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How To Sort Two Dimensional Array in Selected Sort Order by Column One, Then By Column Two, Then By Column Three . . . Then By Column N?

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10 Oct 2016Public Domain1 min read
Sort two dimensional array by using DataGridView class

Introduction

This program was made as an example for solving most common and simplest problem, considering two dimensional arrays, among beginners in C# - Sorting data in selected sort order by column one, then by column two, then by column three ... then by column n.

Tip & Trick

For creating, populating and sorting two dimensional array, instead of `Array` class, use `DataGridView` class that enables automatic sort operation in combination with its `SortCompare` event handler that allows customizing multi column sort algorithm. Read the program code below with its comments where everything is explained.

Using the Code

Program code attached with this tip is designed for learning.
It is well commented and comments cover every aspect of problem solving.
Read it carefully and thoroughly.

For practical use, it is recommended to download the full solution created in IDE Sharp Develop.
Open project in the same IDE or in the Visual Studio, build it and run program.

C#
```/*****************************************************************************************************
* Program name  : Multidimensional array sort program                                               *
* Program ver.  : 1.0                                                                               *
* Created by    : Sharp Develop                                                                     *
* Code author   : Peric Željko                                                                      *
* Code language : C#                                                                                *
* Date created  : 9.12.2015                                                                         *
* Time created  : 15:51                                                                             *
*                                                                                                   *
*                                                                                                   *
* Program Description : Program for sorting data inside two dimensional array.                      *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Program performs sort operation inside two dimensional array                *
*                       where data inside same rows are correlated.                                 *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Example:                                                                    *
*                       We have collected personal data of employees :                              *
*                       First Name , Last Name and Address that are stored                          *
*                       inside two dimensional array called Personal Data.                          *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Personal Data :                                                             *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       First Name Last Name   Address                                              *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       John       Porter      1234 Oak street, Pensacola, FL 32503                 *
*                       John       Porter      1891 3rd Street North Westlake, OH 44145             *
*                       William    Patterson   4534 Virginia Street Dallas, GA 30132                *
*                       Marry      Cortez      7642 Fairview Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53204             *
*                       John       Patterson   1368 Street Road Morristown, NJ 07960                *
*                       Elizabet   Cortez      3698 Cedar Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY 12886         *
*                       Marry      Mosley      4575 11th Street Sacramento, CA 95820                *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       SORT Ascending by First Name then by Last Name then by Address              *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Sorted Personal Data :                                                      *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       First Name Last Name   Address                                              *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Elizabet   Cortez      3698 Cedar Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY 12886         *
*                       John       Patterson   1368 Street Road Morristown, NJ 07960                *
*                       John       Porter      1234 Oak street, Pensacola, FL 32503                 *
*                       John       Porter      1891 3rd Street North Westlake, OH 44145             *
*                       Marry      Cortez      7642 Fairview Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53204             *
*                       Marry      Mosley      4575 11th Street Sacramento, CA 95820                *
*                       William    Patterson   4534 Virginia Street Dallas, GA 30132                *
*                                                                                                   *
