How to Change the Name Order From First to Last in Excel

You can sort alphabetically and even numerically in Excel.
Image Credit: Oliver Hoffmann/iStock/Getty Images

Entering data into a spreadsheet is pretty straightforward, but if your experience with Microsoft Excel 2013 is limited to typing in text and numbers, finding the tools you need to sort and rearrange the data can be intimidating. Don't let fear hold you back --or worse, cause you to start over from scratch -- because a column is not in the order you need. Excel's Sort tool rearranges information with the click of a button, or you can opt to dig a little deeper and create a custom sort.

Sort Just One Column

Step 1

Select a single cell in the column you want to sort or select the entire column. The easiest way to do this is by clicking the letter at the top of the column you want to sort.

Step 2

Click "A-Z" in the Sort & Filter group of the Home tab to sort alphabetically in ascending order (from A to Z).

Step 3

Click "Z-A" in the Sort & Filter group of the Home tab to sort in descending order (from Z to A). Incidentally, you can also use these buttons to sort numerically. A-Z sorts cells in numerical order and Z-A sorts in reverse numerical order.

Sort an Entire Table

Step 1

Select the table that you want to sort by clicking the cell in the upper-left corner of the table and dragging your mouse to the lower-right corner.

Step 2

Click the "Data" tab. Click "Sort" in the Sort & Filter group to open the Sort window.

Step 3

Click the drop-down arrow under Sort By to view a list of the column headers. Clear the "My Data Has Headers" check box if your table doesn't have headings. Choose the column name or letter by which you want to sort the table.

Step 4

Choose "A to Z" or "Z to A" in the Order drop-down list and click "OK" to sort the table.


Sorting only affects the column, table or range of cells you have selected. If you don't include all of the cells containing the data you need, the results may not be what you expected.


Be careful when sorting a single column, as it will alter the worksheet and could produce incorrect results. For instance, if you only sort one column in a table, you could disassociate names from the correct contact information or modify formulas that are tied to those cells.