<xsl:sort> Element

Specifies sort criteria for node lists selected by <xsl:for-each> or <xsl:apply-templates>.

  select = string-expression 
  lang = { nmtoken }
  data-type = { "text" | "number" | QName }
  order = { "ascending" | "descending" }
  case-order = { "upper-first" | "lower-first" }


  • select
    The sort key for the node. An expression that is evaluated with the specified node as the current node, and with the complete list of nodes being processed in unsorted order as the current node-list. The resulting object is converted to a string that is used as the sort key for that node. The default value of the select attribute is ".". This causes the string-value of the current node to be used as the sort key.
  • lang
    The language alphabet used to determine sort order. If no lang value is specified, the language is determined from the system environment.
  • data-type
    The data type of the strings. The following table list the values allowed for the data-type attribute.


    Specifies that the sort keys should be sorted alphabetically.


    Specifies that the sort keys should be converted to numbers and then sorted according to the numeric value. The sort key is converted to a number.


    Expanded into a expanded-name. The expanded-name identifies the data type.

    If no data type is specified, the type of the expression will be used as the default.

  • order
    The sort order for the strings. The default value is "ascending".
  • case-order
    The order in which to sort strings by capitalization. The default value is "upper-first", which sorts the strings with uppercase letter first.

Element Information

Number of occurrences


Parent elements

xsl:apply-templates, xsl:for-each

Child elements

(No child elements)


This sorting algorithm ignores dashes when sorting. This is the "word-sort" method, intended to sort words like "co-op" next to "coop".

For example, the following sort order is produced:



Thus the sort treats the items as though they were: