How to Sort By Date in Google Sheets

Introduction

Sorting by date in a Google Sheets document is easy, if you’re dates are formatted in a way that the system recognizes. However, there are a lot of different ways someone can format a date, and Google doesn’t recognize all of them. In this article, I’ll show you how to check your dates to see if Google will recognize them to sort them, and I’ll give you some examples of date formats that Google recognizes, in addition to showing you how to sort your data set by date. Examples of all instructions in the steps can be seen in both the YouTube video above and the image collection located beneath the steps.

YouTube player

Steps to Check Date Formatting in Google Sheets

First, like I mentioned, it’s important that you make sure your dates are formatted in a way that can be sorted. You can do this by adding a new, blank row or column next to the dates you want to sort. To give you an example we can walk through I’ve got various date formats in columns with blank columns next to each of them. Now you’ll want to type the formula =datevalue, click the date in the column next to it to select it, and then press “Enter.” If your date type is valid, you’ll get a number similar to what I get in the highlighted field on the screen. If your date type isn’t valid, you’ll get a “VALUE” message error. You’ll only be able to sort your date type if it returns a number. If your date type doesn’t return a number, you’ll need to replace it with one that does throughout your sheet. As an example, you can see examples of three successful date types that will work called out on the screen.

Steps to Sort by Date in Google Sheets

Now that we’ve walked through how to check the date types in your Google Sheets document and you’ve changed to make sure your dates are entered in a way that’s sortable, let’s walk through the steps to sort by date in Google Sheets.

  1. Open the Google Sheets document where you want to sort your information by date.
  2. Highlight the dates you want to sort, including the column header, and then click “Data” in the menu at the top of the screen to open a drop-down menu. In this example I’m just highlighting my single column, but if you have a larger data set and you want all of the data to be moved in accordance with the new sort order, you’ll need to highlight all of it.
  3. Click “Sort Range” in this menu to open an expanded menu, and then click “Advanced Range Sorting Options” in this menu. The Sort Range From window is displayed.
  4. If you’re data has headers, click to check the “Data has header row” option.
  5. Click the drop-down column in the Sort By section, and then choose the column in your document that has the dates you want to sort your selected data by. Next, click to choose whether you want to sort your data in either ascending or descending order. Click “Sort” after making your selections. You’ll return to your sheet, where you’ll now see your date column, and all of your other associated data, sorted by date.

Reasons to Sort by Date in Google Sheets

1. Organize Data Chronologically

Sorting data by date lets you view and analyze information in a chronological order. This enables you to easily identify trends, patterns, and other insights. By organizing data in a chronological fashion, you can quickly understand the evolution of the data over time and make informed decisions. This makes it an essential tool for data analysis and report generation.

2. Group by Date Range

When sorting data by date, you can group the information into specific date ranges such as by week, month or quarter. This enables you to summarize data, generating reports and gaining valuable insights into trends and patterns. This makes it easier to understand the data and make informed decisions.

3. Find Specific Data Points

When working with large amounts of data, sorting by date can be a lifesaver. It helps you quickly find specific data points based on the date, saving you time and effort. This makes it easier to find what you need in a sea of data and focus on the information that is relevant to you.

4. Highlight Important Dates

By sorting data by date, you can easily identify important dates such as deadlines, appointments, or events. This helps you prioritize your work and ensures that you don’t miss anything critical. It also helps you to stay organized, so you can work more efficiently.

5. Filter Data

Sorting data by date makes it possible to filter information based on a specific date range. This lets you focus on the data that’s relevant to you, making it easier to generate reports and gain insights. Filtering data by date is a powerful tool that enables you to focus on what matters most and make informed decisions.

6. Readability

By sorting data by date, you can quickly understand and interpret information. This improves the overall readability of the data and makes it easier to see patterns and trends. Sorting data by date is an essential tool for data analysis and report generation, making it easier to understand the information and make informed decisions.

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About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

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