## Sorting a cell containing character vectors

Asked by Anush Lingamoorthy

### Anush Lingamoorthy (view profile)

on 10 Jul 2017
Latest activity Answered by Andrei Bobrov

### Andrei Bobrov (view profile)

on 10 Jul 2017
Accepted Answer by Andrei Bobrov

### Andrei Bobrov (view profile)

I'm trying to sort a cell of character vectors using the function
sort()
The input cell of character vectors are as follows:
A={ 3-aaa,
2-bbb,
1-abc,
10-acb,
21- cab}
sort(A)
The output is:
1-abc
10-acb
2-bbb
21- cab
3-aaa
How do I numerically sort it as
1-abc
2-bbb
3-aaa
10-acb
21- cab

### Andrei Bobrov (view profile)

Answer by Andrei Bobrov

### Andrei Bobrov (view profile)

on 10 Jul 2017

A={ '3-aaa'
'2-bbb'
'1-abc'
'10-acb'
'21- cab'}
[~,ii] = sort(str2double(regexp(A,'\d+','match','once')));
out = A(ii)

### Walter Roberson (view profile)

Answer by Walter Roberson

### Walter Roberson (view profile)

on 10 Jul 2017

Look in the File Exchange for "natural sort"

### Mark Fajet (view profile)

Answer by Mark Fajet

### Mark Fajet (view profile)

on 10 Jul 2017

Since the problem is that you want to sort numerically, but the sort function sees these as character vectors, you're going to want to parse out the numbers from each cell containing character vectors. Using cellfun, it can be done. Obtaining the numbers from each cell can be done like so:
cellfun(@(B)str2num(B(1:find(B=='-')-1)),A,'un',0)
After this, you'd want to do something similar to this example
In the end, your code may look like this:
A={ '3-aaa',
'2-bbb',
'1-abc',
'10-acb',
'21- cab'}
num_cells = cellfun(@(B)str2num(B(1:find(B=='-')-1)),A,'un',0)
nums = cell2mat(num_cells)
[numsSorted, i] = sort(nums)
A(i)