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Sorting table data

From: Word 2010 Essential Training

Video: Sorting table data

We have a table that we've been working with, but the rows of data aren't in any useful order. If a reader looks at this table, and they have to decide how it's organized, there isn't a pattern. They'll waste time trying to figure out the randomness of this data. Whenever we present a table, we should order it in a way that it makes sense to the people looking at it. We can use Word 2010's Sort feature to quickly rearrange the rows of our table in order. There are three kinds of data that Word recognizes. First, it recognizes plain text, like Ventura, CA, and Raul Morales.

Sorting table data

We have a table that we've been working with, but the rows of data aren't in any useful order. If a reader looks at this table, and they have to decide how it's organized, there isn't a pattern. They'll waste time trying to figure out the randomness of this data. Whenever we present a table, we should order it in a way that it makes sense to the people looking at it. We can use Word 2010's Sort feature to quickly rearrange the rows of our table in order. There are three kinds of data that Word recognizes. First, it recognizes plain text, like Ventura, CA, and Raul Morales.

It also recognizes numbers, like 5 and 1982. Finally, it recognizes dates. When we sort items, we always want to make sure we sort them in the correct type. If we sort, for example, a column of numbers as text, we'll get a result that we really didn't expect to see. So we'll try that so we can take a look at it. But sorting is very easy. The Sort tools are on the Layout tab under Table tools. We'll start by simply clicking anywhere in the table and then clicking Sort to open the Sort dialog box.

I'd like to sort this by city. So I'm going to choose Sort by > City. Word correctly identifies the Type of my data is Text and Ascending is alphabetical, A to Z. There's almost never a reason to sort text in descending order. What it looks like is a list sorted backwards. Pay attention here to the fact that Word correctly identifies that I have a header row. The reason it knows I have a header row is that all of the entries here are text.

If I had, for example, 2010-2011 budget year as one of my header choices, it might incorrectly assume I have no header row. What this determines is whether this row will be sorted as part of the data or kept above the sort. Having set my sort, correctly acknowledge that my header row exists, I'm going to click OK. We're going to sort this list by city, easily recognizable to a reader who would look and say, ah, sorted by city! Let's sort this list by state and then by city, also easy enough to do, sort by state, and then in cases where the state is the same, sort by city. Let's say OK.

We have a list where all of the California stores are listed first, but within the state of California, they are alphabetized, followed by the Florida stores where the city is also alphabetized. Let's take a look at sorting some numerical data. Let's click Sort. Let's click the number of Employees. I'm going to set this to none. Word correctly identifies this list as a list of numbers. It can do that because every entry here is a number.

No one typed in a value, like NA or some other text that would mislead Word. We're going to sort these in descending order with our largest stores on top. This would be 100 down to 0 sort, versus a 1 to 100 sort. I'm going to click OK. We have a list where our stores with the largest staffs are listed on top, and the lowest at the bottom. Let's sort this again and sort it in ascending order. So, we will get 4, 5, 7, 8, 12.

Now, what if Word misidentifies the type of data that this is? That most likely, again, happens because there are text entries in a column of data that otherwise should have numbers in it. I'm going to choose Sort. I'm going to tell Word that these are actually text entries. They're not numbers. When I do that, you'll notice I get a really weird sort: 12, 4, 5, 7, 8. I want to open that dialog box again so you can see it, because this is a frequently asked question in Microsoft Word.

If I sort as text, all Word does is the same thing that it does when it sorts by city or by state. It says does this start with a 1 or a 2 or a 3? So, it's looking at just the 1. So the 1s will be followed by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 7s and 8s. If I sort this by number, however, Word knows to look at the entire number as a value, not as simply a string of characters, and gives me back the sort that I'd like to have. Just one note, there is a limitation here.

In a Word table, I can only sort by three fields. So, if you imagine a phonebook where you have states, then cities, then last names, then first names, that's a kind of sort that Word can't handle. I can only sort by state, city, and last name, and then the first names would be randomized. There is, however, a way I can do this in Word: Instead of using a Word table, I'm going to insert a table from Excel, because Excel can sort by as many columns as you wish. Whenever you create a table of data in Microsoft Word, you should be careful to provide some kind of an order to the table that's recognizable to readers, or is explained in text that surrounds the table.

Fortunately, sorting is very easy to do in Microsoft Word 2010.

