Years ago I created a database of my boss's clients. I always add a new client when we open a new file. It seems that in the last several days, any new clients I enter are saved out of sequence. I need to give you some specifics to explain this, I think.

I use columns A through Q to enter a client's info on a line: type of case, client number, name, address, etc. After entering a new client's information, I click/ select the name cell, then go to the top of the page and click the sort/ascending icon in the Sort & Filter box. This has always (for 12 years) sorted the names alphabetically and sorted each client's information (meaning that entire particular row) along with the client's name. Now I have 4 new clients, 1 starting with "L" and 3 starting with "S", saved in between 2 "Toellners" (?). On top of that, all the entries above the 4 new clients are correct, but the 4 new clients and all the entries below (T through Z) are only correct until column K. After that, the correct info appears 4 rows above the line with that client's name. Please note that I always enter a new client at the end of the list and then sort by the name after all info is entered. From what I have read in my search for an answer, I understand that part of the problem could be that columns H through K are often empty. Still, why would this be affecting the process now when it didn't before? Also, it doesn't explain why the 4 new names are saved out of alphabetical sequence.

I have no idea how or why this occurred, and even less idea as to how to fix it. I know very little Excel - I learned what I know from using the help menu - so forgive my ignorance if this should be obvious. I would so appreciate any input/suggestions. Thanks.

  • This happened to me, I just had to re-create the sort list. I doubt your are going to find your original sort criteria. If you are not sure how to sort in excel it will take all of 5 minutes to learn, just Google: how to sort Excel – PeterH Dec 14 '18 at 15:51

If you sort in excel, but you do not actually make a selection of everything you want to Sort, Excel will try to determine what data is part of eachother and what isn't.

If you have an empty cell in between, especially at the top or bottom, excel may think the data is not part of the sort criteria, and the selection is not expanded far enough. As a result, whatever is not selected will not be sorted.

If your sheet contains the data to sort and nothing else, the easiest you can do is press the button between the columns and rows on the top left(this selects all, and places the cursor in the top left cell), then press tab until your cursor moves to the cell you want to sort.

Now Press the sort button and voila, you sort your database correctly.

If the cell you want to sort by is too many columns to the right, consider moving that entire column to the left.

Do note, this assumse the data is already sorted properly. So you first have to make sure the data in the columns that were not sorted matches the data on the columns that was sorted. From that moment on, the above method will sort your data properly.

ProTip: You can press CTRL-A to select everything, then tab to navigate the selection before sorting which may be slightly quicker than to press that button.

  • Thank you. Any idea why this might be occurring after 12 years of doing it the same way? – MHanssel Dec 14 '18 at 16:24
  • Also, much bigger question: is there a way to go back to a saved version of this database from before this issue started? Maybe a week ago? I'd be happy to re-enter all the info for the 4 new clients again. It would be so much less time consuming than going through the database and trying to realign those last columns with the correct names. Bear in mind, my boss has been in practice since the 1980s, so there are about 400 entries to fix. – MHanssel Dec 14 '18 at 16:28
  • Not sure why it suddenly doesn't work anymore. Maybe an update? As to getting back... have backups? – LPChip Dec 14 '18 at 16:43

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