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If you want have individuals and households to show up in alphabetical order by last name you need to enter the hh like Smith, Jane and Joe. Fine except now the greetings will be Dear Smith, Jane and Joe and the addressee will be Smith, Jane and Joe. So then one has to enter custom greetings and addressee.

My users are bad at that. Every time we send out an email or postal thing, I find I have to wade through the data and fix a bunch of them.

If you enter the HH as Jane and Joe Smith, the greetings are better; though, we'd prefer Dear Jane and Joe to Dear Jane and Joe Smith. At least if you miss one you don't end up addressing something odd. But then the sort is not by last name.

Maybe some fancy parsing with smarty in the greeting.

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Have you tried changing the sort name so the results show up in alphabetical order? (Administer/Customize Data and Screens/Display Preferences). I set it like this:

{contact.last_name}{, }{contact.first_name}{ }{contact.middle_name}

In that way my contacts are sorted on the last name and I also include the middle_name (which means something in Dutch so it becomes 'Boer, Jan de').

But perhaps you tried that and your problem is somewhere else?

  • That works great for individual. Households don't have first, last middle. They only have household name, which means one has to enter the hh name in the short order. Really I kind a think hh should be entered and saved in two fields, first names (ex. Jane and John), last name (Jones), then the greetings, the hh name and sort order can be generated automatically. – Paul-Tahoe Sep 26 '15 at 16:20
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    Not everyone will want to include the name of the Individuals in a household name. A household is not always just a couple, the "first name" could become very long. Some people will use, for example, "Smith Family" as their household name. – JoAnne Sep 27 '15 at 0:03
  • I tend to agree with JoAnne, the household name in one field works fine with our customers. And some of them use households a lot. – ErikH - CiviCooP Sep 28 '15 at 6:26

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