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: Controlling Sorting Order.

Controlling Sorting Order

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 24, 2016)

If you have used Word for more than a week, you probably already know how to sort information in your document. You can use sorting to arrange a list in either ascending or descending order. Ascending order for the English language is from 0–9, A–Z; descending order is the reverse. The sorting order for other languages will be different. To specify the sorting order you simply choose the Ascending or Descending radio buttons in the Sort dialog box.

You can also affect sort order by indicating whether Word should pay attention to the case of the text in your selection. If a sort is case sensitive, then items are sorted A-Z and then a-z for ascending sorts. If a sort does not pay attention to case, then uppercase and lowercase letters are treated the same.

To specify whether Word should pay attention to case, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text containing the information to be sorted. (If you are sorting a table, then simply place the insertion point anywhere within the table. If you are sorting regular text, then select the entire list you want sorted.)
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Sort tool in the Paragraph group. (If you are sorting a table, click the table's Layout tab on the ribbon and click the Sort tool within the Data group.) Word displays the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  5. Using the controls on the dialog box, indicate the way in which the text should be sorted.
  6. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Sort Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.

  8. Use the Case Sensitive check box to indicate how Word should perform the sort. If the check box is selected, the sort is case sensitive; if clear, then case is ignored.
  9. Click on OK to close the Sort Options dialog box.
  10. Click on the OK button to perform your sort.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11465) 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: Controlling Sorting Order.

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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