How to Sort a Date Column in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide


Michael Collins

Sorting a date column in Excel is a straightforward task that helps you organize your data chronologically. All you need to do is select the date column and use the Sort feature in Excel. Once sorted, your data will be in order from the earliest to the latest date or vice versa.

How to Sort a Date Column in Excel

Sorting a date column in Excel allows you to rearrange your data so that it flows in a logical, chronological order. This can be particularly useful for tracking events, sales records, or any other time-sensitive information.

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

First, open your Excel file that contains the date column you want to sort.

Make sure that you have saved any important changes before you proceed with sorting, just in case you need to revert back.

Step 2: Select the Date Column

Click on the lettered header of the column that contains your dates to select the entire column.

This ensures that all the dates in that column are selected, so you can sort them all at once.

Step 3: Open the Sort Menu

Go to the Data tab on the Ribbon and click on the "Sort A to Z" or "Sort Z to A" button.

The "Sort A to Z" button will sort your dates from oldest to newest, while "Sort Z to A" will sort from newest to oldest.

Step 4: Confirm the Sort

If a dialog box appears asking if you want to expand the selection, choose "Expand the selection" and click "Sort."

This ensures that any related data in other columns gets sorted along with your date column.

Step 5: Verify the Results

Look at your data to ensure that the dates are now in the correct order.

If the dates are not sorted as expected, double-check that the cells are formatted as dates and try sorting again.

After completing these steps, your date column will be neatly sorted in the order you selected. This makes it much easier to analyze trends over time or find specific events.

Tips for Sorting a Date Column in Excel

  • Ensure Date Format: Make sure all your dates are formatted correctly. If they’re not, Excel may not sort them as dates.
  • Expand Selection: Always expand the selection to avoid misaligning your data.
  • Check for Blank Cells: Blank cells can sometimes disrupt the sorting process. Fill them in or remove them.
  • Use Filters: Consider using filters if you need to sort other columns or multiple criteria.
  • Undo Option: Remember, you can always use the Undo feature (Ctrl + Z) if something goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t my dates sorting correctly?

Your dates might not be recognized as dates by Excel. Double-check the cell formatting and ensure they’re set as dates.

Can I sort dates along with other data?

Yes, always choose to expand the selection when prompted to ensure all related data is sorted together.

Will sorting affect my formulas?

Sorting will change the order of your data but generally won’t affect the formulas unless they reference specific cells.

Can I sort dates in a pivot table?

Yes, you can sort dates in a pivot table by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the date column and selecting your sort preference.

How do I sort dates from multiple columns?

You can use the "Sort" option in the Data tab and add levels to sort by multiple columns sequentially.


  1. Open Your Excel File
  2. Select the Date Column
  3. Open the Sort Menu
  4. Confirm the Sort
  5. Verify the Results


Sorting a date column in Excel is a fundamental skill, especially if you deal with time-sensitive data. This skill helps you keep your information organized and easy to analyze. A quick and clean sort can save you from the headaches of sifting through disorganized data.

Remember to ensure your dates are formatted correctly and always expand your selection to include all related data. Sorting your dates chronologically can reveal patterns and trends that are otherwise difficult to spot.

If you run into issues, don’t panic. Excel has multiple features to help you correct and re-sort your data as needed. Once you master this basic task, you’ll find that managing your data becomes a whole lot easier. Happy sorting!