45 Quotes That Celebrate Teamwork, Hard Work, and Collaboration

We’ve all been a part of that group project. You know, the project where one person takes the lead, leading some members to conclude their ideas are unwelcome, while a select few ride the others’ coattails.

Thanks to experiences like this, it’s no surprise why so many people have been scarred by the nightmares of past group projects.

And yet, something incredible happens when teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen. Things change when everyone on the team is equally invested in the overall purpose and goal. You find yourself working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better.Click here to unlock a free guide and template designed to help you create a  company culture code. 

Ultimately, you reach a point where you’re certain each person on your team has your back — and both your job satisfaction and performance skyrocket. (Getting inbound certified doesn’t hurt, either.)

To inspire your team to band together and celebrate collaboration, we’ve gathered some of our favorite quotes on the power of teamwork. Flip through the following SlideShare, then check out the full list of inspirational quotes below — including some remarks about hard work to keep your collaborative juices flowing.

Teamwork Quotes to Inspire Collaboration

1. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller (Click to Tweet!)

2. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford (Click to Tweet!)

3. “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (Click to Tweet!)

4. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Isaac Newton that reads "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

5. “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock (Click to Tweet!)

6. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie (Click to Tweet!)

7. “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin (Click to Tweet!)

8. “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford (Click to Tweet!)

9. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Michael Jordan that reads "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."

10. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson (Click to Tweet!)

11. “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” – James Cash Penney (Click to Tweet!)

12. “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” – Edwin Land (Click to Tweet!)

13. “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler (Click to Tweet!)

14. “Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus.” – Simon Mainwaring (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Simon Mainwaring that reads "Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus."

15. “Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” – Patrick Lencioni (Click to Tweet!)

16. “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” – Jim Stovall (Click to Tweet!)

17. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth (Click to Tweet!)

18. “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” – George Shinn (Click to Tweet!)

19. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” –Napolean Hill (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Napolean Hill

20. “The whole is other than the sum of the parts.” – Kurt Koffka (Click to Tweet!)

21. “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of others.” – Norman Shidle (Click to Tweet!)

22. “The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team.” – Lewis B. Ergen (Click to Tweet!)

23. “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi (Click to Tweet!)

24. “One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but teamwork dynamites.” – Jin Kwon (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Jin Kwon

25. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman (Click to Tweet!)

26. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain (Click to Tweet!)

27. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington (Click to Tweet!)

28. “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs (Click to Tweet!)

29. “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Ryunosuke Satoro

30. “Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” – Virginia Burden (Click to Tweet!)

31. “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa (Click to Tweet!)

32. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman (Click to Tweet!)

33. “It takes two flints to make a fire.” – Louisa May Alcott (Click to Tweet!)

34. “The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” – Iyanla Vanzant (Click to Tweet!)

35. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb (Click to Tweet!)

36. “Success is best when it’s shared.” – Howard Schultz (Click to Tweet!)

Hard Work Quotes to Inspire Determination

37. “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke (Click to Tweet!)

38. “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Ariana Huffington (Click to Tweet!)

39. “When the ideas are coming, I don’t stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn’t come along all the time.” – Dr. Dre (Click to Tweet!)

40. “Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Ginni Rometty (Click to Tweet!)

41. “Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.” – Helena Rubinstein (Click to Tweet!)

42. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment.” – Mahatma Gandhi (Click to Tweet!)

43. “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson (Click to Tweet!)

44. “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” – Malcolm Forbes (Click to Tweet!)

45. “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi Jr. (Click to Tweet!)

Want more? Read about Fun Corporate Team-Building Activities & Outing Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy.

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30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making

Even after years of education, there are some things that some people still mess up. For me, it’s algebra. For others, it’s the laws of physics. And for many, it’s grammar.

It’s not easy. Words and phrases that sound fine in your head can look like gibberish when written down — that is, if you even realize you made a mistake in the first place. It’s easy for little grammar mistakes to slip by, especially when you’re self-editing.

But how do you prevent grammatical errors if you’re not even aware you’re making them?Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

Well, you can start by reading through this post to see which common grammar mistakes resonate with you the most. (It’s okay — we’re all guilty of at least one.) Make a mental note to avoid that mistake in the future, or heck, just bookmark this page to remind yourself of them over and over (and over) again.

Guide to Writing Well

1. They’re vs. Their vs. There

One’s a contraction for “they are” (they’re), one refers to something owned by a group (their), and one refers to a place (there). You know the difference among the three — just make sure you triple check that you’re using the right ones in the right places at the right times.

I find it’s helpful to search through my posts (try control + F on PC or command + F on Mac) for those words and check that they’re being used in the right context. Here’s the correct usage of “they’re,” “there,” and “their”:

They’re going to love going there — I heard their food is the best!

2. Your vs. You’re

The difference between these two is owning something versus actually being something:

You made it around the track in under a minute — you’re fast!

How’s your fast going? Are you getting hungry?

See the difference? “Your” is possessive and “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Again, if you’re having trouble keeping them straight, try doing another grammar check before you hit publish.

3. Its vs. It’s

This one tends to confuse even the best of writers. “Its” is possessive and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is.” Lots of people get tripped up because “it’s” has an ‘s after it, which normally means something is possessive. But in this case, it’s actually a contraction.

Do a control + F to find this mistake in your writing. It’s really hard to catch on your own, but it’s a mistake everyone can make.

4. Incomplete Comparisons

This one drives me up a wall when I see it in the wild. Can you see what’s wrong with this sentence?

Our car model is faster, better, stronger.

Faster, better, stronger … than what? What are you comparing your car to? A horse? A competitor’s car? An older model?

When you’re asserting that something should be compared to something else, make sure you always clarify what that something else is. Otherwise, it’s impossible for your readers to discern what the comparison actually means.

5. Passive Voice

If you have a sentence with an object in it — basically a noun that receives the action — passive voice can happen to you. Passive happens when the object of a sentence is put at the beginning of a sentence instead of at the end. With passive voice, your writing comes across as sounding weak and unclear.

