Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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 Single-Column Addresses.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2017)
Alexander asked if there was an easy way to sort single-column addresses in Word, such as the following:
Jane R. Doe 1234 Anytown Road Mapleton, AZ 85229
Fred Davis 5678 Main Street Yorba Linda, CA 94123
The answer depends on your definition of "easy." The most versatile long-term solution is to transfer the addresses to some sort of a database program, or even to Excel. You can organize and sort to your heart's content in those programs, and then simply merge the results back into Word.
If you are intent on keeping the addresses in Word, then you can sort them easily, provided a few conditions are met. First of all, each address "block" (for lack of a better term) must be a single paragraph. This means that there must be a manual line break (Shift+Enter) at the end of each line in the address block, except the last one. Second, the only place in the first line where there can be any regular spaces is just before the beginning of the last name. For all other spaces (say, between the first name and middle initial or between a title and the first name) you should use a non-breaking space.
With the data in the proper condition, you can now sort the addresses by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.
Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.
Your addresses are now sorted properly.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10360) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sorting Single-Column Addresses.
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