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How To Custom Sort in Google Sheets (With Examples)

When it comes to managing data, Google Sheets offers a fantastic feature known as custom sort. This feature enables you to tailor the arrangement of your information according to your specific needs.

Sorting data is particularly useful when dealing with lists, records, or numerical values, as it streamlines the process of analysis.

In this beginner-friendly article, we will walk you through the process of how to do custom sort in Google Sheets using straightforward examples. Whether you’re a novice or simply looking for a refresher, you’ll soon discover how to bring order to your data effortlessly.

Scenario: Student Grades in an Exam

To illustrate the concept of custom sorting in Google Sheets, let’s delve into a relatable scenario: managing student grades from an exam.

Imagine you are an educator with a spreadsheet containing student names along with their corresponding scores.

Your goal is to organize this data to quickly identify the highest and lowest scores while categorizing students by their performance levels. Here’s where custom sorting in Google Sheets comes to your rescue.

Understanding How Custom Sort in Google Sheets Works

As we’ve discussed, custom sorting helps you arrange data in Google Sheets. But it’s not quite like the usual way of sorting in spreadsheets. Here’s how it’s different:

  • 1. Make Sorting Your Own: With custom sorting, you’re in charge. You can set up how things get sorted based on certain rules you pick. So, it’s like giving the sorting tool special instructions just for you.
  • 2. Sort with Extra Smarts: Imagine if sorting could follow instructions like, “Put the highest grades on top” or “Show me names from A to Z but only for specific subjects.” That’s what custom sorting can do – it listens to your conditions and then sorts things out.
  • 3. Using Custom Sorting like a Pro Formula: Here’s the cool part – you can even use custom sorting like a secret formula. You create these special rules (called “arguments”), and they tell the sorting tool exactly how to do its job. So, you’re the boss telling the tool what goes where.

To sum it up, custom sorting in Google Sheets gives you the power to sort your data in ways that fit your needs. It’s like having a sorting helper to whom you can give instructions, making your data look just how you want it. And remember, you don’t need to be a tech expert to do it.

How to Custom Sort A Single Column Using The Sort Range Option In Google Sheets

Now that you understand how custom sort in Google Sheets works, let’s look at our first example. In this section, we will show you how to custom sort a single column in Google Sheets using the sort range option in Google Sheets. 

We will use the following sample data for this example: 

With our sample data now figured out, let’s quickly show you how to custom sort a single column in Google Sheets.

Step 1: Select the range of data you want to start with.

Let’s start by choosing the range of data we would like to custom-sort. For this example, we will custom-sort the data in column B. So let’s go ahead and highlight that:

Step 2: Right Click > View More Cell Action > Sort Range

Once you’ve selected the data range you want to sort, just follow these steps: Right-click on the chosen data, then scroll down and locate the “View more cell actions” option. Afterward, click on “Sort range.” 

This action will launch a new sort window, where you’ll need to make simple changes.

Here, you want to check the box for “Data has a header row.

With that done, simply select the option for A-Z and proceed to Sort data.

If you did everything exactly as we showed you, Google Sheets should automatically sort the range of data you selected earlier in ascending order. 

Here, take a look at what ours looks like: 

How To Custom Sort in Google Sheets

Custom Sort In Google Sheets Using the Sort function

Now that we’ve demonstrated how to arrange a single column your way in Google Sheets, let’s step it up a bit. In this section, we’ll show you how to do custom sorting in Google Sheets using the sort function. And guess what? You don’t need to be an expert in spreadsheets to do this.

To sort your data just as you want it, you can use the “Sort Function.” 

Here’s how you do it:

=SORT(Range, Column, is_ascending or descending)

It might look a bit complex, but don’t worry – we’ll break it down for you:

  • Range: This is where you tell Google Sheets the range of data you want to sort.
  • Column: You also need to say which column you want to sort.
  • is_ascending or descending: This is like giving a simple yes or no answer. Putting “True” means you want things to be in order from small to big (A-Z). If you put “False,” it’s like asking for big to small (Z-A)

So, let’s give it a try and see how it works. 

We will use the same sample data we used for the previous example for this one. 

Step 1: Select the cell where you want your data sorted to

Start by choosing the cell where you want your data sorted. For this tutorial, we will use cell D2. 

Step 2: Type the Sort formula 

After selecting the cell where you want your result generated, head over to the formula bar and type in the following formula:

=Sort(A2:B11,B2:B11, TRUE)

Custom Sort In Google Sheets Using the Sort function

Step 3: Hit Enter

Once you’re done typing the Sort function formula, simply hit the Enter button on your keyboard. Google Sheets should automatically generate the sort result in the select area. 

Here, take a look at what ours looks like: 

Custom Sort In Google Sheets Using the Sort function

Now, that’s how to custom sort in Google Sheets using the Sort function. That wasn’t too hard, was it?

Final Thoughts

In today’s guide, we’ve covered the magic of custom sorting, a super useful way to put your data in order just as you like it. Whether you’re dealing with student grades or any other type of info, knowing how to custom sort in Google Sheets will make your task easy, in addition to helping you organize your data seamlessly.

Remember, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to use this feature. With a few clicks, you can arrange your data into understandable patterns. Start by selecting your data, then explore the different sorting options, whether it’s A-Z or Z-A, or even more customized arrangements. 

And yes, don’t forget the “Sort Function” trick – it’s like a special command that lets you sort like a boss. 

So, go ahead and give it a try. Practice makes perfect, and before you know it, you’ll be custom sorting like a pro, impressing others with your data management skills. 

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