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On Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 1:27 AM, Brian Barker <>

At 18:45 25/02/2015 -0500, Alan Bonly wrote:

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:47 AM, Lera Goncharuk wrote:

Ā«Ranges containing merged cells can only be sorted without formatsĀ».
This message implies that such ranges can be sorted without splitting cells.

I believe this is a poorly worded information message. I have not found
any way to sort a range with merged cells including selecting the whole
range, right-clicking and selecting "Clear direct formatting". It seems
merging of cells is treated as a formatting option, at least in the case of
this message.

Well, the message has certainly misled you. You are suggesting here that
"without formats" means that you cannot sort cells to which some sort of
formatting has been applied. But no: that's not what it means.

When you sort cells generally, the range may have different formatting
applied to different cells: imagine, for example, that one of the cells has
a different font colour. Is that colouring associated with the particular
cell or with the value it contains? It could be either. When you sort the
values, do you want that colouring to stay in the same cell or to move with
the value as the range is sorted? That will depend on why you have applied
that colouring, so you have a choice. This is controlled by "Include
formats" on the Options tab of the Sort dialogue. If you have this ticked,
then formatting moves with the values; otherwise it stays in the same cells.

You can certainly sort a range that includes merged cells, but you can do
so only if you leave the formatting where it is, not move it with the
values. If you try to sort a range including merged cells with the "Include
formats" option ticked (which appears to be so by default), you will be
warned that - although you can sort the range - you can do so only with
that option deselected.

Thank you Brian, that was new to me. When I did my experiments I tried
several formating options but used the sort button for sorting so never saw
the sort dialog. In the past when I have used the dialog I'm sure I never
took notice of the "Include formats" selection.

Seems this is an area where the help could be improved. The explanation for
the choice is simply "Preserves the current cell formatting". It makes no
mention that any formats are incompatible with sorting or which formats
they may be. Nor does it make clear, at least to me, that the meaning of
"Preserves the current cell formatting" is that the formating moves with
the value as opposed to the formating stays with the cell.

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