Has any one seen any good user interface components or design patterns for doing multiple sort orders on a data table or grid? I am wondering if this design pattern is becoming less common due to the fact that multi-facet search and smarter search options are becoming more standard.

However, when you are working with data elements in rows and columns of a table, some people want to sort by one column first then another column second, and I haven't seen too many standard UI controls that cater for this.

3 Answers 3


I like the way that Google Spreadsheets does this. (You need to select a range of cells and then select Data > Sort range... to see this.)

sort range by

  • For displaying tables in web pages, the best tool yet is datatables.net - but I don't think it has multi-level sorting Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 9:24

Check how the Shield UI Grid implements multiple sort - it allows clicking on multiple columns and also allows unsorting a column.


In my research I have come across a pretty reliable solution for sort/filter/group for complex tabular data. It's from Oracle from their Application Express solution (APEX 5.0). The feature is called an Interactive Report. Here's the link to the end-user guide: Using Interactive Reports.

We have Developers who have simplified and customized to add/remove capabilities. We just implemented it for a UAT as solution for internal data analysts. User testing has come back very positive for the amount of control they have in comparison to their current capabilities. Obviously this is not a solution for Web sites, but for internal apps for data analysts it is quite powerful.

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