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Simple natural order sorting API for Python that just works

Project description

The natsort.natsort() function in the naturalsort package is a very simple alternative to Python’s sorted() function that implements natural order sorting in Python.


Here’s an example of regular sorting vs. natural order sorting:

>>> # Import the sorted() alternative.
>>> from natsort import natsort
>>> # This is plain old sorting (what we DON'T want).
>>> sorted(['1', '5', '10', '50'])
['1', '10', '5', '50']
>>> # This is version sorting (what we DO want).
>>> natsort(['1', '5', '10', '50'])
['1', '5', '10', '50']
>>> # This covers a previously fixed bug.
>>> natsort(['1.0', '1.5'])
['1.0', '1.5']

Why another natsort module?!

There is already a natsort package available on PyPI, however this package does not implement natural order sorting as I would expect it to work. Given the following example it works correctly:

>>> available_versions = ['1.8.1-r26', '1.8.1-r30', '2.0-r2', '2.0-r7', '2.0-r11']
>>> natsort.natsorted(available_versions)
['1.8.1-r26', '1.8.1-r30', '2.0-r2', '2.0-r7', '2.0-r11']

However look what happens when we add a common prefix; it suddenly changes its mind about what natural order sorting means:

>>> natsort.natsorted(['my-package-%s' % v for v in available_versions])

This last result is clearly incorrect according to reasonable expectations. The implementation of GNU sort -V agrees with us.


The latest version of naturalsort is available on PyPI and GitHub. For bug reports please create an issue on GitHub. If you have questions, suggestions, etc. feel free to send me an e-mail at


This software is licensed under the MIT license.

© 2013 Peter Odding.

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