Sorting Chinese Characters in Excel... How to control?

My set up… Microsoft Office Home and Student Version 2016.
English Interface.
Chinese Interface is installed but, I’d rather spend time doing work than browsing menu bars with a dictionary. If I must go into the Chinese interface to control this, I’d really like some screen shots to guide me.

Ok… I am told that the default way Chinese is sorted is through stroke number.
There should be a way to sort it phonetically as well.
I did a sample sort in Excel and really can’t figure out how these characters were sorted. They don’t seem to be sorted by either…
Please look at my illustration… Could it be by radical?

I’d like to control the sort feature. I would like to be able to sort it phonetically so I can use it as part of my lesson on the importance of using alphabetical order in using English dictionaries. Plus… It’s fun to learn to sort. Thanks.


Not sure if there’s a function for exactly what you’re asking for, I could be wrong, but you can always add a column with the ping ying purnuncation and sort via that column. If you don’t want it shown, just hide it!


Hmm, that’s a valiant work around but since Excel has database functions and Chinese characters have a place and can be sorted into order, this will be defeating the purpose.
English has one sort order. A to Z forward or reverse. Chinese is normally sorted in dictionaries by stroke order, that is, how many strokes a character contains (So I am told).
It can also be sorted by phonetic order and by what I think is radical order and more.
In the first column I put pseudorandom words. I then used the sorting function of Excel and got the results show above.
It is not stroke order as you can see the Chinese numbers are not in order. It is definitely not phonetic order. It could be radical order because similar looking characters are sorted together.
According to what I’ve read, there is a control to change how you want the search to be carried out but I cannot find that.
Help please…

I am not sure how one can sort it by radical (you are thinking in lines with how typing on keyboards work I presume). for us we have always used stroke order as it crosses over easy into other work due to it being the main standard.

If you do find a way phonetically be sure to share. Presumably using sound to order, would follow the mandarin alphabet, not radicals no?

@Explant , Look at my example please. If it were sorted by stroke order, Excel would have sorted the numbers 一,二,三. And, look at the characters for water, ice and swim. They all have that center part in common and is sorted together.
There is some kind of sorting going on here. But it doesn’t look like stroke order nor phonetic. There is a switch somewhere in excel to change the way it sorts. But I cannot find that.

Ya, noticed that. But no idea how that works either. Will ask the wife if she knows. Stroke order works flawlessly with our version of office.

My main goal is to understand what the heck it is doing under the current sort. Then I want to find the toggle to switch it to the sorting of my choice which will include phonetic.
As you know my office is multi lingual and if I enter Chinese mode I will get more tools I can use, but I won’t be able to understand the menus. If that is the only way, I will as for some screen shots.
I’ve got one private message from someone. I hope they have the holy grail. Thanks.

Does each character have a Unicode number?

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About to have a rant!!!

No one on this Website, especially the Tech Moderators know how to get to the controls of the English version of Office Excel that governs how Chinese characters are sorted…
Or know enough to kindly tell me it’s impossible and that I should change my interface to Chinese?

And hopefully that someone would include helpful screen shots to the proper menus.

Of course every character has a Unicode number by why would I want to sort for it.
Excel is I guess the poor man’s database. I forgot the name of the database they used to include in office.
The only reason you’d want to sort in Chinese would be to create a names directory, an index or a glossary.

And for most the order seems to be by stroke number, radical +stroke number and for children’s dictionaries and encyclopedias ㄅㄆㄇ。

A proficient user in Chinese should be able to switch between them easily. I am not a proficient user. That’s why I’m asking.

Woah calm down. The mods on this site aren’t Microsoft tech support, why would they know?



First Google result tells to install ‘MS Office Language Packs and Proofing Tools’. I can’t tell if that is outdated. I never had to sort Chinese in Excel.