Hold up. Re-read that last paragraph I just wrote:

“… Passive happens when the object of a sentence is put at the beginning of a sentence instead of at the end …”

There’s way too much passive voice. See how the sentence doesn’t have a subject that’s acting upon the object? The object is mysteriously being “put at the beginning,” making the sentence sound vague and clunky.

Passive voice happens when you have an object (a noun that receives the action) as the subject of a sentence. Normally, the object of the sentence appears at the end, following a verb. Passive writing isn’t as clear as active writing — your readers will thank you for your attention to detail later.

Let’s try that again, using active voice:

Passive happens when the writer puts the object of a sentence at the beginning, instead of at the end.

In this example, the sentence correctly uses a subject, “the writer,” to actively describe the object.

Make sense? It’s kind of a complicated thing to describe, but active voice makes your writing seem more alive and clear. Want to get into the nitty-gritty of avoiding passive voice? Check out this tip from Grammar Girl.

6. Dangling Modifiers

I love the name of this mistake — it makes me think of a dramatic, life-or-death situation such as hanging precariously off a cliff. (Of course grammar mistakes are never that drastic, but it helps me remember to keep them out of my writing.)

This mistake happens when a descriptive phrase doesn’t apply to the noun that immediately follows it. It’s easier to see in an example taken from my colleague over on the HubSpot Sales Blog:

After declining for months, Jean tried a new tactic to increase ROI.

What exactly is declining for months? Jean? In reality, the sentence was trying to say that the ROI was declining — not Jean. To fix this problem, try flipping around the sentence structure (though beware of passive voice):

Jean tried a new tactic to increase ROI after it had been declining for months.

Better, right?

7. Referring to a Brand or Entity as ‘They’

A business ethics professor made me aware of this mistake. “A business is not plural,” he told our class. “Therefore, the business is not ‘they.’ It’s ‘it.'”

So, what’s the problem with this sentence?

To keep up with their changing audience, Southwest Airlines rebranded in 2014.

The confusion is understandable. In English, we don’t identify a brand or an entity as “he” or “she” — so “they” seems to make more sense. But as the professor pointed out, it’s just not accurate. A brand or an entity is “it.”

To keep up with its changing audience, Southwest Airlines rebranded in 2014.

It might seem a little strange at first, but once you start correctly referring to a brand or entity as “it,” the phrasing will sound much more natural than “they.”

8. Possessive Nouns

Most possessive nouns will have an apostrophe — but where you put that apostrophe can be confusing. Here’s an example of possessive nouns used incorrectly:

All of the lizard’s tails grew back.

In this sentence, “all” implies there’s more than one lizard, but the location of the apostrophe suggests there really is just one.

Here are a few general rules to follow:

  • If the noun is plural, add the apostrophe after the s. For example: the dogs’ bones.
  • If the noun is singular and ends in s, you should also put the apostrophe after the s. For example: the dress’ blue color.
  • On the other hand, if the noun is singular and doesn’t end in an s, you’ll add the apostrophe before the s. For example: the lizard’s tail.

Simple, right? If you want a deeper dive into the rules of possessive nouns, check out this website.

9. Affect vs. Effect

This one is another one of my pet peeves. Most people confuse them when they’re talking about something changing another thing.

That movie effected me greatly.

Effect, with an “e,” isn’t used as a verb the way “affect” is, so the sentence above is incorrect. When you’re talking about the change itself — the noun — you’ll use “effect.”

That movie had a great effect on me.

When you’re talking about the act of changing — the verb — you’ll use “affect.”

That movie affected me greatly.

10. Me vs. I

Most people understand the difference between the two of these, until it comes time for them to use one in a sentence.

When you get done with that lab report, can you send it to Bill and I?

The sentence above is actually wrong, as proper as it sounds.

Try taking Bill out of that sentence — it sounds weird, right? You would never ask someone to send something to “I” when he or she is done. The reason it sounds weird is because “I” is the object of that sentence — and “I” should not be used in objects. In that situation, you’d use “me.”

When you get done with that lab report, can you send it to Bill and me?

Much better.

11. To vs. Too

We’ve all accidentally left the second “o” off of “too” when texting in a hurry. But in case the mistake goes beyond that, let’s review some usage rules.

“To” is typically used before a noun or verb, and describes a destination, recipient, or action. Take these examples:

My friend drove me to my doctor’s appointment. (Destination)

I sent the files to my boss. (Recipient)

I’m going to get a cup of coffee. (Action)

“Too,” on the other hand, is a word that’s used as an alternative to “also” or “as well.” It’s also used to describe an adjective in extremes. Have a look:

My colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, writes for the HubSpot marketing blog, too.

She, too, is vegan.

We both think it’s too cold outside.

You might have noticed that there’s some interesting comma usage where the word “too” is involved. We’ll cover commas a bit more later, but when you’re using the word “too” to replace “also” or “as well,” the general rule is to use a comma both before and after. The only exception occurs when “too” is the last word in the sentence — then, follow it with a period.

12. Do’s and Don’ts

I’m not talking about the do’s and don’ts of grammar here — I’m talking about the actual words: “do’s” and “don’ts.” They look weird, right? That’s because of two things:

  1. There’s an apostrophe in one to make it plural … which typically isn’t done, and
  2. The apostrophes aren’t put in the same place in both words.

Unfortunately, it’s AP Style, so we just have to live with it. It’s a hot angle for content formats, so I wouldn’t shy away from using it. But when you’re checking your writing for grammatical errors, just remember that the apostrophes should be in different places.

Note: There are different schools of thought about how to punctuate this one depending on what style guide/usage book you’re using. The Chicago Manual of Style, for instance, recommends “dos” and “don’ts.” The important thing is to be consistent and stick to one style guide, whether it’s AP Style, Chicago, or your own house style guide.

13. i.e. vs. e.g.

Confession: I never remember this rule, so I have to Google it every single time I want to use it in my writing. I’m hoping that by writing about it here, the trend will stop.

Many people use the terms interchangeably when trying to elaborate on a point, but each one means something different: “i.e.” roughly means “that is” or “in other words,” while “e.g.” means “example given” or “for example.” The former is used to clarify something you’ve said, while the latter adds color to a story through an example.

14. Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

This mistake is another one I often see people make, even if they know what they mean.

  • Peek is taking a quick look at something — like a sneak peek of a new film.
  • Peak is a sharp point — like the peak of a mountain.
  • And pique means to provoke or instigate — you know, like your interest.

If you’re going to use one in your writing, stop and think for a second — is that the right “peek” you should be using?

15. Who vs. That

This one is tricky. These two words can be used when you’re describing someone or something through a phrase like, “Lindsay is a blogger who likes ice cream.” When you’re describing a person, be sure to use “who.”

When you’re describing an object, use “that.” For example, you should say, “Her computer is the one that overheats all the time.” It’s pretty simple, but definitely something that gets overlooked frequently.

16. Who vs. Whom vs. Whose vs. Who’s

Whoa. This one looks like a bit of a doozy. Let’s break it down, shall we?

“Who” is used to identify a living pronoun. If you asked, “Who ate all of the cookies?” the answer could be a person, like myself (“I did”), or another living being (“the dog did”).

Hey, both are realistic scenarios in my world.

“Whom” is a little trickier. It’s usually used to describe someone who’s receiving something, like a letter — “To whom will it be addressed?” But it can also be used to describe someone on the receiving end of an action, like in this sentence:

Whom did we hire to join the podcast team?

“Whose” is used to assign ownership to someone. See if you can spot the error in this question:

Who’s sweater is that?

Because the sweater belongs to someone, it should actually be written this way:

Whose sweater is that?

“Who’s,” on the other hand, is used to identify a living being. It’s a contraction for “who is” — here’s an example of how we might use it in a sentence here in Boston:

Who’s pitching for the Red Sox tonight?

See the difference? “Whose” is used to figure out who something belongs to, whereas “who’s” is used to identify someone who’s doing something.

17. “Alot” vs. A lot vs. Allot

I hate to break it to all of you “alot” fans out there, but “alot” is not a word. If you’re trying to say that someone has a vast number of things, you’d say they have “a lot” of things. And if you’re trying to say that you want to set aside a certain amount of money to buy something, you’d say you’ll “allot” $20 to spend on gas.

If you’re trying to remember to stay away from “alot,” check out this awesome cartoon by Hyperbole and a Half featuring the alot. That face will haunt you for the rest of your content marketing days.

18. Into vs. In to

Let’s clarify the “into” versus “in to” debate.

They’re often confused, but “into” indicates movement (Lindsay walked into the office) while “in to” is used in lots of situations because the individual words “to” and “in” are frequently used in other parts of a sentence. For example, “to” is often used with infinitive verbs (e.g. “to drive”). Or “in” can be used as part of a verb (e.g. “call in to a meeting”).

So if you’re trying to decide which to use, first figure out if the words “in” or “to” actually modify other words in the sentence. If they don’t, ask yourself if it’s indicating some sort of movement — if it does, you’re good to use “into.”

19. Lose vs. Loose

When people mix up “lose” and “loose,” it’s usually just because they’re spelled so similarly. They know their definitions are completely different.

According to Merriam-Webster, “lose” is a verb that means “to be unable to find (something or someone), to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.), or to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued).” It’s like losing your keys or losing a football match.

“Loose” is an adjective that means “not tightly fastened, attached, or held,” like loose clothing or a loose tooth.

A trick for remembering the difference is to think of the term “loosey-goosey” — both of those words are spelled with two o’s.

20. Then vs. Than

What’s wrong with this sentence?

My dinner was better then yours.

*Shudder.* In the sentence above, “then” should be “than.” Why? Because “than” is a conjunction used mainly to make comparisons — like saying one thing was better “than” another. “Then” is mainly an adverb used to situate actions in time:

We made dinner, and then we ate it.

21. Of vs. Have

I have a bad habit of overusing a phrase that goes like this: “Shoulda, coulda, woulda.” That basically means I regret not doing something, but it’s too late to dwell on it now. For example, “I shoulda done my laundry on Sunday.”

But “shoulda,” “coulda,” and “woulda” are all short for something else. What’s wrong with this statement?

I should of done my laundry on Sunday.

Since it’s so common for us to throw around fake worlds like “shoulda,” the above mistake is an easy one to make — “shoulda” sounds like a shortened version of “should of.” But really, “shoulda” is short for “should have.” See how it works in these sentences:

I should have done my laundry on Sunday.

I could have taken a shorter route.

I would have gone grocery shopping on Friday, if I had time.

So next time, instead of saying, “shoulda, woulda, coulda,” I should probably say, “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.”

22. Use of Commas

There are entire courses on correct comma usage, but let’s go over some of the most common comma use cases here.

To Separate Elements in a Series

Each element in a series should be separated by a comma. For example: “I brought a jacket, a blanket, and an umbrella to the park.” That last comma is optional. It’s called an “Oxford comma,” and whether you use it depends on your company’s internal style guide.

To Separate Independent Clauses

You can use commas to separate independent clauses that are joined by “and,” “but,” “for,” “or,” “nor,” “so,” or “yet.” For example, this sentence is correctly written: “My brother is very smart, and I’ve learned a lot from him.”

An independent clause is a sentence that can stand on its own. Here’s how to test it: Would the second part of the sentence (following one of those coordinating conjunctions) make a full sentence on its own? If so, add a comma. If it doesn’t, leave it out.

To Separate an Introductory Word or Phrase.

At the beginning of a sentence, we often add an introductory word or phrase that requires a subsequent comma. For example:

In the beginning, I had no idea how to use a comma.


However, after reading an awesome blog post, I understand the difference.

Other common introductory words and phrases include “after,” “although,” “when,” and “while.”

To learn about more use cases for the comma, check out this blog post from Daily Writing Tips.

23. Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

All of these words have to do with “making an outcome sure,” which is why they’re so often mixed up. However, they aren’t interchangeable.

