## Sort column based on frequency

This article demonstrates a formula that sorts cell values by their frequency, in other words, how many times a value is repeated in the list.

#### Table of Contents

## 1. Sort column based on the frequency

### Question:

How do I create a new unique distinct list from a column? I also want the list sorted from large to small by the number of times a value is repeated?

Answer:

Array formula in cell D3:

**1.1 How to create an array formula**

- Copy (Ctrl + c) and paste (Ctrl + v) array formula into formula bar. See the picture below.
- Press and hold Ctrl + Shift.
- Press Enter once.
- Release all keys.

Recommended article

A beginners guide to Excel array formulas

Array formulas allows you to do advanced calculations not possible with regular formulas.

A beginners guide to Excel array formulas

**How to copy array formula in cell D3**

- Select cell D3
- Copy cell (Ctrl + c)
- Select cell range D4:D8
- Paste (Ctrl + v)

**1.2 Explaining array formula in cell D3**

#### Step 1 - Count previous items

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(*range*, *criteria*)

COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)

becomes

COUNTIF("List sorted by frequency", {"DD";"AA";"AA";"BB";"AA";"DD";"EE";"AA";"BB";"EE";"CC";"EE"})

and returns

{0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0}.

#### Step 2 - Identify positions of previous items

The equal sign compares each value in the array to 0 (zero), the result is a boolean value TRUE or FALSE.

COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0

becomes

{0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0}=0

and returns

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}.

#### Step 3 - Count items in the list

COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14)

becomes

COUNTIF({"DD"; "AA"; "AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "DD"; "EE"; "AA"; "BB"; "EE"; "CC"; "EE"}, {"DD"; "AA"; "AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "DD"; "EE"; "AA"; "BB"; "EE"; "CC"; "EE"})

and returns

{2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}.

#### Step 4 - Create array containing count for new values

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(*logical_test*, [*value_if_true*], [*value_if_false*])

IF(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), "")

becomes

IF({TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}, {2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}, "")

and returns

{2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}.

#### Step 5 - Get largest count

The LARGE function calculates the k-th largest value from an array of numbers.

LARGE(*array*, *k*)

LARGE(IF(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), ""), 1)

becomes

LARGE({2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}, 1)

and returns 4.

#### Step 5 - Find the position in the array of the largest count

The MATCH function returns the relative position of an item in an array or cell reference that matches a specified value in a specific order.

MATCH(*lookup_value*, *lookup_array*, [*match_type*])

MATCH(LARGE(IF(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), ""), 1), COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14)*(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0), 0)

becomes

MATCH(4, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14)*(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0), 0)

becomes

MATCH(4, {2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}), 0)

and returns 2.

#### Step 6 - Get value based on position

The INDEX function returns a value from a cell range, you specify which value based on a row and column number.

INDEX(*array*, *[row_num]*, *[column_num], [area_num]*)

INDEX(B3:B14, MATCH(LARGE(IF(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), ""), 1), COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14)*(COUNTIF($D$2:D2, B3:B14)=0), 0))

becomes

INDEX(B3:B14, 2)

becomes

INDEX({"DD";"AA";"AA";"BB";"AA";"DD"; "EE";"VV";"BB";"EE";"VV";"EE"}, 2)

and returns "AA" in cell D3.

The following formula returns the count of the corresponding value in column D.

Formula in E3:

=COUNTIF($B$3:$B$14, D3)

How to use the COUNTIF function

Counts the number of cells that meet a specific condition.

How to use the COUNTIF function

## 2. Sort column by frequency - Excel 365

Formula in cell D3:

### 2.1 Explaining formula in cell D3

#### Step 1 - Count each value

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(*range*, *criteria*)

COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14)

becomes

COUNTIF({"DD"; "AA"; "AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "DD"; "EE"; "AA"; "BB"; "EE"; "CC"; "EE"}, {"DD"; "AA"; "AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "DD"; "EE"; "AA"; "BB"; "EE"; "CC"; "EE"})

and returns

{2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}.

#### Step 2 - Sort values by count

The SORTBY function allows you to sort values from a cell range or array based on a corresponding cell range or array. It sorts values by column but keeps rows.

SORTBY(*array, by_array1, [sort_order1], [by_array2, sort_order2]*, …)

SORTBY(B3:B14, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), -1)

becomes

SORTBY(B3:B14, {2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}, -1)

becomes

SORTBY({"DD"; "AA"; "AA"; "BB"; "AA"; "DD"; "EE"; "AA"; "BB"; "EE"; "CC"; "EE"}, {2; 4; 4; 2; 4; 2; 3; 4; 2; 3; 1; 3}, -1)

and returns

{"AA"; "AA"; "AA"; "AA"; "EE"; "EE"; "EE"; "DD"; "BB"; "DD"; "BB"; "CC"}.

#### Step 3 - Filter unique distinct values

The UNIQUE function extracts unique distinct rows from the array.

UNIQUE(*array*,*[by_col],[exactly_once]*)

UNIQUE(SORTBY(B3:B14, COUNTIF(B3:B14, B3:B14), -1))

becomes

UNIQUE({"AA"; "AA"; "AA"; "AA"; "EE"; "EE"; "EE"; "DD"; "BB"; "DD"; "BB"; "CC"})

and returns {"AA"; "EE"; "DD"; "BB"; "CC"}.

