How to Alphabetize in Word

You may have a list of items in your Word document that you want to sort or alphabetize in a certain order. You may have numbered or bulleted your list, it does not matter. Word treats any item in the list as separate paragraphs. It allows sorting the list in either ascending or descending order. But Word cannot handle multi-level lists and may mix up the levels after sorting.

Depending on the content in your list, you can:

  • Alphabetize from A to Z or Z to A (ascending or descending).
  • Organize numerically in ascending or descending order.
  • Organize dates in ascending or descending order.
  • Sort by fields and headers
  • Sort in three ways

Word allows you to alphabetize a list that has:

  • Single Words
  • Many Words
  • Text in a Table

We will show you how to handle all the methods. Let us begin.


Method #1: Alphabetize a list of single words.

Step #1: Open the document

Open the Word document containing a list of single words.

Select the list. Click on the Home tab in the top menu bar to change the ribbon.

Step #2: Sort the list

In the Paragraph section, click on the Sort icon.

This opens the Sort Text dialog.

As the list has only text, but no headings or fields, select Paragraph in the Sort by section.

Select Text in the Type section.

Select either Ascending or Descending as you want.

Click on Ok to exit the dialog.

Word alphabetizes your list according to your choices.


Method #2: Alphabetize a list of many words in three steps.

Step #1: Open the document

Open the Word document containing a list of many words.

Select the list. Click on the Home tab in the top menu bar to change the ribbon.

Step #2: Set the sort parameters for the first step

In the Paragraph section, click on the Sort icon.

This opens the Sort Text dialog.

Your list has only text in two fields and no headings. So, you can select one of three choices in the Sort by section for the first step:

  • Paragraph : for sorting alphabetically
  • Field 1 : for sorting alphabetically on Field 1
  • Field 2 : for sorting alphabetically on Field 2

Select Field 1.

Select Text in the Type section.

Select either Ascending or Descending as you want.

Step #3: Set the sort parameters for the second step.

Under the first Then by section, select Field 2 for the second step.

Select Text in the Type section.

Select either Ascending or Descending as you want.

Step #4: Set the sort parameters for the third step.

Repeat Step #3 for the second Then by section for the third step.

Click on Ok to exit the dialog.

Word alphabetizes your list according to your choices.


Method #3: Alphabetize text in a table.

Step #1: Open the document

Open the Word document containing a table.

Select the table. Click on the Home tab in the top menu bar to change the ribbon.

Step #2: Set the sort parameters

In the Paragraph section, click on the Sort icon.

This opens the Sort Text dialog.

If the top row of the table has headers, select Header row under the section My List has.

You can select from the headers under the Sort by and Then by sections. You can sort in either ascending or descending order.

Under Sort by section, select one of the column headers.

Under the first Then by section, select any other column header.

Under the next Then by section, select another column header.

As the table has only text, select Text for all Type sections.

Select Paragraph for all Using sections.

Select Ascending or Descending appropriately.

Click on Ok to exit the dialog.

Word alphabetizes your table according to your choices.


Conclusion

Use the alphabetizing function in Word to your advantage. Use our step-by-step instructions above.

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