## Sort text cells alphabetically from two columns

Table of Contents

- Sort text from two columns combined (array formula)
- Sort text from multiple cell ranges combined (user defined function)

**Array formula in cell F3:**

This array formula handles duplicates but not blank cells.

### How to create an array formula

- Select cell F3
- Copy/Paste above formula
- Press and hold Ctrl + Shift
- Press enter once
- Release all keys

### How to copy array formula

- Select cell F3.
- Copy cell (Ctrl + c).
- Paste to cells below (Ctrl + v).

### Explaining formula in cell F3

The IFERROR function makes the formula alternate between two lists depending on the sort order of each value.

IFERROR(*part1*, *part2*)

#### Step 1 - Build expanding number

Every value in these two lists will have number which corresponds to the sort order. To match each value we need to build a formula that returns a number from 0 (zero) to whatever.

The ROWS function returns a number based on an expanding cell reference, it grows automatically as the cell is copied to cells below.

ROWS(F$3:$F3)-1

becomes

1-1 and returns 0 (zero).

#### Step 2 - Create an array that shows the sort order of each value as if they were sorted alphabetically.

The COUNTIF function counts values based on a condition or criteria. If we add a "<" the function returns a value that shows the rank if the list were sorted. The ampersand concatenates the "<" with the values in the second argument.

COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)

becomes

COUNTIF({"Gooseberry";"Apple";"Mangosteen";"Redcurrant";"Coconut"}, "<"&{"Gooseberry";"Apple";"Mangosteen";"Redcurrant";"Coconut"})

becomes

COUNTIF({"Gooseberry";"Apple";"Mangosteen";"Redcurrant";"Coconut"}, {"<Gooseberry";"<Apple";"<Mangosteen";"<Redcurrant";"<Coconut"})

and returns

{2;0;3;4;1}.

For example, how many values are sorted above "Apple" in array {"Gooseberry";"Apple";"Mangosteen";"Redcurrant";"Coconut"}? None, so Apple gets number 0 (zero).

#### Step 3 - Compare values to the other list

COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)

becomes

COUNTIF({"Chico fruit";"Boysenberry";"Honeyberry";"Peach";"Guava";"Plum";"Raspberry";"Persimmon";"Papaya";"Jabuticaba";"Nance";"Kiwano";"Orange";"Cloudberry";"Kiwifruit";"Crab apples";"Tamarind";"Plumcot";"Plantain"}, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)

and returns

{4;0;9;18;3}.

Apple is clearly the top value if these values are combined and sorted from A to Z since this array also says that "Apple" is 0 (zero).

#### Step 4 - Take duplicates into account

This step adds 1 to the correct value in the array so also duplicates in both lists are returned. The IF function makes sure that previously counted values are taken into account.

IF((COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, $D$3:$D$7)+COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, $D$3:$D$7))<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7))

becomes

IF(({1;1;1;1;1}+{0;0;0;0;0})<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7))

becomes

IF(({1;1;1;1;1}+{0;0;0;0;0})<={0;0;0;0;0}, 0, {0;0;0;0;0})

becomes

IF({1;1;1;1;1}<={0;0;0;0;0}, 0, {0;0;0;0;0})

becomes

IF({FALSE;FALSE;FALSE;FALSE;FALSE}, 0, {0;0;0;0;0})

and returns

{0;0;0;0;0}

#### Step 5 - Add arrays

COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)+COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)+IF((COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, $D$3:$D$7)+COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, $D$3:$D$7))<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7))

becomes

{2;0;3;4;1} + {4;0;9;18;3} + {0;0;0;0;0}

and returns

{6;0;12;22;4}

#### Step 6 - Match number to array

The MATCH function returns the relative position of a given value in a cell range or array.

MATCH(ROWS(F$3:$F3)-1, COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, "<"&$B$3:$B$21)+COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, "<"&$B$3:$B$21)+IF((COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, $B$3:$B$21)+COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, $B$3:$B$21))<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $B$3:$B$21), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $B$3:$B$21)), 0)

becomes

MATCH(0, COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, "<"&$B$3:$B$21)+COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, "<"&$B$3:$B$21)+IF((COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, $B$3:$B$21)+COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, $B$3:$B$21))<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $B$3:$B$21), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $B$3:$B$21)), 0)

becomes

MATCH(0, {6;0;12;22;4}, 0)

and returns 2.