  • “To assure” means to promise or say with confidence. For example, “I assure you that he’s good at his job.”
  • “To ensure” means to make certain. For example, “Ensure you’re free when I visit next weekend.”
  • Finally, “to insure” means to protect against risk by regularly paying an insurance company. For example, “I insure my car because the law requires it.”

24. Less vs. Fewer

You know the checkout aisle in the grocery store that says “10 Items or Less”? That’s actually incorrect. It should be “10 Items or Fewer.”

Why? Because “items” are quantifiable — you can count out 10 items. Use “fewer” for things that are quantifiable, like “fewer M&Ms” or “fewer road trips.” Use “less” for things that aren’t quantifiable, like “less candy” and “less traveling.”

25. Semicolons

Semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses that, though they could stand on their own, are closely related. For example, you could use a semicolon in the sentence: “Call me tomorrow; I’ll have an answer for you by then.”

Notice that each clause could be its own sentence — but stylistically, it makes more sense for them to be joined. (If there’s a coordinating conjunction between the two clauses — like “and,” “but”, or “or” — use a comma instead.)

You can also use semicolons to separate items in a list when those items contain commas themselves:

There are two options for breakfast: eggs and bacon, which is high in protein and low in carbs; or oatmeal and fruit, which is high in carbs but has more fiber.

26. Compliment vs. Complement

These two words are pronounced exactly the same, making them easy to mix up. But they’re actually quite different.

If something “complements” something else, that means it completes it, enhances it, or makes it perfect. For example, a wine selection can complement a meal, and two colors can complement each other.

The word “compliment” though, refers to an expression of praise (as a noun), or to praise or express admiration for someone (as a verb). You can compliment your friend’s new haircut, or pay someone a compliment on his or her haircut.

27. Farther vs. Further

People often use “farther” and “further” interchangeably to mean “at a greater distance.”

However, in most countries, there are actually subtle differences in meaning between the two. “Farther” is used more to refer to physical distances, while “further” is used more to refer to figurative and nonphysical distances. So while Paris is “farther” away than Madrid, a marketing team falls “further” away from its leads goal. (Note: The word “further” is preferred for all senses of the word in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations.)

The word “further” can also be used as an adjective or as an adverb to mean “additionally.” For example, “I have no further questions.”

28. En Dash vs. Em Dash

Both “–” and “—” are versions of the dash: “–” is the en dash, and “—” or “–” are both versions of the em dash. You can use either the en dash or the em dash to signify a break in a sentence or set off parenthetical statements.

The en dash can also be used to represent time spans or differentiation, such as, “That will take 5–10 minutes.”

The em dash, on the other hand, can be used to set off quotation sources, such as, “‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’ —Shakespeare.”

29. Title Capitalization

This one is tough, since so many different outlets apply different rules to how titles are capitalized. Luckily, I have a secret weapon — TitleCap.

The site outlines capitalization rules as follows:

  1. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  2. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  3. Lowercase articles (“a,” “an,” “the”), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  4. Lowercase the ‘to’ in an infinitive (“I want to play guitar”).

Let’s use the title of this post as an example: “Grammar Police: 30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making.” If left to my own devices — and remember, I write for a living — I would have left “We” lowercase. I always have to double-check, which is why guides like this one are so valuable.

30. Between vs. Among

Let’s clear this one up: The word “between” is used to refer to two (or sometimes more) things that are clearly separated, and the word “among” is used to refer to things that aren’t clearly separated because they’re part of a group or mass of objects.

So you choose between a red shirt and a black shirt, but you choose among all your shirts. You walk between Centre Street and Broad Street, but you walk among your friends.

English, like many other languages, has its own set of tricky rules and intricacies. But with a little bit of practice and help from guides like this one, you can become a grammar master.

Want to learn more about grammar? Check out the 23 Witty Grammar Jokes & Puns to Satisfy Your Inner Grammar Nerd.

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YouTube Poised to Unseat Facebook as #2 Website in the U.S.

A new study reveals that there may be a shakeup on the list of the top five U.S. websites.

According to research conducted by Market Intelligence Central, the top highest-visited websites in the U.S. have largely held steady for a few years. That order is as follows:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo
  5. Amazon

But now, YouTube is poised to surpass Facebook for the #2 spot.

According to this research, Facebook.com has seen a loss of roughly 2.8 billion visits each month over the past two years.

At the same time, engagement with Facebook Page posts has dropped 50%, and during its Q2 2018 earnings call, the company revealed a plateaued number of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada: its largest market.

Combine that with YouTube’s increased number of site visits — and growing viewership of its content on diversified platforms, like the YouTube app, as well as streaming tools like Chromecast.

Should it outrank Facebook, the study says, it’s likely to do so within the next three months.

Source: Market Intelligence Central

Meanwhile, the research shows that usage of the core Facebook app has increased — and notes that the company has focused its growth efforts on the expansion of its overall portfolio of products and applications.

In 2012, Facebook acquired visual content-sharing app Instagram, which has been pointed to as crucial to the company’s success.

But with decelerating user growth, falling Page post engagement, and a decreasing number of website visits — is staying afloat the most Facebook can ask for?

Or, does Facebook have a chance to continue growing — and if so, where should those growth efforts be focused? 

One might point to emerging technology, like virtual reality (VR), which while slow to catch on as a consumer hit, has received investments from Facebook — including its Oculus VR headsets.

The company’s annual VR conference, Oculus Connect, is scheduled to take place next month, where the company is expected to announce new investments in and product releases around this technology.

But where many — including HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick — believe Facebook should focus its growth efforts, is on further diversification and monetization of apps.

“If I was Facebook, I would care so much more about growing my apps, than growing my .com traffic,” says Dick. “The thing it needs to stress about, from a valuation perspective, is that its desktop advertising products are well established — which could put pressure on its revenue while it figures out monetization of messaging.”

Earlier this month, Facebook began to launch monetization channels within messaging platform WhatsApp, including ways for users to connect and communicate with businesses.

Source: WhatsApp

“Facebook’s strategy is to get as much of the world as possible communicating through its apps,” Dick says. “And between Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, it’s working.”

How to Add a Text Box in Google Docs [FAQ]

A text box is an effective way to draw attention to important information on a page, or organize your thoughts visually.

