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: Changing Paragraph Order.

Changing Paragraph Order

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 3, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Most writing is an iterative adventure. When writing a document of any length, you will find that you write it once, making changes as you go, and then you will probably rewrite it over and over again until you get it just the way you want.

If you find that there are several consecutive paragraphs in your document that you want to reorder, you can apply this tip:

  1. Put a number as the first character in each paragraph. The number should represent the final order in which you want to the paragraphs to appear. Thus, the first paragraph would be 1, the paragraph you want next would be 2, and so on.
  2. Select all the paragraphs you want to reorder.
  3. Choose the Sort (or Sort Text) option from the Table menu. You will see the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  5. Make sure you are sorting by Paragraph and that the sort type is Number.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Remove the numbers from the front of each paragraph.

Note that you can also use the outline view of a document to reorder your paragraphs, but sometimes this can be a bit too much trouble. The foregoing steps are quick and easy for most people.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1074) 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: Changing Paragraph 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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