(TIL) Python: Sort lists naturally not lexicographically with natsort

less than 1 minute read

When you try to sort a list of strings that contain numbers, the normal python sort algorithm sorts lexicographically, so you might not get the results that you expect.

>>> a = ['2 ft 7 in', '1 ft 5 in', '10 ft 2 in', '2 ft 11 in', '7 ft 6 in']
>>> sorted(a)
['1 ft 5 in', '10 ft 2 in', '2 ft 11 in', '2 ft 7 in', '7 ft 6 in']

natsort provides a function natsorted that helps sort lists “naturally”. Using natsorted is simple:

>>> from natsort import natsorted
>>> a = ['2 ft 7 in', '1 ft 5 in', '10 ft 2 in', '2 ft 11 in', '7 ft 6 in']
>>> natsorted(a)
['1 ft 5 in', '2 ft 7 in', '2 ft 11 in', '7 ft 6 in', '10 ft 2 in']

Via StackOverflow and natsort.

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