Adding a text box to a Google Doc can also make your document look more formal and professional — which is particularly important if you’re sharing the Doc with colleagues.

If you need to differentiate a set of text for your next marketing meeting notes or brainstorming session, you’ll need to know how to add a text box in Google Docs. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to do. In fact, it should take less than a minute once you get the hang of it. Here’s how.

How to Add a Text Box in Google Docs

1. Go to “Insert” and then click “Drawing … “.

2. Within the Drawing tool, click the “Text box” (it’s the box in the tool bar with a “T” in the middle).

3. Draw your desired text box shape. Then, type your text into the box.

4. In the toolbar, you’ll see a paint bucket. Click that to change the color in your text box, or text box border, if you want.

5. When you’re happy with your text box, click “Save & Close”.

6. And voila! Your text box is instantly placed in your Google Doc. If you want to move it around, simply drag it or pull the corners to change the size.

That’s it! Check out our “Ultimate Guide to Google Docs” next, if you’re looking for a more in-depth dive into the ins and outs of Google Docs.

What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search

Posted by willcritchlow

Kids may search differently than adults, but there are some interesting insights from how they use Google that can help deepen our understanding of searchers in general. Comfort levels with particular search strategies, reading only the bold words, taking search suggestions and related searches as answers — there’s a lot to dig into. In this week’s slightly different-from-the-norm Whiteboard Friday, we welcome the fantastic Will Critchlow to share lessons from how kids search.



Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. I’m Will Critchlow, founder and CEO of Distilled, and this week’s Whiteboard Friday is a little bit different. I want to talk about some surprising and interesting and a few funny facts that I learnt when I was reading some research that Google did about how kids search for information. So this isn’t super actionable. This is not about tactics of improving your website particularly. But I think we get some insights — they were studying kids aged 7 to 11 — by looking at how kids interact. We can see some reflections or some ideas about how there might be some misconceptions out there about how adults search as well. So let’s dive into it.

What do dolphins eat?

I’ve got this “What do dolphins eat?” because this was the first question that the researchers gave to the kids to say sit down in front of a search box, go. They tell this little anecdote, a little bit kind of soul-destroying, of this I think it was a seven-year-old child who starts typing dolphin, D-O-L-F, and then presses Enter, and it was like sadly there’s no dolphins, which hopefully they found him some dolphins. But a lot of the kids succeeded at this task.

Different kinds of searchers

The researchers divided the ways that the kids approached it up into a bunch of different categories. They found that some kids were power searchers. Some are what they called “developing.” They classified some as “distracted.” But one that I found fascinating was what they called visual searchers. I think they found this more commonly among the younger kids who were perhaps a little bit less confident reading and writing. It turns out that, for almost any question you asked them, these kids would turn first to image search.

So for this particular question, they would go to image search, typically just type “dolphin” and then scroll and go looking for pictures of a dolphin eating something. Then they’d find a dolphin eating a fish, and they’d turn to the researcher and say “Look, dolphins eat fish.” Which, when you think about it, I quite like in an era of fake news. This is the kids doing primary research. They’re going direct to the primary source. But it’s not something that I would have ever really considered, and I don’t know if you would. But hopefully this kind of sparks some thought and some insights and discussions at your end. They found that there were some kids who pretty much always, no matter what you asked them, would always go and look for pictures.

Kids who were a bit more developed, a bit more confident in their reading and writing would often fall into one of these camps where they were hopefully focusing on the attention. They found a lot of kids were obviously distracted, and I think as adults this is something that we can relate to. Many of the kids were not really very interested in the task at hand. But this kind of path from distracted to developing to power searcher is an interesting journey that I think totally applies to grown-ups as well.

In practice: [wat do dolfin eat]

So I actually, after I read this paper, went and did some research on my kids. So my kids were in roughly this age range. When I was doing it, my daughter was eight and my son was five and a half. Both of them interestingly typed “wat do dolfin eat” pretty much like this. They both misspelled “what,” and they both misspelled “dolphin.” Google was fine with that. Obviously, these days this is plenty close enough to get the result you wanted. Both of them successfully answered the question pretty much, but both of them went straight to the OneBox. This is, again, probably unsurprising. You can guess this is probably how most people search.

“Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” The path from distracted to developing

So there’s a OneBox that comes up, and it’s got a picture of a dolphin. So my daughter, a very confident reader, she loves reading, “wat do dolfin eat,” she sat and she read the OneBox, and then she turned to me and she said, “It says they eat fish and herring. Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” I think this was her going from distracted into developing probably. To start off with, she was just answering this question because I had asked her to. But then she saw a word that she didn’t know, and suddenly she was curious. She had to kind of carefully type it because it’s a slightly tricky word to spell. But she was off looking up what is a cephalopod, and you could see the engagement shift from “I’m typing this because Dad has asked me to and it’s a bit interesting I guess” to “huh, I don’t know what a cephalopod is, and now I’m doing my own research for my own reasons.” So that was interesting.

“Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales”: Reading the bold words

My son, as I said, typed something pretty similar, and he, at the point when he was doing this, was at the stage of certainly capable of reading, but generally would read out loud and a little bit halting. What was fascinating on this was he only read the bold words. He read it out loud, and he didn’t read the OneBox. He just read the bold words. So he said to me, “Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales,” because killer whales, for some reason, was bolded. I guess it was pivoting from talking about what dolphins eat to what killer whales eat, and he didn’t read the context. This cracked him up. So he thought that was ridiculous, and isn’t it funny that Google thinks that dolphins eat killer whales.

That is similar to some stuff that was in the original research, where there were a bunch of common misconceptions it turns out that kids have and I bet a bunch of adults have. Most adults probably don’t think that the bold words in the OneBox are the list of the answer, but it does point to the problems with factual-based, truthy type queries where Google is being asked to be the arbiter of truth on some of this stuff. We won’t get too deep into that.

