Reverse the Order of a Long List in Excel

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN
December 1, 2008


Every now and then I have to reverse the order of a long list in Excel that is not in alphabetical or numerical order—a tedious job. Do you know of a shortcut?

Yes, you can adapt Custom Lists, a tool you should become familiar with because it is versatile and very handy. Once I show you how to adapt it to reverse a list, you’ll quickly see how you can use it for other functions as well.

First, copy (Ctrl+C) the whole list (One, Two, Three…Six) and then paste it in another location (any empty space in your worksheet or to a new worksheet) by right-clicking and selecting Paste Special, Values, OK (see screenshot at the left).

Then select the whole list and go to Tools, Options, Custom Lists. Notice that the copied list address appears at the bottom of the screen (see screenshot below).

 






Click on Import and the list itself will appear (see screenshot above).

Now comes the neat part. Go back to an empty column next to the original list and enter the last item in your original list (Six) at the top of the column. Then enter the second from last item (Five) under that; that gives Excel the critical clue to the sequence you wish—reversing the list. Finally, select both cells and double-click on the Fill Handle (small black square) and the whole list, in reverse, will fill the column.

If you return to Custom Lists (Tools, Options), you’ll see your list under Custom Lists.

When you’re finished with the custom list, you can erase it, if you wish, by highlighting it and clicking on Delete.

As you can see, it’s a handy little tool when dealing with custom lists.

 

 

 

 


 

 

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