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How TO - Sort a List


Learn how to sort an HTML list, using JavaScript.


Click the button to sort the list alphabetically:

  • Oslo
  • Stockholm
  • Helsinki
  • Berlin
  • Rome
  • Madrid

Creating a Sort Function

Example

<ul id="id01">
  <li>Oslo</li>
  <li>Stockholm</li>
  <li>Helsinki</li>
  <li>Berlin</li>
  <li>Rome</li>
  <li>Madrid</li>
</ul>

<script>
function sortList() {
  var list, i, switching, b, shouldSwitch;
  list = document.getElementById("id01");
  switching = true;
  /* Make a loop that will continue until
  no switching has been done: */
  while (switching) {
    // Start by saying: no switching is done:
    switching = false;
    b = list.getElementsByTagName("LI");
    // Loop through all list items:
    for (i = 0; i < (b.length - 1); i++) {
      // Start by saying there should be no switching:
      shouldSwitch = false;
      /* Check if the next item should
      switch place with the current item: */
      if (b[i].innerHTML.toLowerCase() > b[i + 1].innerHTML.toLowerCase()) {
        /* If next item is alphabetically lower than current item,
        mark as a switch and break the loop: */
        shouldSwitch= true;
        break;
      }
    }
    if (shouldSwitch) {
      /* If a switch has been marked, make the switch
      and mark the switch as done: */
      b[i].parentNode.insertBefore(b[i + 1], b[i]);
      switching = true;
    }
  }
}
</script>
Try it Yourself »

Tip: Learn more about sorting HTML elements in our W3.JS Tutorial.



Sorting Ascending and Descending

The first time you click the button, the sorting direction is ascending (A to Z).

Click again, and the sorting direction will be descending (Z to A):

  • Oslo
  • Stockholm
  • Helsinki
  • Berlin
  • Rome
  • Madrid

Example

<ul id="id01">
  <li>Oslo</li>
  <li>Stockholm</li>
  <li>Helsinki</li>
  <li>Berlin</li>
  <li>Rome</li>
  <li>Madrid</li>
</ul>

<script>
function sortListDir() {
  var list, i, switching, b, shouldSwitch, dir, switchcount = 0;
  list = document.getElementById("id01");
  switching = true;
  // Set the sorting direction to ascending:
  dir = "asc";
  // Make a loop that will continue until no switching has been done:
  while (switching) {
    // Start by saying: no switching is done:
    switching = false;
    b = list.getElementsByTagName("LI");
    // Loop through all list-items:
    for (i = 0; i < (b.length - 1); i++) {
      // Start by saying there should be no switching:
      shouldSwitch = false;
      /* Check if the next item should switch place with the current item,
      based on the sorting direction (asc or desc): */
      if (dir == "asc") {
        if (b[i].innerHTML.toLowerCase() > b[i + 1].innerHTML.toLowerCase()) {
          /* If next item is alphabetically lower than current item,
          mark as a switch and break the loop: */
          shouldSwitch= true;
          break;
        }
      } else if (dir == "desc") {
        if (b[i].innerHTML.toLowerCase() < b[i + 1].innerHTML.toLowerCase()) {
          /* If next item is alphabetically higher than current item,
          mark as a switch and break the loop: */
          shouldSwitch= true;
          break;
        }
      }
    }
    if (shouldSwitch) {
      /* If a switch has been marked, make the switch
      and mark that a switch has been done: */
      b[i].parentNode.insertBefore(b[i + 1], b[i]);
      switching = true;
      // Each time a switch is done, increase switchcount by 1:
      switchcount ++;
    } else {
      /* If no switching has been done AND the direction is "asc",
      set the direction to "desc" and run the while loop again. */
      if (switchcount == 0 && dir == "asc") {
        dir = "desc";
        switching = true;
      }
    }
  }
}
</script>
Try it Yourself »

Tip: Learn more about sorting HTML elements in our W3.JS Tutorial.