one column sort formula

Sort data in Google Sheets on a mobile device

-UPDATE- As of November 2016, there is a “Create a filter” option in the menus for Google Sheets on an iPad. You can find it by clicking the three vertically aligned dots in the upper right-hand corner of your spreadsheet. The tips below still apply to using the SORT function, but it is not your only choice for sorting and filtering on an iPad now.

Good luck if you are looking for the SORT option in Google Sheets mobile app. Much like the FILTER function in mobile Google Sheets, it has been relegated to the list of functions that must be typed in or found in the list of functions available in Sheets.  

Before you enter your SORT formula, you will want to select a cell that will be the upper leftmost cell for the filtered list. This function writes the data below and to the right of your starting point. Once you find the right cell, enter the command using the following syntax:

=SORT(range, sort_column, is_ascending, [sort_column2, is_ascending2, ...])

In the formula above, SORT is the name of the function, the range is the table of data that you want to be filtered, sort_column is the column by which you are sorting, and is_ascending is a true/false field to determine if you want the data sorted in ascending or descending order. A value of TRUE for is_ascending would sort the data in ascending order (i.e., 1,2,3 or a,b,c).

Video explanation

Find more information on the SORT function at

One column

Let’s start with a simple example in the image below.

one column sort formula

This is a small list of data. For whatever reason, you find the need to sort it. Above is the data with the formula typed in a cell below it. Below it the result after entering the formula. 



one column sort result

As you can see, the sort function creates a new list sorted by the parameters that you specified. Be aware that the formula still remains in the cell in which you typed it. If you want to keep the data in this new list, you may want to consider copying it and pasting it as values. This will fix it in place even if the original data is changed.

Two columns

Next, let’s sort a table with two columns. Select both rows, specify that you want to sort by the second row, and in descending order..



two column sort formula

This will create a new, sorted list. Again, the filtered data is still dynamic. If you change anything in the original list to be sorted, the new sorted list will also change.

two column sort result

Three columns

You can also specify a second column to sort data and a secondary level of organizing data. The picture below shows an easy example of this.

three column sort formula

The output of this formula is as follows. You can see that it is sorted first by the type of animal and then by the number in the first column.

three column sort result


Having the sort function available, even if not in the menus, can be quite handy when working on a mobile device. The sort function can be faster and more accurate for larger data sets than manually sorting data. Enjoy and happy spreadsheeting to you all.

StaySorted Google Sheets Add-On

If you are sorting from the menus (instead of using the SORT function), you need to redo your sort every time you add a new row. That is unless you use the StaySorted add-on to automatically sort any new entries. Use it to help keep your spreadsheets organized.

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