This has no significance. I just love the the phrase “Sort Items by Given Yomi.”

I was talking to a client about sorting contacts in Outlook. You know that contacts can be displayed in a list, right? (Look for “phone list” over on the left or under View / Current View.)

When contacts are displayed in a list, the list can be sorted in any way you can think of. You’re not limited to sorting by first name or last name. By default, the “phone list” view lets you sort by name, company, phone number, and category, just by clicking the name at the top of each column.

You can add fields to the phone list or any other view, and sort by them. Click on View / Current View / Customize Current View, then click on Fields to add “State” or “Zip/Postal Code,” for example.

When you click the Sort button in Customize View, you can choose how the contacts are sorted from a long list of fields, regardless of whether the field is displayed in the list. When I opened that window on my own computer, I saw the list below, where it was easy to sort the list by First Name . . . Flag Status . . . Full Name . . . Given Yomi . . .

Given Yomi? Vas ist das Given Yomi?


I tracked down some speculation (the page in the Talmud on the day of your birth?) before finding the answer. It’s short for “Yomigana” – the phonetically rendered version of the Japanese characters for the name of the contact. The Microsoft tech document notes: “For Japanese products only. Attempting to get or put this property on other products fails and raises a Win32Exception.”

So sorting by Given Yomi is a way to sort contacts by the phonetic version of the Japanese characters in their name. That’s probably the most obscure thing I’ve ever found in a Microsoft program.

outlookcontactssort2That’s why I had to grin when I realized that sorting by “Given Yomi” appears right away because it’s in the list of “Frequently used fields.” See the bottom of the “Sort” window? There are more fields in different lists – “Frequently used fields” has 25 or so, but there are more under “Address fields,” “E-mail fields”,” and others.

If you want to sort contacts by zip code? That’s not in “Frequently Used Fields.” You have to switch to “Address fields” to track that down. Hmmm . . .

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