How to alphabetize

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Leaning to alphabetize a list of words is one of the first skills students learn in primary grades, particularly kindergarten through first or second grade. Before they alphabetize words, of course, students need to know the alphabet. They should be able to use the alphabet in order to assimilate new vocabulary and ask spelling questions about new vocabulary they will be learning in future lessons.

Before tackling the mini-lessons and tips on how to alphabetize, post an alphabet chart in the classroom, home, or wherever the students are studying. The chart should have pictures of various objects beginning with the letters of the alphabet. You can even start this process in preschool.

Alphabet-Learning Strategies

Review the alphabet chart with students to ensure they have a basic understanding of the correct order of letters. You can also use alphabet flashcards—these are plentiful and free online—to teach the alphabet. Alphabet songs also work well for motivating young students to learn the letters.

All About Learning Press suggests having students practice with alphabet letter tiles, using word-game tiles or downloading free ABC caterpillar letter tiles, which the curriculum-materials website offers on its site. Once students are able to place the letters in the alphabet in the correct order, use the lessons below to teach them how to alphabetize lists of words.

A-B-C Order

How to alphabetize

To alphabetize a list of words or names, tell students they will start by placing them in A-B-C order according to the first letter of each word. Tell students to recite the alphabet silently to themselves, or have the class recite the alphabet in unison before tackling this task.

As you did with letters of the alphabet, you can also download Dolch sight words for students to use. The Dolch Word Lists were developed by Edward W. Dolch. He researched English texts published in the United States and found those words that show up the most often. By using these words, your alphabetization lesson will serve a dual purpose: You’ll be helping students learn to alphabetize word lists while at the same time reviewing the most important words they’ll need to know through their years of education.

Once you’ve downloaded the words, have students put them in order based on the first letter of each word.

If the First Letters Are the Same

How to alphabetize

If two or more words begin with the same letter, tell students to look at the second letter. Ask them: Which of the second letters comes first in the alphabet? If the first and second letters are the same, go to your third letter.

Students may have some difficulty with this task because they have to focus on multiple tasks: They need to first alphabetize the terms by the first letter of each word and then focus on the second letter (or the third) if the first letters of two or more words are the same. If students are struggling to remember the alphabet as they focus on these new tasks, review the alphabet and the proper order of letters as explained in the introduction.

The “A” words shown here are alphabetized according to the second letter. They are in order using the letters P-T-X.

Alphabetizing Titles

How to alphabetize

When alphabetizing titles, tell students they will not consider the words a, an, and the as part of the title. They will place those words at the end of a title and set them off with a comma. Use the image in this section to explain how to separate the articles and move them to the back of the titles before alphabetizing.

Teaching this particular skill may take a bit of preparation. First, download a free list of book titles such as one from Teachers First, which is divided according to age recommendations, or another from the​ New York Public Library. Copy and paste the lists onto a word-processing file and enlarge them. Cut out the titles and have students place them in order.

While you’re at it, check out one or two of these books from your school or city library and read them to students. This way you’ll bundle your lesson on alphabetizing words with teaching reading and listening skills.

Words That Are Similar

How to alphabetize

Tell students that if they find that two words are spelled the same way at the beginning, but one stops and the other continues, the shorter comes first. Explain that this is because a “blank” space is alphabetized before a letter space. For example, in the list on this image, B-E-E comes before B-E-E-S because there is a blank space after the word bee, whereas, the word bees ends with an “s.”

Alphabetize any list. and so much more!

Alphabetize list. If you need help alphabetizing a list for homework, for business, tech works, or you’re learning to alpabetize in Microsoft Word or Excel, you’ve come to the right place! The Alphabetize list tool is a sort tool that will take care of all your alphabetizing needs and put a list in ABC order – even in COVID-19 pandemic times!

How to Alphabetize a List Online

  • Step 1: To alphabetize your list, enter your list in the large text area, where it says enter your list of items below to sort them in alphabetical order. You can do this either by cutting and pasting from a Word or text document, or by typing your list in, line by line.
  • Step 2: If your list is separated by a comma, or has a space between each item, choose the corresponding option under “separate terms by.” The alphabetizer will sort automatically so you probably won’t need to change this – just leave it on auto unless you encounter problems.
  • Step 3: Make sure the alphabetize option is selected.
  • Step 4: Press the Alphabetize button beneath the text area.

There are plenty of options when alphabetizing, which are listed below. Please note that these explanations are very basic and don’t fully describe all the functionality available in the web app.

Alphabetize

This option simply alphabetizes your list (abc order). Use it as a sort tool to alphabetize a packing list, a list of movies, television shows, a business directory, comedies, cute boy names or girl names, a todo list, or a list of countries.

Alphabetize by Last Name

If you give The Alphabetizer a list of names, and you need to alphabetize that list by last name, like for a list of wedding guests, insurance companies, lawyers, etc, please choose this option. It will use a special algorithm to detect the last name in each name and will alphabetize your list accordingly.

Sort Titles

This option will help to alphabetize the titles of movies, films, books, records, music, laws, SEO terms – whatever you like – by ignoring articles (the, a, an, some, many) while sorting your list.

Make Lowercase

Sometimes you want to make all your text lowercase. This option will take all your text and make it lowercase.

Capitalize Titles

This will capitalize the titles of each line without alphabetizing the actual list. Once you’ve capitalized your titles, simply select the Alphabetize option and you put your list in alphabetical order.

Remove Duplicates

This option removes any duplicate lines from your list. This can be useful if you don’t realize you have the same thing written on more than one line and you don’t need it listed twice.

Reverse list

This option will take your list and reverse the order in which each term is listed. Turn your list on its head!

Strip HTML

A quick way of removing any extra HTML from your list. Good for when you have a list of links or text copied from the View Source section of a website or if you’re a coder or programmer that needs to display a web page without styling or links.

Randomize!

A fun list randomizer. Arrange the items of a list in random order. You could use this for a text game or to mix up a list. And don’t worry: if you mess up the order, you can select the Alphabetize option and to quickly put your list back in alphabetical order with the best sorting tool on the interwebs!

Number / Letter / Add Roman Numerals

This option lets you add numbers, letters, roman numerals, or another preface to each item in your list. You can also add a separator which will appear between the number/letter/roman numeral and your line of text. This is helpful for legal text, essay outlines, to enumarate lists, label book chapters, list sporting events, or anywhere you might need to add roman numerals to a list.

Add Custom Text

Save the time of manually adding some custom text to the beginning of each item in your list by using this option to automatically add text to the beginning of each item in your list.

Remove Word From Each Line

This option will let you remove the first word from each line in a list before putting it in abc order.

Ignore List Options

Sometimes you want to ignore a word, or words, at the beginning of a line when you alphabetize. This option will let you ignore the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th word at the beginning of each line. You can also ignore definite articles such as “the” or ignore indefinite articles such as “a, an, some, any” in the list.

Separate Terms With

This option functions best if left on “auto” but if you have problems, you can choose a character, or a custom character, with which to separate the terms that are on your list.

Here are some rules for alphabetical filing of your records, based on the Indiana Commission on Public Records – Records Management .

For data entry, always check for records having been entered with other spellings, before making a new record.

Contact me for data cleanup projects, including making your data consistent for proper alphabetizing.

1. Names (Nikki B. Schultz)

Alphabetize according to the last name first, then the first name, then any initial.

Schultz, Nikki B.

2. Initials (A.E. Richards)

Alphabetize an initial before a name beginning with the same letter. Data entry: enter full name if known.

Richards, A.E. before
Richards, Ashley E.

3. Names with prefixes, with or without spaces (Al, De, Del, De La, Dela, El, Las, Le, Les, Los, Van, Van der, Vander, Von, etc.)

Treat a surname with a prefix the same as any other surname.

Treat surnames with spaces as if were one word.

Data entry: Agree on a standard and keep to it. Suggestion: separate foreign language words (De la Cruz), unless commonly put together (LeBarbra)

LeBarbra, Mary before
Lebeuf, Michael

De la Cruz, Gloria before
Dela Cruz, Maria (enter as De la Cruz, Maria) before
De la Fuente, Cristobal before
Delaney, Mark

4. Abbreviated personal names
Wm. J. Klebsch
Barbara St. James

Alphabetize as though the names are spelled out. Exception: don’t spell out St. (for Saint).

Data entry: Spell out words, except St. for Saint.

Klebsch, William J. after
Klebsch, Whitley

Exception: St. James, Barbara after
Scranton, Richard

5. Hyphenated names or compound names (Jean Melius-Tiff, Maria Garcia Lopez)

Alphabetize the entire surname as one name (look for consistent use of the compound name, rather than using a maiden name as a middle name). Spanish and Italian language names often have compound names.

Data entry: Put the hyphen in if the person uses one.

Melius-Tiff, Jean after
Melius, Julie

Garcia Lopez, Maria

6. Professional titles with the name
(the Rev. Tom K. Stone)

Disregard the title when alphabetizing.

Data entry: put titles in separate fields (prefix like Mr or Rev., postfix like M.D.)

Stone, Tom K. (Rev.)

7. Personal titles
(John G. Richards, Jr.)

Alphabetize after other units in the name.

Richards, John R. Jr. before
Richards, John R. Sr.

8. Single letters in business names
(J & M Computers)

Index each letter as a single unit, disregarding prepositions and conjunctions.

J & M Computers before
KM Computers

9. Married titles
(Mrs. Alfred Lee, or Mrs. Margaret Lee)

Alphabetize according to the name provided.

Data entry: enter the given name (Mrs. Margaret Lee), with salutation as specified (Mrs. Alfred Lee)

Lee, Alfred Mrs., before
Lee, Margaret Mrs.

10. Abbreviations in business names
(SF Business Times)

Alphabetize as though abbreviations are spelled out.

Data entry: Spell out name, with alias for abbreviated form.

San Francisco Business Times before
Sanford Cleaners

11. Articles and prepositions
(Burton on Trent)

Small words and symbols are disregarded when alphabetizing.

Data entry: Enter full name, including articles and prepositions (Burton on Trent), with alias (Burton Trent). Discard “the”, or put at end (Pet Store, The)

Burton on Trent after
Burton Supplies

The Pet Store before
Price King

12. Hyphenated business names
(Klapp-Lapp Grocery)

Alphabetize each word as one unit.

Klapp-Lapp Grocery before
Klapp-Mars Auto Service

13. Compound business names
(Inter-State Cab Co.)

Index compound names as one unit.

Inter-State Cab Co. after
International Glass Co.

14. Compound geographic names
(Las Vegas Supply)

Alphabetize compound name as one unit (as if were LasVegas).

Las Vegas Supply after
Last Stop Supply

15. Possessives (Smith’s Candy)

Alphabetize each unit, disregarding the ‘s.

Data entry: include the possessive

Smith’s Candy before
Smith Grocery

16. Numbers in names
(59 th Street Salon)

Alphabetize in numerical sequence.

Data entry: Agree whether to use numbers or spell out the numerical words. Put the other spelling as an alias.

59 th Street Salon after
42 nd Street Theaters

17. Federal government
(Department of Defense)

When alphabetizing departments or Agencies, start with “United States Government”.

United States Government Department of Defense after
New Jersey Department of Agriculture

18. Foreign government
(Republic of China)

Alphabetize by the country name, then the department name.

China Republic before
Denmark Department of Education

19. Schools
(King Elementary, Bensalem, PA.)

Alphabetize by the name, then by city and state.

King Elementary, Bensalem, Pennsylvania before
King Elementary, Chicago, Illinois

20. Colleges and universities
(Princeton University)

Alphabetize by name, then by city and state.

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey before
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

21. Hospitals
(Morris County General)

Alphabetize as written, then by city and state.

Morris County General, Morristown, New Jersey before
Morris County General, Newtown, Alabama

22. Financial institutions
(Summit Bank)

Alphabetize as written, then by city and state.

Summit Bank, New York, New York before
Summit Bank, Tallahassee, Florida

23. Foreign names
(Bing Ho Yung)

When surnames and given names cannot be distinguished, alphabetize as they appear. Some cultures have family name first, some last, and some switch to match the culture they are living in – for example, some Chinese-American families use family name first while others match American customs.

Data entry: Check for record with alternate spellings (Bing, Ho Yung vs Yung, Bing Ho) and cross-verify (e.g. do phone numbers match). Consider labeling field “Family name” instead of “Last name”.

Bing Ho Yung before
Lin a Ho Yung

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It’s never fun to think about all the work it’s going to take when you have a long list you need to alphabetize. The good news is you can now alphabetize your list (in a variety of ways) in just a few seconds with the WordCounter Alphabetize Tool.

Step 1: Choose the type of list you have: a new line for each list item, a comma in between each list item or a space between each list item.

Step 2: Input your list into the text area.

Step 3: Choose the appropriate button on the left side for the type of alphabetizing function you want to have performed on your list.

That’s all there is to it. You will have your list alphabetized within seconds saving your time and headaches. Below are some of the tool’s feature options that are available:

Alphabetize

It does exactly what it says it will do — put your list into alphabetical order.

Alphabetize Categorized List

If you have several lists under different categories, you don’t have to input each list separately to alphabetize each of them. You can follow the directions to mark each category and the tool will separately alphabetize the information under each category for your convenience.

Alphabetize by Last Name

If you have a list of names you need to have arranged in alphabetical order, you probably don’t want that done by the first name. This option will arrange so the new list is alphabetized by the last name without you having to put the last name first.

Remove List Duplicates

It’s common for lists to accidentally have the same information input twice. For example, if you have a long email list, you may be worried your list may have duplicate emails, and you don’t want to send the same information out twice. Using this button will make sure that any duplicate content within the list will be removed.

Reverse List

There may be a time when you want your list to be alphabetized from “z to a” instead of from a to z. Choosing this button will give you a reverse alphabetized list.

Randomize List

Sometimes you want to change the order of the list you have, but don’t want it to be in a specific order. The randomize button will do this for you.

Add tags

If you are making a list for a blog post or to post online, you may want bullet points in front of each item on the list. Pressing this button will place the HTML tags on your list so it will show up as bullet points in your article.

Remove HTML

If you have a list that happens to include HTML tags as part of it, you can use the Remove HTML button to strip all of the HTML tags from the list. This will allow the list to be properly alphabetized.

Add Numbers / Letters

Once you have your list in the order that best fits your needs, you may want to add numbers, letters or some other preface to it. If this is the case, you can press this button and it will automatically number your entire list. If you want Roman numerals, capital letters, or small letters, you can click the wrench to choose one of these or customize to your liking.

Add Custom Text

If you need to add something to each entry on your list, this can take a significant amount of time, especially if the list happens to be long. Using the “Add Custom Text” button will allow you to add anything you want to each entry on the list. Clicking on the wrench will let you add the custom text and you can decide it you want it added to the beginning or end of each item on the list.

Change List Type

When you input your list, you need to choose how it’s formatted at the top of the tool. If you want to change the format of your current list to a different format, you can click on the “Change List Type” button. The default is a “New Line” list, but you can click on the wrench to change your current list to comma, space or your own custom list.

Ignore List Options

The bottom three check boxes allow you to ignore certain things when alphabetizing your list. For example, you may want to ignore definite and indefinite articles (or both) when alphabetizing the list. Check these boxes and they will be ignored. You can also choose to ignore certain word placement in the list when alphabetizing.

We hope you find this tool useful in formatting your lists to the way you want with minimal effort. We would love to hear what you think of this tool and if you have any suggestions to make it better. If you do, please use the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.

Most people know how to alphabetize a list in excel, but few of them actually know the best and fastest ways to do it. In this tutorial, I am going to highlight some of the best methods to alphabetize in Excel.

Table of Contents

What does alphabetizing a column means and what are its uses

Alphabetizing a column or list means sorting a list alphabetically in excel. It can be done both ways, either in ascending order or in descending order.

Uses of Alphabetic sorting in Excel

  1. It makes the data more sensible.
  2. It gives you the ease to search values based on alphabetical order.
  3. It also makes it easier for you to visually identify duplicate records in your data set.

Method 1 – Alphabetize using options from Excel Ribbon

This is one of the easiest ways to sort data in excel. Follow below use this method:

  • First, select the list which you wish to sort.

How to alphabetize

  • Next, navigate to the “Data” Tab on the Excel ribbon and click the “A-Z” icon for ascending order sort or the “Z-A” icon for descending sort.

How to alphabetize

Sorting data table with multiple columns using this method:

If you have a list with two columns like “Student Name” and “Roll number”. And you have to alphabetize this list based on “Student Names”. Then you should use the “Sort” button instead of the “A-Z” and “Z-A” buttons.

The sort button gives you more control over how you want the list to be sorted. It allows you to select only one column to be sorted, it takes care of your table headers and it can also sort your data on the basis of text font or color.

Follow the below steps to use this method:

  • First of all, select the table to be alphabetized.

How to alphabetize

  • After this click the “Sort” button, on the “Data” tab.

How to alphabetize

  • This will open a “Sort” dialog box, in the ‘Column’ dropdown select the column based on which you want to alphabetize your data.

How to alphabetize

  • In the ‘Sort On’ dropdown select the ‘values’ option. Using ‘Sort On’ dropdown you can sort your data based on cell colour, font colour or cell icons.

How to alphabetize

  • In the ‘Order’ field select “A-Z” for Ascending sort or “Z-A” for descending sort. If your data is without a header row then uncheck the ‘My data has headers’ checkbox, otherwise, leave it checked.

How to alphabetize

  • Finally, click on the ‘Ok’ button and your data is sorted.

Notice that the names are sorted but the corresponding roll numbers have not changed, so the data is still reliable.

Method 2 – Alphabetizing a column using shortcut keys

If you are someone who loves to use the keyboard more than doing the same tasks with a mouse, then here I will share a list of shortcut keys that will be useful for you while sorting columns in excel.

SITUATION RULE EXAMPLE
Keys Description
Alt + D, S This will open the Sort menu.
Alt + H, S, S This will simulate the click event of “A-Z” icon on the ribbon. (Ascending Sort)
Alt + H, S, O This will simulate the click event of “Z-A” icon on the ribbon. (Descending Sort)

Note before using these shortcuts make sure that you have already selected your data table.

Method 3 – Sort a list using Excel formula:

In this method, we will use excel formulas to alphabetize a list. The two formulas that we are going to use are COUNTIF and VLOOKUP.

Many of you would be thinking that “how we can sort a list using a CountIf function?” The trick behind this is, we can use the COUNTIF function to count values based on the given criteria.

For example: Suppose we have a list with some alphabets ‘o, l, n, m, p, q’ in a range A1:A6 . Now if we use a formula as:

The result would be 3 because only three alphabets (l, m, n) come before ‘o’ . This clearly indicates that the COUNTIF function if used properly can give us sorting orders.

Let’s use this concept in our previous example.

First of all, we will a temporary column named “Sorting order” to our existing table. After this, we will use a formula =COUNTIF($B$2:$B$11,” for the first student.

How to alphabetize

And then we will drag this formula to fill it in the entire range.

This formula gives the sorting order of each of the items in the list. Now, we just have to arrange the data based on the sorting order and for this, we will use a VLOOKUP function.

Here ‘sort number’ signifies the numbers in ascending order from 1-10. For descending order sort the numbers should be from 10-1.

How to alphabetize

Similarly, for the second and third items, you can use the formula as :

After applying this VlookUp formula the list gets alphabetized.

Tip: Instead of manually entering the 1-10 in the above formula, you can also use the row function to ease your task. Row() gives you the row number of the current cell.

So, with the use of the row function the formula would be:

Thanks to Chandoo for explaining this method so nicely. You can also find the same tutorial here.

Method 4 – How to alphabetize using Excel Macro

Here is another method for sorting your data, this method can be used if you are looking for alphabetizing your data using a macro.

So here is the macro:

Please note that you need to do some customizations in the above macro before using it. Following are the changes:

  • If your data is not starting from 1 st row then change the fromRow = 1
  • If you need to explicitly specify the row till which sorting should occur then change toRow = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.rows.Count
  • This macro sorts the data on the basis of Range “A:A”, but you can change it by changing Sort Key1:=ActiveSheet.Range(“A:A”) argument.
  • Change ‘ Order1:=xlAscending ‘ to ‘ Order1:=xlDescending ‘ for descending sort.
  • If your table doesn’t have a header row then change Header:=xlYes to Header:=xlNo

So, this was all about how to alphabetize in excel. Do share your thoughts about this topic.

Recommended Reading

Well, I am Ankit Kaul, the founder of Excel Trick. I am a die-hard fan of Microsoft Excel and have been working with spreadsheets for the past 10+ years. My only aim is to turn you guys into ‘Excel Geeks’. Check out more about me here.

How to alphabetize

Welcome to our mini teaching guide on alphabetizing!

Alphabetizing is an essential literacy skill, and the resources in this post will make it easy for you to teach it. Let’s dig in!

Why Teach Alphabetizing?

How to alphabetize

Even with modern technology, alphabetizing is used in many areas of our lives. In fact, you’ve probably used your alphabetizing skills this past week without even realizing it. Maybe you looked up a friend’s phone number in your contact list, or maybe you’ve looked something up in a book index.

Here are some other common uses of alphabetized lists:

  • Finding a song on your music playlist arranged by artist’s last name
  • Locating a recipe in a recipe box
  • Filing a document in a cabinet
  • Using a map for public transportation
  • Locating a store by using the mall directory
  • Looking up information in a textbook glossary
  • Finding a book on a library shelf

Four Stages of Alphabetizing

Children go through four stages when learning to alphabetize.

How to alphabetize

Here are hands-on activities and tips for each stage.

Stage 1: Put Letters in Order

At this beginning stage, kids learn to arrange letters in A to Z order. You can use letter tiles, Scrabble tiles, or squares of paper, or you can download our free ABC Caterpillar activity.

Play with Our Colorful Caterpillar

This adorable hands-on activity promotes letter recognition and builds pre-reading skills. And as an added bonus, you can use the letter cutouts from this activity for some of the additional activities described in the tips below!

Follow these tips to help reinforce Stage 1 alphabetizing skills:

  • Work with your child to put the letter tiles in order at the beginning of each spelling or reading lesson.
  • Sing the alphabet song together.
  • Demonstrate how to start from different points in the alphabet. For example, lay out letter tiles A through M, and then have your child start the alphabet song from L and finish alphabetizing tiles N through Z.
  • Hand your child the letter tiles in random order. Teach him that M and N are in the middle of the alphabet, so that when he gets those tiles he knows he should set them in the middle. As you hand your child each tile, he should decide if it is in the first half or the second half of the alphabet.
  • Ask questions such as “What letter comes after P?” and “Is H in the first half of the alphabet or the second half of the alphabet?”

Stage 2: Alphabetize to the First Letter

Once a child has mastered putting the letters in alphabetical order, teach him that words can be alphabetized, too.

Play “Sort the Seeds”

Sorting the seed packets in this hands-on activity from All About Reading Level 3 is a fun (and colorful!) way to practice alphabetizing words according to the first letter.

Stage 3: Alphabetize to the Second and Third Letters

In real-world applications, your child will come across multiple items that start with the same letter (for example, the names of children’s authors Sendak , Seuss , and Silverstein ). The next step is to look at the second or third letter to alphabetize them correctly.

Play “Who’s Coming to My Party?”

Alphabetizing to the second and third letters can be tricky—but not when you can play “Who’s Coming to My Party?” from AAR Level 4. This engaging activity will make learning this skill seem more like a party than a lesson!

Stage 4: Teach Common Rules for Advanced Alphabetizing

When your child is more advanced and is consistently able to alphabetize words to the second and third letter, you’ve reached the fourth stage of alphabetizing. Now your child will learn what to do with last names such as McAfee , Macauley , and O’Kearney; book titles that start with The; and numbers.

Download the Common Rules for Advanced Alphabetizing

Although alphabetizing is more difficult at this level, this handy quick-guide takes all the guesswork out of applying more advanced alphabetizing skills.

Remember, alphabetizing is an important skill, but it doesn’t have to be a boring one. With these tips, your child will be alphabetizing like a pro in no time!

Word supports simple and multi-level sorts for tabular data

How to alphabetize

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What To Know

  • Lists: Select the list. Go to Home >Sort. Pick Paragraph in Sort By and Text in Type. Choose either Ascending or Descending, and press OK.
  • Tables: Under Layout, go to Data >Sort. Pick Header Row in My List Has, the column in Sort By, Text in Type, and Asc. or Desc. Press OK.
  • Advanced: Select Column 1 and Sort By. Then, select Column 2 and Then By. Press OK. Select Options for more sorting controls.

This article explains how to alphabetize in Word, so you can save you loads of time and effort when you want to sort, organize, or classify text in tables, lists, or columns. These instructions apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2016 for Mac, and Word for Microsoft 365 for Mac.

How to Alphabetize a List in Word

Sort any list in alphabetic or reverse alphabetical order with little more than a few clicks of the mouse.

Select the text of your list.

From the Home tab, select Sort to open the Sort Text box.

How to alphabetize

Choose Paragraphs in the Sort By box and choose Text in the Type box.

Select Ascending (A to Z) or Descending (Z to A).

Then, press OK.

If you alphabetize a numbered list, the sorted list will remain numbered correctly.

This process will not sort a multilevel list properly.

How to Sort a Table Alphabetically

The process of sorting a table alphabetically is similar to sorting a list.

From the Layout tab, find the Data section, then select Sort to open the Sort dialog box. This dialog box supports several options.

Select Header Row under My List Has at the bottom of the box if your table has a header row. This setting prevents Word from including your headers in the sort process.

Choose the name of the column by which you want to sort the table in the Sort By list.

How to alphabetize

Choose the way you want to sort the table in the Type list. To sort alphabetically, choose Text.

Select Ascending or Descending to select the sort order.

Click OK to sort the table.

Advanced Table Sorting

Word supports multi-level sorting—a helpful feature if a primary sort column includes duplicate values.

Select Column 1 in the Sort By list of the Sort dialog box.

How to alphabetize

Select Column 2 in the Then By list.

Select OK to sort the table.

Select Options in the Sort dialog box for other advanced options. For example, sort text alphabetically using tabs, commas, or other separators; make the sort case sensitive; choose the language you want to use to sort text alphabetically in Word.

Word supports simple and multi-level sorts for tabular data

How to alphabetize

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What To Know

  • Lists: Select the list. Go to Home >Sort. Pick Paragraph in Sort By and Text in Type. Choose either Ascending or Descending, and press OK.
  • Tables: Under Layout, go to Data >Sort. Pick Header Row in My List Has, the column in Sort By, Text in Type, and Asc. or Desc. Press OK.
  • Advanced: Select Column 1 and Sort By. Then, select Column 2 and Then By. Press OK. Select Options for more sorting controls.

This article explains how to alphabetize in Word, so you can save you loads of time and effort when you want to sort, organize, or classify text in tables, lists, or columns. These instructions apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2016 for Mac, and Word for Microsoft 365 for Mac.

How to Alphabetize a List in Word

Sort any list in alphabetic or reverse alphabetical order with little more than a few clicks of the mouse.

Select the text of your list.

From the Home tab, select Sort to open the Sort Text box.

How to alphabetize

Choose Paragraphs in the Sort By box and choose Text in the Type box.

Select Ascending (A to Z) or Descending (Z to A).

Then, press OK.

If you alphabetize a numbered list, the sorted list will remain numbered correctly.

This process will not sort a multilevel list properly.

How to Sort a Table Alphabetically

The process of sorting a table alphabetically is similar to sorting a list.

From the Layout tab, find the Data section, then select Sort to open the Sort dialog box. This dialog box supports several options.

Select Header Row under My List Has at the bottom of the box if your table has a header row. This setting prevents Word from including your headers in the sort process.

Choose the name of the column by which you want to sort the table in the Sort By list.

How to alphabetize

Choose the way you want to sort the table in the Type list. To sort alphabetically, choose Text.

Select Ascending or Descending to select the sort order.

Click OK to sort the table.

Advanced Table Sorting

Word supports multi-level sorting—a helpful feature if a primary sort column includes duplicate values.

Select Column 1 in the Sort By list of the Sort dialog box.

How to alphabetize

Select Column 2 in the Then By list.

Select OK to sort the table.

Select Options in the Sort dialog box for other advanced options. For example, sort text alphabetically using tabs, commas, or other separators; make the sort case sensitive; choose the language you want to use to sort text alphabetically in Word.