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.NET Framework 4 - Windows Forms
How to: Customize Sorting in the Windows Forms DataGridView Control

The DataGridView control provides automatic sorting but, depending on your needs, you might need to customize sort operations. For example, you can use programmatic sorting to create an alternate user interface (UI). Alternatively, you can handle the SortCompare event or call the Sort(IComparer) overload of the Sort method for greater sorting flexibility, such as sorting multiple columns.

The following code examples demonstrate these three approaches to custom sorting. For more information, see Column Sort Modes in the Windows Forms DataGridView Control.

The following code example demonstrates a programmatic sort using the SortOrder and SortedColumn properties to determine the direction of the sort, and the SortGlyphDirection property to manually set the sort glyph. The Sort(DataGridViewColumn,ListSortDirection) overload of the Sort method is used to sort data only in a single column.

Visual Basic
Imports System
Imports System.ComponentModel
Imports System.Windows.Forms

Public Class Form1
    Inherits Form

    Private WithEvents sortButton As New Button()
    Private WithEvents dataGridView1 As New DataGridView()

    ' Initializes the form. 
    ' You can replace this code with designer-generated code. 
    Public Sub New()
        With dataGridView1
            .Dock = DockStyle.Fill
            .AllowUserToAddRows = False
            .SelectionMode = DataGridViewSelectionMode.ColumnHeaderSelect
            .MultiSelect = False 
        End With

        sortButton.Dock = DockStyle.Bottom
        sortButton.Text = "Sort"

        Controls.Add(dataGridView1)
        Controls.Add(sortButton)
        Text = "DataGridView programmatic sort demo"

        PopulateDataGridView()
    End Sub 

    ' Establish the main entry point for the application.
    <STAThreadAttribute()> _
    Public Shared Sub Main()
        Application.Run(New Form1())
    End Sub 

    ' Populates the DataGridView. 
    ' Replace this with your own code to populate the DataGridView. 
    Public Sub PopulateDataGridView()

        ' Add columns to the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.ColumnCount = 2
        dataGridView1.Columns(0).HeaderText = "Last Name"
        dataGridView1.Columns(1).HeaderText = "City" 
        ' Put the new columns into programmatic sort mode
        dataGridView1.Columns(0).SortMode = _
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic
        dataGridView1.Columns(1).SortMode = _
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic


        ' Populate the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Parker", "Seattle"})
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Watson", "Seattle"})
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Osborn", "New York"})
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Jameson", "New York"})
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Brock", "New Jersey"})
    End Sub 

    Private Sub SortButton_Click(ByVal sender As Object, _
        ByVal e As EventArgs) Handles sortButton.Click

        ' Check which column is selected, otherwise set NewColumn to Nothing. 
        Dim newColumn As DataGridViewColumn
        If dataGridView1.Columns.GetColumnCount(DataGridViewElementStates _
            .Selected) = 1 Then
            newColumn = dataGridView1.SelectedColumns(0)
        Else
            newColumn = Nothing 
        End If 

        Dim oldColumn As DataGridViewColumn = dataGridView1.SortedColumn
        Dim direction As ListSortDirection

        ' If oldColumn is null, then the DataGridView is not currently sorted. 
        If oldColumn IsNot Nothing Then 

            ' Sort the same column again, reversing the SortOrder. 
            If oldColumn Is newColumn AndAlso dataGridView1.SortOrder = _
                SortOrder.Ascending Then
                direction = ListSortDirection.Descending
            Else 

                ' Sort a new column and remove the old SortGlyph.
                direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending
                oldColumn.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection = SortOrder.None
            End If 
        Else
            direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending
        End If 


        ' If no column has been selected, display an error dialog  box. 
        If newColumn Is Nothing Then
            MessageBox.Show("Select a single column and try again.", _
                "Error: Invalid Selection", MessageBoxButtons.OK, _
                MessageBoxIcon.Error)
        Else
            dataGridView1.Sort(newColumn, direction)
            If direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending Then
                newColumn.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection = SortOrder.Ascending
            Else
                newColumn.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection = SortOrder.Descending
            End If 
        End If 

