Microsoft Word’s table insertion feature lets you not only add tables to your Word documents, but do so fairly intuitively and quickly and format them with borders, colors and shading. Tucked away on an almost-hidden tab is another useful feature that lets you alphabetize tables. There’s no need to start from scratch or cut and paste cell contents when you can have Word do it for you in a click.

Table for One

After you’ve opened the Word document and scrolled to the location of the table, you’ll need to decide whether you’re alphabetizing the entire table or just a column. To start either process, highlight the table. This brings up the Table Tools tab, which does not show by default in Word. If the table is not selected, you will not see the tab and its accompanying two tabs Design and Layout.

The ABC VIP Table

To start the sort process, highlight the entire table if you want to alphabetize the entire table, or just the column you want to alphabetize. Click the “Layout” tab on the Table Tools tab, then click the “Sort” button on the ribbon. Choose the column by which to alphabetize the table, where applicable, or leave the settings as their defaults and click the “OK” button. You can also do multiple tiers of alphabetizing, such as first by column one, then column two, depending on your table.

Setting the Table

To first add a table into Word, click the “Insert” tab, then click the “Table” button. Drag the cursor for the number of rows and columns you would like. You can always change these after you’ve “set” the table. Once the table is inserted into the Word document, you can fill the cells with text and then use the alphabetizing process.