If no part of the active file has been selected then Extra|Sort Alphabetically sorts the entire file alphabetically, paragraph by paragraph.
To sort the entire file on a specific column of text, select that column of text before selecting Extra|Sort Alphabetically first. Make sure that the selection does not span more than one paragraph. All the paragraphs in the file are sorted, using the selected column as the sort key.
If the selection spans more than one paragraph, then the selected paragraphs are sorted. If you want to sort only a selected number of paragraphs on a certain column, make a rectangular selection first. The paragraphs that are partially covered by the rectangular selection are sorted entirely as if the selection was a normal one. However, the sort order is determined only by the text covered by the selection.
If you are working with a text file that contains information arranged in columns, padded with spaces, you could make a rectangular selection of the third column and then use Extra|Sort Alphabetically. The data is then sorted on the third column.
Alphabetic sort works on a character by character basis, even for numbers. “A19” sorts before “A4” because 1 sorts before 4. Use Extra|Sort Alphanumerically A-Z if you want numbers to sort logically.
Extra|Sort Alphabetically Z-A
Extra|Sort Alphanumerically 0-9, A-Z
Extra|Sort Alphanumerically Z-A, 9-0