Natural sort order

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Natural sort order is an ordering of strings in alphabetical order, except that multi-digit numbers are ordered as a single character. Natural sort order has been promoted as being more human-friendly ("natural") than the machine-oriented pure alphabetical order.[1]

For example, in alphabetical sorting "z11" would be sorted before "z2" because "1" is sorted as smaller than "2", while in natural sorting "z2" is sorted before "z11" because "2" is sorted as smaller than "11".

Alphabetical sorting:

  1. z11
  2. z2

Natural sorting:

  1. z2
  2. z11

Functionality to sort by natural sort order is built into many programming languages and libraries.[2][3][4][5]

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