How to Custom Sorting Pivot Table

So before we learn how to custom sort a Pivot table in Excel. Let's establish the basic meaning of custom sorting in Excel.

In Excel by default, the sorting is done numerically/alphabetically. For example, if you have a column with the name of months and you sort it, by default it will be sorted alphabetically (Apr,Feb,Jan…) instead of the order of the months. The same goes for pivot tables.

If you want to manual sort pivot tables with your own custom order, you need to tell that order to Excel. We had enough of the theory. Let's roll with an example.

Custom Sort Pivot Table by Month Where Month Starts From April

Most businesses start their financial year in April and end in March. What we need to do is to custom sort our pivot table so that the report shows March as the first month, April as Second and so on.

So first create a pivot table by month. I have a pivot table that shows the sales done in different months.

Currently the pivot table is sorted in ascending order of months (because I have stored a list of months). 

To custom sort my pivot table, I need to define the list. So in a range I write the order of the months I need.


Now, to add this list now in excel, follow these steps:

Click on File. Go to option. Click on Advanced Options. Find the general category. Click on Edit Custom List.

The custom list dialog will open. You will see some predefined lists here. As you can see we already have Jan, Feb, Mar… listed as a custom list. This is why my report is sorted by month.

Now to add to our own custom list here, click on the input box below and select the range that contains your list. Then click on import.


Note that we have an import button added. This means the list will be static in the system. Making changes later in the range won't affect the list.


Click OK and get out of the settings.

Now try to sort the list by month.

You can see that the report is now sorted according to our given list instead of the default sorting method.

If that doesn't work, make sure that you have enabled sorting through the custom list for the Pivot table. To confirm this, do this:

Right click on the pivot table and click on Pivot Table Options. Click on the total and filters tab in the open dialog box. Find the Totals and Filters tab. Check the Use Custom List when sorting options.

And it is done.

Now you are ready to roll out your pivot report with custom sorted data. 

I hope this was explanatory enough and served your purpose of being here. If you still have any doubt or questions regarding this topic, feel free to ask. You can ask questions related to any Excel/VBA topic, in the comments section below.

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