# Sort numbers containing underscores in numeric order

I have data like below, want to sort this value by numeric order. this command didn't work.

``````sort -t'_' -nk3,2 c
``````

Input Data

``````5_5_1_2
5_5_1_3
5_5_1_4
5_5_1_5
5_5_2
5_5_3
5_5_4
5_5_5
5_6
5_7
6_1_10
6_1_11
6_1_12
6_1_13
6_1_14
6_1_2
6_1_3
6_1_4
6_1_5
6_1_6
6_1_7
6_1_8
6_1_9
6_2_10
6_2_11
6_2_12
6_2_13
6_2_14
6_2_15
6_2_16
6_2_17
6_2_1
6_2_2
6_2_3
``````

It's kinda difficult to tell what you're trying to accomplish, but I'm assuming you need:

``````5_5_1_2
5_5_1_3
5_5_1_4
5_5_1_5
5_5_2
5_5_3
5_5_4
5_5_5
5_6
5_7
6_1_2
6_1_3
6_1_4
6_1_5
6_1_6
6_1_7
6_1_8
6_1_9
6_1_10
6_1_11
6_1_12
6_1_13
6_1_14
6_2_1
6_2_2
6_2_3
6_2_10
6_2_11
6_2_12
6_2_13
6_2_14
6_2_15
6_2_16
6_2_17
``````

as output.

This can be obtained, by regarding the numbers as "versions", and "version sort" is available with the `-V` switch, like so:

``````sort -V <file>
``````

This behavior is explained in the `sort` man page

• May be worth noting that `-V` is a non-standard GNU extension not available in every `sort` implementation. Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 6:08

`-kx,y` means: use the section of the line that starts with the start of the xth field and ends at the end of the yth field as the sort key.

So `-k3,2` does not make sense in that context. If you mean: sort numerically on the third fied, and then on the second field, that would be:

``````sort -nt_ -k3,3 -k2,2
``````

Or:

``````sort -t_ -k3,3n -k2,2n
``````

(here with the `n`umeric flag applied to each key specification, as opposed to turning numeric sorting globally with the `-n` option).

• Thanks, this worked for me `sort -t_ -k1,1n -k2,2n -k3,3n ` Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 12:01