    End Sub 

End Class
C#
using System;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Windows.Forms;

class Form1 : Form
{
    private Button sortButton = new Button();
    private DataGridView dataGridView1 = new DataGridView();

    // Initializes the form. 
    // You can replace this code with designer-generated code. 
    public Form1()
    {
        dataGridView1.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;
        dataGridView1.AllowUserToAddRows = false;
        dataGridView1.SelectionMode =
            DataGridViewSelectionMode.ColumnHeaderSelect;
        dataGridView1.MultiSelect = false;

        sortButton.Dock = DockStyle.Bottom;
        sortButton.Text = "Sort";

        Controls.Add(dataGridView1);
        Controls.Add(sortButton);
        Text = "DataGridView programmatic sort demo";
    }

    // Establishes the main entry point for the application.
    [STAThreadAttribute()]
    static void Main()
    {
        Application.EnableVisualStyles();
        Application.Run(new Form1());
    }

    // Populates the DataGridView. 
    // Replace this with your own code to populate the DataGridView. 
    public void PopulateDataGridView()
    {
        // Add columns to the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.ColumnCount = 2;
        dataGridView1.Columns[0].HeaderText = "Last Name";
        dataGridView1.Columns[1].HeaderText = "City";
        // Put the new columns into programmatic sort mode
        dataGridView1.Columns[0].SortMode = 
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic;
        dataGridView1.Columns[1].SortMode =
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic;

        // Populate the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Parker", "Seattle" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Watson", "Seattle" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Osborn", "New York" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Jameson", "New York" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Brock", "New Jersey" });
    }

    protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e)
    {
        sortButton.Click += new EventHandler(sortButton_Click);

        PopulateDataGridView();
        base.OnLoad(e);
    }

    private void sortButton_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    {
        // Check which column is selected, otherwise set NewColumn to null.
        DataGridViewColumn newColumn =
            dataGridView1.Columns.GetColumnCount(
            DataGridViewElementStates.Selected) == 1 ?
            dataGridView1.SelectedColumns[0] : null;

        DataGridViewColumn oldColumn = dataGridView1.SortedColumn;
        ListSortDirection direction;

        // If oldColumn is null, then the DataGridView is not currently sorted. 
        if (oldColumn != null)
        {
            // Sort the same column again, reversing the SortOrder. 
            if (oldColumn == newColumn &&
                dataGridView1.SortOrder == SortOrder.Ascending)
            {
                direction = ListSortDirection.Descending;
            }
            else
            {
                // Sort a new column and remove the old SortGlyph.
                direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending;
                oldColumn.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection = SortOrder.None;
            }
        }
        else
        {
            direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending;
        }

        // If no column has been selected, display an error dialog  box. 
        if (newColumn == null)
        {
            MessageBox.Show("Select a single column and try again.",
                "Error: Invalid Selection", MessageBoxButtons.OK,
                MessageBoxIcon.Error);
        }
        else
        {
            dataGridView1.Sort(newColumn, direction);
            newColumn.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection =
                direction == ListSortDirection.Ascending ?
                SortOrder.Ascending : SortOrder.Descending;
        }
    }
}

The following code example demonstrates custom sorting using a SortCompare event handler. The selected DataGridViewColumn is sorted and, if there are duplicate values in the column, the ID column is used to determine the final order.

Visual Basic
Imports System
Imports System.Windows.Forms

Public Class Form1
    Inherits Form

    Private WithEvents DataGridView1 As New DataGridView()

    ' Establish the main entry point for the application.
    <STAThreadAttribute()> _
    Public Shared Sub Main()
        Application.Run(New Form1())
    End Sub 

    Public Sub New()
        ' Initialize the form. 
        ' This code can be replaced with designer generated code. 
        Me.DataGridView1.AllowUserToAddRows = False 
        Me.DataGridView1.Dock = DockStyle.Fill
        Me.Controls.Add(Me.DataGridView1)
        Me.Text = "DataGridView.SortCompare demo" 

