Geek University

SQL ORDER BY clause

The SQL ORDER BY clause is used to sort the result-set by one or more columns. It is used when you want your result from database to set in a particular order (by default, the records are sorted in ascending order). The syntax is:

SELECT column_name1, column_name2 FROM table_name ORDER BY column_name1 ASC|DESC, column_name2 ASC|DESC;

We will use the Employees table to illustrate the SQL ORDER BY clause:

+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
| employeeNumber | lastName  | firstName | extension |
+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|           1002 | Murphy    | Diane     | x5800     |
|           1056 | Patterson | Mary      | x4611     |
|           1076 | Firrelli  | Jeff      | x9273     |
|           1088 | Patterson | William   | x4871     |
|           1102 | Bondur    | Gerard    | x5408     |
|           1143 | Bow       | Anthony   | x5428     |
|           1165 | Jennings  | Leslie    | x3291     |
|           1166 | Thompson  | Leslie    | x4065     |
|           1188 | Firrelli  | Julie     | x2173     |
|           1216 | Patterson | Steve     | x4334     |
|           1286 | Tseng     | Foon Yue  | x2248     |
|           1323 | Vanauf    | George    | x4102     |
|           1337 | Bondur    | Loui      | x6493     |
|           1370 | Hernandez | Gerard    | x2028     |
|           1401 | Castillo  | Pamela    | x2759     |
|           1501 | Bott      | Larry     | x2311     |
|           1504 | Jones     | Barry     | x102      |
|           1611 | Fixter    | Andy      | x101      |
|           1612 | Marsh     | Peter     | x102      |
|           1619 | King      | Tom       | x103      |
|           1621 | Nishi     | Mami      | x101      |
|           1625 | Kato      | Yoshimi   | x102      |
|           1702 | Gerard    | Martin    | x2312     |
+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+

If you want to sort the Employees table data by the First Name column, you can use the following command:

SELECT * FROM employees ORDER BY firstName;

This would produce the following result:

+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
| employeeNumber | lastName  | firstName | extension |
+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
|           1611 | Fixter    | Andy      | x101      |
|           1143 | Bow       | Anthony   | x5428     |
|           1504 | Jones     | Barry     | x102      |
|           1002 | Murphy    | Diane     | x5800     |
|           1286 | Tseng     | Foon Yue  | x2248     |
|           1323 | Vanauf    | George    | x4102     |
|           1102 | Bondur    | Gerard    | x5408     |
|           1370 | Hernandez | Gerard    | x2028     |
|           1076 | Firrelli  | Jeff      | x9273     |
|           1188 | Firrelli  | Julie     | x2173     |
|           1501 | Bott      | Larry     | x2311     |
|           1165 | Jennings  | Leslie    | x3291     |
|           1166 | Thompson  | Leslie    | x4065     |
|           1337 | Bondur    | Loui      | x6493     |
|           1621 | Nishi     | Mami      | x101      |
|           1702 | Gerard    | Martin    | x2312     |
|           1056 | Patterson | Mary      | x4611     |
|           1401 | Castillo  | Pamela    | x2759     |
|           1612 | Marsh     | Peter     | x102      |
|           1216 | Patterson | Steve     | x4334     |
|           1619 | King      | Tom       | x103      |
|           1088 | Patterson | William   | x4871     |
|           1625 | Kato      | Yoshimi   | x102      |
+----------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+

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