Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Sorting Dates Numerically.

Sorting Dates Numerically

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 24, 2016)

1

David experienced a problem when trying to sort dates in a table. His dates are in the format year.month.day, as in 10.12.24, 10.09.16, and 12.06.19. When he sorts the table by the dates, Word puts them in the order 12.06.19, 10.12.24, and 10.09.16.

This date order can be handled by Word automatically—in fact, it should be handled automatically, with very little intervention on your part. Follow these steps:

  1. Put the insertion point anywhere within the table.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Sort tool in the Paragraph group. Word selects the entire table and displays the Sort dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Sort dialog box.

  5. Using the Sort By drop-down list, choose the column containing the dates (for instance, Column 4). If your table has a header row, you can select the column using the names in the header row.
  6. When you select the Sort By column, Word should automatically change the Type drop-down list to Date. If it does not, change it manually to Date.
  7. Click OK. The table is sorted.

There are a couple of interesting things to note about sorting in this manner. It is best to choose a Date sort type, but you could also choose a Text sort type. Either method will work fine, provided the dates in the table are all in the current century. If the table also includes dates from the previous century, you should only choose the Date sort type.

The second thing to note is that David's results, noted at the beginning of this tip, really are sorted properly. The order 12.06.19, 10.12.24, and 10.09.16 indicates that the dates are in descending sorted order. To get the dates into ascending order, you need to make sure the Ascending option is chosen in the Sort dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5906) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sorting Dates Numerically.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding an Equal Sign Tool

Excel used to provide, prior to Excel 2002, an equal-sign tool near the Formula bar. If you miss this tool, you may want ...

Discover More

Drop-Down List of Hyperlinks

Creating a drop-down list with Excel's data validation feature can be a nice touch for a worksheet. What if you want the ...

Discover More

Filtering for Comments

Excel makes it easy to filter a data table based on various values in that table. It isn't so easy to filter according to ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Alphabetizing By Last Name

Sorting lists of names by last name is easy if they are listed in a LAST, FIRST order. But what if the names are in FIRST ...

Discover More

Sorting an Album List

Word allows you to easily sort the information you store in a document. If you want to sort information as groups of ...

Discover More

Controlling How Word Sorts Text

Word has a very orderly way in which it sorts information, but that orderly method may not meet what you need to have ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 4?

2014-10-10 05:08:49

Paul Kunz

How can I sort dates in chronological order if in some cases I only have the year?
(no day, no month)?

I would be very grateful if you could help me as I'm engaged in voluntary work as an archivist.

Many thanks in advance

Paul Kunz


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.