I've been blogging about sorting for a while:
There's just one more thing to mention: creating your own custom sort order.
Existing sort orders are things like Monday Tuesday Wednesday (the right order, which is not alphabetical). But let's say you've got things you want in a certain logical but non-alphabetical order that aren't already set up in OpenOffice.org: titles of books or people, procedures done in a certain order, or your own abbreviations for the days of the week. You can create sort orders for those very easily so you can sort by them.
Let's say you've got this data.
This is the right order. If you had them out of order, though, and wanted to sort them, all you'd have the option for is alphabetic. Which isn't right. So you create an order to sort them by.
Choose Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Calc > Sort Lists.
Now just click Copy.
Now just sort the way you would with a custom sort order. You'll see your new sort order in the sort window.
Sort orders are nice for quick data entry, too. If you type the first word for a sort order, then find the small black handle in the lower right corner of the cell and drag, you'll be able to easily fill the cells with the rest of the content in the sort order.
Type the first word
Find the black handle and drag (magnified to show the handle)
The data will fill in each cell you drag through, in the order set up in the sort list.