One of the features I always wished Word had was the ability to alphabetize a
list of words. I always copied my words into Excel, fixed them up one per
row, sorted them there, and then pasted back into Word. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Word has had
this feature since version 2.0!
Formerly a hidden gem on the Table menu, most people think of the Sort
command to sort rows or columns within Word tables. The secret is that,
despite being on the Table menu, the Sort command works just fine without a table.
In Office 12, we’ve added this feature to the Paragraph chunk on the Write
tab–and you can use it to sort part of your document very quickly.
The “Sort” command in the Word 12 “Write” tab
By default, the Sort feature sorts by “paragraph,” although this isn’t as
limiting as it sounds. If you type a list of words and press Enter after
each one, every word is its own “paragraph.” Similarly, a bulleted or
numbered list has each item stored as a separate paragraph, so Sort does exactly
what you’d expect here as well.
To use the feature, simply select the text you want to sort, click the Sort
button, and voila, alphabetized text. You can also sort by number or date
if that is more useful for what you’re doing.
This is an example of how a simple reorganization of feature placement makes
all the difference; I never thought about using Sort in Word because I thought
it was for tables only. Now, we’ve moved it to a more logical,
discoverable position in the Office 12 Ribbon, and we’ve started to receive a
lot of nice mail from people just discovering it for the first time. (They
usually think it’s a new feature!)
No need to copy your text into Excel anymore for simple sorting–you can do
it right from within Word. No table required. Office 12 makes it easy.