# Thread: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

1. ## Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

Morning...
Am I correct that Excel has a 3 column limit to sort, and MS Access a 10-column limit?
Thank you,
Nannette

2. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

You can sort on 3 columns at a time in Excel, but you can sort on any number of columns as follows:
- Start by sorting on the three least important columns.
- Then sort on the next to least important columns.
- Continue this way, and finally sort on the remaining 1, 2 or 3 most important column(s).
Example: you want to sort on columns A, C, E and H.
Start by sorting on C, E and H (the least important columns)
Then sort on A, being the most important column.

In Access, you can sort on any number of fields. But an index on a table can consist of at most 10 fields.

3. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

Hans,

I am guessing that you would select the 3 least fields (C, E and H) only and do a sort, then select just column A the most important and do a sort by your explanation. I am having some thoughts on this method...won't that mix up my Excel data, for example, if I have fields like First Name, Last Name, SSN, Position, Pay, then SSN may not match the Name fields when I am through...

4. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

No, you'd either select a single cell within the table, or the entire table.
Then select Data | Sort...
The Sort dialog lets you specify up to three columns on which to sort.

5. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

You can sort on 3 columns at a time in Excel, but you can sort on any number of columns as follows:
- Start by sorting on the three least important columns.
- Then sort on the next to least important columns.
- Continue this way, and finally sort on the remaining 1, 2 or 3 most important column(s).
Example: you want to sort on columns A, C, E and H.
Start by sorting on C, E and H (the least important columns)
Then sort on A, being the most important column.

Hans,
As to the method you showed me above, I would select C, E and H and do a sort on these 3...(Am I selecting the whole table at this point)?
Then turn around and sort (on the whole table, I'm presuming) column A...doesn't that delete my initial sort on C, E and H out?
NMP

6. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

No, you DON"T select C, E and H. I repeat: either select a single cell in the table to be sorted, or select the entire table, then select Data | Sort... Specify the columns (C, E and H in the example) in the dialog, then click OK.
Then, select Data | Sort... again and specify the remaining columns - in the example, column A. clear the other two. The new sort will sort on A, and leave the sort order on C, E and H within rows with the same value in A unchanged, i.e. it respects the earlier sort order. It is essential that you start by sorting on the least important columns, and end with the "main" sort.

If you selected a single cell, Excel will automatically expand the selection to the entire table when you select Data | Sort...

7. ## Re: Sort Limit (Excel 2000)

Alright. Thank you Hans...this is totally new to me. I thought 3 was my limit, and did not know the method you have so graciously given. Thanks for the patience...have printed out a copy and given it to the student who inquired...thus, here is another expression of how important Woody's Lounge is to us all...each class I emphasize this, and they tour this website with me...getting answers on occasion during class time leaves a tremendous impact on them, and I'm always grateful.
Learning something new everyday!!!
NMP

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