How to Easily Change the Order of Paragraphs in a Word Document

By Lori Kaufman on August 11th, 2015

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When writing a document, most of us write the first draft, making changes as you go. Then, you edit it, rewrite it, and rearrange it. When rearranging a document, you may want to reorder some paragraphs. We’ll show you an easy way to do this.

Determine which paragraphs you want to reorder. Then, type the number “1” as the first character (then type a space) of the paragraph you want to be first in the revised order. Type the appropriate numbers as the first characters (with a space after each number) of all the paragraphs you want to reorder, similar to making a numbered list.

NOTE: When you add the numbers to the beginning of your paragraphs, Word may convert the paragraphs into a numbered list. If it converts a paragraph to a numbered list when you add a number to the beginning, press “Ctrl + Z” to undo the conversion. Your number will be left as you typed it. Also, if there are more than nine paragraphs you want to sort, make sure you add a leading “0” to your numbers (01, 02, 03, etc.).

Select all the paragraphs you numbered. If the paragraphs are not contiguous, select the first paragraph and then press the “Ctrl” key when selecting the remaining paragraphs with the mouse.

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Click the “Home” tab, if it’s not already active.

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In the “Paragraph” section, click the “Sort” button.

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The “Sort Text” dialog box displays. In the “Sort by” section at the top, make sure “Paragraphs” is selected in the first drop-down list. It should be selected by default. Then, select “Number” from the “Type” drop down list and make sure the “Ascending” radio button is selected. Accept the default setting of “No header row” under “My list has” and cllick “OK”.

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The paragraphs are automatically rearranged in the order specified by the numbers you added. You must manually delete the numbers from the beginning of the paragraphs when you’re done sorting them.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/11/15
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