Rasmussen University: FAQS banner

How can I quickly and easily alphabetize my References list in Word?

Image of Microsoft Word Ribbon

Image of Sort Text Box

FAQ Actions

Comments (16)

Use this form to ask Ramussen's library team a question. You can generally expect a response in 24 hours or less Monday through Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM Central Time (by the next business day on holidays). Need an answer faster? Use the search box at the top of our FAQs  page.

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

Sort a list alphabetically in Word

You can sort a one-level bulleted or numbered list so the text appears in ascending (A to Z) or descending (Z to A) alphabetical order. 

Select the list you want to sort.

Go to Home > Sort .

Paragraph section in Word with Sort pointed out

Set Sort by to Paragraphs and Text .

Choose Ascending (A to Z) or Descending (Z to A).

Select OK .

On the Home tab, click Sort .

On the Home tab, click the Sort button

In the Sort Text dialog box:

Under Sort by , select Paragraphs .

Next to Type , select Text .

Choose Ascending or Descending .

With Word for the web you can create numbered and bulleted lists, but you can’t sort lists alphabetically. You can sort lists alphabetically in the desktop version of Word.

If you have Word, select Open in Word .

Then follow the instructions in the Windows tab.

For info on sort options, see Sort dialog box .


Need more help?

Expand your skills.


Get new features first


Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback.

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word

An annotated bibliography is an important part of any research document. Let's see how to create one with the help of Microsoft Word.

Sometimes, the value of scholarship is in the documents you create to prove it. Every scholar wishes not to get bogged down by paperwork. But look at it this way—the academic document advertises your credibility and the thoroughness of your research. It is also the Kevlar against plagiarism (and sometimes the cause of it).

Every academic document has its own nuts and bolts. Today, let's talk about an important one— the annotated bibliography .

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph(s) is a description of the source and how it supports your paper.

It is the one document that can make your and your professor's life easier as you end your research paper with a flourish.

The Annotated Bibliography: Let's Define It

It's important not to confuse an annotated bibliography with a regular bibliography or works cited.

A regular bibliography is simply a list of source citations. Nothing more. The screen below is an example of a regular bibliography. As you can see, it doesn't go into deeper detail about the books or sources mentioned.

An annotated bibliography has a few more parts to it. It is easy to get the idea from the meaning of the word “annotation”. According to Merriam-Webster, an annotation is:

A note added to a text, book, drawing, etc., as a comment or explanation.

Here's what a common annotated bibliography looks like. I am sure you can instantly make out the extra parts that go into framing it.

As you can see, the sample above starts with the usual bibliographic citation. Then, it includes a summary and a clear evaluation of the source you used for researching your topic. The intent behind adding your own summary and analysis after the primary or secondary source is to define the topic area and how it applies to your research. You have to add an annotation each time that you create a new source.

It is a lot of work. But this effort from you helps the reader find useful information at a glance. It tells the reader how each borrowed information has helped the progress of the paper. And, it offers everyone a window into your thinking behind the topic you have selected.

Using Word to Create an Annotated Bibliography

The easiest way to create an annotated bibliography in Microsoft Word? Use a template to save time.

But it is always better to create one from scratch and sharpen your research writing skills in the process. It is not difficult, so don't hold yourself back. You have to keep in mind the style of the documentation required for your research. There are distinguishing differences between the APA, AMA, and MLA Styles.

I am going to follow the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style and show how to create a well-formatted document in Microsoft Word in five basic steps.

1. Set Up Your Word Document . Go to Ribbon > Layout > Margins > Normal (1-inch margins on all sides).

2. Set the font. MLA recommends a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman). Go to Home > Font and choose Times New Roman and 12 pt . Also, go to the Paragraph group and choose 2.0 for double-spaced line settings.

Start the Annotated Bibliography

3. Choose the location. An annotated bibliography begins on a new page that follows the end of your research sections. Type “Annotated Bibliography” at the top and center-align it on the page. It should be capitalized and centered—not bolded or underlined.

4. Choose your sources. Research and record the information that pertains to your topic. A properly formatted citation comes first, and you have to cite your source according to the MLA Style.

The MLA citation style for a book follows this sample sequence:

Author, A.A. Write the Title of Work in Italics . Publisher City, State: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium.

Example: Smith, J. Just a Good Book That You Can Cite . New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Print.

The citation is the most important part—so do follow the format religiously by following the style format guide. There are many online sources that cover the popular citation styles in more detail.

5. Indent the second line. The second line of the citation uses a hanging indent to offset half-an-inch from the left margin. Just hit enter at the end of the first line and then press the Tab key to create the hanging indent. You can also adjust it with the hanging indent marker on the ruler. So, your citation will look like this:

As you can see above, each individual citation will start flush from the 1-inch margin. But everything from the second line will be offset 0.5 inches to the right.

