Hey there! So you wanna figure out how to sort your Excel data without messing up the relationships between rows? No worries, I got your back. We’ll walk through four easy methods together. But first, let’s understand what we’re up against.

Imagine you’ve got a list of clothes you’re selling. Column A tells you what type of clothing it is (T-Shirt, Jeans, Hoodie) and column B tells you the color (Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Black). You wanna sort your items in alphabetical order, but keep the clothing item connected to its color. If you only sort the first column, the colors won’t tag along and your data will be a hot mess.

So, how can we dodge this bullet? Let’s find out!

1. Selecting Multiple Columns to Keep Rows Together

First off, this trick works best when you’re sorting the first column. If not, scroll down to the next method. Here, we’re gonna select all the data before sorting.

Just highlight all related cells (or press Ctrl-A for everything), then head over to the Home tab, click on the “Sort & Filter” drop-down, and choose your order. Excel will automatically keep the rows together since you selected everything.

2. Using Excel’s Prompt to Keep Rows Together

Got a column you wanna sort that isn’t the first one? No sweat. We can still keep the rows intact.

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Just select the column you wanna sort, head to the Home tab, click on the “Sort & Filter” drop-down, and choose your order. A “Sort Warning” window will pop up, asking if you want to “Expand the selection”. Do just that, and Excel will sort your chosen column while keeping the rows together.

3. Using the Sort Function to Keep Rows Together

Excel’s SORT function is another nifty tool. It automatically keeps rows together when sorting and updates when your data changes. Plus, you can use it in a formula.

All you need to do is type =SORT(array, [sort_index], [sort_order], [column_or_row]) into a cell. Don’t forget:

  • array is the range of cells to sort by
  • sort_index is the column to sort by
  • sort_order is TRUE for ascending (default) and FALSE for descending
  • column_or_row is FALSE for columns (default) and TRUE for rows

4. Using Custom Lists to Keep Rows Together

Finally, if you’re dealing with data that doesn’t sort well alphabetically or numerically, custom lists can be your best friend.

Just head to the File tab, click on Options and Advanced, then scroll down to the General section. Click on “Edit Custom List”, add your entries, and you’re good to go.

To apply your list to your data, select the column you wanna sort, head to the Data tab, and click on the Sort button. Choose “expand the selection”, then “Custom List” under the “Order” title. Pick your list, hit OK twice, and you’re all set!

Bottom Line

Sorting data in Excel doesn’t have to be a pain. With these four tricks, you can sort your data however you want and still keep related rows together. No more jumbled data, only smooth sailing from here. Happy sorting!