Featured - How to alphabetize in Excel

One of the most common types of sorting in Excel is alphabetical sorting. Whether it’s a list of names, businesses, or mail addresses, sorting helps to organize and keep track of what you’re doing. Today we’re going to help you with that by showing you how to alphabetize in Excel for both rows and columns.

Alphabetize in Excel / Sort alphabetically in Excel

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While there are several ways to alphabetize in Excel, the most consistent is the sorting feature in the Data section of your ribbon. We’ll be showing this feature, as well as the A to Z filter shortcut.

How to Sort Columns Alphabetically in Excel

Columns are the most common thing to alphabetize in Excel, and therefore the easiest. You can do it in less than ten seconds. Here’s how to put columns in alphabetical order in Excel:

  1. Open the “Data” tab of the ribbon and press “Sort & Filter > Sort”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort & Filter - Sort

  2. Choose your column in the “Sort by” dropdown

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - By Column

  3. Tick “My data has headers” if needed and set the order dropdown to “A to Z”

    Of course, you can also change this to Z to A or a custom list type if you wish. Just press “OK” when you’re done.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - Headers - Order - Accept

  4. Enjoy your alphabetized list in Excel

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - Result

How to Alphabetize a Column in Excel

With a quick adjustment, you can also sort by alphabetical order in Excel by row. Here’s how:

  1. Open the “Data” tab of your ribbon and press “Sort & Filter > Sort”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort & Filter - Sort

  2. Tick “My data has headers” if needed and press the “Options…” button

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - Headers - Options

  3. Change the Sort Options to “Sort left to right” and press “OK”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - Options - Sort Left to Right - Accept

  4. Change the “Sort by” dropdown to your row

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - By Row

  5. Switch the “Order” dropdown to “A to Z” and press “OK”

    Excel will instantly alphabetize your row to match your preference. You can, of course, sort from Z to A instead if you wish. 

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data - Sort - Order - Accept

How to Alphabetize in Excel Using Shortcuts

There’s an easier way to re-order cells that’s most suitable for smaller batches of data. The A – Z or Z – A shortcuts in Excel reduce the process to a few quick clicks. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Select the column, open the “Data” tab of the ribbon, and click “Sort & Filter > AZ / ZA”

    You can select a column or row by clicking on its letter or number in the sheet border.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Column - Data - Sort & Filter - AZ ZA

  2. Tick “Continue with the current selection” and press “Sort”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Column - Data - Sort & Filter - AZ ZA - Continue - Sort

  3. Alternatively: Press the AZ icon in the”Home” tab, then “Sort A to Z / Sort Z to A”

    Again, you should make sure your data is selected first.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Column - Home - Sort A to Z Sort Z to A

Extra: How to Color Alternating Rows in Excel

Now that you have alphabetized your columns and rows in Excel, you can go a step further. Our existing guide will show you how to add zebra stripes to rows in Excel so that you can more easily follow data.

Featured - How to Apply Shading to Alternate Rows in Excel

Extra: How to Find Duplicates in Excel and Remove Them

Sorting data alphabetically often reveals duplicate names, addresses, or products. You can follow our guide on how to find and remove duplicates to quickly and automatically get rid of them.

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