How to Use Custom Lists to Sort in Excel 2013

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As an example, say you want to sort a list of products based on measured effectiveness. The problem is the effectiveness is described as Low, Medium or High. Sorting using conventional options results in the illogical order High-Low-Medium or Medium-Low-High. By configuring a custom list for sorting, you instruct Excel to use the order you designate.

Highlight the data you want sorted.

2. Click the Data tab and select Sort from the Sort & Filter group.

Note that if you didn’t select all contiguous data, Excel will prompt you to optionally expand the selection.

3. Click the Sort by drop-down menu and choose the column containing the values you want sorted with a custom list.

4. Click the Order drop-down menu and select Custom List.

5. Click NEW LIST, enter the list of terms using the order you prefer (separated with a return between each word) and then click Add. Alternatively, simply click an existing list.

6. With the new list automatically selected, click OK.

7. Click OK again to apply the sort.

The data is then more logically sorted based on your custom list: