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Sort a Table in Word – Instructions and Video Lesson

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Sort a Table in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user sorting a table in Word.

Sort a Table in Word: Overview

            You can sort a table in Word that is used for storing and organizing data. It is possible to sort a table in Word by one or more columns of data in the table. You can sort a table in Word both alphabetically or numerically. You can also sort column data in either ascending (A-Z, 1-9) or descending (Z-A, 9-1) order.

            To sort a table in Word, click into the table to sort. Then click the table’s “Layout” contextual tab in the Ribbon. Note that if you are using Word 2016 or earlier, this tab appears within the “Table Tools” contextual tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Sort” button in the “Data” button group to open the “Sort” dialog box. You use this dialog box to sort the table information.

            If your table has column headers, or titles, for each data column, you can sort the table using those names. To show the field names in the “Sort by” drop-down menus, select the “Header row” option. This option appears in the “My list has” section at the bottom of this dialog box. If you don’t have column headers, instead select the column number by which to sort the data. Select either the column names or numbers from the “Sort by” drop-down menus.

            After choosing by which columns to sort, you then select the type of data in the column. Select the type of data contained in the column from the “Type:” and “Using:” drop-down menus. Your data type choices are text, number, or date. Then select in what order you want to sort the column’s data: “Ascending” or “Descending.”

Sort a Table in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user sorting a table in Word.

Sort a Table in Word – Instructions: A picture of a user sorting a table in Word.

            You can sort by an individual column or by multiple columns at the same time. To sort by multiple columns, repeat the same process you just completed for the “Then by” sections. Use the “Then by” drop-downs instead of the “Sort by” drop-down for each. You can sort a table by up to three columns. Once you have decided how to sort the table, click the “OK” button to perform the sort.

Sort a Table in Word: Instructions

  1. To sort a table in Word, click into the table to sort.
  2. Then click the table’s “Layout” contextual tab in the Ribbon. Note that if you are using Word 2016 or earlier, this tab appears within the “Table Tools” contextual tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Then click the “Sort” button in the “Data” button group to open the “Sort” dialog box.
  4. To show field names in the “Sort by” drop-downs for tables with column headers, select the “Header row” option.
  5. This option appears in the “My list has” section at the bottom of this dialog box.
  6. If you don’t have column headers, instead select the column number by which you want to sort the data.
  7. Select either the column names or numbers from the “Sort by” drop-down menus.
  8. After choosing by which columns to sort, then select the type of data in the column.
  9. Select the type of data contained in the column from the “Type:” and “Using:” drop-down menus. Your data type choices are text, number, or date.
  10. Then select in which order to sort the column’s data. You can choose either “Ascending” or “Descending” order.
  11. To sort a table in Word by multiple columns, repeat steps 7 through 10 within the following “Then by” sections, as needed.
  12. To perform the sort after deciding how to sort the table, click the “OK” button.

Sort a Table in Word: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Sorting Tables,” shows how to sort a table in Word. The following video lesson on how to sort a table in Word is from our complete Word tutorial, titled “Mastering Word Made Easy v.2019 and 365.”

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