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Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    Bit of a weird issue here.

    I use a lot of alphanumeric data (not by choice) and need to sort them properly. It used to work flawlessly with the tips described on Microsoft support pages, here : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322067. I used the TEXT(A1,"###") function.

    Now, it will not work for reasons unknown.

    Basically, I would need this :

    2a
    45b
    6
    3c
    4
    7a
    11
    46
    43

    To look like this :

    2a
    3c
    4
    6
    7a
    11
    43
    45b
    46

    But Excel sorts it like this :

    4
    6
    11
    43
    46
    2a
    3c
    7a
    45b

    There were no updates on our servers, and I use the same Excel version (2007) as before, so I'm really stumped. I tried it at home just for fun and it worked fine.

    Anyone has an idea why the alphanumeric sort would suddenly not work ?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Expert bebo021999's Avatar
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    Is it able to use helper column to sort?

  3. #3
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    I create a helper column, yes.

    I populate it with the function TEXT(A1,"###") [so I basically make a text-only copy of my data range], then I sort the whole sheet based on the helper column.

    That used to do the trick. It doesn't anymore.

  4. #4
    Forum Expert bebo021999's Avatar
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    Try in B1 to get numeric value:

    =MAX(IFERROR(MID(A1,1,{1,2,3,4,5})+0,0))

    ...confirmed by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to activate the array, not just ENTER. You will know the array is active when you see curly braces { } appear around your formula. If you do not CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER you will get an error or a clearly incorrect answer. Press F2 on that cell and try again.

    Drag down then sort column B for whole sheet

  5. #5
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    Well...it looked a bit strange, but it worked !

    It's not the very best solution because it merely works around the original problem, but I'm certainly not complaining.

    If you use this solution, make sure to press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER as stated above, and keep in mind that the letters will not show in your helper column, only numbers. Ignore that and follow through with the sort, making sure you sort based on your helper column. Your sheet will now be properly sorted in alphanumeric order.

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    Forum Expert bebo021999's Avatar
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    Is it the case 2a and 2b? my formula ignores this.

  7. #7
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    Re: Alphanumeric sort stopped working properly.

    At first, I thought it did not work, because it did not show the letters.

    I'm just clarifying for other readers that the formula indeed works, despite the apparent confusion.

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