Excel formula for Beginners – How to Sort by custom list in Excel


(Excel examples for Beginners)

In this end-to-end excel example, you will learn – Excel formula for Beginners – How to Sort by custom list in Excel.


Excel formula for Beginners – How to Sort by custom list in Excel

Generic formula



To sort a list in a custom order, you can combine the SORTBY function with the MATCH function. In the example shown, The table is being sorted by the “group” column using in the order shown in cells J5:J7. The formula in D5 is:


where “custom” is the named range J5:J7 that defines desired sort order.

How this formula works

In this example, we are sorting a table with 10 rows and 3 columns. In the range J5:J7 (the named range “custom”), the colors “red”, “blue”, and “green” are listed in the desired sort order. The goal is to sort the table using values in the Group column in this same custom order.

The SORTBY function allows sorting based on one or more “sort by” arrays, as long as dimensions are compatible with the source data. In this case, we can’t use the named range “custom” directly in SORTBY, because it only contains 3 rows while the table contains 10 rows.

However, to create an array with 10 rows that can be used as a “sort by” array, we can use the MATCH function like this:


Notice we are passing in the Group values in D5:D14 as lookup values, and using “custom” as the lookup table. The result is an array like this:


Each value in the array represents the numeric position of given group value in “custom”, so there are 10 rows represented. This array is passed into the SORTBY function as the by_array1 argument. SORTBY sorts the table in the “red”, “blue”, “green” order and returns the result as a spill range starting in cell D5.

Personal Career & Learning Guide for Data Analyst, Data Engineer and Data Scientist

Applied Machine Learning & Data Science Projects and Coding Recipes for Beginners

A list of FREE programming examples together with eTutorials & eBooks @ SETScholars

95% Discount on “Projects & Recipes, tutorials, ebooks”

Projects and Coding Recipes, eTutorials and eBooks: The best All-in-One resources for Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer and Software Developer

Topics included: Classification, Clustering, Regression, Forecasting, Algorithms, Data Structures, Data Analytics & Data Science, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Programming Languages and Software Tools & Packages.
(Discount is valid for limited time only)

Disclaimer: The information and code presented within this recipe/tutorial is only for educational and coaching purposes for beginners and developers. Anyone can practice and apply the recipe/tutorial presented here, but the reader is taking full responsibility for his/her actions. The author (content curator) of this recipe (code / program) has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information was correct at time of publication. The author (content curator) does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from accident, negligence, or any other cause. The information presented here could also be found in public knowledge domains.

Learn by Coding: v-Tutorials on Applied Machine Learning and Data Science for Beginners

Please do not waste your valuable time by watching videos, rather use end-to-end (Python and R) recipes from Professional Data Scientists to practice coding, and land the most demandable jobs in the fields of Predictive analytics & AI (Machine Learning and Data Science).

The objective is to guide the developers & analysts to “Learn how to Code” for Applied AI using end-to-end coding solutions, and unlock the world of opportunities!