Sorting by Last Name using Excel

Consider the following scenario. You have a list of names in a Word file (or other text based document). You need to sort them into a logical order. Your business requirement dictates that they be sorted by last name. Microsoft Excel to the rescue.

1. Select the list of names in Microsoft Word and copy them:

2. Open up Microsoft Excel. With your cursor in cell A1 paste the list you copied from Microsoft Word.

3. You will notice that Microsoft Excel puts each name on a new row. Now we need to separate the name into two columns so that we can sort by the last name. To do this, with the column of names selected go to the Data tab on the ribbon and choose Text to Column

4. In the resulting dialog choose Delineated and click next

5. On the next screen uncheck the default option of Tab and check the box next to Space. Click Next.

6. On the final screen of the wizard leave all options as is and click Finish.

7. You will now notice that the first names remain in the “A” column but the last names have moved to the “B” column. Select both the A and B columns by clicking on the “A” heading and dragging your mouse over to “B” as shown below:

8. Return to the Data tab in the ribbon and choose Sort.

9. Set the Sort By menu to Column B and click OK.

10. The list is now sorted by last name. You can now select the list and copy it back to Word or use it however your need. Mission accomplished!