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Weekly Computer Tip # 139
14 January 2006

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arrange information alphabetically, numerically or by date (Microsoft Word)

What I often hear from my course participants is that they know Microsoft Word has a function to sort information in a table. But they always seem flabbergasted (love the word!) to see that this same feature can be used to quickly sort paragraphs or a list (for example, bulleted or numbered items or items arranged in tabular format). So, although the Sort feature is located under the Table menu, your text does not have to be in table format to be able to perform a sort.

Here's how:

  1. Select the paragraphs or the list entries to be sorted. (See tip # 50 http://www.roem.co.uk/tip_50.html and # 51 http://www.roem.co.uk/tip_51.html for tricks and shortcuts for selecting blocks of text.)
  2. Choose the Table, Sort command.
  3. By default the sort option is set to Paragraphs. To sort selected list entries, select the field by which the list is to be sorted initially. If necessary, select a second and a third sort field.
  4. If necessary, change the sort order (Ascending or Descending) for any sort field.
  5. Click on the OK button.

Your paragraphs are now sorted by the first word in each paragraph; lists will be sorted by the entries from one, two or three fields and will be arranged from the beginning of the alphabet, the lowest number, or the earliest date (assuming you accepted the default - Ascending - order).

By the way, when I moved to this country (many, many moons ago!) I loved learning new words and "flabbergasted" was definitely one of my favourites. Look up the word and it tells you "To cause to be overcome with astonishment; astound." Well, to me it sounds more like being appalled over how much weight you have gained. ;-)

Until next week.

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January 2006