To set the hanging indents, you can also go to Ribbon > Paragraph > Click on the Paragraph settings arrow to display the dialog box. Under Indentation , click on Special > Hanging . By default, the hanging indent is set to 0.5 inches.

Microsoft Word does not always like to space things properly. So, you might have to tweak it by hand and indent everything from the second line onward.

Use Microsoft Word's Bibliography Tool

Microsoft Word has a built-in bibliography tool you can use to manage your citations. On the Ribbon , go to the References tab.

In the Citations & Bibliography group, click the arrow next to Style . This looks slightly different on Microsoft Word for Mac, but can be found in the same area.

Click the style that you want to use for the citation and source, e.g., MLA.

Select the location where you want to start the citation. Then, click Insert Citation .

Two options are available in the dropdown menu.

If you choose Add New Source , enter all the citation details in the Create Source box. Click OK .

You can preview the citation in the Manage Sources dialog box.

Microsoft Word also helps you manage your long list of sources. The Office Support page also explains the nitty-gritty of bibliographies.

You can also use online citation generators, though there is more value in doing it yourself. As in everything, practice makes perfect. If you are a Word newbie, take time to learn all the tricks the Office suite has up its sleeve . And remember, automatic citation apps can make bibliographies easier to write.

If you're trying to create an annotated bibliography on Windows for Mac, then you'll be relieved to hear that the process is almost identical.

Write the Annotation

Just to remind you again: the annotation begins below the citation. The annotated text is also indented below the citation. The first line of the citation that begins with the author's last name is the only text that is flush left in the entire bibliography.

The paragraphs you include will depend on the aim of your bibliography. Some annotations may summarize, some may analyze a source, while some may offer an opinion on the ideas cited. Some annotations may include all three paragraphs. In brief: it can be descriptive, analytical, or critical. But it follows a specific order…

In the MLA Style, annotated bibliographies have to be arranged alphabetically according to the last names of the first author mentioned in each of the citations. So, just copy-paste each annotation in the proper order.

A Few Resources for the MLA Style

One of the best videos I could find on YouTube that explains the entire process in detail comes from Columbus State Library.

It's also useful to keep these two official documentation sites bookmarked.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a useful resource for understanding style formats quickly. Lastly, if you need to cite a YouTube video in MLA Style , then this guide could be helpful.

Is Writing an Annotated Bibliography Hard?

The research is the hard part. Don't make turning your research into the desired format harder than it should be. It really isn't. Academicians have turned it into something mystical!

Just pay attention to the little details. If you are used to the APA Style, a move to MLA Style can spark mistakes. That could be the difference between a pat on the back or a red mark.

Writers King Professional Content Writing Services

How to arrange References in alphabetical order (2 automatic options) you never knew

How to arrange References in alphabetical order -2 automatic options

At the end of every academic work, it is expected that one should include his/her source of information which is known as REFERENCES/REFERENCING. The references are expected to be arranged chronologically (in ascending order: A-Z). When the list of references is much to deal with in terms of arranging them in alphabetical order, it becomes a problem and as a result, could lead to frustration and abandonment of such work at that stage of writing.

Recommended:  Writing Chapter Five of Research Project -Guide to Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendation

Easy step on how to arrange references in alphabetical order.

Most referencing style /format does not require you to provide them the way they appeared in the text (in-text citations), hence for neatness and ease of access, re-arranging them to be in chronological order might be required. Outside the use of shortcut above, let us practically see how to arrange References in alphabetical order.

how to arrange References in alphabetical order

The image above shows a list of books but not  in order  by the authors’ surnames. How can we put the references/Bibliography in alphabetical order?

the first thing you do is to  highlight  all the text you want to alphabetize. After that, make sure that your screen is showing the Microsoft word HOME. Below the HOME Title Bar, you will see the FONT TYPE and FONT SIZE  and same row, look out for the  little button  next to the paragraph mark as seen in the image below.

how to arrange References in alphabetical order

Press the  A-Z button. You’ll see a pop-up ( dialogue box). See image below.

how to arrange References in alphabetical order

Recommended: Complete Guide on research project writing and graduation thesis

There are several options for  ordering text , which can also be found in Excel. By default, it will resolve the text in ascending order (A-Z) but where you have a different arrangement (descending order – Z-A), you can change it accordingly. After selecting the ordering format/style click on OK. Below is the result of the arranged text in alphabetical order.

how to arrange References in alphabetical order

Kindly note that you can revert your changes by using the UNDO button or  Ctrl+Z if you notice something went wrong or some references split inappropriately.

