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Sorting Chart Items

Data in charts is sorted alphabetically by default. You can use the sort buttons on the Standard toolbar to perform simple sorts on selected items and reverse the sort order. In charts, however, you generally want to override the default alphabetical setting and sort dimensional data with reference to other data.

For example, if a chart lists each type of widget your company sells and the total amount sold of each, initially the widget types are ordered alphabetically. But this data becomes more meaningful when you instead sort the widget types with reference to the total produced by each. This approach allows you to rank each widget from the highest to lowest total sales.

You can use the Sort line in the Chart section to impose a sort condition for each dimensional data item in your chart. The Sort line includes three drop-down menus used to define the sort conditions. The contents of the menus vary depending on the data items in your chart.

To specify a sort using the Sort line:

  1. If the Sort line is not already displayed, click Sort on the Section title bar.
  2. Select an item to sort from the Sort drop-down list.
  3. Select a value from the By drop-down list as a sort reference, or select Label to sort the item alphabetically.
  4. If desired, select an aggregate function from the Using drop-down list when sorting by values.
  5. The Using drop-down menu is not available when you sort by labels.

  6. If desired, click the ascending or descending Sort button on the Sort line.
  7. The Sort line stores a sort condition for each dimensional item included in the chart.

Sort Items

The Sort drop-down menu lists the data items that can be sorted. Each dimensional item included in the chart (name and date) is listed in this menu. Dimensional items can include Pivot Top and Side Labels.

Reference Items

The By drop-down menu lists items used as a basis for a complex sort condition (for example, sorting Cities by the revenue generated in each).

Sorting by values produces an entirely different sort order. For example, your chart may list each state in which your company has made sales revenue and the total cost-of-sales for each. The states are initially listed in alphabetical order. When you sort by cost-of-goods, the states are ranked in order by each corresponding cost-of-sales figure.


The Using drop-down menu contains aggregate statistical functions that are available when you sort by values. The sort aggregate functions are usually the same as the data functions available in a section. (See Using Data Functions in Charts for a list of the data functions available in the Chart section.)

When you sort by values, labels by the corresponding numeric values of the referenced item (for example, sorting states by the sum total of the cost of goods sold in each state).

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