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How to sort a list of column by character length in Excel?

Supposing you have a list of strings which have different characters, and you need to sort this data in the column by character length as following screenshots shown. Do you have some simple ways to accomplish it?

doc-sort-by-length1 -2 doc-sort-by-length2

Sort a list of column by character length with a helper column

Sort a list of column by character length with Kutools for Excel

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arrow blue right bubbleSort a list of column by character length with a helper column


There is no direct function to sort a list of column by character length, so you need to use a help column to count the number of the strings first, then sort them.

1. Beside the value column, enter this =LEN(A1) formula in a blank cell B1, see screenshot:

doc-sort-by-length3

2. Then press Enter key and you will get the number of the text string, then select cell B1 and drag the fill handle to the range that you want to contain this formula.

doc-sort-by-length4

3. All the number of strings in Column A have been extracted in Column B, and then you can sort this range in Column B by clicking Data > Sort, see screenshot:

doc-sort-by-length5

4. In the Sort Warning prompt box, check Expand the selection option, and then click Sort button.

doc-sort-by-length6

5. And then in the Sort dialog box, select Column B that you want to sort by, and choose the type that you need to sort on, at last choose the sort order, here we select Values in the Sort On drop-down list and Smallest to Largest in Order drop-down list. See screenshot:

doc-sort-by-length7

6. Then click OK, and the strings have been sorted by the character length. You can delete the Column B as you need. See screenshot:

doc-sort-by-length8


arrow blue right bubbleSort a list of column by character length with Kutools for Excel

With the above method you need to create a help column fist which is a little troublesome for you. But using the Advanced Sort feature in Kutools for Excel you can sort the list by character length at once.

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 list you want to sort by the character length, and click Enterprise > Advanced Sort. See screenshot:


Step 2. Then the Advanced Sort dialog display on the screen, select the column your list in, and choose Text length from the Sort On drop down list, and specify the Order you need. (If your selected list has header, check My data has headers box.) See screenshot:


Step 3. Click Ok, you can see the list has been sort on character length as below:

If you choose Z to A in the Order in step 2, the result is shown as below:


For more information on Kutools for Excel's Advanced Sort.


Related article:

How to sort cells by absolute values in Excel?


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jill in Miami · 4 months ago
    a big thank you!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    أميمة · 9 months ago
    Thank you very much,, it is very useful, keep going.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Zak Aouali · 2 years ago
    Kind of pointless, expected more, but I will take.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Sam · 2 years ago
    Thanks for the help! Brilliant!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Paul · 2 years ago
    Thank you exactly what I was looking for too. Worked perfectly to sort email subject lines by length. Was experiencing an error during export and figured out it was due to length of filenames created from the subject line by the export process. This helper column formula allowed me to isolate which emails would cause the error, and proved my theory. Saved me hours sifting through literally thousands of emails. Many thanks.