Also Read: Guidelines for writing a literature review

This is one of the ways you can maximize time when doing your papers, assignment or any research work.

Was this post helpful? Kindly share to reach your friends who might be struggling to pick their references one by one trying to arrange in alphabetical order.

Do not forget to comment below to let us know how helpful this tutorial was to you and also to drop your research-related questions.

Related Articles

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

thanks for the tutorial , i spent and wasted my time trying to arrange in alphabetical order but nothing but here you saved my day

Drop your comment, question or suggestion for the post improvement Cancel reply

How to Alphabetize a Bibliography

Last Updated: February 7, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 53,620 times.

Alphabetizing a bibliography may sound complicated, but it's really not. First, though, you must understand the basics of alphabetizing. Even you think you know how to alphabetize, you may find yourself wondering what to do when you run into a hyphenated word, for instance. You also need to know some of the basic rules of citations, so you know what to use to alphabetize the list. Finally, you can put your list in order.

Using the Basics of Alphabetization

Image titled A sample bibliography showing sources alphabetized by name.

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 2

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 3

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 4

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 5

Applying the Basics of Bibliographical Alphabetization

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 6

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 7

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 8

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 9

Alphabetizing the Bibliography

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 10

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 11

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 13

Image titled Alphabetize a Bibliography Step 14

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like


About This Article

Michelle Golden, PhD

Reader Success Stories

Mojisola Babajide

Mojisola Babajide

Jun 16, 2019

Did this article help you?

Mojisola Babajide

Featured Articles

Create a Hotspot in Windows 11

Trending Articles

How to Fold a Gum Wrapper Heart in 9 Simple Steps

Watch Articles

Make Tabasco Sauce

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word


APA 7th Edition Guide

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotation

Formatting an annotated bibliography.

Components of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation --  under the reference entry.  

An annotated bibliography includes:

Example of an annotated bibliography entry:

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

An  an n otated bibliography is composed of the full APA reference for a source followed by notes and commentary about that so urce. T he word  “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”.  Annotation s are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive.

Annotations are generally between five to seven sentences in length and appear directly under the APA reference.  The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin and lines up with the hanging indent of the APA reference.

Use the question prompts below as a guide when writing annotations:

• 2 to 4 sentences to  summarize   the main idea(s) of the source.

     - What are the main arguments?

     - What is the point of this book/article?

     - What topics are covered?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  assess   and  evaluate   the source.

     - How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

     - Is this information reliable? current?

     - Is the author credible? have the background to write on this topic?

     - Is the source objective or biased?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  reflect   on the source.

     - Was this source helpful to you?

     - How can you use this source for your research project?

     - Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Each entry begins with an APA reference for the resource with the annotation appearing directly beneath. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. The entire document is typed on one of the six approved font styles and sizes and is double spaced.  There is no additional space between entires.

Consider using Academic Writer or NoodleTools to create and format your annotated bibliography.  

how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

APA Citation Style Resources and Tools

Apa academic writer.

Use the tools in the  References tab to create APA references for the resources in your annotated bibliography.  The form includes a text box for your annotation.  You can create your title page and assemble your annotated bibliography in the Write tab in this authoritative resource.

Create and format your annotated bibliography in NoodleTools .  Find information on how to create an account, create APA references, and creating and formatting an annotated bibliography in the NoodleTools Guide.

This video below provides an overview of how to create an annotated bibliography including evaluating resources, writing annotations, creating APA references, and formatting the final document in the APA style. 


Chicago Style Guide - 17th Edition

Hints for Successful Bibliographies

Bibliography Hints

Having a separate working document started to track your resources means you can add and delete citations as you conduct your research. This way, your bibliography will be almost complete even before you finish writing your paper–​a huge help to avoid the stress of having to undertake the detail-oriented work of creating a full bibliography as your deadline draws near!

Citing Works by the Same Author in a Bibliography

Citing Different Works by the Same Author in a Bibliography

The use of three em dashes (———.) was previously used in Chicago style reference lists in place of multiple successive entries of a single author's name. However, in it's 17 th  edition, the  Chicago Manual of Style   discourages the use of  three em dashes  (———.) to replace author's names. This adaptation is due largely to changes in publishing technologies. 

To correctly cite two or more works by the same author  in your bibliography, arrange entries chronologically from oldest to newest publication.  

LastName, FirstName.  Title of Work . PlacePublished: Publisher, OldestPublicationYear.

LastName, FirstName.  Title of Work . PlacePublished: Publisher, MostRecentPublicationYear.

Maracle, Lee.  Celia's Song . Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2014.

Maracle, Lee. Talking to the Diaspora . Winnipeg: ARP Books, 2015.

