Excel: Selecting Data by Means of Sorting

The goal of every direct marketing campaign is to reach exactly those people or companies who are most promising for the advertised product. To do so, the relevant addresses have to be selected according to the target group.

In order to select addresses or data, there are query languages such as SQL and various tools and assistants in the programs used to manage the data. However, sometimes a selection can be made through simple sorting of the data in Excel.

Let’s say you have a table with addresses for which you also have the birthdates, and you want to filter out those people aged between 20 and 30 years. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Mark the column according to which the data should be sorted, in our example the column with the birthdates, by clicking on the column header. The column should now be highlighted in blue.
  2. With Excel 2007, click on the button 'Sort & filter' that you will find on the 'Start' tab at the very right, and select from the context menu either 'Sort from A to Z' or 'Sort from Z to A'. With Excel 2003, you will find two buttons on the toolbar for this purpose, which are marked with 'A->Z' and 'Z->A'.
  3. A dialogue will then appear that tells you that the other columns of the table should probably also be sorted. Leave the presetting in this dialogue on 'Expand the selection' and click on the 'Sort' button. The table will then be sorted according to the indicated column.
  4. After the sorting is finished, be sure to verify that all the columns have been sorted accordingly, since otherwise the contents of the individual cells will be mixed up.
  5. Now that the table is sorted according to the desired column, the block with the rows corresponding to the selection criterion can be selected and copied into a new worksheet, or the blocks with the rows that do not correspond to the selection criterion can be selected and deleted.

Author: Thomas Hainke