Alphabetizing student names

Occasional Visitor


I am brand new to Teams and the Microsoft community. I live in Pennsylvania, and we just learned last week that we will not be returning this school year. We are all scrambling to figure out how we are going to reach all of our students. 


My question is probably stupidly simple, but one of our academic coaches set up our classroom teams, and they did not populate in alphabetical order. I have used my limited knowledge to search, but I am not finding the answer. Could someone please help me? I am sure I will have a million more questions, but I am a Language Arts instructor, and my students listed out of alphabetical order is messing with my OCD. Thanks

1 Reply

Hello @Stacey_Ludwig and welcome to the community. We are all more or less in the same boat all over the wold! I'm in South Africa and we have extended lockdown a further 2 weeks with no confirmed date when we'll be returning to school. Although I've used Teams since I teach a computer related subject, many in our school will be using Teams for the first time to start delivering the curriculum online.

Yea, the sorting of students' names is not really in the best shape. There are mainly two places where the students names are listed:

  • Under Manage Team>Members - it seems those names are random and no way to sort them :(
  • Under Assignments - with each assignment. That is probably the most critical place for sorting the names. The good news is that they are sorted. The bad news is that they are sorted by the Display Name - which most people have probably set up as FirstName LastName. This means they are sorted by FirstName instead of LastName.

The sorting order under assignments can only be corrected AFAIK by the Administrator in Office 365 Admin, by changing the display name to e.g. LastName, FirstName. If an institution uses Active Directory which syncs with Office 365 - like we do - then it has to be done there and then it updates the way Office 365 (including Teams) sees and uses those names.

How this is implemented in OneNote Class Notebook is another story. Those who are using that in conjunction with Teams will know that it has its own implementation of this sorting which tries to correct the omission in the rest of Office 365 implementation. There you can actually set whether you want to see the names listed as LastName, FirstName or FirstName LastName. If you have already changed the DisplayName to LastName, FirstName it can make a mess of it. Fortunately you have some control over how you want it to display.

So welcome to this brave world and all the best! It is not perfect, but I like Teams for it's simplicity and the way it integrates with other Microsoft products. As we speak they are busy improving it.