. Filtering worksheet data
      4m 6s
    12. Inserting, moving, and deleting cells and cell ranges
      3m 50s
    13. Splitting and freezing rows and columns
      3m 51s
    14. Managing worksheets
      5m 28s
    15. Creating, editing, and deleting headers and footers
      4m 41s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Introducing Excel formulas and functions
      3m 17s
    2. Adding a formula to a cell
      4m 0s
    3. Introducing arithmetic operators
      4m 13s
    4. Using absolute and relative cell references
      6m 29s
    5. Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas
      6m 5s
    6. Referring to Excel table data in formulas
      2m 3s
    7. Creating an AutoSum formula
      3m 22s
    8. Summarizing data on the status bar
      2m 22s
    9. Joining text in cells with concatenation
      3m 59s
    10. Summarizing data using an IF function
      6m 21s
    11. Summarizing data using SUMIF and other conditional functions
      5m 41s
    12. Creating formulas to count cells
      2m 37s
    13. Rounding cell values up and down
      4m 55s
    14. Finding data using VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
      6m 33s
    15. Auditing formulas by identifying precedents and dependents
      3m 25s
    16. Managing Excel formula error indicators
      4m 42s
    17. Managing scenarios
      4m 59s
    18. Performing Goal Seek analysis
      2m 31s
  6. 45m 48s
    1. Applying fonts, background colors, and borders
      6m 7s
    2. Applying number and date formats to cells
      7m 1s
    3. Managing text alignment
      3m 56s
    4. Copying cell formats
      4m 2s
    5. Managing cell styles
      3m 16s
    6. Managing Office themes
      3m 31s
    7. Creating rule-based conditional formats
      3m 54s
    8. Defining Top 10 conditional formats
      4m 19s
    9. Defining data bar, color scale, and icon set conditional formats
      6m 6s
    10. Editing, ordering, and deleting conditional formats
      3m 36s
  7. 36m 55s
    1. Creating bar and column charts
      5m 26s
    2. Creating pie charts
      2m 32s
    3. Creating line charts
      4m 34s
    4. Creating XY (scatter) charts
      1m 49s
    5. Creating stock charts
      4m 11s
    6. Changing chart types and layouts
      2m 22s
    7. Changing the appearance of a chart
      4m 25s
    8. Managing chart axes and numbering
      2m 51s
    9. Adding trendlines to charts
      4m 14s
    10. Creating sparkline charts
      4m 31s
  8. 18m 39s
    1. Importing data from comma separated value (CSV) or text files
      4m 20s
    2. Connecting to an external data source
      2m 22s
    3. Using hyperlinks
      6m 1s
    4. Including an Excel workbook in another Office document
      3m 5s
    5. Linking to an Excel chart from another Office program
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 21s
    1. Creating and formatting shapes
      3m 10s
    2. Adding and adjusting images
      5m 38s
    3. Cropping, compressing, and removing image backgrounds
      4m 46s
    4. Creating SmartArt graphics
      5m 7s
    5. Creating WordArt
      2m 34s
    6. Aligning and layering objects
      5m 6s
  10. 29m 51s
    1. Introducing PivotTable reports
      3m 47s
    2. Creating a PivotTable report
      4m 37s
    3. Pivoting a PivotTable report
      3m 18s
    4. Managing subtotals and grand totals
      3m 23s
    5. Summarizing more than one data field
      1m 34s
    6. Changing the data field summary operation
      2m 40s
    7. Changing the data field number format
      2m 27s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable report
      2m 46s
    9. Applying a PivotTable style
      2m 20s
    10. Creating and editing styles
      2m 59s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Checking spelling
      3m 32s
    2. Setting AutoCorrect and automatic Replace options
      3m 59s
    3. Managing workbook comments
      3m 40s
    4. Tracking and reviewing changes
      5m 12s
    5. Printing a worksheet or workbook
      3m 44s
    6. Setting and removing print areas
      2m 31s
    7. Exporting to other formats
      1m 33s
    8. Protecting a workbook
      2m 36s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. Running an existing macro
      4m 56s
    2. Recording a macro
      3m 56s
    3. Recording a macro using relative references
      6m 15s
    4. Renaming, viewing, and deleting macros
      2m 58s
    5. Adding comments to a macro
      2m 43s
    6. Turning off screen updating in a macro
      3m 4s
  13. 1m 1s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 1s

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