Sort Alphanumeric Text

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Sort Alphanumeric Text


Sort Cells In Excel With Text & Numbers

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Sorting Alphanumeric

Excel has a problem trying to sort alphanumeric cells in cells by the number portion only. The reason is simply because Excels Sort feature evaluates each cell value by reading left to right. However, we can over-come this in a few ways with the aid of excel macros .

Fixed Length Text

If the alphanumeric cells are all a fixed length we can simply use another column to extract out the numeric portion of the alphanumeric text and then sort by the new column. For example, say we can alphanumeric text in Column A like ABC196, FRH564 etc. We can simply add the formula below to Column B.



=--Left(A1,3) for fixed length alphanumeric text like 196GFT


=--MID(A1,5,4) for alphanumeric text like a-bg1290rqty where you know the number Start s at the 5th character and has 4 numbers

Then Fill Down as far as needed. Then we can select Column B, copy and Edit>Paste Special - Values. Next we sort Columns A & B by Column B and then delete Column B.

NOTE: the double negative (--) ensures the number returned is seen as a true number.

Sort Alphanumeric

Any Length Alphanumeric Text

A problem comes about when the numeric portion and/or the text portion can be any length. In these cases a macro is best. The code below should be copied to any standard Module (Insert>Module). Then simply run the SortAlphaNumerics Procedure.

It should be noted that the ExtractNumber Function has 2 optional arguments (Take_decimal and Take_negative). These are both False if omitted. See the table below to see how alphanumeric text is treated.

Alphanumeric Text Formula Result
a-bg-12909- =ExtractNumber(A1,,TRUE) -12909
a-bg-12909- =ExtractNumber(A2) 12909
a.a1.2... =ExtractNumber(A3,TRUE) 1.2
a.a1.2... =ExtractNumber(A4) 12
a.a-1.2.... =ExtractNumber(A5,TRUE,TRUE) -1.2
abg1290.11 =ExtractNumber(A6,TRUE) 1290.11
abg129013Agt =ExtractNumber(A7) 129013
abg129012 =ExtractNumber(A8) 129013

Alphanumeric Sorting Code

'MUST be at top of same public module housing _

Sub SortAlphaNumerics and Function ExtractNumber

Dim bDec As Boolean, bNeg As Boolean

Sub SortAlphaNumerics()

Dim wSheetTemp As Worksheet

Dim wsStart As Worksheet

Dim lLastRow As Long, lReply As Long

Dim rSort As Range


     'Written by OzGrid Business Applications



     'Sorts Alphanumerics Of Column "A" of active Sheet.

     'ExtractNumber Function REQUIRED





    Set wsStart = ActiveSheet


   On Error Resume Next

   Set rSort = Application.InputBox _

        ("Select range to sort. Any heading should be bolded and included", "ALPHANUMERIC SORT", _
        ActiveCell.CurrentRegion.Columns(1).Address, , , , , 8)


        If rSort Is Nothing Then Exit Sub


        If rSort.Columns.Count > 1 Then

           MsgBox "Single Column Only"


        End If



        'Application.ScreenUpdating = False

        Set rSort = Range(Cells(rSort.Cells(1, 1).Row, rSort.Column), _
            Cells(Rows.Count, rSort.Column).End(xlUp))


       lReply = MsgBox("Include Decimals within numbers", vbYesNoCancel, "OZGRID ALPHANUMERIC SORT")

       If lReply = vbCancel Then Exit Sub


       bDec = lReply = vbYes


       lReply = MsgBox("Include negative signs within numbers", vbYesNoCancel, "OZGRID ALPHANUMERIC SORT")

       If lReply = vbCancel Then Exit Sub


       bNeg = lReply = vbYes


        lLastRow = rSort.Cells(rSort.Rows.Count).Row


        Set wSheetTemp = Worksheets.Add

        rSort.Copy wSheetTemp.Range("A1")


        With wSheetTemp.Range("B1:B" & lLastRow)

            .FormulaR1C1 = "=ExtractNumber(RC[-1]," & bDec & "," & bNeg & ")"


            .PasteSpecial xlPasteValues

                Application.CutCopyMode = False

        End With


        bNeg = False

        bDec = False

        With wSheetTemp.UsedRange

                    .Sort Key1:=.Range("B2"), Order1:=xlAscending, Header:=xlGuess, _
                        OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase:=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, _


                    .Columns(1).Cut wsStart .Range(rSort.Cells(1, 1).Address)

        End With



    Application.DisplayAlerts = False


    Application.DisplayAlerts = True

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True


End Sub

Function ExtractNumber(rCell As Range, _
 Optional Take_decimal As Boolean, Optional Take_negative As Boolean) As Double


    Dim iCount As Integer, i As Integer, iLoop As Integer

    Dim sText As String, strNeg As String, strDec As String

    Dim lNum As String

    Dim vVal, vVal2



     'Written by OzGrid Business Applications



     'Extracts a number from a cell containing text and numbers.


    sText = rCell

    If Take_decimal = True And Take_negative = True Then

        strNeg = "-" 'Negative Sign MUST be before 1st number.

        strDec = "."

    ElseIf Take_decimal = True And Take_negative = False Then

        strNeg = vbNullString

        strDec = "."

    ElseIf Take_decimal = False And Take_negative = True Then

        strNeg = "-"

        strDec = vbNullString

    End If

    iLoop = Len(sText)


            For iCount = iLoop To 1 Step -1

            vVal = Mid(sText, iCount, 1)



                If IsNumeric(vVal) Or vVal = strNeg Or vVal = strDec Then

                    i = i + 1

                    lNum = Mid(sText, iCount, 1) & lNum

                        If IsNumeric(lNum) Then

                            If CDbl(lNum) < 0 Then Exit For


                          lNum = Replace(lNum, Left(lNum, 1), "", , 1)

                        End If

                End If


                If i = 1 And lNum <> vbNullString Then lNum = CDbl(Mid(lNum, 1, 1))

            Next iCount



    ExtractNumber = CDbl(lNum)


End Function

See also:

Index to Excel VBA Code
Select Case Statement in Excel VBA
Send Emails From Excel
Working With Shapes In Excel VBA
Create a Sheet Index of Excel Worksheets
Custom Function to Calculate Sliding Scale Tax
Excel: Please Wait Message for Slow or Long Running Excel Macros
Sort by Color In Excel


See also Index to Excel VBA Code and Index to Excel Freebies and Lesson 1 - Excel Fundamentals and Index to how to… providing a range of solutions.


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