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Can Excel Sort by Color? How to Fill Color and use Sort & Filter's Custom Sort

Can Excel sort by color? Absolutely. In addition to sorting by values, Excel can sort by cell color, font color, and cell icon.

First, you must you must define the colors for your sort columns/fields. For this example, we’ll select colors based on the SALES column.

1. Highlight all the rows with sales from 100 to 500 million. To choose a background color, click Home on the main menu row and go to the Font group. Find the paint-bucket icon that stands for Fill Color, and click the down arrow next to it. A color palette appears, from which you may choose a color by clicking its thumbnail. For our example, we’ve chosen Yellow from the Standard Colors group.

2. Highlight the next group with sales from 77 to 85 million, then choose Blue.

3. From 60 to 65 million, choose green; for 50 million, choose Orange; choose lavender for 40 to 45 million, and cyan (turquoise) from 30 to 39 million

01 choose colors for each specific range JD Sartain / IDG Worldwide

Choose colors for each specific range

Now that the colors are defined by SALES, you can use them to sort by BOOK, AUTHOR, LANGUAGE, or PUB DATE, and, for example, view authors with sales of Cyan, which denotes the group with sales between 30 and 39 million.

1. Move the cursor anywhere inside the data range, press Ctrl+A to highlight everything.

2. From the Home tab on the main menu, select the Editing group. Click Sort & Filter > Custom Sort and the Sort dialog box opens.

3. If you have headers, be sure to check the box that says: My data has headers.

4. Choose a sort key from the Sort By field box under Column, such as Author.

5. Under Sort On, choose Cell Color from the drop-down list.

6. Under Order, choose the thumbnail for the color by which you wish to sort—in our example, it’s cyan. 

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