Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 Tabular Tables.

Sorting Tabular Tables

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 24, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Word includes a powerful table editor that allows you to create some very flexible tables. However, you may get information from other people that has tables created with tabs between columns. As you work with such tables, you may have a need to sort them. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Select all the paragraphs that make up the table.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Sort tool in the Paragraph group. Word displays the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  5. Use the Sort By drop-down lists to specify the field by which you want to sort. For instance, if you want to sort by the second column (the text after the first tab in each paragraph), you should choose Field 2 in the Sort By drop-down list.
  6. Click on Options. Word displays the Sort Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Tabs radio button is selected.
  9. Click on OK to close the Sort Options dialog box.
  10. Click on OK to sort your tabular table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6282) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sorting Tabular Tables.

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. ...

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