How to Alphabetize in Word

Word supports simple and multi-level sorts for tabular data

Learning how to alphabetize in Word can save you loads of time and effort when you want to sort, organize, or classify text in tables, lists, or columns. The method you use depends on the way your text is set up, as well as the version of Word you are using. 

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. Instructions are similar for Word 2010 and 2007, but are substantially different for Word 2003 and previous versions.

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.

Word sort feature

Select the text of your list. From the Home tab, select Sort to open the Sort Text box.

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 select 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.

Sort Word tables
The Table Tools tab helps alphabetize in Word.

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

  1. 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. 
  2. Choose the name of the column by which you want to sort the table in the Sort By list. 
  3. Choose the way you want to sort the table in the Type list. To sort alphabetically, choose Text.
  4. 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.

Advanced Sorting in Word
Sort by multiple columns in a Word table.

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