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 by Headings.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 17, 2016)
A useful trick you can use when developing some types of documents is the ability to sort the various parts of the document based on the headings you use. For instance, you can sort the document based on first-level headings (paragraphs that use the Heading 1 style) by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.
Had you skipped the first two steps and performed the sort in any view besides Outline view, every paragraph would have been sorted alphabetically and therefore rearranged so that subordinate paragraphs would be separated from their headings. In other words, you would have a mess. However, in Outline view, the highest-level headings are sorted, bringing along the subordinate heading levels and body text.
If you wanted to sort by Heading 2 paragraphs, you should also use Outline view, but you would have to first select all the Heading 2 paragraphs subordinate to a particular Heading 1 paragraph and then sort. You will get the same results regardless of how many heading levels that you show on the Outline tab of the ribbon.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11238) 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 by Headings.
The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!
Got a document that contains a bunch of addresses? If you want to sort the addresses, then you are in for a surprise ...Discover More
Some people like to format simple tables using tabs instead of using Word's table editor. When it comes time to sort such ...Discover More
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
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.