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How to File in Alphanumeric Order

Updated April 17, 2017

Alphanumeric ordering is a common way to organise information. It's used for data entry, coding, computer and paper filing. There are a few ways to do alphanumeric ordering and different computer programs use more characters than others. In some code, alphanumeric simply refers to switching letters with numbers, with each letter of the alphabet being switched out for a corresponding number. A more common way to file information alphanumerically is to use most of the keyboard characters, including blanks and spaces.

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  1. Lead with blanks first, if applicable. These can be typed with simple spaces.

  2. Type special characters second. These can include the following: <>?!@#$%^&*(){}[]\|-_=+". The order of these characters can be derived from the American Standard Code for Information Exchange.

  3. Type numerals third. Use numerical order, 0-9.

  4. Insert double-digit numbers. Order them by the first digit. For example, 11 would come before 2. The number 22 would come before 3. The number 33 would come before 4. Order the second digit of the second digit number numerically.

  5. Type letters in alphabetical order last.

  6. Tip

    If you're filing paper and not electronically, disregard the first two steps.

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Things You'll Need

  • computer
  • keyboard

About the Author

Greg Ruland began writing professionally in 1978. His work has been published most recently in "Sedona Red Rock News," "Cottonwood Journal Extra," "Lifestyles of Sedona" and the Sedona Red Rock News Website. Ruland holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon School of Law.

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