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This video is part of

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Word 2010 Essential Training

89 video lessons · 58518 viewers

Gini Courter
Author

 
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  1. 5m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
    3. Creating placeholder text
      2m 57s
  2. 33m 47s
    1. Using the Word interface
      8m 56s
    2. Understanding the Ribbon
      8m 10s
    3. Customizing the Quick Access toolbar
      3m 10s
    4. Using Word's document tools
      8m 5s
    5. Using the Navigation pane to find words or phrases in a document
      5m 26s
  3. 30m 53s
    1. Managing documents with Backstage view
      4m 42s
    2. Creating a new document from a template
      5m 11s
    3. Making it easy to find and open documents
      3m 59s
    4. Saving a Word document for yourself or others
      7m 1s
    5. Printing a document and choosing a printer
      3m 33s
    6. Setting print options
      6m 27s
  4. 24m 24s
    1. Selecting text using the mouse and keyboard shortcuts
      4m 57s
    2. Rearranging text using Cut, Copy, and Paste
      7m 38s
    3. Undoing and redoing actions
      4m 8s
    4. Finding and replacing text
      7m 41s
  5. 27m 40s
    1. Understanding fonts
      6m 32s
    2. Working with fonts
      5m 29s
    3. Applying basic formatting
      6m 25s
    4. Changing the case of text
      4m 22s
    5. Using text effects and adding impact to a document
      4m 52s
  6. 29m 44s
    1. Aligning and justifying paragraphs
      2m 55s
    2. Changing line spacing
      5m 2s
    3. Using indents and setting tabs
      7m 20s
    4. Creating a bulleted or numbered list
      6m 11s
    5. Keeping text together through page breaks
      4m 2s
    6. Applying shading and borders to paragraphs
      4m 14s
  7. 50m 10s
    1. Power formatting with styles
      7m 34s
    2. Changing a document's theme
      6m 59s
    3. Changing style sets, color sets, fonts, and paragraph spacing
      3m 31s
    4. Applying Quick Styles and clearing formatting
      5m 18s
    5. Creating a Quick Style set
      6m 24s
    6. Using the Navigation pane with styles
      3m 1s
    7. Easily creating a table of contents
      5m 32s
    8. Restricting formatting to a selection of styles
      4m 58s
    9. Creating a multilevel list using styles
      6m 53s
  8. 48m 1s
    1. Creating a table to organize text
      6m 11s
    2. Converting text to tables
      3m 36s
    3. Formatting tables for readability
      4m 8s
    4. Adding and removing columns
      5m 36s
    5. Sorting table data
      5m 19s
    6. Merging, splitting, and formatting cells to create a form
      8m 53s
    7. Converting a table to text
      2m 41s
    8. Inserting an Excel table for calculations and charts
      7m 18s
    9. Using Quick Tables
      4m 19s
  9. 1h 7m
    1. Illustrating documents with pictures, shapes, and clip art
      8m 43s
    2. Positioning, sizing, and cropping graphics
      6m 11s
    3. Wrapping text around graphics
      4m 54s
    4. Laying out text and graphics with a table
      6m 50s
    5. Adjusting brightness, contrast, and sharpness of photos
      4m 30s
    6. Applying special effects to graphics
      5m 4s
    7. Applying styles to graphics
      5m 40s
    8. Illustrating with charts: Inserting a chart from Excel
      8m 26s
    9. Illustrating with diagrams: Using SmartArt
      10m 22s
    10. Illustrating with screenshots: Capturing screenshots from your computer
      3m 17s
    11. Illustrating with WordArt
      3m 35s
  10. 34m 10s
    1. Understanding building blocks
      3m 41s
    2. Numbering pages and applying headers and footers
      6m 56s
    3. Adding cover pages and blank pages
      3m 50s
    4. Using text boxes for document design
      8m 16s
    5. Creating and saving custom headers and footers
      6m 21s
    6. Creating and saving Quick Parts
      5m 6s
  11. 23m 40s
    1. Setting page margins, page orientation, and paper size
      6m 30s
    2. Inserting sections to organize a document
      5m 17s
    3. Using columns
      5m 23s
    4. Using watermarks, page borders, and colors
      6m 30s
  12. 20m 15s
    1. Checking spelling and grammar
      5m 6s
    2. Setting proofing and AutoCorrect options
      7m 21s
    3. Using the Thesaurus and Research and Translation tools
      7m 48s
  13. 21m 3s
    1. Tracking changes and showing markup
      5m 29s
    2. Accepting and rejecting changes
      4m 35s
    3. Comparing and combining documents
      6m 42s
    4. Coauthoring documents with SharePoint
      4m 17s
  14. 40m 56s
    1. Trouble-free document sharing
      5m 38s
    2. Emailing a document
      4m 4s
    3. Saving a document to a Windows Live drive
      4m 8s
    4. Saving to SharePoint and sharing a document link
      3m 59s
    5. Using Word on the web
      3m 4s
    6. Blogging with a document
      4m 27s
    7. Finalizing and password-protecting a document
      3m 38s
    8. Restricting editing for all or part of a document
      6m 3s
    9. Digitally signing a document
      5m 55s
  15. 25m 18s
    1. Changing Word options
      5m 42s
    2. Customizing the Ribbon
      7m 22s
    3. Creating and playing a macro
      8m 8s
    4. Assigning a macro to the Ribbon
      4m 6s
  16. 31s
    1. Goodbye
      31s

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