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Whenever you work with large amounts of data, whether it's an HR list like we see here on the sheet or on the next sheet, scientific type data, the need to sort the data, rearrange the order of the rows, is a common need. And let's say that sorting is something that is probably the key action that we take to manage our data. We need to see at them this particular order. Often we'll print this. Before actually working with data, a couple of quick tips here. Let's imagine you have never seen this worksheet or maybe you've only seen it once or twice.
You forget how big it is. It's something you'd want to know. Get in a habit of pressing Ctrl+End. This is not a perfect keystroke shortcut, but many times it gives you that quick read. Notice that the active cell has moved to cell O742. What can we say about that? In this particular worksheet, remember we just pressed Ctrl+End, we can be sure there is no data anywhere below row 742 nor is there any data to the right of column O. Press Ctrl+Home to go back to the upper left-hand corner.
Before doing sorting or filtering or using some of the other database management tools, it's a good idea also to make sure that your data is in one solid cluster, meaning that we don't have any empty rows in the data. Do we want to go scrolling through this? What if it's 7,000 rows? What if it's 700,000 rows? So another quick tip here is with the active cell anywhere in your data, press Ctrl+A. Now if this were small amount, we'd probably see the edges of all of this data.
We might even be able to zoom backward with the Ctrl key and the mouse wheel. But we've got over 700 rows here. You saw that earlier. So how do we know if there are any empty rows in here? Take the unlikely step of pressing Ctrl+Period a few times. As I'm doing here. The active cell is now an O1. Ctrl+Period simply moves the active cell around my corners. So whether you believe that or not, it does prove that there are no empty rows within the data. And that's the key idea, because any time we want to do sorting and filtering and use other database management tools, instead of having to constantly highlight all of our data, we need to only click within our data on a single cell.
And if we only do sorting occasionally, it's always best to go to the Data tab and use the actual Data > Sort command. And even if you do sorting a lot, this is the place to go to for some of the many options that are now available in sorting. We will talk in later movies about the AZ and the ZA buttons and some other issues, but this is, you might say, ground zero for sorting. So we'll click the Sort button. Again, it's on the Data tab, and although we can sort in a variety of different ways, first time around let's just simply look at what we have here.
Sorting for about 95% of the people most of the time means rearrange the order of the rows. And the first step in here is to choose the field that we want to sort on. Let's imagine in this particular example that we would like to rearrange all this data in alphabetical order by department. Here is a list of the fields. They match up with what we see in row 1. There's department, let's click it. Notice that Sort On says Values, that's its default setting, but you will see, you can sort by Cell Color, Font Color, Cell Icon.
The order often will automatically be A to Z. Now possibly it wasn't here because the last sorting that was done might've been in reverse order. But with text fields, A to Z is by far the most common choice. In other words, alphabetically. And even though there are other options, we will ignore those right now. Let's just click OK and almost instantly we see that the list has been rearranged by department. Now there are certainly other ways to sort that are faster and we talked as we did this too, but that's where we want to go, this actual Sort command that's on the Data tab.
If you use this feature a lot, you might consider right-clicking and add this to the Quick Access Toolbar. And so the next time you sort, perhaps you have been using or had been using the Home tab, you want to start the sorting again, there is the button right there. You don't have to go over to the Data tab. And of course, that's a tip you can use with other features as well in Excel. So using the Sort command, generally straightforward and fast. I'm using it from the menu, the actual Sort command. The best way, the most reliable way to use sorting in Excel.
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