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Sort-Object [[-Property] <Object[]>] [-CaseSensitive] [-Culture <String>] [-Descending] [-InputObject <PSObject>][-Unique] [<CommonParameters>]

The Sort-Object cmdlet sorts objects in ascending or descending order based on the values of properties of the object.

You can specify a single property or multiple properties, for a multi-key sort, and you can select a case-sensitive or case-insensitive sort. You can also direct Sort-Object to display only the objects with a unique value for a particular property.


-CaseSensitive [<SwitchParameter>]

  • Default value is False
  • Accepts pipeline input False

Indicates that the sort should be case sensitive. By default, sorting is not case sensitive.

-Culture <String>

  • Default value is None
  • Accepts pipeline input False

Specifies the cultural configuration to use when sorting.

-Descending [<SwitchParameter>]

  • Default value is False
  • Accepts pipeline input False

Indicates that the cmdlet sorts the objects in descending order. The default is ascending order.

The Descending parameter applies to all properties. To sort by some properties in ascending order and others in descending order, you must specify their property values by using a hash table.

-InputObject <PSObject>

  • Default value is None
  • Accepts pipeline input ByValue

Specifies the objects to sort.

When you use the InputObject parameter to submit a collection of items, Sort-Object receives one object that represents the collection. Because one object cannot be sorted, Sort-Object returns the entire collection unchanged.

To sort objects, pipe them to Sort-Object .

-Property <Object[]>

  • Default value is None
  • Accepts pipeline input False

Specifies the properties to use when sorting. Objects are sorted based on the values of these properties. Enter the names of the properties. Wildcards are permitted.

If you specify multiple properties, the objects are first sorted by the first property. If more than one object has the same value for the first property, those objects are sorted by the second property. This process continues until there are no more specified properties or no groups of objects.

If you do not specify properties, the cmdlet sorts based on default properties for the object type.

The value of the Property parameter can be a calculated property. To create a calculated, property, use a hash table. Valid keys are:

- Expression <string> or <script block>

- Ascending <Boolean>

- Descending <Boolean>

-Unique [<SwitchParameter>]

  • Default value is False
  • Accepts pipeline input False

Indicates that the cmdlet eliminates duplicates and returns only the unique members of the collection. You can use this parameter instead of using the Get-Unique cmdlet.

This parameter is case-insensitive. As a result, strings that differ only in character casing are considered to be the same.


This cmdlet supports the common parameters: Verbose, Debug,ErrorAction, ErrorVariable, WarningAction, WarningVariable,OutBuffer, PipelineVariable, and OutVariable.

You can pipe the objects to be sorted to Sort-Object .
Sort-Object returns the sorted objects.
  1. Sort the current directory by name:
    PS C:\> Get-ChildItem | Sort-Object
       Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
       ----                -------------     ------ ----
       -a---         9/13/2005   4:24 PM          0 0
       -a---          9/6/2005   4:19 PM         12 a.csv
       -a---         9/21/2005   3:49 PM        529 a.Ps
       -a---         8/22/2005   4:14 PM         22
       -a---         9/27/2005  10:33 AM         24 a.txt
       -a---         9/15/2005  10:31 AM        398 a.vbs
       -a---         7/21/2005  12:39 PM      37066 a.xml
       -a---         8/28/2005  11:30 PM       5412 a.xslt
       -a---        10/25/2005   1:59 PM        125 AdamTravel.txt
       -a---         7/21/2005   9:49 AM         59 add2Num.Ps
       -a---         8/29/2005   5:42 PM       7111 add-content.xml
       -a---         9/21/2005  12:46 PM       8771 aliens.Ps
       -a---         8/10/2005   2:10 PM        798 array.xml
       -a---          8/4/2004   5:00 AM        110 AUTORUN.INF
       -a---          9/6/2005   4:20 PM        245 b.csv

    This command sorts the subdirectories and files in the current directory. Because no properties are specified, the files and directories are sorted in ascending alphabetical order by their default sort property, Name.

  2. Sort the current directory by file length:
    PS C:\> Get-ChildItem | Sort-Object -Property length
       Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
       ----                -------------     ------ ----
       -a---         12/3/2006   5:35 PM          2 pref.txt
       -a---          9/6/2006   3:33 PM         15 count.txt
       -a---         7/26/2006  10:01 AM         30 filenoext
       -a---         8/18/2006   9:02 AM         52 temp.ps1
       -a---         8/18/2006   9:02 AM         52 temp.msh
       -a---          9/6/2006   3:33 PM         56 fivewords.txt
       -a---         7/26/2006   9:28 AM         80 date.csv
       -a---         7/29/2006   7:15 PM         84 test2.txt
       -a---         7/29/2006   7:15 PM         84 test.ps1

    This command displays the files in the current directory in ascending order by file length.

