tjdickinson
New Member
 Joined
 Jun 26, 2021
 Messages
 17
 Office Version

 365
 Platform

 Windows
The fact that Excel is unable to identify and correctly sort hierarchical numbering (ex. 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.3...) is an ageold problem which has been widely discussed in many fora. There are numerous workarounds, but they are often projectspecific or formulabased. At the moment, I have a long, ugly, suboptimal, and restrictive formula, but I would like to have a UDF which accomplishes the same thing more efficiently, and which I can call whenever I need it (rather than having to reuse and adapt the formula each time).
The formula I have is based on a workaround posted here by Steve K, and demonstrated in the YouTube link posted by Nehemiah. It takes a number (ex. 1.1.1) and converts it into the format 00.##.##.## (thus, ex. 01.01.01). In the following sheet, the formula is in column G and is independent of all columns except A. Columns BF contain segments of the formula to visualise how it works: it decomposes the input (column A) into hierarchical levels with the format 00 (columns BE), and then joins them together with the delimiter "." (column F). In the final formula, then, is also a function to trim the string, removing the final ".0". (I suppose it's not necessary to begin with; it's an artefact of the 'sort by columns BE' method described in the aforementioned YouTube link. But the formula is so unwieldy that I can't be bothered to take it out.) Note that all cells have the format 'text'.
The following table shows the result of AZ sorting column A (incorrect sequence) and column G (correct sequence).
So, the formula works, but there are loads of problems with it:
Thank you very much in advance for your help. I really appreciate it!
The formula I have is based on a workaround posted here by Steve K, and demonstrated in the YouTube link posted by Nehemiah. It takes a number (ex. 1.1.1) and converts it into the format 00.##.##.## (thus, ex. 01.01.01). In the following sheet, the formula is in column G and is independent of all columns except A. Columns BF contain segments of the formula to visualise how it works: it decomposes the input (column A) into hierarchical levels with the format 00 (columns BE), and then joins them together with the delimiter "." (column F). In the final formula, then, is also a function to trim the string, removing the final ".0". (I suppose it's not necessary to begin with; it's an artefact of the 'sort by columns BE' method described in the aforementioned YouTube link. But the formula is so unwieldy that I can't be bothered to take it out.) Note that all cells have the format 'text'.
Book3.xlsx  

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  
1  Numbering  Level 1  Level 2  Level 3  Level 4  Joined  Trimmed  
2  1  01  0  01.0  01  
3  1.1  01  01  0  01.01.0  01.01  
4  1.1.0  01  01  0  0  01.01.0.0  01.01.0  
5  1.1.1  01  01  01  0  01.01.01.0  01.01.01  
6  1.2  01  02  0  01.02.0  01.02  
7  1.10  01  10  0  01.10.0  01.10  
8  1.10.0  01  10  0  0  01.10.0.0  01.10.0  
9  1.10.1  01  10  01  0  01.10.01.0  01.10.01  
10  1.10.10  01  10  10  0  01.10.10.0  01.10.10  
11  2.1.1  02  01  01  0  02.01.01.0  02.01.01  
12  10.1.1  10  01  01  0  10.01.01.0  10.01.01  
Sheet1 
Cell Formulas  

Range  Formula  
B2:B12  B2  =IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,IF(LEN(A2)>1,A2,"0"&A2),IF(LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))>1,LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))),"0"&LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))))) 
C2:C12  C2  =IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"0",IFERROR(IF(LEN(MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)))=1,"0"&MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)),MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1))),IF(LEN(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2)))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,1),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2))))) 
D2:D12  D2  =IF(IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))="00","0",IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))) 
E2:E12  E2  =IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))<2,"","0") 
F2:F12  F2  =TEXTJOIN(".",TRUE,IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,IF(LEN(A2)>1,A2,"0"&A2),IF(LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))>1,LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))),"0"&LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"0",IFERROR(IF(LEN(MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)))=1,"0"&MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)),MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1))),IF(LEN(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2)))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,1),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2))))),IF(IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))="00","0",IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))<2,"","0")) 
G2:G12  G2  =LEFT(TEXTJOIN(".",TRUE,IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,IF(LEN(A2)>1,A2,"0"&A2),IF(LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))>1,LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))),"0"&LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"0",IFERROR(IF(LEN(MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)))=1,"0"&MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)),MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1))),IF(LEN(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2)))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,1),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2))))),IF(IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))="00","0",IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))<2,"","0")),LEN(TEXTJOIN(".",TRUE,IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,IF(LEN(A2)>1,A2,"0"&A2),IF(LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))>1,LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))),"0"&LEFT(A2,LEN(LEFT(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)1))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"0",IFERROR(IF(LEN(MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)))=1,"0"&MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1)),MID(A2,SEARCH(".",A2)+1,FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))(SEARCH(".",A2)+1))),IF(LEN(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2)))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,1),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)SEARCH(".",A2))))),IF(IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))="00","0",IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))=0,"",IF(IFERROR(FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2)),"")="","0",IF(LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))=1,"0"&RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))),RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)FIND("~",SUBSTITUTE(A2,".","~",2))))))),IF(LEN(A2)LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,".",""))<2,"","0")))2) 
The following table shows the result of AZ sorting column A (incorrect sequence) and column G (correct sequence).
SortedA  SortedG 
1  01 
1.1  01.01 
1.1.0  01.01.0 
1.1.1  01.01.01 
1.10  01.02 
1.10.0  01.10 
1.10.1  01.10.0 
1.10.10  01.10.01 
1.2  01.10.10 
10.1.1  02.01.01 
2.1.1  10.01.01 
So, the formula works, but there are loads of problems with it:
 it is restricted to three levels of hierarchy, and two digits per level
 it is extremely repetitive and thus suboptimal
 it contains many references to cell A2, which makes it cumbersome to reuse in other sheets (when A2 isn't the desired reference)
 it is difficult to modify and debug
 an efficient function
 that converts an input from a cell or array
 from a format '##.##.##'...
 even better if it can identify any nonnumeric (or nonalphanumeric) character as a delimiter; thus it would also process inputs such as: '##/####.####'
 to a format '00.00.00'...
 all delimiters are converted to "."
 ensuring that each value in a given segment/hierarchy level has the same number of digits
 In other words: if a hierarchy level contains only single digits, then the format is '0'; if it contains any double digits, then the format is '00'; if it contains any triple digits, then the format is '000', etc. Thus, each segment/hierarchy level can have different numbers of digits, but it needs to be consistent down the column (or the sorting won't work).
 and that the returned result is displayed as text (not as a number)
Thank you very much in advance for your help. I really appreciate it!