How to sort your data using a customized list

If you would like to sort your data differently, and not in ascending or descending order using the Sort feature in Microsoft® Excel®, you can customize it! The Custom Lists feature allows you to define your own order. For example, if a Sales Manager wants to sort product categories in a specific order instead of dates, they can do so using Custom Lists.

Note: Download the workbook to practice this exercise

Applies To: Microsoft® Excel® 2007, 2010 and 2013

  1. We will create a custom list for the sales transactions data.
    • Highlight the data range A5:A9 as below.









  1. Select File then Options.
  2. Select Advanced and thereafter Edit Custom Lists as shown below.












  1. Then import the list by clicking on Import and OK.











  • The list is imported from the data range A5:A9 in the spreadsheet.
  • You can also type the custom list by entering under list entries and clicking Add.
  1. After you click Import the list will be displayed as below.











  1. Click OK and OK again.
  2. To sort by the custom list, click on the Data tab then Sort.





  1. Select Category Name and Custom List as shown below.








  • Then select the custom list that shows Dairy Products, Beverages etc. Then click OK.
























The list will be sorted in a customised order with Dairy Products appearing on top of the list. You can also use custom lists to sort the months or days in chronological order and not alphabetically.