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How To Sort Horizontally In Google Sheets (With Examples)

Most of the time, data is organized in Google Sheets to go from top to bottom. This means you read it vertically, like a list. But what if you have data that’s set up horizontally, where you read it from left to right?

The problem is that there isn’t any built-in feature that allows you to sort horizontally in Google Sheets.

While this might seem like a deal-breaker, we have found a fantastic way to sort horizontally in Google Sheets. And guess what? You don’t have to be a spreadsheet genius to get this done.

In today’s Google Sheet tutorial, we will show you how to sort data horizontally using a simple formula that gets the job done in a matter of seconds.

But before we jump into the practical aspect of today’s tutorial, let’s quickly go over a use-case scenario that conveys the message better.

Scenario/Use Case

Imagine you have a Google Sheet with information about your monthly expenses, and it’s set up horizontally. 

Your aim? To sort this data so you can easily compare your expenses over time. However, Google Sheets usually sorts data vertically (up and down) by rows, and it doesn’t have a direct option to sort it horizontally (left to right) by columns.

Here’s where our solution comes in handy.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through a simple trick to sort horizontally in Google Sheets using a formula. This will make it easier for you to analyze your expenses month by month.

Sort Horizontally In Google Sheets: Practical Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of sorting your data horizontally in Google Sheets, don’t worry. We’re here to help you through each step.

To make things crystal clear, we’ll use a practical example. We’ll guide you through sorting data horizontally in Google Sheets step by step, and we’ll use the following example data to illustrate the process:

Now that our sample data is all set, let’s get hands-on with today’s tutorial. 

Copy the Example Google Sheet

Feel free to copy the accompanying Google Sheet containing the data we’ll use to illustrate the steps for horizontal sorting in this guide, so you can follow along.

Click Here To Copy

If you already have your own sheet, feel free to replicate the steps detailed below to sort horizontally in Google Sheets.

Step 1: Update Spreadsheet 

The first thing we want to do is update our spreadsheet to include the section where we want our horizontally sorted data to be generated. For this example, we will create a new header from cell A12 to M12. 

Here is what it should look like: 

Step 2: Choose A Blank Cell

Now that you’ve added the new headers in your spreadsheet where you want the sorted result, it’s time to pick a blank cell. This is where the sorted data will appear when we sort it horizontally. 

In our example, we’ll use cell A13. If you’re following along, please select this cell in your spreadsheet.

Step 3: Write the Sorting Formula

Having chosen a blank cell where we want our result generated, let’s quickly get to the interesting part, which is where the magic happens. Simply navigate to the formula bar and type in the following formula: 

=Sort(A2:M7,1, True)

Breaking down the formula

Before we delve any further, let’s quickly explain the formula we just used above so you get the bigger picture of what Google Sheets did. 

To put things simply, the formula is telling Google Sheets to take the data in cells A2 through M7, use the values in the first column (Category) as the basis for sorting, and sort the data in ascending order. This will rearrange your data horizontally so that the “Category” column is sorted alphabetically, and the corresponding expense values for each category are adjusted accordingly to maintain the association with their respective categories.

Step 3: Hit Enter

After entering the formula as we instructed in the previous step, all you need to do is press the Enter button on your keyboard and watch the magic happen. Your spreadsheet should be instantly sorted based on the criteria you set. 

Here, take a look at what ours looks like:

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll notice that our data is now sorted horizontally using the formula we applied.

If you’ve been following along, we are sure you agree that sorting data horizontally isn’t as difficult as it might have initially seemed.

Final Thoughts 

In today’s journey through Google Sheets, we discovered how to overcome the challenge of sorting data horizontally, a task not directly supported by Google Sheets’ built-in features. While Google Sheets typically organizes data from top to bottom, reading it vertically like a list, we encountered a scenario where we needed to read data from left to right.

Initially, this might have seemed like a roadblock, but we unveiled a fantastic solution that doesn’t require any spreadsheet wizardry. We used a simple formula to achieve horizontal sorting effortlessly.

Our example revolved around a common situation: managing monthly expenses. We needed to sort this data for easy expense tracking. 

However, Google Sheets primarily sorts data vertically, making horizontal sorting a puzzle. Our solution was a practical and straightforward formula that made monthly expense analysis a breeze.

Here’s a quick recap of the key steps we took:

Step 1: Update Spreadsheet 

We started by updating our spreadsheet to include a section where the horizontally sorted data would be generated. For our example, we created a new header from cell A12 to M12.

Step 2: Choose A Blank Cell 

Next, we selected a blank cell where the sorted data would appear. In our case, we chose cell A13.

Step 3: Write the Sorting Formula 

The magic happened when we entered the sorting formula in the formula bar. This formula, =Sort(A2:M7, 1, True), instructed Google Sheets to sort the data from cells A2 to M7 based on the values in the first column (Category) in ascending order. This resulted in our data being rearranged horizontally.

Step 4: Hit Enter 

With the formula in place, we simply pressed the Enter key, and like magic, our spreadsheet was instantly sorted according to the criteria we set.

As you can see from our example, sorting data horizontally in Google Sheets isn’t as challenging as it may initially appear. With a basic understanding of the formula and these simple steps, you can efficiently manage and analyze your data in new and insightful ways.

So, whether you’re dealing with monthly expenses or any other type of data, this technique can be a valuable addition to your Google Sheets toolkit.