You may receive an error message when you sort a range that contains merged cells in Excel

For a Microsoft Excel for Macintosh version of this article, see 178966 .


When you try to sort a range in a Microsoft Excel worksheet, Excel does not sort the range. Additionally, you may receive the following error message:
This operation requires the merged cells to be identically sized.


This issue may occur if you sort a range of cells, and if the following conditions are true:
  • You previously merged some cells, but not all cells in the sort range.
  • You previously merged all cells in the sort range and the cells are not all the same size.


To work around this issue, split all the merged cells in the range, or merge all the cells in the range so that the merged cells are the same size. Each merged cell in the range must occupy the same number of rows and columns as the other merged cells in the range.

Steps to reproduce the problem

  1. In a worksheet, type the following data:
     A1:     B1:  Name      C1: Value   A2:     B2:  Sue       C2: 1   A3:     B3:  Tom       C3: 2 
  2. Merge cells A1 and B1, A2 and B2, and A3 and B3. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Select each pair of cells.
    2. On the Format menu, click Cells.

      Note In Microsoft Office Excel 2007, click the Alignment dialog box launcher in the Alignment group on the Home tab.
    3. Click the Alignment tab, and then click to select the Merge cells check box.
    4. Click OK.

      Do not merge cells in column C.
  3. Select cells A1:C3, click Sort on the Data menu, and then click OK.

    Note In Excel 2007, click Sort & Filter in the Editing group on the Home tab, and then click Custom Sort.
  4. In the Sort box, click OK.