Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Sorting by Headings.

Sorting by Headings

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2021)

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:

  1. Switch to Outline view by clicking on the Outline view button that appears just to the left of the horizontal scroll bar.
  2. Using the controls on the Outlining toolbar, collapse the headings so that only the first-level headings are shown. (This step is not strictly necessary, but does make the screen a bit more readable.)
  3. Place the cursor at the beginning of the first heading and press Ctrl+Shift+End to select everything through the end of the document.
  4. Choose Sort from the Table menu. Word displays the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  6. Click on OK to accept the default settings in the 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 toolbar.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (41) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Sorting by Headings.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Strikethrough Shortcut Key

One common type of formatting is strikethrough, which is normally applied from the Font dialog box. There is no built-in ...

Discover More

Backing Up Your AutoText Entries

Got a bunch of AutoText entries defined for your system? You'll undoubtedly want to back them up at some time. Here's how ...

Discover More

Determining Differences Between Dates

Macros are often used to process the data in a worksheet. If that data includes dates that need to be processed, you'll ...

Discover More

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!

More WordTips (menu)

Sorting a Text Selection

Word gives you the option to sort selected groups of text. You can do text, date or number sorts on whole paragraphs or ...

Discover More

Sorting Single-Column Addresses

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

Alphabetizing By Last Name

Sorting lists of names by last name is easy if they are listed in a LAST, FIRST order. But what if the names are in FIRST ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.