wikiHow to Organize Your Comic Collection with Excel

Collecting comics is a fun hobby, but when you've built a significant little library, they're hard to keep track of. You know you want to be able to share them with friends, refer back to certain issues, or even pull them out if you're ready to sell them, but how do you find what you want, when you want it? There are a lot of choices, such as Comic Base, an excellent, comprehensive program created just for comic collectors. But the easiest way is probably to simply create a spreadsheet in Excel, so that's what we're going to deal with in this article.


  1. 1
    Alphabetize each box of comics separately. Rather than trying to keep the boxes in one consecutive alpha order spanning your collection (Example: All the "A"s in Boxes 1 and 2, all the "B"s in Box 3, etc.) just make each box its own domain. Whatever comics you have in a single box, alphabetize them within that box. Don't shuffle them around, because then what will happen if you get too many "B"s in Box 3, and you have your "C"s in Box 4? Do you make a Box 3.5 for your extra "B"s? A collection is much harder to maintain that way.
  2. 2
    Number each box prominently on the front (not the lid). It doesn't matter how many you have, or what's in them, because you'll use the spreadsheet to figure out what box has which books inside later.
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    Create your spreadsheet. You'll need 4 columns: Title, Issue #, Box #, Comments. In the screen shot supplied, there's also one for # of Copies. Make a Header Row and use the Freeze Pane option to make sure you don't scroll past it - this will keep it always visible so you know where you are at all times. It's all about making it fast and easy down the road.
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    Count your box and transfer your info to the spreadsheet. This is pretty straightforward. Go through each box, review each comic book, and record the information on the spreadsheet. It's helpful to use a simple tally sheet as shown to count up your box manually first (unless you can sit your boxes right next to your computer) and then transfer this data to your spreadsheet. Make sure to keep the comic books in alphabetical order (in the box - don't worry about the order as you're writing them on the sheet, because Excel will sort later).
  5. 5
    Access the data. From here on, you'll be able to sort quickly through your collection for what you want, and you can sort by title, box number, or issue number. Here's the best way - you won't want to do the normal A-Z simple sort with a program like this.

    • Highlight your Title column, and then choose DATA from the toolbar at top, and Sort.
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    • Excel will tell you that there's data next to the data you selected which will not be sorted, and asks What Do You Want To Do? Choose to expand the selection, then click Sort again.
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    • It will ask you what to sort on next - there will be a window that says sort by, and has a field with a little drop-down menu that shows the names of your columns, so you'll want to choose title as your first search criteria, then issue #, then box # from the other two drop-down menus, as shown. They should all be checked as ascending for sort order. If you created a header row in a previous step, then be sure the little check box for header row is checked, or if you did not do it, be sure it's un-checked.
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    • After the first time, it will always come up the same way. Now you can hit OK, and Bob's your uncle - All your comics are now in alphabetical order on your spreadsheet, and the program tells you where you put them. It's a very economical solution, both money-wise (because most people already have Excel) and time-wise, because who wants to start moving comics in Box #7 in order to make room in Box #2?
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  • Don't pack your comics too tight, it makes it hard to get them out later. Besides, don't put your nice books too close together, you can damage them that way.
  • When you've counted a box of your comics, print a copy of your spreadsheet and just stick it in that box. If you have the auto filter function chosen, you'll see the little arrows pointing down, as in the screen shot. Now you can select any title from that drop down list and find out which box each issue is in. Or click on that arrow next to your header box #, and then choose which box you just entered. It will display only the information for that one box, and putting a copy of that printout will allow you to quickly search for what you want without thumbing through every book.
  • Before enabling the auto filter, name the range. Select the Headers, all of the data cells, and some blank rows at the bottom for new entries, and then click the Name box and type in a name. This will facilitate your sorting.
  • Don't bother to count until your box is full. Just sort them as you add them, and when you have as many as you want in there, do your count.
  • Make use of the auto fill feature in Excel. If you enter your comics consecutively, without skipping rows, Excel will recognize previously entered items from their starting characters. For instance, typing "SUP" should fill the cell with 'SUPERMAN' if it's been entered previously. This cuts down on typing time considerably.
  • If you choose to go with ComicBase or other dedicated comic collecting software, you can still organize your comics from A-Z in each box, instead of trying to span your collection with an alpha sorting system. This really will save you loads of time in the long run, because you won't have to re-sort frequently as your collection grows. Most dedicated programs also have (A) a field specifying location, or (B) offer a customizable field which you can use for the same purpose - just be sure you enter which box # your comic is contained in as you enter the book into your software, and you'll be able to go directly to your collection, find the proper box, and then locate the book by flipping through the books inside.
  • Add columns for price paid/estimated value for insurance purposes.
  • Back it up off site for free using Google Spreadsheets.
  • This works with other collections too, not only for comics.
  • Keep a copy on a flash drive, thumb drive, whatever.


  • Always make sure you sort using the DATA feature - otherwise, the consequences are deadly and irretrievable! If you blow it and sort A-Z, do not touch anything . Just click on Edit/Undo. If it's too late, and you did click on something, and now it won't let you Undo, don't worry. Simply close the Excel file choosing to not save it when it prompts you and reopen it. Assuming you haven't made any changes your file will be back the way it was. If you did make changes, than you will have to reenter all the changes you made prior. It is always a good idea to make sure to keep good backups and have a copy of this file elsewhere.

Things You'll Need

  • Of course, a computer. One in proper running order is highly desirable.
  • Spreadsheet software of your choice. ( Calc, Microsoft Excel,...)
  • Time. Not much. Depends on your typing and counting ability.
  • A big marker to write the Box Number on the front of each box.
  • And obviously comic books

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