Common misconceptions for kids when searching

1. Search suggestions are answers

But some common misconceptions they found some kids thought that the search suggestions, so the drop-down as you start typing, were the answers, which is bit problematic. I mean we’ve all seen kind of racist or hateful drop-downs in those search queries. But in this particular case, it was mainly just funny. It would end up with things like you start asking “what do dolphins eat,” and it would be like “Do dolphins eat cats” was one of the search suggestions.

2. Related searches are answers

Similar with related searches, which, as we know, are not answers to the question. These are other questions. But kids in particular — I mean, I think this is true of all users — didn’t necessarily read the directions on the page, didn’t read that they were related searches, just saw these things that said “dolphin” a lot and started reading out those. So that was interesting.

How kids search complicated questions

The next bit of the research was much more complex. So they started with these easy questions, and they got into much harder kind of questions. One of them that they asked was this one, which is really quite hard. So the question was, “Can you find what day of the week the vice president’s birthday will fall on next year?” This is a multifaceted, multipart question.

How do they handle complex, multi-step queries?

Most of the younger kids were pretty stumped on this question. Some did manage it. I think a lot of adults would fail at this. So if you just turn to Google, if you just typed this in or do a voice search, this is the kind of thing that Google is almost on the verge of being able to do. If you said something like, “When is the vice president’s birthday,” that’s a question that Google might just be able to answer. But this kind of three-layered thing, what day of the week and next year, make this actually a very hard query. So the kids had to first figure out that, to answer this, this wasn’t a single query. They had to do multiple stages of research. When is the vice president’s birthday? What day of the week is that date next year? Work through it like that.

I found with my kids, my eight-year-old daughter got stuck halfway through. She kind of realized that she wasn’t going to get there in one step, but also couldn’t quite structure the multi-levels needed to get to, but also started getting a bit distracted again. It was no longer about cephalopods, so she wasn’t quite as interested.

Search volume will grow in new areas as Google’s capabilities develop

This I think is a whole area that, as Google’s capabilities develop to answer more complex queries and as we start to trust and learn that those kind of queries can be answered, what we see is that there is going to be increasing, growing search volume in new areas. So I’m going to link to a post I wrote about a presentation I gave about the next trillion searches. This is my hypothesis that essentially, very broad brush strokes, there are a trillion desktop searches a year. There are a trillion mobile searches a year. There’s another trillion out there in searches that we don’t do yet because they can’t be answered well. I’ve got some data to back that up and some arguments why I think it’s about that size. But I think this is kind of closely related to this kind of thing, where you see kids get stuck on these kind of queries.

Incidentally, I’d encourage you to go and try this. It’s quite interesting, because as you work through trying to get the answer, you’ll find search results that appear to give the answer. So, for example, I think there was an About.com page that actually purported to give the answer. It said, “What day of the week is the vice president’s birthday on?” But it had been written a year before, and there was no date on the page. So actually it was wrong. It said Thursday. That was the answer in 2016 or 2017. So that just, again, points to the difference between primary research, the difference between answering a question and truth. I think there’s a lot of kind of philosophical questions baked away in there.

Kids get comfortable with how they search – even if it’s wrong

So we’re going to wrap up with possibly my favorite anecdote of the user research that these guys did, which was that they said some of these kids, somewhere in this developing stage, get very attached to searching in one particular way. I guess this is kind of related to the visual search thing. They find something that works for them. It works once. They get comfortable with it, they’re familiar with it, and they just do that for everything, whether it’s appropriate or not. My favorite example was this one child who apparently looked for information about both dolphins and the vice president of the United States on the SpongeBob SquarePants website, which I mean maybe it works for dolphins, but I’m guessing there isn’t an awful lot of VP information.

So anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure into how kids search and maybe some things that we can learn from it. Drop some anecdotes of your own in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences and some of the funny things that you’ve learnt along the way. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Should Your Business Adopt AI This Year?

Digitally created profile of a human face.Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer strictly a thing of science fiction. There are types of artificial intelligence all over the tech space: chatbots, voice search, digital ad targeting, speech and facial recognition, and more. You may already be using some of these types of AI either in life or within your business. But as AI starts to grow and become more and more prevalent, does it make sense for a small business to adopt this type of technology?

We want to explore AI and the uses it can have to benefit your business. But every type of new tech has both pros and cons, so we think it’s a good idea to first talk about what those are when it comes to AI. This information may be helpful in making decisions about whether the investment is worthwhile. 

We decided to begin our list with some of the potential cons related to investing in AI. The bottom line is, AI is here and it’s not going away. AI deployments are increasingly becoming an expected aspect of business growth. And although your business may not be ready to make a huge investment in AI technology, AI cannot be ignored.

Potential Cons (keep in mind, for every negative, there are also some positives to consider):

1. AI is still new.

When something is new, it’s rarely perfect. In fact, it more often than not has a variety of different issues that arise over and over again. With AI applications, they are still being tested and refined. They’re babies right now; they’re still learning what it is they were created to do.

Of course, all new tech has to be tested and refined multiple times when it’s first born, but that can mean higher overhead for a business that is interested in adopting whatever new tech has just come out.

And when you have a small business with a limited budget, costly tech repairs are not high on the priority list. That said, it is wise to stick with the types of AI that have already proven their worth, such as chatbots.

2. AI requires a specialist.

Because AI is new, only a select few have become educated and qualified to develop the technology and really know how to test it and how to fix it. Depending on the tech you are exploring, AI specialists can be costly. So if you need to hire a specialist to help your business with its new AI, you may have higher costs.

However, innovative technology that incorporates AI and machine learning, including virtual agents and decision management systems, can help your business streamline processes and ultimately, save you money. Factor in the overall ROI when making decisions about AI.

3. AI likely isn’t always necessary for your small business objectives.

Before investing in AI, it’s important to consider the value and advantages it will offer your business. Just like the shiny new smartphone or laptop, we all want the newest tech thing to show our friends. We feel like it elevates us to have the latest and greatest. And we feel that same way in our businesses.

But it’s important not to get distracted by all the shiny new objects in your business and focus on what’s actually going to help you get the job done. The reality is, an AI application could have some really cool features for your business. But before you invest in AI, carefully consider whether it will help you create a new revenue stream, increase leads, or exponentially increase growth and scale your business. If not, now may not be the right time to make that investment.

