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How to Sort by Date in Google Sheets

Learning how to sort data is an important skill to develop for everyone who uses Google Sheets.

There are a number of tools and functions in Google Sheets that you can use to quickly and easily sort through data.

Sometimes you may want to sort rows to organize them by date. Other times you may want to filter through a date range and only pull out dates that fall within a certain time period.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to sort by date in Google Sheets.

Sort by Date with SORT Range

Sorting Data with One Column

The quickest way to sort is by using the inbuilt sorting tools in Google Sheets.

If you’re sorting a small number of rows or cells you can quickly sort by doing this:

  1. Highlight the cells you want to sort
  2. In the top menu select Data
  3. In the drop-down menu select Sort range by A, A to Z, or Sort range by A, Z to A. A to Z will sort with the oldest dates at the top. Z to A will sort with the most recent dates at the top

Sort Range

The method above is fine when you have a small amount of data in one column, but if you have many rows or multiple columns use the method below

Sorting Data with Multiple Columns

1. Select the data you want to sort. To select your entire sheet click in the square in the top left corner or press CTRL + A on your keyboard

Sort 1
2. In the top menu select Data, and then select Sort Range

Sort 2
3. If your data has a header row that you do not want to sort, make sure to check the box for Data has header row. Make sure the Sort by field is set to the column that has the date in it. Then select A to Z to sort with the oldest dates at the top, select Z to A to sort with the most recent dates at the top

Sort 3
4. All of the columns and rows that you had selected should now be sorted by date

Sort 4

Sort by Date with SORT Function

Another way to sort is by using the SORT function in Google Sheets.

The benefit of using this method to sort is that your sorted range is dynamic, meaning that it changes if your data changes. In the previous method, sorting was an action that is applied once. If your data changes, you will have to repeat the steps to sort it again.

With the sort function, your sorted range is dynamic. If your data changes the formula will automatically be sorted.

Here’s how to use this function:

  1. Select the first cell where you want the sorted data to appear
  2. On your keyboard press the equals sign (=) and type SORT
  3. Press Tab on your keyboard to enter the formula
  4. Highlight the range of data that you want to sort and then type a comma (,)
  5. Next, you need to enter a number to indicate the column you want to sort by. If you just have 1 column you would enter a 1 here. Type a comma after the number you entered (,)
  6. Next, you will be typing either TRUE or FALSE. TRUE will sort with the oldest dates at the top. FALSE will sort the most recent dates at the top. Type a closing parenthesis on your keyboard and press Enter to calculate the function
  7. Your data should now be sorted by date

Sort Function

This method offers some advantages over the first method, but it is a little more complicated. Take the time to learn both methods and understand them well so you can get comfortable using them in your spreadsheets

Troubleshooting When SORT by Date is Not Working

Sometimes when you try to sort by date, you may have issues with it not working properly.

The most common reason this happens is that your date is not in the proper format. You can try selecting your data and changing the format to date.

Format Date

Another reason it may not be sorted properly is that you have it sorted by the wrong rules.

Check again to make sure you are sorting by the correct columns with the correct sorting rules.

A lot of times it’s just a small little error you need to correct to get the data in the order that you want.

Closing Thoughts

Sorting is a powerful feature of Google Spreadsheets that all users should know. Being able to sort any data by date or by another data will certainly come in handy as you continue using spreadsheets more.

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Lock Cell Reference with F4
How to Use the SORT function
How to Auto Sort
How to Convert Text to Date