I have received a shapefile from a third party that contains a column of alphanumeric characters. ArcMap has it listed as a 'string' in the field properties. The numbers range from 1-6000 with a combination of letters after the numbers. So it looks like:


Then the list continues in a random order and it includes letters at the end such as:


I'm trying to find a way to sort this properly? Would I be best splitting it and then sorting and concatenating it again? Is there any easier way to sort this column?

  • split numeric and letter part in two news columns and create advanced ordering on this new column Nov 30, 2015 at 17:27
  • Please edit the question to clarify whether the table is in "random order" or just lexical order for ASCII text.
    – Vince
    Nov 30, 2015 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


You want understand how it work. [a-z] is ordering after [0-9] and text is ordering by left to right position

In fact, if you don't split you have (in ascending)

- 600
- 609
- 6000
- 6001
- 6009
- 600A
- 602B
- 603Z
- 69Z

After splitting, you have (in ascending with same ids)

- 69, "Z"
- 600, ""
- 600, "A"
- 602, "B"
- 603, "Z"   
- 609, ""
- 6000, ""
- 6001, ""
- 6009, ""

Also, if you need ordering with separate number and text part you can create 2 new columns. 1st content numeric part. 2nd content letter part.

enter image description here

Ordering is not persistent

If you need a persistent ordering, you need create New FeatureClass but it's useless. Or fix your id column with fixed len char

So, if you need ordering in one column and fix position you can add "-" after all ids if this id doesn't end by letter (and if you add only one ending letter) and add 0 before number to have a fixed len char based on max character contains on id

- 0069Z
- 0600-
- 0600A
- 0602B
- 0603Z  
- 0609-
- 6000-
- 6001-
- 6009-

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