How To Sort Alphabetically in Google Sheets

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

Google Sheets is Google’s spreadsheet answer to Microsoft Excel. It makes sorting by a particular condition simple and easy. It works similarly enough to Excel that if you’re used to Microsoft software, you’ll have no problem translating this function between programs.

Being able to sort alphabetically assists in data entry, data searches, and other instances when alpha-numerical organization is required. If you are generating a book list, mailing list, or class roster, this ‘sort by’ feature will literally alphabetize that list for you.

Set Up Your List in Google Spreadsheets

Start off by creating your spreadsheet on Google Sheets. Simply click the ‘Blank’ option on the Google Sheets homepage. This will be the icon with a plus sign in it. Next, name your spreadsheet in the upper left hand text box area. You may now start populating your spreadsheet text box by text box. You may choose to fill out your list either by column or row, but I personally suggest creating your list in a column format.

Prevent Column Headers from Sorting

When making your list, you do not have to create fixed column headers. However, creating these headers prevents the header row from being sorted into the mix of your list.

To do this, go to View > Freeze. You will be given the option to freeze one or two rows. By selecting this option you will keep that row visible at all times. Once your list has been generated you can now sort alphabetically. The ‘sort by’ feature will automatically sort by the first row unless otherwise specified.

Sort Alphabetically

You can either sort the entire sheet according to one column or sort a range of selected columns.

1. Sort by Sheet

If you wish to sort the entire sheet according to one column or only have a one column list, the sort by sheet option is best for you.

  • First, choose the column by which you would like to alphabetically sort your list. To do this, select the letter on top of the desired column. This will highlight the entire column.
  • Next, go to Data on the toolbar. Select one of the “Sort sheet by” options.
  • You will be given two alphabetical sort options to choose from, either sorting the sheet A to Z or Z to A. Select your prefered option.

2. Sort by Range

If you have a list made up of multiple columns, i.e., first name, last name, address, etc. but only want to sort a certain portion of the list, you may sort by range. The range will be sorted according to the first highlighted column.

  • To select the range, click the letter on top of the first column and drag to the last column in your range.
  • Once you have selected your range, go to Data and select one of the “Sort range by” options.
  • You will be given two alphabetical sort options to choose from, either sorting the sheet A to Z or Z to A. Select your prefered option.

Conclusion

The alphabetical sort feature in Google Sheets is an easy way to heighten your level of organization and turn a jumbled list into a data entry masterpiece. The best thing is is that you need no prior knowledge of programming conditional formatting into Microsoft Excel to use this alphabetical sort. You just need to know where to click!