# Excel SORT and SORTBY Functions To Create New Lists

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The Excel SORT function is a powerful tool that allows you to quickly and easily sort data in a range or array. This function can be used to organize data in ascending or descending order, making it easier to analyze and interpret. The basic syntax of the SORT function is as follows:

``=SORT(range, [sort_index], [sort_order], [by_col])``

The “range” argument is the range of cells that you want to sort. The “sort_index” argument is optional and is used to specify which column or row should be used as the primary sort criteria. If this argument is not specified, the first column or row in the range is used. The “sort_order” argument is also optional and is used to specify whether the data should be sorted in ascending or descending order. The default value is ascending. The “by_col” argument is a boolean value that specifies whether the data should be sorted by columns or by rows. The default value is TRUE, which sorts by columns.

The SORT function can be used to sort a wide variety of data types, including numbers, text, and dates. It can also be used to sort data that is not in a contiguous range, such as a table or a named range. Additionally, the SORT function can be used in combination with other Excel functions, such as FILTER, to further refine your data analysis.

The SORT function will sort the data in place, rearranging the data in the selected range. If you want to keep the original data intact, you should make a copy of the data before using the SORT function.

## Using the SORT Function to Create a New List

Using the SORT function to create a new list is a simple process that involves specifying the range of cells that you want to sort, and then specifying the sorting criteria. For example, let’s say you have a list of names in column A and you want to sort them in alphabetical order. To do this, you would use the following formula:

``=SORT(A1:A10, 1, TRUE)``

This formula sorts the data in the range A1:A10 by the first column (column A) in ascending order. The result of this formula is a new list of names that is sorted alphabetically.

It’s also possible to sort data based on multiple criteria. For example, if you have a list of names and ages in columns A and B, respectively, and you want to sort the list first by age and then by name, you would use the following formula:

``=SORT(A1:B10, 2, TRUE, TRUE)``

This formula sorts the data in the range A1:B10 by the second column (column B) in ascending order and then by the first column (column A) in ascending order. The result of this formula is a new list that is sorted first by age and then by name.

It’s worth mentioning that the SORT function can also be used with named ranges, which can make it easier to sort large amounts of data or to sort data that is not in a contiguous range.

Also, remember that the SORT function sorts the data in place, so it’s important to make a copy of the data before sorting it, if you want to keep the original data intact.

## Understanding the Excel SORTBY Function

The Excel SORTBY function is similar to the SORT function in that it allows you to sort data in a range or array, however, it has some key differences. The SORTBY function can be used to sort data based on one or more criteria, where the criteria are specified in separate arrays. This allows for more flexible and advanced sorting options.

The basic syntax of the SORTBY function is as follows:

``=SORTBY(array, sort_array1, [sort_order1], [sort_array2], [sort_order2], ...)``

The “array” argument is the range of cells that you want to sort. The “sort_array1” argument is the range of cells that will be used as the first sort criteria. The “sort_order1” argument is optional and is used to specify whether the data should be sorted in ascending or descending order. The default value is ascending. The “sort_array2” argument is the range of cells that will be used as the second sort criteria and so on.

The SORTBY function can be used to sort a wide variety of data types, including numbers, text, and dates. It can also be used to sort data that is not in a contiguous range, such as a table or a named range. Additionally, the SORTBY function can be used in combination with other Excel functions, such as FILTER, to further refine your data analysis.

The SORTBY function allows you to sort data based on multiple criteria in a way that is not possible with the SORT function. With SORTBY, you can sort data based on multiple columns or rows by specifying the corresponding criteria in separate arrays.

As with the SORT function, the SORTBY function sorts the data in place, so it’s important to make a copy of the data before sorting it, if you want to keep the original data intact.

## Using the SORTBY Function to Create a New List

Using the SORTBY function to create a new list is similar to using the SORT function, but with the added flexibility of being able to specify multiple sorting criteria.

For example, let’s say you have a list of names in column A, ages in column B, and grades in column C and you want to sort the list first by grade in descending order, then by age in ascending order, and finally by name in ascending order. You would use the following formula:

``=SORTBY(A1:C10, C1:C10, FALSE, B1:B10, TRUE, A1:A10, TRUE)``

This formula sorts the data in the range A1:C10 by the first criteria “C1:C10” in descending order, then by the second criteria “B1:B10” in ascending order, and finally by the third criteria “A1:A10” in ascending order.

It’s also possible to sort data based on only one criteria, in this case you would only need to specify the array and the sort order.

The SORTBY function can also be used with named ranges, which can make it easier to sort large amounts of data or to sort data that is not in a contiguous range.

## Combining the SORT and SORTBY Functions for Advanced List Creation

The SORT and SORTBY functions can be used in combination to create advanced sorting options that are not possible with either function alone. This can be useful when you need to sort data based on multiple criteria and you have different sorting needs for each criteria.

For example, let’s say you have a list of names in column A, ages in column B, and grades in column C, and you want to sort the list first by grade in descending order and then by name in ascending order. You can use the SORTBY function to sort the data by grade, and then use the SORT function to sort the data by name within each grade group. You would use the following formula:

``=SORT(SORTBY(A1:C10, C1:C10, FALSE), 1, TRUE)``

This formula sorts the data in the range A1:C10 first by the first criteria “C1:C10” in descending order using the SORTBY function, and then by the first column (column A) in ascending order using the SORT function.

Another example, imagine you have a list of names in column A, ages in column B, and city in column C and you want to sort the list first by city in ascending order, then by age in descending order and finally by name in ascending order. You could use the following formula:

``=SORTBY(SORTBY(SORTBY(A1:C10, C1:C10, TRUE), B1:B10, FALSE), A1:A10, TRUE)``

This formula sorts the data in the range A1:C10 first by the first criteria “C1:C10” in ascending order using the SORTBY function, then by the second criteria “B1:B10” in descending order using the SORTBY function and finally by the third criteria “A1:A10” in ascending order using the SORTBY function.

## Troubleshooting Common Issues with the SORT and SORTBY Functions

The SORT and SORTBY functions are powerful tools for organizing and analyzing data, but they can also be prone to certain issues if not used correctly. Here are a few common issues you may encounter when using these functions, and some possible solutions:

1. Incorrect sorting order: If the data is not being sorted in the order you expect, double-check the arguments you are passing to the function. Make sure that you have specified the correct sort order (ascending or descending) and that you are sorting by the correct column or row.
2. Incorrect data: If the function is returning incorrect results, make sure that the data in the range you are sorting is correct. Check for any errors, missing data, or incorrect data types.
3. Mismatched data types: The SORT and SORTBY functions can only sort data of the same type (e.g., numbers, text, or dates), so if you are sorting a range that contains different data types, the function may return an error.
4. Incorrect range: The SORT and SORTBY functions require a specific range or array to be passed as an argument. Make sure that you have selected the correct range or array and that it includes all of the data you want to sort.
5. Large datasets: The SORT and SORTBY functions can be slow when sorting large datasets. In this case, consider using a filter or other function to first isolate the data you want to sort, or breaking the data into smaller chunks and sorting them separately.
6. Ignore hidden rows or columns: By default, the SORT and SORTBY functions will include hidden rows and columns when sorting. If you want to exclude hidden rows and columns, you can use the UNHIDE function to unhide the data before sorting.
7. Keep original data: As mentioned before, the SORT and SORTBY functions will sort the data in place, so it’s important to make a copy of the data before sorting it, if you want to keep the original data intact.
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