Excel Tip: Alphabetizing a Column of First and Last Names by Last Name

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How many times have you entered a list of names, first and last name in the same column, like this:

Joe Smith
Margaret Howard
Sherry Anderson
Michael Wilson
Meredith Morgan
and so on…

…only to find that you need to alphabetize the list by last name. Do you have to re-enter the entire list so that the last name appears first? Here's a quick method for sorting a list like the one above by last name.

The process involves separating the text into two columns, one for the first name and one for the last name. Once you have sorted all the columns by the last name column, you can remove the first name and last name columns so only the column with the combined names remains.

Assume the list of names (first and last names combined) resides in column A of your worksheet, beginning in row 1.

Step 1: In Row 1 of Column B, enter this formula including a space between the quotation marks:
=LEFT(A1,FIND(" ",A1))

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By Alexis
Jun 26th 2015 01:10

This may be a VERY lazy and not technologically advanced way of doing things but this was the easiest for me.

I just inserted a new row to the right of my names and typed the first letter of the last name in there. If there were multiple letters similar (Mann and McDougal) I would type ma and mc. Then I highlighted that column and had them alphabetize from that row quickly then just deleted the extra row.

Idiots way out, I suppose!

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