Excel Tables are very useful for managing and analyzing data in tabular format. An Excel Table provides the data in a special structure, which comes with filtering, formatting, sizing, and auto populating formulas dynamically. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to sort tables in Excel.

How to Sort Tables in Excel

Follow the steps below to add calculated columns into your Excel Tables. Since you want to add a formula, you may already have an Excel Table. If you don't have your table yet, please see How to insert an Excel table for more details.

Select a cell inside the column

Begin by selecting a cell inside the column you want to sort. Here, we have a couple of options to apply sorting.

Tip: You can't sort multiple columns by selecting multiple columns and applying sorting. Instead, you need to set the columns to be sorted, as well as the sort order manually from the Sort dialog.

Choose a sorting method

You can find the sorting options in three different locations, but each method offers the same functionality. Feel free to use any of the methods below.

Filter Button

When an Excel Table is created, Excel adds arrow buttons next to the column headers. These are the filter buttons that provide  options for filtering and sorting.

Tip: If you do not see the filter buttons, check the Design tab in the Ribbon for a checkbox called Filter Button. Enable it to display buttons next to the headers.

Right-click Menu

Right-click (context) menu in Excel has a sub menu for sorting options. Sorting will be applied to the column where you right clicked.


The last method is using the Ribbon. In fact, the Ribbon has sorting options in two different tabs: the Home tab, and the Data tab.


Under the Home tab, click on the Sort & Filter icon to see available sorting options.


In this menu, you will only see the icons without any labels. Icons functions are the same as in other methods.


In all methods, there are 3 identical options. These are

  • Sort Smallest to Largest
  • Sort Largest to Smallest
  • Sort / Custom Sort / Sort by Color (Labels may be different in different methods. However, all methods will display the Sort option.)

The first two options are pretty straightforward: They sort the active column in the selected direction. Use the last one to see advanced sorting options.

Prefer using the Sort dialog for

  • Multi-column sorting
  • Modifying sorting method
  • Custom sorting orders

See Tips for Excel Tables for further information and tips and tricks of using Excel Tables.