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: Controlling Sorting Order.

Controlling Sorting Order

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 6, 2019)

If you have used Word for more than a week, you probably already know how to sort information in your document. You can use sorting to arrange a list in either ascending or descending order. Ascending order for the English language is from 0–9, A–Z; descending order is the reverse. The sorting order for other languages will be different. To specify the sorting order you simply choose the Ascending or Descending radio buttons in the Sort dialog box.

You can also affect sort order by indicating whether Word should pay attention to the case of the text in your selection. If a sort is case sensitive, then items are sorted A-Z and then a-z for ascending sorts. If a sort does not pay attention to case, then uppercase and lowercase letters are treated the same.

To specify whether Word should pay attention to case, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text containing the information to be sorted. (If you are sorting a table, then simply place the insertion point anywhere within the table. If you are sorting regular text, then select the entire list you want sorted.)
  2. Choose Sort from the Table menu. Word displays the Sort Text dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Sort Text dialog box.

  4. Using the controls on the dialog box, indicate the way in which the text should be sorted.
  5. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Sort Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Sort Options dialog box.

  7. Use the Case Sensitive check box to indicate how Word should perform the sort. If the check box is selected, the sort is case sensitive; if clear, then case is ignored.
  8. Click on OK to close the Sort Options dialog box.
  9. Click on the OK button to perform your sort.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1849) 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: Controlling Sorting 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Hiding Macros

Don't want a particular macro to be visible in the Macros dialog box? Once you understand the criteria that Word uses ...

Discover More

Automatically Protecting After Input

Do you want user-entered data to be immediately protected so that it cannot be changed? This can be done relatively ...

Discover More

Calculating Elapsed Time with Excluded Periods

When using Excel to calculate elapsed time, there can be all sorts of criteria that affect the formulas you would ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Odd Sorting

Word is great at sorting simple information in tables and paragraphs. If you have more complex information (such as ...

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

Sorting Tabular Tables

Some people like to format simple tables using tabs instead of using Word's table editor. When it comes time to sort such ...

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}] 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 two less than 5?

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.