        Me.PopulateDataGridView()
    End Sub 

    ' Replace this with your own population code. 
    Private Sub PopulateDataGridView()
        With Me.DataGridView1
            ' Add columns to the DataGridView.
            .ColumnCount = 3

            ' Set the properties of the DataGridView columns.
            .Columns(0).Name = "ID"
            .Columns(1).Name = "Name"
            .Columns(2).Name = "City"
            .Columns("ID").HeaderText = "ID"
            .Columns("Name").HeaderText = "Name"
            .Columns("City").HeaderText = "City" 
        End With 

        ' Add rows of data to the DataGridView. 
        With Me.DataGridView1.Rows
            .Add(New String() {"1", "Parker", "Seattle"})
            .Add(New String() {"2", "Parker", "New York"})
            .Add(New String() {"3", "Watson", "Seattle"})
            .Add(New String() {"4", "Jameson", "New Jersey"})
            .Add(New String() {"5", "Brock", "New York"})
            .Add(New String() {"6", "Conner", "Portland"})
        End With 

        ' Autosize the columns. 
        Me.DataGridView1.AutoResizeColumns()

    End Sub 

    Private Sub DataGridView1_SortCompare( _
        ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As DataGridViewSortCompareEventArgs) _
        Handles DataGridView1.SortCompare

        ' Try to sort based on the contents of the cell in the current column.
        e.SortResult = System.String.Compare(e.CellValue1.ToString(), _
            e.CellValue2.ToString())

        ' If the cells are equal, sort based on the ID column. 
        If (e.SortResult = 0) AndAlso Not (e.Column.Name = "ID") Then
            e.SortResult = System.String.Compare( _
                DataGridView1.Rows(e.RowIndex1).Cells("ID").Value.ToString(), _
                DataGridView1.Rows(e.RowIndex2).Cells("ID").Value.ToString())
        End If

        e.Handled = True 

    End Sub 
End Class
C#
#region Using directives

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;

#endregion
class Form1 : Form
{
    private DataGridView dataGridView1 = new DataGridView();

    // Establish the main entry point for the application.
    [STAThreadAttribute()]
    static void Main()
    {
        Application.EnableVisualStyles();
        Application.Run(new Form1());
    }

    public Form1()
    {
        // Initialize the form. 
        // This code can be replaced with designer generated code.
        dataGridView1.AllowUserToAddRows = false;
        dataGridView1.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;
        dataGridView1.SortCompare += new DataGridViewSortCompareEventHandler(
            this.dataGridView1_SortCompare);
        Controls.Add(this.dataGridView1);
        this.Text = "DataGridView.SortCompare demo";

        PopulateDataGridView();
    }

    // Replace this with your own population code. 
    public void PopulateDataGridView()
    {
        // Add columns to the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.ColumnCount = 3;

        // Set the properties of the DataGridView columns.
        dataGridView1.Columns[0].Name = "ID";
        dataGridView1.Columns[1].Name = "Name";
        dataGridView1.Columns[2].Name = "City";
        dataGridView1.Columns["ID"].HeaderText = "ID";
        dataGridView1.Columns["Name"].HeaderText = "Name";
        dataGridView1.Columns["City"].HeaderText = "City";

        // Add rows of data to the DataGridView.
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "1", "Parker", "Seattle" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "2", "Parker", "New York" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "3", "Watson", "Seattle" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "4", "Jameson", "New Jersey" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "5", "Brock", "New York" });
        dataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "6", "Conner", "Portland" });

        // Autosize the columns.
        dataGridView1.AutoResizeColumns();
    }

    private void dataGridView1_SortCompare(object sender,
        DataGridViewSortCompareEventArgs e)
    {
        // Try to sort based on the cells in the current column.
        e.SortResult = System.String.Compare(
            e.CellValue1.ToString(), e.CellValue2.ToString());

        // If the cells are equal, sort based on the ID column. 
        if (e.SortResult == 0 && e.Column.Name != "ID")
        {
            e.SortResult = System.String.Compare(
                dataGridView1.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells["ID"].Value.ToString(),
                dataGridView1.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells["ID"].Value.ToString());
        }
        e.Handled = true;
    }
}

The following code example demonstrates custom sorting using the Sort(IComparer) overload of the Sort method, which takes an implementation of the IComparer interface to perform a multiple-column sort.

