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How to sort numbers in ascending or descending order in Excel?

January 18, 2022

In our Excel work, we frequently receive documents with confusing data that needs sorting. As beginners, we struggle to grasp efficient sorting methods. This guide aims to simplify and summarize these methods, offering a clear path to effective data organization and understanding.

Part 1 How to Sort Numbers Using a Single Condition in Excel

Method 1. Ascending Order

To sort numbers from Smallest to Largest in Excel, you can employ a simple method using the ribbon. Here's how:

Step 1 Select the range of cells containing numbers.

Select range

Step 2 Go to the Home tab and click on the Editing option. Then, choose Sort & Filter and click on Sort Smallest to Largest.

Small to Large

Click Sort

In the resulting dialog box, you'll encounter two options: "Expand the selection" and "Continue with the current solution". The former maintains the relationship between adjacent cell values, while the latter sorts only the numbers without affecting adjacent values. Make your choice and proceed by clicking Sort.


This is the simplest method to sort numbers in Excel.

Method 2. Descending Order

Apart from the previous method, you can also sort numbers from Largest to Smallest using the ribbon option. Here's how:

Step 1 Select the range of cells containing numbers.

Cell range

Step 2 Go to the Home tab and click on the Editing option. From the Sort & Filter menu, select Sort Largest to Smallest.

Large to Small

A dialog box will appear. Choose your preferred action: "Expand the selection" or "Continue with the current solution". Then, click Sort.

Choose your preferred action

Your numbers will now be sorted in descending order, maintaining the relationship with adjacent cell values.

The result

This method is similar to Method 1, except that it sorts the numbers in descending order.

Part 2 How to Sort Numbers Using Multiple Conditions in Excel

Step 1 Select the data encompassing all columns.

Select all cell

Step 2 Open the “Sort” box by using “ALT + D + S.”

Open Sort

Step 3 Under the "Sort by" section, choose the first criterion, such as "Product," and specify the desired order, whether it's A to Z or Z to A.


Step 4 Click “Add Level” to add another layer of sorting. For example, you can now select "In stock" as the second criterion and specify the order.

Add level

Step 5 Under this layer, select “Instock” first, then opt for “Largest to Smallest.” Or “Smallest to Largest.”

Custom order

Step 6 Click “OK” to initiate the sorting process.


While this method may take a bit more time, the ability to sort by multiple conditions adds an extra layer of data management.

Part 3 Comparison of the Two Methods




Single Condition

Simple and easy to use.

Can only sort one condition at a time.

Multiple Conditions

Can sort multiple conditions at a time.

More complex and time-consuming to use.

Ultimately, the best method to use depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you need to sort by multiple conditions, then the Sort dialog box method is the best option. If you only need to sort by one condition, then the Sort using the ribbon method is a good option.

Part 4 Why Use WPS Office?

WPS Office

The strategies discussed are suitable for both Microsoft Excel and WPS Office Spreadsheet. However, opting for WPS Office comes highly recommended for the following compelling reasons:

Price: WPS Office is free to use for personal and educational purposes. Microsoft Excel is not free, and you need to purchase a subscription to use it.

Compatibility: WPS Office is compatible with Microsoft Office documents. This means that you can open, edit, and save Microsoft Office documents in WPS Office.

Features: WPS Office has many of the same features as Microsoft Office, including a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation software, and database software. WPS Office also has some features that Microsoft Office does not have, such as a cloud storage service and a translation tool.

User-friendly interface: WPS Office has a user-friendly interface that is similar to Microsoft Office. This makes it easy to switch from one office suite to the other.

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How to Sort Numbers in WPS

Step 1 Start by selecting the cells in the column you want to sort. Head to the Data tab and click on the Ascending or Descending buttons under the Sort section.

Click sort

Pick option

Step 2 In the dialog box that appears, you have the option to either Expand the selection – sorting the adjacent data too – or Continue with the current selection – sorting only the selected data.

For an advanced touch, if you wish to sort numbers based on different colors, head back to the Data tab and click on the Custom Sort button. In the dialog box, select Sort On > Cell Color or Font Color according to your needs.

Sort on


Why Can't I Sort by Numbers in Excel?

A prevalent issue causing incorrect sorting of numbers in Excel is the presence of additional characters alongside the numbers, which might not be visible in the cell. This commonly occurs when you copy and paste values from external sources like internet-based data.

How to Arrange Numbers in Descending Order in Excel Using Formulas?

To sort data in descending order using the LARGE function in Excel, arrange your data in a column, then enter the formula "=LARGE(range, ROW(A1))" in a separate cell, where "range" is your data range. Drag the fill handle down to apply the formula to the entire dataset, generating descending order values using the LARGE function. This method maintains your original data intact while dynamically arranging it.

How Do I Sort Numerically and Keep Rows Together in Excel?

To numerically sort data while keeping rows intact in Excel, select the column to be sorted, navigate to the Data tab, click Sort, confirm the "Expand the selection" option in the Sort Warning dialog, set your sorting criterion and order in the Sort dialog, then click OK. This approach preserves row integrity while effectively sorting your data.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide unlocks the power of Excel's sorting capabilities, empowering efficient data organization and insightful analysis. Whether you're mastering single or multi-condition sorting methods, understanding the pros and cons, or considering the advantages of WPS Office.

This resource equips you with the tools to make informed decisions, you're not only learning to sort data effectively but also gaining access to a powerful tool that streamlines your data organization efforts and maximizes your productivity.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.