*                                                                                                   *
*                       Instead of Array class, program uses DataGridView class for generating      *
*                       two dimensional table for storing data, and SortCompare event handler       *
*                       that enables to programmatically customize multicolumn data sort algorithm. *
*                       For sorting large amount of diverse data this would be one of the best      *
*                       ways, especially because of simplicity and respective sorting speed.        *
*                                                                                                   *
*                                                                                                   *
* Notice: Names and Addresses used inside program are fictional.                                    *
*                                                                                                   *
*                                                                              All the best,        *
*                                                                              Author               *
*                                                                                                   *
*****************************************************************************************************/

using System;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace Multidimensional_array_sort_program
{
public partial class MainForm : Form
{
//
// Global variables
//

// Table for storing personal data of employees
DataGridView Table;

// Variable for setting data sort order inside table columns
ListSortDirection Sort_Direction;

// Variables for storing table column indexes
int first_column;
int second_column;
int third_column;

//
//
//

public MainForm()
{
InitializeComponent();

// Initialize table
Create_And_Fill_Table();

Refresh();
}

void Create_And_Fill_Table()
{
//
// Create table
//
Table = new DataGridView();

//
// Add columns
//
// DataGridView.Columns.Add("Column Name", "Column Header Text");
//
Table.Columns.Add("First Name", "Name"   );
Table.Columns.Add("Last Name" , "Surname");
Table.Columns.Add("Address"   , "Address" );

//
// Add and Fill rows with data
//
// Table.Rows.Add("Column1 - Cell Value", "Column2 - Cell Value", "Column3 - Cell Value");
//
Table.Rows.Add("John     ", "Porter   ", "1234  Oak street, Pensacola, FL 32503            ");
Table.Rows.Add("John     ", "Porter   ", "1891  3rd Street, North Westlake, OH 44145       ");
Table.Rows.Add("William  ", "Patterson", "4534  Virginia Street, Dallas, GA 30132          ");
Table.Rows.Add("Marry    ", "Cortez   ", "7642  Fairview Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53204       ");
Table.Rows.Add("John     ", "Patterson", "1368  Street Road, Morristown, NJ 07960          ");
Table.Rows.Add("Elizabet ", "Cortez   ", "3698  Cedar Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12886   ");
Table.Rows.Add("Marry    ", "Mosley   ", "4575  11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95820          ");

//
// Important:
//
// Data stored inside array created as DataGridView class–type object
// are always represented (memorized) as type of String.
// When sorting, all data are compared as strings, numbers also.
// If there is need to sort numbers, it is necessary to
// adjust format of data, so that sort routine returns correct result.
//
//   numerical      formated       sorted
//     data        for sorting    correctly
//  as strings     as numbers     as numbers
//
//      "1"          "0001"        "0001"
//     "10"          "0010"        "0003"
//    "214"          "0214"        "0004"
//      "3"          "0003"        "0005"
//      "4"          "0004"        "0010"
//      "5"          "0005"        "0214"
//   "1024"          "1024"        "1024"
//
//
//   numerical     not formated    sorted
//     data        for sorting    correctly
//  as strings     as numbers     as strings
//
//        "1"          "1"           "1"
//       "10"         "10"          "10"
//      "214"        "214"        "1024"
//        "3"          "3"         "214"
//        "4"          "4"           "3"
//        "5"          "5"           "4"
//     "1024"       "1024"           "5"
//
//
//  Example of formating numerical data:
//
//  int numerical_data = 100;
//  string format = "000000";
//  string formated_data = data.ToString(format);
//
//  Result of formating:
//
//  numerical data   formated
//
//       100          000100
//
//

//
// Set columns indexes
//
first_column  = 0;
second_column = 1;
third_column  = 2;

//
// Set data Sort Direction
//
Sort_Direction = ListSortDirection.Ascending;

//
// Add SortCompare event handler
//
Table.SortCompare += new System.Windows.Forms.DataGridViewSortCompareEventHandler(SortCompare);

//
//
//
}

void SortCompare(object sender, DataGridViewSortCompareEventArgs e)
{
//
// SortCompare event handler
//

//
// This event is raised every time
// when program compares two cell values to perform sort operation.
// We can use this event to sort rows inside table as we find appropriate.
//
//
//
// Example 1:
//
// e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString(),
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString());
//
// e.Handled = true;
//
// This would sort all rows in table by the values in the first column,
