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How do I ORDER BY Alpha Numeric?

Posted on 2006-06-20
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a problem with sorting a alpha numeric field.

location_tag (type nvarchar(50))
1
2
3
4
10
11
20
Pad A
Pad B

If I do :
"SELECT location_tag from location ORDER BY location_tag"
1
10
11
2
20
3
4
Pad A
Pad B

How do I make it so it sorts the numeric values as integers then sort the character values?

I have tried:
SELECT location_tag FROM location ORDER BY CASE ISNUMERIC(location_tag) WHEN 1 THEN CONVERT(INT, location_tag) ELSE location_tag END

But it would produce an error:
Syntax error converting the nvarchar value 'Pad A' to a column of data type int.


Any Help is appreciated.
I know that i shouldnt be using a mixed field that contains both alpha and numeric, but that is how the client wants it. Because sometimes the values are numeric, somtimes its characters, sometimes both.

It is when its both that i am encountering a problem.
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Question by:RickDai
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5 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:HuyBD
ID: 16948083
You can create new 2 fields to store int and char

SELECT location_tag,
case when ISNUMERIC(location_tag) =1 then CONVERT(INT, location_tag) else -1 end as fint,
case  when ISNUMERIC(location_tag)<>1 then location_tag else '0' end as fchar
 FROM location ORDER BY fchar,fint
0
 
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

by:
HuyBD earned 500 total points
ID: 16948125
Or

SELECT location_tag
FROM location ORDER BY
case  when ISNUMERIC(location_tag)<>1 then location_tag else '0' end,
case when ISNUMERIC(location_tag) =1 then CONVERT(INT, location_tag) else -1 end
0
 
LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:imran_fast
ID: 16949498
or
SELECT location_tag
FROM location ORDER BY
case  when ISNUMERIC(location_tag) = 1 then cast(location_tag as int) else 999   end
0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:Brendt Hess
ID: 16954102
....
ORDER BY
    RIGHT(REPLICATE(N' ', 50) + location_tag, 50)

This will right justify your data for ordering.  If the data is:

1
10
11
2
20
3
4
Pad A
Pad B
1A
A1
1X

 the returned set is:

1
2
3
4
10
11
1A
1X
20
A1
Pad A
Pad B
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:RickDai
ID: 16955202
@HuyBD
worked like a charm. thanks!

@everyone
thanks for your input, much is appreciated.
0

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