Maracle, Lee.  My Conversations with Canadians . Toronto: BookThug, 2017.


The way you cite different works by the same author in your footnotes or endnotes does not change.  This variation is for bibliographies only .

Bibliography Tips

Writing a Bibliography

The Chicago notes and bibliography (humanities) style uses notes (either footnotes or endnotes) and a bibliography at the end of the paper.

It is strongly recommended, but not absolutely required, that you cite your sources in both notes and a bibliography. If you are considering not providing a bibliography, be sure to consult your instructor first since it is still standard practice to include both notes and a bibliography. 

Key formatting aspects of formatting a bibliography in the Chicago style include:

For an excellent sample of a bibliography , check out the Chicago Manual of Style Sample Paper  (notes and bibliography/humanities style) from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

Bibliographies - The Hanging Indent in MS Word

The Hanging Indent

In the Chicago style, after the first line of each bibliographic citation, each entry is indented ½ inch or 5 spaces from the left margin. This is called a hanging indent .  Formatting the hanging indent can sometimes be a frustrating task. If you are using MS Word to produce your research paper, you may find it helpful to reveal the ruler tool while you work.

By setting the hanging indent marker before you begin your bibliography , your entries will be created with the correct indentation formatting as you type or paste them into the Word document – saving time for more important work (like writing the paper itself!).

You can also use the hanging indent marker to adjust the indents of bibliographic entries you have already made . Try selecting all of the text on the page while moving the hanging indent marker to adjust all entries at once. Entries will need to be separated by a hard return (also known as a hard break or full carriage return) in order for this to work.

Hanging indent in MS Word

Annotated Bibliographies

Making an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography contains descriptive or evaluative comments on the sources included in a bibliography. Each entry consists of two parts: the citation and the annotation .

Annotations are usually  brief and limited to approximately 100 to 300 words . However, always be sure to check with your instructor  to see what the required word count is for your specific assignment.

Annotations come in various forms. Depending on assignment requirements, they can be merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments, or contain evaluative information about the quality of scholarship in a resource. Such evaluative information may consider the logic of authors' arguments and the quality of their evidence.  

For more information , see the Camosun guide,  Annotated Bibliography: How to Create One . 

Allen, Donald M., ed.  The New American Poetry . New York: Grove Press,1960.

Concentrates on the postwar period from 1945 to 1960 and presents the work of poets who identified themselves with anti-formalist movements or waves, often associated with fugitive publications and little magazines.

Battle, Ken. "Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits." In  A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada , edited by Katherine Covell and Howe, R. Brian, 21-44. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007.

Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.


  1. APA Annotated Bibliography Guide With Examples

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

  2. Bibliography Alphabetical Order Generator

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

  3. Does apa annotated bibliography have to be in alphabetical order

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

  4. How to Alphabetize a Bibliography: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

  5. Annotated Bibliography Alphabetical Order By Title

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word

  6. How to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order

    how to put annotated bibliography in alphabetical order in word


  1. modified annotated bibliography

  2. Creating an annotated bibliography

  3. How to do a Bibliography

  4. Astanga Hridayam Audio Book

  5. [Splatoon 3] Clash Blaster

  6. Annotated Bibliography Guide


  1. Alphabetizing References in Word

    Alphabetizing References in Word is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

  2. Putting your Reference List/Bibliography into alphabetical order

    A quick cheat you can use in Word to put your reference list in alphabetical order.

  3. How can I quickly and easily alphabetize my References list in Word?

    Answer · Select all of the references on your page (do not select the heading on the page: References) · On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Sort

  4. Sort a list alphabetically in Word

    Select the list you want to sort. · Go to Home > Sort. Paragraph section in Word with Sort pointed out · Set Sort by to Paragraphs and Text. · Choose Ascending (A

  5. APA bibliography not sorted alphabetically for Word for Mac

    Select the bibliography contents>use the AZ sort feature to sort them. Thanks,. Rena.

  6. How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word

    In the MLA Style, annotated bibliographies have to be arranged alphabetically according to the last names of the first author mentioned in each of the citations

  7. How to arrange References in alphabetical order (2 automatic

    Easy step on how to arrange References in alphabetical order · Highlight the entire reference text. · HOLD and PRESS Alt+A+S key. This brings out

  8. How to Alphabetize a Bibliography: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    You might also need to look under the "Table" menu to find the sort button. It will ask you how you want them sorted. Choose by paragraph and text in ascending

  9. Annotated Bibliographies

    Components of an Annotated Bibliography · References centered and bolded at top of page · Entries listed in alphabetical order · Annotations begin under its

  10. Bibliography

    The bibliography is arranged alphabetically by the author's last name, or, if there is no author, by the first word in the title.