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Microsoft Access Basics: Sorting


There are a number of options for sorting the data in your database.  If you simply wish to sort your data on a single field (such as “Title” in the book order database example we used at the beginning), the easiest way to do this would be as follows:

  1. Select the column or form control containing the data field you wish to sort on by clicking on either the column’s field name at the top of your table or, if you are using a form, clicking on the control where you enter the desired field’s data on the form itself.
  2. Under the Home tab of the Access ribbon, find the set of options labeled “Sort & Filter.”
  3. You’ll find two symbols at the left,  one with an “A” over a “Z” with a down arrow next to it  (Ascending), and the other with a “Z” over an “A” and an arrow (Descending).   Select the Ascending button to arrange your data in Ascending order (A to Z, lowest to highest, etc.) and the Descending if you want it in Descending order(Z to A, highest to lowest, etc.)

Access-Sorting Single Field

(It’s worth noting that since Access treats each field of a record as part of a whole, all the fields of an individual record always gets sorted together.  You never need to worry about the rest of your data being misplaced on a single-field sort the way you would in Excel.)

If you want to do a multilevel sort (sorting by one field, then by one or more additional fields), the process would be as follows:

  1. Go directly to the “Sort & Filter” section of the Access ribbon, under the Home tab.  Click the control marked “Advanced.” 
  2. From the drop-down menu that appears, select “Advanced Filter/Sort.”  A new window will open with the field list from your table at the top and a blank datasheet at the bottom.
  3. Click and drag the field you want to sort by first to the first column of your datasheet.   (You can also select the fields by clicking on the first row of any column in the datasheet, and using the drop-down menu.)
  4. From the row marked “Sort” in the datasheet’s first column, select ”Ascending “ or “Descending”.
  5. Select additional fields to sort by adding these fields to subsequent columns and again choosing “Ascending” or “Descending” from the “Sort” row.
  6. When finished selecting fields, click again on the “Advanced” control on the Access ribbon, and now select “Apply Filter/Sort.”

Access - Sorting Multiple Fields

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