Okay – it’s time to talk about the pros of adopting AI:

4. AI can transform your business.

Look, we said we were going to talk pros and cons, right? Cons of AI: they can be expensive. Pros? They can seriously transform and grow your business. You just have to decide if they can do enough for your business to front the costs.

Not every AI is going to break the bank. Some minor versions are included within software and products you already use. It may be an upgrade or it may come with the version you’re already using. 

But AI can help your business in a lot of ways: it can help your salespeople to close more deals, it can help you to create better digital advertising, it can improve employee engagement, and it can help you find your product market faster.

Man working at a laptop computer.

How can AI manage all of these different things?

Close more deals: There are types of AI that can record and automatically transcribe the calls your sales team makes. Your management team can then go over those calls to find where your sales team needs to improve. Better yet, they can look at the calls of your most successful salespeople and teach the strategies they use to the rest of the sales team so you’re all on the same page.

Better digital ads: Use this AI for free! Facebook advertising actually has an AI that can take a look at an audience based on a pixel placed on your website and then create a lookalike audience for targeting. So you’re basically using a sample of people who have visited your website and are obviously interested in your product or service, and creating a larger potential audience to introduce to your business.

Improve employee engagement: If you struggle with keeping your employees engaged in their day-to-day job, there are AI solutions that can help with this. For example, your business could invest in an internal chatbot that gives your employees 24/7 access to HR.

Find your product market: If you have no idea where your product fits into your market, you don’t really have a business. At least, not a successful one. So utilizing an AI to help you find your market can be extremely helpful. There are AIs and software available that can collect data on your customers, analyze it, and find patterns amongst the people who have purchased from you. Having this information can help you pinpoint your target audience.

Artificial Intelligence can be both rewarding and trying on your small business. And not every AI is created equal. There are some versions that are huge beasts and are meant for corporate giants like Amazon. But there are others that can be scaled down for small business use. It’s true that AI can be costly, but it’s also true that AI can help your business enjoy growth and increased success. Always be sure it’s something that will only have a positive ROI, and you can absolutely transform your business with AI.

Curious what other tech and software out there can help your business? Contact us to chat about software, digital marketing, and more. 


How to Sort in Excel: A Simple Guide to Organizing Data

When it comes to Excel, here’s a good rule to live by: If you find yourself doing something manually, there’s probably an easier way.

Whether you’re trying to remove duplicates, do simple calculations, or sort your data, you can almost always find a workaround that’ll help you get it done with just a click (or two) of a button.

But if you’re not a power user, it’s easy to overlook these shortcuts. And before you know it, something as simple as organizing a list of names in alphabetical order can suck up a ton of your time.

Click here to download our collection of free Excel templates that will make  your life easier.

Luckily, there is a workaround for that. In fact, there are a few different ways to use Excel’s sorting feature that you may not know about. Let’s check them out below, starting with the basics.

For this first set of instructions, we’ll be using Microsoft Excel 2017 for Mac. But don’t worry — while the location of certain buttons might be different, the icons and selections you have to make are the same across most earlier versions of Excel.

1. Highlight the rows and/or columns you want sorted.

To sort a range of cells in Excel, first click and drag your cursor across your spreadsheet to highlight all of the cells you want to sort — even those rows and columns whose values you’re not actually sorting by.

For example, if you want to sort column A, but there’s data associated with column A in columns B and C, it’s important to highlight all three columns to ensure the values in Columns B and C move along with the cells you’re sorting in Column A.

In the screenshot below, we’re going to sort this sheet by the last name of Harry Potter characters. But the first name and house of each person needs to go with each last name that gets sorted, or each column will become mismatched when we finish sorting.

Highlighted spreadsheet of Harry Potter names and houses in Excel

2. Navigate to ‘Data’ along the top and select ‘Sort.’

Once all the data you want to sort is highlighted, select the “Data” tab along the top navigation bar (you can see this button on the top-right of the screenshot in the first step, above). This tab will expand a new set of options beneath it, where you can select the “Sort” button. The icon has an “A-Z” graphic on it, as you can see below, but you’ll be able to sort in more ways than just alphabetically.

Data tab in Excel, with an arrow pointing to the Sort icon

3. If sorting by column, select the column you want to order your sheet by.

When you hit the “Sort” button, shown above, a window of settings will appear. This is where you can configure what you’d like sorted and how you’d like to sort it.

If you’re sorting by a specific column, click “Column” — the leftmost dropdown menu, shown below — and select the column whose values you want to be your sorting criteria. In our case, it’ll be “Last Name.”

Sort settings window with a dropdown menu of options in the Column section

4. If sorting by row, click ‘Options’ and select ‘Sort left to right.’

If you’d rather sort by a specific row, rather than a column, click “Options” on the bottom of the window and select “Sort left to right.” Once you do this, the Sort settings window will reset and ask you to choose the specific “Row” you’d like to sort by in the leftmost dropdown (where it currently says “Column”).

This sorting system doesn’t quite make sense for our example, so we’ll stick with sorting by the “Last Name” column.

Option to Sort by left to right in Excel

5. Choose what you’d like sorted.

You don’t just have to sort by the value of each cell. In the middle column of your Sort settings window, you’ll see a dropdown menu called “Sort On.” Click it, and you can choose to sort your sheet by different characteristics of each cell in the column/row you’re sorting by. These options include cell color, font color, or any icon included in the cell.

6. Choose how you’d like to order your sheet.

In the third section of your Sort settings’ window, you’ll see a dropdown bar called “Order.” Click it to select how you’d like to order your spreadsheet.

By default, your Sort settings window will suggest sorting alphabetically (which we’ll show you shortcuts for in the next process below). But you can also sort from Z to A, as well as by a custom list. While you can create your own custom list, there are a few preset lists you can sort your data by right away. We’ll talk more about how and why you might sort by custom list in a few minutes.

