Summary: This post concerns the dangers and the how-to’s of sorting a long bibliography on WordPerfect X3 (and X4). The cut-to-the-chase is that basically one needs to be careful when sorting hanging indent bibliographical data, and perhaps it is best to sort un-indented bibliographical data and only then apply the hanging indent.

The story: Recently I submitted my research proposal and was horrified when the doctoral committee pointed out that my bibliography was not alphabetical. I was sure that I had ‘sorted’ my bibliographical data, but here it was… unsorted.

To correct my mistake I tried again recently and learned that my WordPerfect was still not efficiently sorting initial bibliography that spanned over 5 pages.  Basically, only some of the entries in my bibliography were alphabetical and it was especially worse across pages. I eventually found out that the WordPerfect sort <ALT F9> was being thrown off with the hanging indent format of my bibliography (something that my bibliography needs).

So this is what I did to fix it:

1. Manually remove the hanging indent tags of the entire bibliography document, including the indents between paragraph/entries, through REVEAL CODES <ALT F3>

2. Apply the Sort command <ALT F9> to “first line in paragraph”

3. And viola! It worked.

Now, I’m going to be building my bibliographical index without indent, and wait for final formatting at the end of the submission process.