// in selected sort order
//
//
//
// Example 2:
//
// e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString(),
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString());
//
// e.Handled = true;
//
// This would sort all rows in table by the values in the first column,
// in the opposite sort order from selected
//
//
//
// Example 3:
//
// e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[second_column].Value.ToString(),
//    Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[second_column].Value.ToString());
//
// If values are equal
// Compare values inside cells in second column
// if (e.SortResult == 0)
// {
//        e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
//            Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString(),
//            Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString());
// }
// e.Handled = true;
//
// This would sort all rows in table
// by the values in the second column in the opposite sort order from selected,
// and then by the values in the first column in the selected sort order
//
//
//
// By swap e.RowIndex1 and e.RowIndex2 we control sort order.
//
// By changing value for column index ,
// first_column, second_column or third_column,
// we control which column cell values are relevant for sorting.
//
//

//
// Sort by first then by second then by third column
// in the selected Sort Direction
//

// Compare values inside cells in first column
e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString(),
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[first_column].Value.ToString());

// If values are equal
// Compare values inside cells in second column
if (e.SortResult == 0)
{
e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[second_column].Value.ToString(),
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[second_column].Value.ToString());

// If values are equal
// Compare values inside cells in third column
if (e.SortResult == 0)
{
e.SortResult = System.String.CompareOrdinal(
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex1].Cells[third_column].Value.ToString(),
Table.Rows[e.RowIndex2].Cells[third_column].Value.ToString());
}
}
e.Handled = true;
}

void Start_Sort_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
// Sort data inside table
Sort_Table();

// Show sorted data in the message box
Show_Sorted_Data();
}

void Sort_Table()
{
//
// Sort table
//
Table.Sort(Table.Columns[first_column], Sort_Direction);

}

void Show_Sorted_Data()
{
// Show sorted data in the message box
MessageBox.Show(Table[0,0].Value + "\t" + Table[1,0].Value + "\t" + Table[2,0].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,1].Value + "\t" + Table[1,1].Value + "\t" + Table[2,1].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,2].Value + "\t" + Table[1,2].Value + "\t" + Table[2,2].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,3].Value + "\t" + Table[1,3].Value + "\t" + Table[2,3].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,4].Value + "\t" + Table[1,4].Value + "\t" + Table[2,4].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,5].Value + "\t" + Table[1,5].Value + "\t" + Table[2,5].Value + "\n" +
Table[0,6].Value + "\t" + Table[1,6].Value + "\t" + Table[2,6].Value + "\n",
"   Sorted Personal Data",
MessageBoxButtons.OK,
MessageBoxIcon.None,
MessageBoxDefaultButton.Button1,
MessageBoxOptions.DefaultDesktopOnly
);
}

}
}

/************************************
* List Of Revisions                *
************************************
*                                  *
*                                  *
*                                  *
************************************/```

Points of Interest

Learn how to use `DataGridView` class for creating simple two dimensional array and use it for sorting diverse data with all benefits of `SortCompare` event handler that allows to programmatically customize multicolumn data sort algorithm. For sorting large amount of diverse data, this would be one of the best ways, especially because of simplicity and respective sorting speed.

History

• Last revision 11.10.2016 Author

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under A Public Domain dedication

Written By
Software Developer
Serbia
Serbia
Smederevo
01.10.2011

personal data:

Name : Željko
Surname : Perić
Country : Serbia
e-mail : periczeljkosmederevo@yahoo.com

Home page in Serbian and English

http://sites.google.com/site/periczeljkosmederevo/home
https://sites.google.com/site/periczeljkosmederevoenglish/

Educational background :

I have finished high school EC "Milentije Popović" in Smederevo (Serbia), technical and mathematical direction of natural science, profession mathematical programming assistant. Computer programming, development of algorithms, etc.

The most frequently used tool that I use for programming computer is IDE Sharp Develop, programming languge C#.

Comments and Discussions

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 Did you ever hear about LINQ? Carlos19075-Jan-16 22:25 Carlos1907 5-Jan-16 22:25
 Re: Did you ever hear about LINQ? Perić Željko6-Jan-16 0:26 Perić Željko 6-Jan-16 0:26
 Re: Did you ever hear about LINQ? Carlos19076-Jan-16 4:34 Carlos1907 6-Jan-16 4:34
 Re: Did you ever hear about LINQ? Perić Željko6-Jan-16 6:46 Perić Željko 6-Jan-16 6:46
 Re: Did you ever hear about LINQ? John Brett13-Oct-16 2:38 John Brett 13-Oct-16 2:38
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