**3. Get Excel example file**

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### 15 Responses to “Sort column based on frequency”

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**Contact Oscar**

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hi

how to find missing numbers range 1-49 from following line

06 11 17 33 37 47

05 06 12 14 22 34

03 20 35 41 48 49

08 12 17 24 25 45

03 10 18 22 29 45

13 16 22 23 39 43

03 10 17 31 36 45

02 24 32 37 43 49

10 16 27 28 29 42

02 35 38 39 40 48

08 23 34 36 44 47

09 16 21 26 28 29

10 15 32 33 39 41

04 11 20 33 43 45

01 08 21 22 27 36

04 12 25 36 43 49

09 12 23 26 34 43

19 23 24 30 34 46

08 17 20 21 31 45

04 06 17 27 36 48

07 08 19 28 32 41

13 17 26 30 39 47

10 15 20 29 32 43

13 19 22 25 27 45

04 09 19 21 25 42

01 12 24 37 44 47

08 19 31 34 38 42

11 14 31 33 34 47

19 22 32 33 38 48

08 13 14 20 37 40

03 08 10 13 41 47

01 02 14 16 26 30

30 34 36 37 41 49

01 02 14 17 22 37

03 09 28 34 39 47

01 07 09 15 35 37

13 14 19 24 32 33

01 09 10 24 31 41

11 14 19 23 35 41

25 26 27 31 42 49

14 16 21 26 37 48

11 22 24 34 35 40

05 10 12 13 15 17

05 12 18 22 44 45

Narend,

find missing numbers range 1-49 from each row or the whole range?

See this blog post: https://www.get-digital-help.com/2009/09/20/identify-missing-numbers-in-a-range-in-excel/

Hello,

I just stumbled over this website and it's fascinating.

Still I hope you can help me with the topic above since I get a #NUM error when using the formula. I want to extrac an unique list of data sorted by their occurance. For me it seems it works only partially.

Hope you can help. Thanks

Irina,

I have pretty much changed everyting in this post. I hope it works now.

Thanks for your comment!

How can you use large with multiple criteria?? Example looking for top 5 of a list based on name, state and city..

Sara,

See this post: https://www.get-digital-help.com/2012/04/23/unique-distinct-records-sorted-by-frequency/

Hi Oscar, how do you exclude blanks from this? The formula to create the unique distinct list, sorted by occurrences from large to small is almost exactly what I'm looking for...I just can't seem to figure out where to wrap the IF(ISBLANK() to get this thing to exclude blanks.

Joe,

Array formula in cell D3:

See attached file:

unique-sorted-by-occurances-blanks.xls

Hi Oscar,

brilliant formulas here. Helped me out a lot.

Is it actually possible to sort list elements with an equal number of occurrence in alphabetical order?

Thanks in advance,

Gerald.

Gerald,

Great question!

See this file: unique-sorted-by-occurances-sorted-in-alphabetical-order.xls

Fantastic! Thanks a lot Oscar.

hi

i saw your all solutions about unique list but not find my answer. my question is ....i have 4 columns emp.no, name, code and program

emp no name code prog

903 a1 p30 find

903 a1 p40 generate report

903 a1 p30 find

904 a2 p40 generate reports

904 a2 p40 error

903 a1 p20 error

903 a1 p30 find

904 a2 p40 generate reports

now i want unique row with coount(means how many times row reapeting)

anju,

read this post:

Filter unique distinct row records in excel 2007

now i want unique row with coount(means how many times row reapeting)Use the countifs function to count rows:

COUNTIFS function

Hi,

How do I create a new unique distinct list from their income?

Client A -$5

Client A -$5

Client B - $1

Client C - $2

Client A - $2

Results will be:

Client A $12

Client C $2

Client B $1

This is a very good formula. At first, it was hard to understand.

With the help of debugger key F9, I was able to analyze it to gain

a better understanding.

Here is my notes using cell D5 as an example.

In cell D5, we have:

=INDEX(List, MATCH(LARGE(IF(COUNTIF($D$2:$D4, List)=0, COUNTIF(List, List),

""), 1), COUNTIF(List, List)*(COUNTIF($D$2:$D4, List)=0), 0))

To make it more readable, we substitute them with array formula:

=INDEX(List,MATCH(LARGE(occurArrayExLargerB,1),occurArrayExLarger0,0))

where

occurArray = COUNTIF(List,List)

occurArrayExLarger0 = (COUNTIF($D$2:$D4,List)=0)*occurArray

occurArrayExLargerB =IF(COUNTIF($D$2:$D4,List)=0, occurArray,"")

To debug, we highlight the individual array formula and press F9 to get their intermediate values:

COUNTIF($D$2:$D4,List) = {0;1;1;0;1;0;1;1;0;1;0;1}

COUNTIF($D$2:$D4,List)=0 (exclusion logic)

{TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE}

occurArray = {2;4;4;2;4;2;3;4;2;3;1;3}

occurArrayExLarger0 = {2;0;0;2;0;2;0;0;2;0;1;0}

which means to Exclude Larger occurrences (3 and 4) with 0

occurArrayExLargerB = {2;"";"";2;"";2;"";"";2;"";1;""}

which means to Exclude Larger occurrences (3 and 4) with Blank ""

=INDEX(List, MATCH(2,occurArrayExLarger0,0)))

=INDEX(List, 1) = "DD"

This will result in #NUM! for cell beyond D7 because there are only

5 unique cells. To expand dynamically, we wrap it around with ISERROR:

=IF(ISERROR(

INDEX(List,MATCH(LARGE(occurArrayExLargerB,1),occurArrayExLarger0,0))),"",

INDEX(List,MATCH(LARGE(occurArrayExLargerB,1),occurArrayExLarger0,0)))

Now we can copy and paste it to any cell in column D.

This is the reason we need to define occurArrayExLargerB in addition to

occurArrayExLarger0 because function LARGE(all"",1) will result in #NUM!.

If it wasn't for #NUM! showing in cells beyond D7, we could simplify it to:

=INDEX(List,MATCH(LARGE(occurArrayExLarger0,1),occurArrayExLarger0,0))

without defining a new array formula occurArrayExLargerB.