How to Create a List from a Table in Excel?

Microsoft Excel is the de facto spreadsheet program for most schools, universities, businesses, and so forth because most people are Microsoft or Windows PC users. Such, Excel calls its columns “fields” and “rows” records, but most people are familiar with how it works.

Why Would You Want to Create a List from a Table in Excel?

Excel, like Windows itself, has been updated and perfected through the years.

What used to take you forever to find on the menu bar can now be accessed on handy tabs and icons that come with their own pop-up windows that explain what each button is for. In regards to why you’d want to make data lists from Excel, the answer should be obvious.

It makes your job easier. You can disseminate data and huge tables better in an instant by having easy-access data lists you can open up through a dynamic table. That’s what we’re going to teach today.

We’re going to teach you how to put filters and sorting options on every header on your table so that you can get data lists on such things as the top scorers, 3-pointer-happy players, and MVP candidates are in the NBA.

The dynamic nature of Excel makes this all possible.

How to Create a List from a Table in Excel

Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel (my copy is the 2016 edition) and then open a blank spreadsheet. Make a table from scratch. You can also open any existing tables or spreadsheets you have on hand from your work.

I used the data I found on regarding the leaderboard on the top NBA scorers for the NBA Regular Season 2021-2022. The one that Golden State Warriors eventually won.

Excel Data List Step 1 - Make a spreadsheet table from scratch or open an existing one

Step 2: Select any cell (preferably any of the header cells on your Excel table). Afterwards, go to the “Home” tab, select “Sort & Filter”, and then pick “Filter”. You can also alternatively just use the “Ctrl + Shift + L” shortcut (also listed below).

Excel Data List Step 2A - Go to Home, Sort _ Filter, and Filter

Alternately, you can go to the “Data” tab then select “Filter” straight out. It’s the much faster method. It’s certainly the easier method.

Excel Data List Step 2B - Go to Data menu and select Filter

Step 3: Whether you used one method or the other, it should result in drop-down arrows appearing on the corners of your header cells.

Excel Data List Step 3 - Dropdown arrows apeparing on the corners of the header cells

Step 4: You can now check out how dynamic your new filtered Excel table really is. For example, you can arrange the players from rank 1 to rank 50 (which is redundant, since they’re already arranged that way from the start) or from rank 50 to rank 1.

You also have options to filter out certain players or ranks out. For example, you can have the table only show the Top 10 players.

Excel Data List Step 4A - Sort by rank

You can also arrange the table by the name data list, with you going by alphabetical order.

Excel Data List Step 4B- Sort by player (A-Z)

This helps you scope out the other players on this Top 50 list that would normally be overshadowed by Jokic, Embiid, or Curry.

Excel Data List Step 4C- Players are now in alphabetical order

Step 5: You can try out the different headers in order to make different data lists every time.

For example, another interesting data list you can make is block percentage (BLKPG). Davis and Embiid are at the top along with lesser-known but high-percentage blockers like Gobert, Kristaps, and Wood.

Excel Data List Step 5A- Sort by block percentage

You can also arrange by 3PM or 3-Point Field Goals Made. You’ll get the expected top 3-pointer players like Curry, Doncic, and Irving along with some surprising entries, like the unheralded VanVleet.

Excel Data List Step 5B - Sort by 3 point field goals made


Just apply the “filter” option and the latest versions of Microsoft Excel should turn your Excel table into a dynamic one that self-sorts all the headers from A-Z or Z-A (alphabetically or reverse-alphabetically) for the words and smallest to greatest or greatest to smallest for the numbers.

This dynamic table will allow you to check which player or person ranks the highest on a given data point or category.


  1. Ted French, “How to Create Data Lists in Excel Spreadsheets“,, March 11, 2021
  2. Contextures Inc., “How to Create an Excel Table From a Data List“, YouTube, April 6, 2013
  3. Contextures Inc., “Change Data List to Excel Table for Powerful Features“, YouTube, November 13, 2021

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

Recent Posts