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Microsoft KB Archive/104877

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Knowledge Base

WD: Word Sorts Numeric Index Entries as Alphabetic Entries

Article ID: 104877

Article Last Modified on 8/16/2005


  • Microsoft Word 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 6.0a
  • Microsoft Word 6.0c
  • Microsoft Word 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 95a
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Word 6.01 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Word 6.01 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh

This article was previously published under Q104877


In an index, Microsoft Word incorrectly sorts INDEX ENTRY (XE) field text that contains numbers. For example, if your document contains the following numeric XE fields,

{XE "735"}
{XE "76"}
{XE "7123"}

the entries appear in the following order when you compile the index:



Word sorts numbers in the same way that it sorts alphabetic entries, that is, one character at a time. For example, Word places all numbers that begin with 1 (such as 12, 156, or 1147) before all numbers that begin with 2 (such as 22, 256, or 2276). If two or more items begin with the same character, Word evaluates subsequent characters in each item to determine which item should come first. For example, Word places 124 before 19 based on the second digit (2 is smaller than 9, so 124 comes before 19).


To work around this problem, add a sorting text argument to your XE field. The sorting text argument is the index entry number padded with leading zeros. Pad the number with leading zeros so all your numeric XE fields contain the same number of digits. In other words, the sorting text arguments should contain as many digits as the largest number used in an XE field.

To correctly sort the numbers listed in the "Symptoms" section above, insert the following XE fields:

{XE "735;0735"}
{XE "76;0076"}
{XE "7123;7123"}

Word places these XE entries in the following order in your index (notice that Word sorts the entry based on the sorting text argument instead of the actual XE text, but places the actual XE text in the index):



"Microsoft Word User's Guide," version 6.0, chapter 20, "Indexes, Tables of Contents, and Other Tables".

Additional query words: sorting wrong order

Keywords: kbprb kbfield KB104877