windows 10, emacs 26.1 I have table in org file and I want to sort table by column Date

Here table:

|        Number |       Date |
|---------------+------------|
| 1535749200000 | 31.08.2018 |
| 1535835600000 | 01.09.2018 |
| 1590094800000 | 21.05.2020 |
| 1536019200000 | 04.09.2018 |
| 1536883200000 | 14.09.2018 |

Note: Date is in format "dd.MM.yyyy"

Here my steps:

M-x org-sort

enter image description here enter image description here

Then press t

Here result. enter image description here

As you can see it's not sort. And I get message:

You can run the command ‘org-sort’ with C-c ^
  • you make it difficult to reproduce by attaching images and not text that could be pasted for testing. first thing I see is that your dates are not datestamps.. – manandearth Dec 3 at 10:48
  • @manandearth I update my post. Add table as text. – Alexei Dec 3 at 11:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you don't want to have a third column, you can also define a function for sorting DD.MM.YYYY formated dates like so:

(defun compare-german-date (str)
  "Convert DD.MM.YYYY to sortable YYYYMMDD."
 ( setq stringslist  (delete "" (split-string str "\\.")))
 (string-to-number (concat (nth 2 stringslist) (nth 1 stringslist) (nth 0 stringslist)) )
)

then you can use org-sort with "f" for function and provide compare-german-date there (2nd function can stay default).

This doesn't change your table entries, it provides a key for sort. So your table will not have YYYYMMDD, but 'll stay DD.MM.YYYY.

Beware using it for other columns than just | DD.MM.YYYY |

You might consider using manandearth's answer though, because having timestamps could be very handy integrating data with org. Or maybe – if you don't like timestamp – consider using ISO-formated dates (as you could easyly sort them alphabetical).

  • sorry for lot's of edits - made some c&p mistakes ^^ should work now… – kai-dj Dec 3 at 12:20

org-sort by date will work with timestamps. For example:

| number | date             |                                                                                                                 
|--------+------------------|                                                                                                                 
|    781 | <2018-12-07 Fri> |                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
|    129 | <2018-12-03 Mon> |                                                                                                                 
|    321 | <2018-11-23 Fri> | 
|    123 | <2018-12-04 Tue> | 

With the caret in the date column type: C-c^ followed by t for sorting by time.

Wil result in:

| number | date             |                                                                                                                 
|--------+------------------|                                                                                                                 
|    781 | <2018-12-07 Fri> |                                                                                                                 
|    123 | <2018-12-04 Tue> |                                                                                                                 
|    129 | <2018-12-03 Mon> |                                                                                                                 
|    321 | <2018-11-23 Fri> |

EDIT

In your case you will need to reformat those strings using regular expressions.

You can write a function such as:

(defun format-date-column (d)                                                                                                                     
   (concat "<" (replace-regexp-in-string   "[.]" "-" d) ">")) 

and then apply it in the table formula field. In the following example I made a third column and the function parses between columns:

#+tblfm: $3 = '(format-date-column $2)

Turning this table:

|        Number |       Date | timestamps |                                                                                                 
|---------------+------------+------------|                                                                                                 
| 1535749200000 | 31.08.2018 |            |                                                                                                 
| 1535835600000 | 01.09.2018 |            |                                                                                                 
| 1590094800000 | 21.05.2020 |            |                                                                                                 
| 1536019200000 | 04.09.2018 |            |                                                                                                 
| 1536883200000 | 14.09.2018 |            |

To:

|        Number |       Date | datestamps   |                                                                                                 
|---------------+------------+--------------|                                                                                                 
| 1535749200000 | 31.08.2018 | <31-08-2018> |                                                                                                 
| 1535835600000 | 01.09.2018 | <01-09-2018> |                                                                                                    
| 1590094800000 | 21.05.2020 | <21-05-2020> |                                                                                                 
| 1536019200000 | 04.09.2018 | <04-09-2018> |                                                                                                 
| 1536883200000 | 14.09.2018 | <14-09-2018> |    

Which can then be sorted as explained above.

  • Not work in my case, because date format is dd.MM.yyyy. Org mode sort only if date is in format yyyy-MM-dd. How I can fix this? – Alexei Dec 3 at 11:24
  • Now included in the edit. – manandearth Dec 3 at 12:10

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