How to Sort Excel Date

I thought for several years that dates were a different kind of data, I assumed that the approach to Sort Excel Date was different from sorting numbers. The reason? The format is like mystical, the slashes / or dashes – evoke a special kind of information, look these two examples: 01/11/2002 or 01-11-2002.

I have noticed that many Excel users keep that idea in their minds, if you still have it, forget it.

Dates are numbers (Learn more about Excel Date in Excel Data page).

What does that mean?

Adopt the same number-mindset to sort dates.

Here’s how…

Newest on Top = Descending Order

Your birthday is greater than Churchill’s birthday; the newest date is the greater number so sort descending to Sort Excel Date in such order (newest on top and oldest at the bottom). Look at the time line below to appreciate number-to-date correlation, it is very easy…

Graphic 1

Time Line Excel Date Time Code, Excel Serial Number Date

Apply the sort command on the field you desire and done. See graphic 2.

Graphic 2

Sort Excel Dates Descending, Newest on Top

Oldest on Top = Ascending Order

Apply the same principle to order Date from oldest on top to newest at the bottom.

Use ascending order because the lower number is the oldest date. For a rapid clue in your mind, number 1 is the oldest date Excel supports.

Excel 2007 makes sorting dates more intuitive, it detects dates in columns and configures the sort button the way shown in graphic 3.

Graphic 3

Sort Excel Dates in Excel 2007

Sort by Day, Year or Month

Create an additional field and use one of the following functions: DAY, MONTH, YEAR; after that apply the sort command on the field you desire and done.

Tip 1 Avoid Date Sorting mistakes; be sure that dates are not stored as texts. Convert text to dates with DATEVALUE function.