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How to sort cells by absolute values in Excel?

Author: Xiaoyang Last Modified: 2014-05-08

Supposing you have a list of data which contain both positive numbers and negatives need to sort, if you apply the Sort function in Excel, all the numbers will be sorted by ascending or descending. But you want to ignore the sign when you sort your data, that means sort the cells by absolute values. Is there any way to sort the list of numbers by their absolute values in Excel?

Sort cells by absolute values with a helper column

Sort cells by absolute values with Kutools for Excel


arrow blue right bubble Sort cells by absolute values with a helper column

You can convert the values to absolute values first, and then use the Sort function to sort the values, and the cells will be sorted by the absolute values. Please do as follows:

1. In an adjacent blank cell, B2 for instance, enter this formula =ABS(A2), see screenshot:

doc-sort-by-abs-values1

2. Then press Enter key, and select cell B2, and then drag the fill handle to the range that you want to contain this formula, and all the numbers have been converted to absolute values. See screenshot:

doc-sort-by-abs-values2

3. Then click Data > Sort A to Z or Sort Z to A as you need, see screenshot:

doc-sort-by-abs-values3

4. And a Sort Warning dialog box will pop out, check Expand the selection option. See screenshot:

doc-sort-by-abs-values4

5. Then click Sort button, and all the numbers have been sorted by the absolute values. See screenshot:

doc-sort-by-abs-values5

6. After getting the sorted result, you can delete the helper column B as you want.


arrow blue right bubble Sort cells by absolute values with Kutools for Excel

If you have installed Kutools for Excel, the feature of Advanced Sort can help you sort cells by absolute values more directly and simply.

Kutools for Excel includes more than 300 handy Excel tools. Free to try with no limitation in 30 days. Get it Now

Step 1. Select the cells you want to sort by their absolute values, and click Enterprise > Advanced Sort. See screenshot:


Step 2. Specify the setting in the Advanced Sort dialog. See screenshot:

  • Select the column you want to sort and if the column has header, check My data has headers box;
  • Select Absolute value from Sort On drop-down list;
  • Choose ascending or descending order from Order part.


Step 3. Click Ok, the cells are sorted by the absolute values. See screenshot:

Click here to know more about Kutools for Excel's Advanced Sort.


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