I have created a trimmed/clipped map of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in QGIS 1.7.3 by deleting all the other countries from a world map shapefile. I would like to permanently rearrange the countries that are left in the shapefile in a particular sequence in the attribute table. I searched for other similar questions on this website and one answer suggested that the .dbf file be modified using a spreadsheet program, e.g., MS Excel 2003. I tried doing that and it seemed to work; but then I realized that when I pointed at Austria in the shapefile, the name that came up was Egypt. Hence, on the map itself, the names of the countries are all mixed up now.
Can you please suggest a way to arrange the countries in the attribute table according to a specific sequence without its affecting the countries on the map itself?