  3. Sort processes by memory use:
    PS C:\> Get-Process | Sort-Object -Property WS | Select-Object -Last 5
       Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
       -------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
       1105      25    44236      18932   197    93.81      2032 iexplore
       2526      66    37668      36836   221   393.27       868 svchost
       974       19    22844      45928   371    88.39      3952 WINWORD
       1371      22    42192      61872   323    75.75      1584 INFOPATH
       2145      58    93088      70680   619   396.69      3908 OUTLOOK

    This command displays the five processes on the computer with the greatest memory use based on the size of their working sets.

    The command uses the Get-Process cmdlet to get a list of processes. It uses a pipeline operator (|) to send the results to the Sort-Object cmdlet, which sorts the objects in working-set order.

    Another pipeline operator sends the results to the Select-Object, which displays only the last five items in the list.

  4. Sort HistoryInfo objects by ID:
    PS C:\> Get-History | Sort-Object -Descending
       Id CommandLine
       -- -----------
       51 get-history | sort -descending
       50 get-history | sort -descending
       49 get-history | sort -descending
       48 get-history | sort -descending
       47 get-history | sort -descending
       46 get-history | sort -descending
       45 get-history | sort -descending
       44 cd $pshome
       43 Get-ChildItem | Sort-Object
       42 gci *.txt

    This command sorts HistoryInfo objects using the Id property as the default key.

  5. Sort services by Status and DisplayName:
    PS C:\> Get-Service | Sort-Object -Property @{Expression = "Status"; Descending = $True}, @{Expression = "DisplayName"; Descending = $False}
       Status   Name               DisplayName
       ------   ----               -----------
       Running  ALG                Application Layer Gateway Service
       Running  Ati HotKey Poller  Ati HotKey Poller
       Running  wuauserv           Automatic Updates
       Running  BITS               Background Intelligent Transfer Ser... 
       Running  Client for NFS     Client for NFS
       Stopped  clr_optimizatio... .NET Runtime Optimization Service v... 
       Stopped  Alerter            Alerter
       Stopped  AppMgmt            Application Management
       Stopped  aspnet_state       ASP.NET State Service
       Stopped  ATI Smart          ATI Smart
       Stopped  ClipSrv            ClipBook

    This command displays the services on the computer in descending Status order and ascending DisplayName order.

    The command uses the Get-Service cmdlet to get the services on the computer. It uses a pipeline operator (|) to send services to the Sort-Object cmdlet.

    To sort one property in ascending order and another property in descending order, the command uses a hash table for the value of the Property parameter. The hash table uses an Expression key to specify the property name and an Ascending or Descending key to specify the sort order.

    The resulting display, which sorts the Status values in descending order, lists properties with a Status value of Running before those with a Status value of Stopped. When sorted in ascending order, Stopped appears before Running, because Status is an enumerated property in which the value of Stopped (1) is less than the value of Running (4).

  6. Sort text files by time span:
    PS C:\> Get-ChildItem *.txt | Sort-Object -Property @{Expression={$_.LastWriteTime - $_.CreationTime}; Ascending = $False} | Format-Table LastWriteTime, CreationTime
       LastWriteTime                           CreationTime
       -------------                           ------------
       2/21/2006 10:22:20 AM                   10/3/2005 4:19:40 PM
       2/27/2006 8:14:24 AM                    2/23/2006 10:41:08 PM
       2/24/2006 1:26:19 PM                    2/23/2006 11:23:36 PM
       1/5/2006 12:01:35 PM                    1/5/2006 11:35:30 AM
       2/24/2006 9:25:40 AM                    2/24/2006 9:22:24 AM
       2/24/2006 9:40:01 AM                    2/24/2006 9:39:41 AM
       2/21/2006 10:21:30 AM                   2/21/2006 10:21:30 AM

    This command sorts text files in descending order by the time span between CreationTime and LastWriteTime.

  7. Sort names in a text file:
    PS C:\> Get-Content servers.txt
    server01 PS C:\> Get-Content servers.txt | Sort-Object -Unique

    These commands sort the names of servers in a text file. The second command uses the Sort-Object cmdlet with the Unique parameter to return a sorted list without duplicates.

Additional Notes
 Sort-Object * sorts objects based on the properties that you specify or the default sort properties for 
 objects of that type.

 * If an object does not have one of the specified properties, the property value for that object is 
 interpreted by the cmdlet as Null and is placed at the end of the sort order. When sorting objects, 
 Sort-Object uses the Compare method for each property. If a property does not implement IComparable, the 
 cmdlet converts the property value to a string and uses the Compare method for System.String *. The 
 Sort-Object * cmdlet sorts objects in ascending or descending order based on the values of properties of the 
 object. If you sort on a property whose value is an enumeration, Sort-Object * sorts the enumeration values in 
 numeric order; it does not sort the enumeration member names. For example, if you sort services by status, 
 services with a status of Stopped appear before services with a status of Running, because the value of Status 
 is a ServiceControllerStatus
 tus(v=vs.110).aspx enumeration, in which Stopped has a value of 1 and Running has a value of 4.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. It is attributed to Microsoft Corporation and can be found here.

PowerShell Commands