How to Sort by Multiple Columns in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sorting by multiple columns in Google Sheets is a handy feature that allows you to organize your data in a way that makes sense for your needs. By following a few simple steps, you can sort your data by more than one column, giving you the ability to see your information in a clear and concise way. Let’s dive into how you can accomplish this task.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Sort by Multiple Columns in Google Sheets

Sorting your data by multiple columns in Google Sheets can be incredibly useful when you’re dealing with large datasets. It allows you to prioritize the order of your data based on multiple criteria. Let’s go through the steps to make this happen.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Click and drag to highlight the cells you want to sort.

Selecting your data is the first step in sorting by multiple columns. Make sure to include the column headers in your selection, as this will allow you to identify which columns you’re sorting by in the following steps.

Step 2: Open the ‘Data’ Menu

Click on the ‘Data’ menu at the top of your Google Sheets document.

Opening the ‘Data’ menu will give you access to various data manipulation tools, including the ‘Sort range’ feature, which is what we’ll be using to sort by multiple columns.

Step 3: Select ‘Sort Range’ then ‘Advanced Range Sorting Options’

Go to ‘Sort range’ and then click on ‘Advanced range sorting options.’

This will open up a new sorting window where you can specify the columns you want to sort by and the order you want them sorted in.

Step 4: Choose Your Primary Column to Sort By

Select the first column you want to sort by from the dropdown menu.

This will be your primary sorting column. You can choose to sort this column in ascending or descending order based on your preference.

Step 5: Add Another Column to Sort By

Click on ‘Add another sort column’ to include additional columns in your sorting criteria.

You can add as many sorting columns as you need. This allows you to sort your data by multiple criteria, giving you a more detailed view of your information.

Step 6: Execute the Sort

Once you’ve selected all of your sort columns and order preferences, hit ‘Sort.’

Executing the sort will rearrange your data based on the criteria you’ve set. You’ll see your primary column sorted first, followed by your secondary sort columns.

After completing these steps, your data will be sorted by the various columns you’ve selected. This can provide you a clearer understanding of the information in your Google Sheets document and allow you to make more informed decisions based on your sorted data.

Tips for Sorting by Multiple Columns in Google Sheets

  • Make sure your data has column headers, so you can easily identify which columns to sort by.
  • If you have a header row, freeze it before sorting to keep it visible.
  • Remember to select all the data you want to sort, including any columns to the right or left of your primary sorting column.
  • Double-check your sorting order preferences before executing the sort to avoid any mistakes.
  • Use the ‘Undo’ feature if you make an error while sorting and need to revert back to the original data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to sort by more than two columns?

You can sort by as many columns as you need by continuously clicking ‘Add another sort column’ and selecting the appropriate column and sorting order.

How do I keep my header row from being sorted with the data?

Before sorting, freeze your header row by going to ‘View’ > ‘Freeze’ and selecting ‘1 row.’ This will keep your headers in place.

Can I sort by columns that are not next to each other?

Yes, you can sort by non-adjacent columns by selecting the columns you want to sort while holding down the ‘Ctrl’ key (or ‘Command’ key on Mac).

What happens if I accidentally sort my data incorrectly?

You can use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z or Command + Z) to revert to the data’s state before the sort.

Can I sort my data alphabetically and numerically at the same time?

Yes, you can set different sorting criteria for each column, whether it’s alphabetical or numerical.


  1. Select Your Data
  2. Open the ‘Data’ Menu
  3. Select ‘Sort Range’ then ‘Advanced Range Sorting Options’
  4. Choose Your Primary Column to Sort By
  5. Add Another Column to Sort By
  6. Execute the Sort


Sorting by multiple columns in Google Sheets is a powerful feature that can transform your data handling experience. Whether you’re managing a small project or wrangling a massive dataset, the ability to sort by multiple criteria can save you time and help you draw insights more efficiently.

Remember, the key to successful multi-column sorting is to be clear about your sorting criteria and the order by which you want your data to be organized. Always double-check your selections before you hit that sort button—because nobody likes to untangle a data mess!

Think of sorting as giving your data a good shuffle, aligning all your information in a neat and orderly fashion so you can spot trends, outliers, and crucial pieces of info at a glance. And if you’re ever in doubt, just ask yourself: how would I want to retrieve this data? That’ll usually point you in the right direction for your sorting order.

With this guide, you’re now equipped to tackle multi-column sorting like a pro. So, go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your Google Sheets turn from a jumble of numbers and text into a well-organized masterpiece that’s a breeze to work with. Happy sorting!