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: Use Filenames that Sort Properly.

Use Filenames That Sort Properly

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 9, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


It is not uncommon to work on projects that require several documents. For instance, you may be working on a manual that has several parts. When you are naming files for this project, you should use names that will later sort properly when you use various functions of Word.

For instance, when you choose to open a document, you see the standard Open dialog box that shows the files in the current directory. If your files are named properly, they will always appear in order on the list. I ensure this by starting all files related to a project with two digits that represent the order in which the document appears in the project. For instance, if the project entails an introduction, three sections, and an appendix, then the files may be named as follows:

01 Introduction.doc
02 Section 01.doc
03 Section 02.doc
04 Section 03.doc
05 Appendix.doc

Without the leading two digits, of course, the files would be displayed in the dialog box in an entirely different order. For me, the above approach ensures that the files are always in the logical order I need. The only drawback is that if I need to add a new section (such as Section 04), then I need to change the number of the 05 Appendix.doc file to 06 Appendix.doc so that the new section can become 05 Section 04.doc. This renaming is a small price to pay to keep my files in the desired order.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (134) 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: Use Filenames that Sort Properly.

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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