# Sorting a cell containing character vectors

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Anush Lingamoorthy on 10 Jul 2017
Answered: Andrei Bobrov on 10 Jul 2017
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 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)

### More Answers (2)

Walter Roberson on 10 Jul 2017
Look in the File Exchange for "natural sort"

Mark Fajet 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)