To Sort by Number

If your spreadsheet includes a column of numbers, rather than letter-based values, you can also sort your sheet by these numbers. To do that, you’ll select this column in the leftmost “Columns” dropdown menu. This will change the options in the “Order” dropdown bar so that you can sort from “Smallest to Largest” or “Largest to Smallest.”

7. Click ‘OK.’

Click “OK,” in your Sort settings window, and you should see your list successfully sorted according to your desired criteria. Here’s what our Harry Potter list now looks like, organized by last name in alphabetical order:

Alphabetized spreadsheet of Harry Potter names and houses in Excel

Sometimes you may have a list of data that has no organization whatsoever. Maybe you exported a list of your marketing contacts or blog posts. Whatever the case may be, you might want to start by alphabetizing the list — and there’s an easy way to do this that doesn’t require you to follow each step outlined above.

To Alphabetize on a Mac

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar and look for the “Sort” option on the left.
  3. If the “A” is on top of the “Z,” you can just click on that button once. If the “Z” is on top of the “A,” click on the button twice. Note: When the “A” is on top of the “Z,” that means your list will be sorted in alphabetical order. However, when the “Z” is on top of the “A,” that means your list will be sorted in reverse alphabetical order.


To Alphabetize on a PC

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see Sort options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked. If it is, click “Cancel.”
  4. Click on the button that has the “A” on top and the “Z” on the bottom with an arrow pointing down. That will sort your list alphabetically from “A” to “Z.” If you want to sort your list in reverse alphabetical order, click on the button that has the “Z” on top and the “A” on the bottom.


Sorting Multiple Columns

Sometimes you don’t just want to sort one column, but you want to sort two. Let’s say you want to organize all of your blog posts that you have in a list by the month they were published. First, you’d want to organize them by date, and then by the blog post title or URL.

In this example, I want to sort my list first by house, and then by last name. This would give me a list organized by each house, but also alphabetized within each house.

To Sort Multiple Columns on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar and look for the “Sort” option on the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown menu. (In this case, it is “House.”)
  6. Then, click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Under where it says “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  7. Check the “Order” column to make sure it says A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  8. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.


To Sort Multiple Columns on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear. Make sure “My data has headers” is checked if you have column headers.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown menu. (In this case, it is “House.”)
  5. Then click on “Add Level” at the top left of the pop-up. Under where it says “Column” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  6. Check the “Order” column to make sure it says A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  7. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.


Sorting in Custom Order

Sometimes you don’t want to sort by A to Z or Z to A. Sometimes you want to sort by something else, such as months, days of the week, or some other organizational system.

In situations like this, you can create your own custom order to specify exactly the order you want the sort. (It follows a similar path to multiple columns but is slightly different.)

Let’s say we have everyone’s birthday month at Hogwarts, and we want everyone to be sorted first by Birthday Month, then by House, and then by Last Name.

To Sort in Custom Order on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column,” select the first column in your spreadsheet you want to sort from the dropdown menu. In this case, it is “Birthday Month.”
  6. Under the “Order” column, click on the dropdown next to “A to Z.” Select the option for “Custom List.”
  7. You will see a couple of options (month and day). Select the month list where the months are spelled out, as that matches the data. Click “OK.”
  8. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Under “Column,” select “House” from the dropdown.
  9. Click on the “+” sign at the bottom left again. Under “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  10. Check the “Order” column to make sure “House” and “Last Name” say A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  11. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.


To Sort in Custom Order on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column,” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Birthday Month.”
  5. Under the “Order” column, click on the dropdown next to “A to Z.” Select the option for “Custom List.”
  6. You will see a couple of options (month and day), as well as the option to create your own custom order. Select the month list where the months are spelled out, as that matches the data. Click “OK.”
  7. Then, click on “Add Level” at the top left of the pop-up. Under “Column,” select “House” from the dropdown.
  8. Click on the “Add Level” button at the top left of the pop-up again. Under “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  9. Check the “Order” column to make sure “House” and “Last Name” say A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  10. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.


Sorting a Row

Sometimes your data may appear in rows instead of columns. When that happens you are still able to sort your data with a slightly different step.

To Sort a Row on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: Click on “Options” at the bottom.
  5. Under “Orientation” select “Sort left to right.” Then, click “OK.”
  6. You will see five columns. Under “Row,” select the row number that you want to sort from the dropdown. (In this case, it is Row 1.) When you are done, click “OK.”


To Sort a Row on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear.
  4. Click on “Options” at the bottom.
  5. Under “Orientation” select “Sort left to right.” Then, click “OK.”
  6. You will see three columns. Under “Row,” select the row number that you want to sort from the dropdown. (In this case, it is Row 1.) When you are done, click “OK.”


Sort Your Conditional Formatting

If you use conditional formatting to change the color of a cell, add an icon, or change the color of a font, you can actually sort by that, too.

In the example below, I’ve used colors to signify different grade ranges: If they have a 90 or above, the cell appears green. Between 80-90 is yellow. Below 80 is red. Here’s how you’d sort that information to put the top performers at the top of the list. I want to sort this information so that the top performers are at the top of the list.

To Sort Conditional Formatting on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column,” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Grades.”
  6. Under the column that says “Sort On,” select “Cell Color”.
  7. In the last column that says “Color/Icon,” select the green bar.
  8. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Repeat steps 5-6. Instead of selecting green under “Color/Icon,” select the yellow bar.
  9. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Repeat steps 5-6. Instead of selecting green under “Color/Icon,” select the red bar.
  10. Click “OK.”


To Sort Conditional Formatting on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Grades.”
  5. Under the column that says “Sort On,” select “Cell Color”.
  6. In the last column that says “Order,” select the green bar.
  7. Click on “Add Level.” Repeat steps 4-5. Instead of selecting green under “Order,” select the yellow bar.
  8. Click on “Add Level” again. Repeat steps 4-5. Instead of selecting yellow under “Order,” select the red bar.
  9. Click “OK.”


There you have it — all the possible ways to sort in Excel. Ready to sort your next spreadsheet? Start by grabbing nine different Excel templates below, then use Excel’s sorting function to organize your data as you see fit.

free excel templates for marketing