#### Step 7 - Return value based on position

INDEX($D$3:$D$7, MATCH(ROWS(F$3:$F3)-1, COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)+COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, "<"&$D$3:$D$7)+IF((COUNTIF($D$3:$D$7, $D$3:$D$7)+COUNTIF($B$3:$B$21, $D$3:$D$7))<=COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7), 0, COUNTIF($F$2:F2, $D$3:$D$7)), 0))

becomes

INDEX($D$3:$D$7, 2)

and returns

"Apple" in cell F3.

If an error had been returned the IFERROR function then continues with the second part of the formula. It works just the same as the first part, however, it returns values based on List1.

The following image shows what the two parts return, the first part of the formula in column H and the second part in column J.

### Download Excel *.xlsx file

sort-from-a-to-z-from-two-columns.xlsx

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### Sort text from multiple cell ranges combined (user defined function)

This user defined function allows you to enter up to 255 arguments or cell ranges. The udf combines all values from all cell ranges and then sorts them from A to Z. It uses a bubblesort algorithm and I don't recommend using large data sets.

**Array formula in cell F2:F12:**

=SortMultipleRanges(A2:B3,C4:C6,D8:D9)

**VBA Code**

Function SortMultipleRanges(ParamArray rng() As Variant) Dim temp() As Variant 'Count cells For Each cellrange In rng i = i + cellrange.Cells.CountLarge Next cellrange ReDim temp(1 To i, 1 To 1) i = 0 For Each cellrange In rng For Each cell In cellrange i = i + 1 If cell &lt;&gt; "" Then temp(i, 1) = cell Next cell Next cellrange SortMultipleRanges = BubbleSort(temp) End Function

Function BubbleSort(str As Variant) Dim tmp As String, c As Integer, temp As String Dim a As Long, b As Long For a = LBound(str, 1) To UBound(str, 1) For b = a + 1 To UBound(str, 1) If str(a, 1) &gt; str(b, 1) Then tmp = str(a, 1) str(a, 1) = str(b, 1) str(b, 1) = tmp End If Next b Next a BubbleSort = str End Function

### Download excel *.xlsm file

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### 13 Responses to “Sort text cells alphabetically from two columns”

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Hi oscar,

Is possible to make a dropdown list as below?

[IMG]https://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h232/alien3660/dropdown.gif[/IMG]

condition:

1,two column of data

2,remove blank cells

3,only show one time of duplicated data

thank & best rgds,

senen

Senen,

Open attached file:

drop-down-list-from-two-columns-and-no-blanks.xlsx

Hi Oscar,

Thanks for ur reply,can u make it in .xls format b'cos i can't open .xlsx file in my pc...

sry for the inconvenience.

Thank & best rgds,

senen

Senen,

Try this file:

how-to-extract-a-unique-distinct-list-from-two-columns-in-excel-2003.xls

From the code listed, how does sending the sum of multiple COUNTIFs as 2nd parameter to MATCH() supposed to accomplish anything? MATCH() expects an array, not a value, for its 2nd parameter.

Anonymous,

The COUNTIFS functions return arrays in this formula.

Did you provide formula to sort andmerged between 2 or 3 list?

Thanks Oscar, great website, much learn from you....

How about 3 Columns? Merged and Sort them?

Sami

Sami,

I recommend using a custom function:

Merge,sort and remove blanks from multiple cell ranges

Need help :(

I have 10 sheets and all are the same format for each user to work on. column A list the order# which left alot of blank row at the bottom as we need to add more data day by days, all order# are difference for all sheets. and I have a master sheet. I want to combine all the order# which short from the 10 sheets ignore blank. please, avoiding VBA code because I know very little about it.

Thanks and best regard,

Rath

Rath,

Sorry, I don´t know using formulas but my add-in might be helpful:

https://www.get-digital-help.com/2010/02/28/combine-data-from-multiple-sheets-in-excel/#mergeranges

I have a problem how to combine and sort 2 columns with blanks? Is that possible with formula? No UDF or VBA?

thanks in advance

Sami

I made a udf:

https://www.get-digital-help.com/2009/07/01/sort-text-cells-alphabetically-from-two-columns-using-excel-array-formula/#sortudf