Visual Basic
Imports System
Imports System.Drawing
Imports System.Windows.Forms

Public Class Form1
    Inherits Form

    Private WithEvents DataGridView1 As New DataGridView()
    Private FlowLayoutPanel1 As New FlowLayoutPanel()
    Private WithEvents Button1 As New Button()
    Private RadioButton1 As New RadioButton()
    Private RadioButton2 As New RadioButton()

    ' Establish the main entry point for the application.
    <STAThreadAttribute()> _
    Public Shared Sub Main()
        Application.Run(New Form1())
    End Sub 

    Public Sub New()
        ' Initialize the form. 
        ' This code can be replaced with designer generated code.
        AutoSize = True
        Text = "DataGridView IComparer sort demo"

        FlowLayoutPanel1.FlowDirection = FlowDirection.TopDown
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(304, 0)
        FlowLayoutPanel1.AutoSize = True

        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add(RadioButton1)
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add(RadioButton2)
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add(Button1)

        Button1.Text = "Sort"
        RadioButton1.Text = "Ascending"
        RadioButton2.Text = "Descending"
        RadioButton1.Checked = True

        Controls.Add(FlowLayoutPanel1)
        Controls.Add(DataGridView1)

        PopulateDataGridView()
    End Sub 

    ' Replace this with your own code to populate the DataGridView. 
    Private Sub PopulateDataGridView()

        DataGridView1.Size = New Size(300, 300)

        ' Add columns to the DataGridView.
        DataGridView1.ColumnCount = 2

        ' Set the properties of the DataGridView columns.
        DataGridView1.Columns(0).Name = "First"
        DataGridView1.Columns(1).Name = "Last"
        DataGridView1.Columns("First").HeaderText = "First Name"
        DataGridView1.Columns("Last").HeaderText = "Last Name"
        DataGridView1.Columns("First").SortMode = _
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic
        DataGridView1.Columns("Last").SortMode = _
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic

        ' Add rows of data to the DataGridView.
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Peter", "Parker"})
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"James", "Jameson"})
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"May", "Parker"})
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Mary", "Watson"})
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(New String() {"Eddie", "Brock"})
    End Sub 

    Private Sub Button1_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs) _
    Handles Button1.Click
        If RadioButton1.Checked = True Then
            DataGridView1.Sort(New RowComparer(SortOrder.Ascending))
        ElseIf RadioButton2.Checked = True Then
            DataGridView1.Sort(New RowComparer(SortOrder.Descending))
        End If 
    End Sub 

    Private Class RowComparer
        Implements System.Collections.IComparer

        Private sortOrderModifier As Integer = 1

        Public Sub New(ByVal sortOrder As SortOrder)
            If sortOrder = sortOrder.Descending Then
                sortOrderModifier = -1
            ElseIf sortOrder = sortOrder.Ascending Then

                sortOrderModifier = 1
            End If 
        End Sub 

        Public Function Compare(ByVal x As Object, ByVal y As Object) As Integer _
            Implements System.Collections.IComparer.Compare

            Dim DataGridViewRow1 As DataGridViewRow = CType(x, DataGridViewRow)
            Dim DataGridViewRow2 As DataGridViewRow = CType(y, DataGridViewRow)

            ' Try to sort based on the Last Name column. 
            Dim CompareResult As Integer = System.String.Compare( _
                DataGridViewRow1.Cells(1).Value.ToString(), _
                DataGridViewRow2.Cells(1).Value.ToString())

            ' If the Last Names are equal, sort based on the First Name. 
            If CompareResult = 0 Then
                CompareResult = System.String.Compare( _
                    DataGridViewRow1.Cells(0).Value.ToString(), _
                    DataGridViewRow2.Cells(0).Value.ToString())
            End If 
            Return CompareResult * sortOrderModifier
        End Function 
    End Class 
End Class
C#
#region Using directives

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;

