Microsoft Word - Sort Table Data By The Word Or Phrase Of Your Choice (Word 2002)

When you have a table of names, its often wise to store first names in one cell and last names in another. That way, you can easily sort the table by first name or by last name. This practice doesn't just extend to first and last names--whenever you create a table, it's simply good practice to break each unit down into its smallest parts, then store each part in a separate cell. For instance, if you're working with a list of contacts, don't just store first and last names in separate cells. Split each person's city, state, and ZIP code information into separate cells, too. Breaking down information like this makes your table more versatile so it can be sorted more easily.

But if you find yourself challenged with sorting a list that isn't so efficiently organized, you don't have to rebuild the entire table in order to sort it. In Word 2002, you can now use the Sort feature's advanced options to sort by a specific word or phrase in each column. To do so:

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere within the table, then choose Table | Sort.
  2. Click the Options button. In the Separate Fields At panel, select the character that separates each word or phrase in your table. (If a character other than tabs or commas separates each item, choose the Other option button, and then enter the appropriate character in the corresponding text box.) Click OK to return to the Sort dialog box.
  3. In the Sort dialog box, set up your search criteria as usual. However, choose the appropriate sorting unit (such as Word 2 or Field 2) from the Using dropdown lists. When you've finished, click OK to perform the sort.

Note: Although these advanced sorting features are disabled for tables in earlier versions of Word, you can use them to sort text that's delimited by tabs, commas, or other characters.

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