One of the features I always wished Word had was the ability to alphabetize a list of words.  I always copied my words into Excel, fixed them up one per row, sorted them there, and then pasted back into Word.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Word has had this feature since version 2.0!

Formerly a hidden gem on the Table menu, most people think of the Sort command to sort rows or columns within Word tables.  The secret is that, despite being on the Table menu, the Sort command works just fine without a table.

In Office 12, we've added this feature to the Paragraph chunk on the Write tab--and you can use it to sort part of your document very quickly.


The "Sort" command in the Word 12 "Write" tab

By default, the Sort feature sorts by "paragraph," although this isn't as limiting as it sounds.  If you type a list of words and press Enter after each one, every word is its own "paragraph."  Similarly, a bulleted or numbered list has each item stored as a separate paragraph, so Sort does exactly what you'd expect here as well.

To use the feature, simply select the text you want to sort, click the Sort button, and voila, alphabetized text.  You can also sort by number or date if that is more useful for what you're doing.

This is an example of how a simple reorganization of feature placement makes all the difference; I never thought about using Sort in Word because I thought it was for tables only.  Now, we've moved it to a more logical, discoverable position in the Office 12 Ribbon, and we've started to receive a lot of nice mail from people just discovering it for the first time.  (They usually think it's a new feature!)

No need to copy your text into Excel anymore for simple sorting--you can do it right from within Word.  No table required.  Office 12 makes it easy.