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Sort four or more columns of Excel data at once

If you want to use Microsoft Excel's sort command to sort four or more fields at once, you need to run the sort function twice in reverse order. This Excel tip walks you through the process.

Microsoft Excel's sort command lets you sort three fields at once. But what if you need to sort four or more fields at one time? For example, suppose you want to sort your customers in this order (the customers’ first names, last names, addresses, and cities are in columns A, B, C, and D, respectively):

  • Region (column E)
  • State (column F)
  • Zip Code (column G)
  • Sales (column H) within each zip code

To do this, you will need to run the sort function twice in reverse order, as shown in the following steps:

    1. Select the data you want to sort.
    2. Go to Data | Sort.
    3. Select Sales from the Sort By drop-down box.
    4. Select Zip Code from the Then By drop-down box.
    5. Select State from the second Then By drop-down box.
    6. Click OK.
    7. With the data still selected, go to Data | Sort.
    8. Select Region from the Sort By drop-down box.
    9. Click OK.

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