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How to Use Basic Numeric Sort Formula

With a helper column, we can use a combination of the RANK and COUNTIF Functions to dynamically sort data that contains only numeric values. The steps below will walk through the process.

Figure 1: Basic Numeric Sort Formula

Syntax

=COUNTIF(range,criteria)

  • COUNTIF count cells with numbers, dates and certain text that match specific criteria in a range.
    =RANK(number,ref[order])
  • RANK function is used to determine the position of a value in an array.

Formula

=RANK(B4,Cost)+COUNTIF($B$4:B4,B4)-1

Setting up the Data

  • We will set up the data by inputting the items into Column A
  • We will input the cost of each item into Column B
  • Column C is where we want the formula to return the result of the sorted data
  • Note- We must highlight Cell B4 to B11 and name it as Cost by clicking on B3 where there is a drop-down arrow in figure 2

Figure 2: Setting up the Data

Numerical Sorting of the Data

  • We will click on Cell C4
  • We will insert the formula below into the cell
    =RANK(B4,Cost)+COUNTIF($B$4:B4,B4)-1
  • We will press the enter key

Figure 3: Result for Cell B4

  • We will click on Cell C4 again
  • We will double-click on the fill handle (the small plus sign at the bottom right of Cell C4) and drag down to copy the formula into the other cells

Figure 4: Results of basic numeric sort formula

Explanation

=RANK(B4,Cost)+COUNTIF($B$4:B4,B4)-1

RANK uses the named range (Cost) to generate values from the highest to lowest starting with 1.

COUNTIF is required if there are duplicate values. A mixed reference is used to enter the range so that the formula continuously expands when copied to the other cells. We have to subtract 1 to zero out this effect. The formula, therefore, returns zero until a duplicate value is found and returns 1 at the second instance.  

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