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 a Text Selection.

Sorting a Text Selection

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 9, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


As you use Word, there will be numerous times when you need to rearrange lists of items. Word provides a sorting tool that makes rearranging lists easy. To sort a selection of text, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text containing the list to be sorted. Make sure only the list is selected.
  2. In the Home tab of the ribbon look in the Paragraph group. When you click on the Sort tool, Word will display the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  4. In the Sort Type drop-down list, select the type of sorting you want Word to perform. For instance, if the first information in your text list represents a date, you would choose Date as the Sort Type.
  5. Using the radio buttons, indicate whether the sort should be Ascending or Descending.
  6. Click on OK.

The Sorting function in Word is rather basic. If you need to do more advanced sorting, consider copying your data into Excel or pasting an Excel spreadsheet object into your Word document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8559) 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 a Text Selection.

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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