How to Alphabetize in MS Word – (with Examples)

If you have been using MS Word long enough, there is a good possibility that you have come across a situation where you needed to sort a list.

A lot of people ignore the intelligence of the team that created MS Word, and get on with the manual task of sorting it and copy pasting it. I am guilty of being one of those for quite some time.

NOT ANYMORE..

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to alphabetize in Word in an ascending or descending order (based on numbers or text).

How to Alphabetize in Word 2013

Let’s learn through these scenarios:

  • Alphabetize Names based on First Name.
  • Alphabetize Names based on the Second Name.
  • Alphabetize a List based on Numbers.

Alphabetize a List of Names by First Name

Here I have a short list of some of my favorite fictional characters in Word 2013:

How to Alphabetize in word - list of charactersYou can see that as of now the list is not sorted in any order.

To alphabetize this list by the first name, here are the steps:

  • Select the list that you want to alphabetize. Make sure that this is a list (which means that every name/item is in a different line).
    How to Alphabetize in word - list of characters selected
  • Go to Home –> Paragraph –> Sort.How to Alphabetize in word - Sort in ribbon
  • In the sort text dialogue box, make the following changes:
    • Sort by: Paragraphs
    • Type: Text
    • Select the order of sorting – AscendingHow to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - Sort Dialogue Box Text first name
  • Click OK.

This will alphabetize the list of names by the first name.

How to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - Sorted list first name

Alphabetize a List of Names by the Last Name

You can also use the same concept to alphabetize the list of names by the last name.

To do this:

  • Select the list that you want to alphabetize. Make sure that this is a list (which means that every name/item is in a different line).
  • Go to Home –> Paragraph –> Sort.
  • In the sort text dialogue box, make the following changes:
    • Sort by: Word 2
    • Type: Text
    • Select the order of sorting – AscendingHow to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - Sort Dialogue Box Text last name
  • Click OK.

This will alphabetize the list of names by the last name (second word). How to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - Sorted list last name

CAUTION: While this works well when you have names which consist of two words, it may not be what you want when the name has more than three words.

For example, in the above case, the sorted list has John H. Watson at the top, as the second word is considered to be H. and not Watson.

Alphabetize a List Based on Numbers

The way we sorted a list of names based on first/last name, the same way, we can also sort a list using numbers.

Suppose we have a list as shown below (with company name and revenue in $ billion):

How to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - company name

Here are the steps to sort this list based on the revenue numbers:

  • Select the list that you want to alphabetize. Make sure that this is a list (which means that every name/item is in a different line).How to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - select company names
  • Go to Home –> Paragraph –> Sort.
  • In the Sort Text dialogue box, click on Options button.
  • In the Sort Option dialogue box that opens up, select Other and enter – (hyphen) in the field. How to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - hyphen as separator
  • Click OK.
  • In the Sort Text dialogue box, make the following changes:
    • Sort by: Filed 2
    • Type: Number
    • Select the order of sorting – AscendingHow to Alphabetize in Word 2013 - sort by options for Field 2
  • Click OK.

This will sort the list based on the revenue numbers.

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