Excel: Format your Data as Tables to Make Sorting Easy for Everyone (and yes, I mean everyone)

Sorting is fun! Sorting is even more fun when there is a tool that can do it for you. All the organization, none of the time. If you have spent the time to gather information, make sure that information is as useable as possible.

Excel Hero

Excel to the rescue!

So let’s get your information organized. For our example lets compare airbnb rentals for a vacation. We have the following information about each rental; the name listed, the website address, cost per night, minimum stay, maximum number it sleeps, number of bathrooms, type of accommodations (room, whole place, hostel), pool available, kitchen use allowed, and our favorite part of the rental. (Bonus! Not only do we get to use excel, but we get to use it to plan a vacation!) Of course all of this is listed on the website, or in notes that you have but there is an opportunity to make a spreadsheet.

sucess kid - spreadsheet

I believe there is almost always a use for a spreadsheet. 

Spreadsheet made!


Now, for the MAGIC! Magic is sometimes called formatting…

Find the ‘Format as Table’ option on the home ribbon. It is an important one, so it does not usually get buried under a menu, it’s pretty much always right there. When you click on it there are LOTS of options, for color and style. Of course you get really get into tables and creating your own custom styles, but for now we are more interested in the functionality. So pick on you like. Click it and your data is now a table.

format steps

Click on one of those arrows on the header row and look at the options:


So many options, so usefull

Now each header can be clicked on to sort and filter and molded to your every whim. Since this is in a selection of cells, your table can be anywhere in your spreadsheet and still be fully sortable. You can even go a little crazy and have more than one formatted table in one spreadsheet.

Casey Love

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