Excel Guides

Ignoring Selected Words when Sorting in Excel

When you sort data in Excel, by default all cells in the selection are sorted. However, you can choose to ignore certain cells, or certain words within cells, when sorting. This can be useful if your data contains header cells that you don't want to sort, or if you want to sort by one column but ignore empty cells in another column.

To ignore selected words when sorting, first select the cells that you want to sort. Then, on the Data tab, in the Sort & Filter group, click Sort. In the Sort dialog box, under Column, in the Sort by list, select the column that you want to sort. Under Order, do one of the following:

  • To sort in ascending order, such as from A to Z or from smallest number to largest number, click Ascending. This is the default option.

  • To sort in descending order, such as from Z to A or from largest number to smallest number, click Descending.

  • Click "Options..." button. In the Sort Options dialog box, under Ignore selected words when sorting, type the words that you want Excel to ignore when sorting.

    For example, if you type "the," "and," and "or," Excel will ignore these words when sorting.

    You can also use wildcard characters when specifying words to ignore.

    For example, if you type "" (an asterisk), Excel will ignore all words that start with an asterisk.

    If you type "*ing" (asterisk followed by "ing"), Excel will ignore all words that end with "ing".

    Click "OK" button twice.

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