#endregion

class Form1 : Form
{
    private DataGridView DataGridView1 = new DataGridView();
    private FlowLayoutPanel FlowLayoutPanel1 = new FlowLayoutPanel();
    private Button Button1 = new Button();
    private RadioButton RadioButton1 = new RadioButton();
    private RadioButton RadioButton2 = new RadioButton();

    // Establish the main entry point for the application.
    [STAThreadAttribute()]
    public static void Main()
    {
        Application.Run(new Form1());
    }

    public Form1()
    {
        // Initialize the form. 
        // This code can be replaced with designer generated code.
        AutoSize = true;
        Text = "DataGridView IComparer sort demo";

        FlowLayoutPanel1.FlowDirection = FlowDirection.TopDown;
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point( 304, 0 );
        FlowLayoutPanel1.AutoSize = true;

        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add( RadioButton1 );
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add( RadioButton2 );
        FlowLayoutPanel1.Controls.Add( Button1 );

        Button1.Text = "Sort";
        RadioButton1.Text = "Ascending";
        RadioButton2.Text = "Descending";
        RadioButton1.Checked = true;

        Controls.Add( FlowLayoutPanel1 );
        Controls.Add( DataGridView1 );
    }

    protected override void OnLoad( EventArgs e )
    {
        PopulateDataGridView();
        Button1.Click += new EventHandler(Button1_Click);

        base.OnLoad( e );
    }

    // Replace this with your own code to populate the DataGridView. 
    private void PopulateDataGridView()
    {

        DataGridView1.Size = new Size(300, 300);

        // Add columns to the DataGridView.
        DataGridView1.ColumnCount = 2;

        // Set the properties of the DataGridView columns.
        DataGridView1.Columns[0].Name = "First";
        DataGridView1.Columns[1].Name = "Last";
        DataGridView1.Columns["First"].HeaderText = "First Name";
        DataGridView1.Columns["Last"].HeaderText = "Last Name";
        DataGridView1.Columns["First"].SortMode = 
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic;
        DataGridView1.Columns["Last"].SortMode = 
            DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic;

        // Add rows of data to the DataGridView.
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Peter", "Parker" });
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "James", "Jameson" });
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "May", "Parker" });
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Mary", "Watson" });
        DataGridView1.Rows.Add(new string[] { "Eddie", "Brock" });
    }

    private void Button1_Click( object sender, EventArgs e )
    {
        if ( RadioButton1.Checked == true )
        {
            DataGridView1.Sort( new RowComparer( SortOrder.Ascending ) );
        }
        else if ( RadioButton2.Checked == true )
        {
            DataGridView1.Sort( new RowComparer( SortOrder.Descending ) );
        }
    }

    private class RowComparer : System.Collections.IComparer
    {
        private static int sortOrderModifier = 1;

        public RowComparer(SortOrder sortOrder)
        {
            if (sortOrder == SortOrder.Descending)
            {
                sortOrderModifier = -1;
            }
            else if (sortOrder == SortOrder.Ascending)
            {
                sortOrderModifier = 1;
            }
        }

        public int Compare(object x, object y)
        {
            DataGridViewRow DataGridViewRow1 = (DataGridViewRow)x;
            DataGridViewRow DataGridViewRow2 = (DataGridViewRow)y;

            // Try to sort based on the Last Name column. 
            int CompareResult = System.String.Compare(
                DataGridViewRow1.Cells[1].Value.ToString(),
                DataGridViewRow2.Cells[1].Value.ToString());

            // If the Last Names are equal, sort based on the First Name. 
            if ( CompareResult == 0 )
            {
                CompareResult = System.String.Compare(
                    DataGridViewRow1.Cells[0].Value.ToString(),
                    DataGridViewRow2.Cells[0].Value.ToString());
            }
            return CompareResult * sortOrderModifier;
        }
    }
}

These examples require:

  • References to the System, System.Drawing, and System.Windows.Forms assemblies.

For information about building these examples from the command line for Visual Basic or Visual C#, see Building from the Command Line (Visual Basic) or Command-line Building With csc.exe. You can also build this example in Visual Studio by pasting the code into a new project. For more information, see How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio.


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