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 Tabular Tables.

Sorting Tabular Tables

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 11, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word includes a powerful table editor that allows you to create some very flexible tables. However, you may get information from other people that has tables created with tabs between columns. As you work with such tables, you may have a need to sort them. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Select all the paragraphs that make up the table.
  2. Choose the Sort option from the Table menu. Word displays the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  4. Use the Sort By drop-down lists to specify the field by which you want to sort. For instance, if you want to sort by the second column (the text after the first tab in each paragraph), you should choose Field 2 in the Sort By drop-down list.
  5. Click on Options. Word displays the Sort Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Tabs radio button is selected.
  8. Click on OK to close the Sort Options dialog box.
  9. Click on OK to sort your tabular table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (885) 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 Tabular Tables.

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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