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orderby clause (C# Reference)

In a query expression, the orderby clause causes the returned sequence or subsequence (group) to be sorted in either ascending or descending order. Multiple keys can be specified in order to perform one or more secondary sort operations. The sorting is performed by the default comparer for the type of the element. The default sort order is ascending. You can also specify a custom comparer. However, it is only available by using method-based syntax. For more information, see Sorting Data.

In the following example, the first query sorts the words in alphabetical order starting from A, and second query sorts the same words in descending order. (The ascending keyword is the default sort value and can be omitted.)

class OrderbySample1
{
    static void Main()
    {            
        // Create a delicious data source. 
        string[] fruits = { "cherry", "apple", "blueberry" };

        // Query for ascending sort.
        IEnumerable<string> sortAscendingQuery =
            from fruit in fruits
            orderby fruit //"ascending" is default 
            select fruit;

        // Query for descending sort.
        IEnumerable<string> sortDescendingQuery =
            from w in fruits
            orderby w descending 
            select w;            

        // Execute the query.
        Console.WriteLine("Ascending:");
        foreach (string s in sortAscendingQuery)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(s);
        }

        // Execute the query.
        Console.WriteLine(Environment.NewLine + "Descending:");
        foreach (string s in sortDescendingQuery)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(s);
        }

        // Keep the console window open in debug mode.
        Console.WriteLine("Press any key to exit.");
        Console.ReadKey();
    }
}
/* Output:
Ascending:
apple
blueberry
cherry

Descending:
cherry
blueberry
apple
*/

The following example performs a primary sort on the students' last names, and then a secondary sort on their first names.

class OrderbySample2
{
    // The element type of the data source. 
    public class Student
    {
        public string First { get; set; }
        public string Last { get; set; }
        public int ID { get; set; }
    }

    public static List<Student> GetStudents()
    {
        // Use a collection initializer to create the data source. Note that each element 
        //  in the list contains an inner sequence of scores.
        List<Student> students = new List<Student>
        {
           new Student {First="Svetlana", Last="Omelchenko", ID=111},
           new Student {First="Claire", Last="O'Donnell", ID=112},
           new Student {First="Sven", Last="Mortensen", ID=113},
           new Student {First="Cesar", Last="Garcia", ID=114},
           new Student {First="Debra", Last="Garcia", ID=115} 
        };

        return students;

    }
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        // Create the data source.
        List<Student> students = GetStudents();

        // Create the query.
        IEnumerable<Student> sortedStudents =
            from student in students
            orderby student.Last ascending, student.First ascending 
            select student;

        // Execute the query.
        Console.WriteLine("sortedStudents:");
        foreach (Student student in sortedStudents)
            Console.WriteLine(student.Last + " " + student.First);           

        // Now create groups and sort the groups. The query first sorts the names 
        // of all students so that they will be in alphabetical order after they are 
        // grouped. The second orderby sorts the group keys in alpha order.             
        var sortedGroups =
            from student in students
            orderby student.Last, student.First
            group student by student.Last[0] into newGroup
            orderby newGroup.Key
            select newGroup;

        // Execute the query.
        Console.WriteLine(Environment.NewLine + "sortedGroups:");
        foreach (var studentGroup in sortedGroups)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(studentGroup.Key);
            foreach (var student in studentGroup)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("   {0}, {1}", student.Last, student.First);
            }
        }

        // Keep the console window open in debug mode
        Console.WriteLine("Press any key to exit.");
        Console.ReadKey();
    }
}
/* Output:  
sortedStudents:
Garcia Cesar
Garcia Debra
Mortensen Sven
O'Donnell Claire
Omelchenko Svetlana

sortedGroups:
G
   Garcia, Cesar
   Garcia, Debra
M
   Mortensen, Sven
O
   O'Donnell, Claire
   Omelchenko, Svetlana
*/

At compile time, the orderby clause is translated to a call to the OrderBy method. Multiple keys in the orderby clause translate to ThenBy method calls.

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