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How to Alphabetize (Sort Lists or Tables) in Microsoft Word

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Introduction

You can alphabetize (sort) a list or table in Microsoft word by number, date or text. You can then alphabetize in Descending or Ascending order.

This guide shows various ways you can alphabetize (sort lists or tables) in Word.

How to Alphabetize a List in Microsoft Word

How to Alphabetize a List in Microsoft Word

The Word document in the image above contains a list of random words. To alphabetize (or sort) the list, follow the steps below:

  • Ensure you are on the Home tab. Then, on the Paragraph section click Sort (highlighted in the image). The Sort Text window will open.
How to Alphabetize a List in Microsoft Word
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You can alphabetize a list in Word by Paragraphs, Text and also in Descending or Ascending order. But because this list has no header with number or date column, you can only sort it in Ascending or Descending order.
  • To sort the list from Z to A (Descending), click Ok. Here is the result.
  • If you wish to alphabetize the list in the above Word Document, click Sort. But this time select Ascending and click Ok. See the result in the second image.

How to Alphabetize a Table in Microsoft Word

How to Alphabetize a Table in Microsoft Word

The sorting feature of Microsoft Word is particularly useful when used in a table. Its most application are in sorting a table with numbers, words and dates.

You can alphabetize (sort) a table in Word by a single or multiple headers.

How to Alphabetize a Table in Word by One Header

Follow the steps below to alphabetize the table above by one header:

  • Hover over the table and click the tiny box that appears on the top left. This selects the entire table.
  • When the table is selected, click Sort. The Sort option opens (see the second image below).
  • Click the Sort by drop-down (With the S/N).
When you click the Sort by drop-down, it has 3 options – S/N, Student Name or Date of Birth. These are the headers of the table.
  • To sort the table by the numbering column, select S/N [labelled 1] from the drop down list. Microsoft Word will automatically select Number in the Type drop-down. To sort in Ascending order (1-10), select Ascending. Then click Ok.
The sorting shown in the second image below hasn’t changed because Ascending is the default sort order.

  • To sort in Descending order, Select it as shown in the table below. Then click Ok. The table is now sorted by 10, 9, 8, etc (second image).
There are more ways you can alphabetize a table in Word. Let’s look at them.
  • Finally, for this section, let’s alphabetize the table by the Date of Birth (DoB) and Student Name headers. The first image below shows how to sort by DoB header. The second image shows the table sorted by DoB. The last image shows the table alphabetized by Student Name.
How to Alphabetize a Table in Word by date
How to Alphabetize a Table in Word by text

How to Alphabetize a Table in Word by Multiple Headers

In the last section I demonstrated how to alphabetize in Word using a single Header. However, you can also alphabetize (sort) a table by multiple headers.

Here is how:

  • Highlight the table. Then click Sort.
  • On the Sort by drop-down select S/N. Number is automatically selected as the Type. You can decide to sort in Descending or Ascending. On the Then by section (beneath Sort by) select Student Name in the drop-down. Finally, in the next Then by section, select Date of Birth. When you finish click Ok. See the second image for the result.
How to Alphabetize a Table in Word by Multiple Headers
The table is sorted by the numbering (S/N), then by the Student Name. Finally, it is sorted by the Student’s DoB.

Conclusion

In this guide I demonstrated how to alphabetize in Word in different ways. I hope it was helpful.

If you have any question or comments use the “Leave a Reply” form at the end of the page. You could also share your experience so other readers can benefit.

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