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How to sort text lists in Word 2010

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A very useful action in Microsoft Word is that of text sorting. You select some rows of text and then use the icon “AZ” on the “Home" tab of Word’s ribbon UI. At the dialog that appears you usually would want to “Sort by: Paragraphs”, select “Type: Text” and choose whether you want to sort “Ascending” or “Descending”.

Note that this action can also sort tabular data (see “Sort by: Field” and the option on whether the list has a header row [column captions] or not).

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Renaming a file but preserving its sort order on Windows

Sometimes you may wish to rename a file to mark it as being not yet finished or in need to be worked on etc.

In such a case on Windows if you want to make sure the filename shows first/last depending on the sort order you can prefix its name with a "_", an underscore char (assuming you sort by name ascending or descending – quick way to toggle this is by clicking one or two times as needed onto the "Name" column title at the Details view of Windows Explorer).

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If you don’t want to ruin the alphabetical sort order you can prefix the file with "-" (the minus char). This seems to be a useful hack implemented into Windows, that is the "-" prefix is ignored when sorting by filename at a Windows Explorer folder view. You can even prefix with multiple minus chars there (all ignored). Using multiple dashes could help the file standout in the file list or help you visually order which one is more urgent to work on.

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