lock cloumns together
cells A1:A5 are merged, cells B1:B5 are sub categories of info in the merged cell. This is repeated for A6:A10, A11:A15, etc. I want to sort column B so that column A stays put, but the sub category info sorts while staying connected to the merged cells. For instance, A1:A5 have the letter "A" in the merged cell. B1:B5 have A,B,C,D,E dispersed through them, then A6:a10 has a "B" with B5:B10 havign a letter in each of those cells, and so on. I want to sort column B in alphabetical order while clomn A stays in it's current order, or changing the order of column A allows the corresponding rows to stay together.
I agree. If merging cells is reallllly going to merge them, we still have to be able to do normal things with them, in the logical manner their use dictates.
So yeah, EXACTLY this should happen. And in your example, selecting row 3 should not highlight and force us to work (on a row basis) with rows 1-5. We should be able to delete row 3, say, leaving a block of four rows with the A column still merged, just four cells now, not five. (I've had this when creating "charty" printouts, or just in data that has varying rows per larger merged cell. So being able to insert or delete rows without dynamiting the setup would be helpful.)
By the way, until that happy day, you can insert a helper column, 0.25 wide (it'll tale smaller and that's less obtrusive, but 0.25 is easier to select for a manual sort), or if sorting via macro, hide it completely. Protect the cells, which will have formulas, so people don't mangle the idea.
Then sort using the almost hidden helper column first, then by Column B and so forth.
The helper column could be populated via formula. In your example, B1 would have " +A1 " and all the rest something like " =IF( A2 <> "", A2, "" ) " and if you actually started below row 1, they could all have that formula. So all those non-merged helper cells would mirror their merged master and sort as if achieving this. Sorted first, it'd be like sorting Column A, but successful instead of getting that stupid message.