Lesson: Sorting Data with ORDER BY

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of sorting data in SQL.
  • Learn how to use the ORDER BY clause to sort query results.
  • Explore sorting by multiple columns and using different sorting orders.


Sorting data is a fundamental operation in SQL. It allows you to arrange query results in a specific order, making the data more meaningful and easier to interpret. In this lesson, we’ll explore the ORDER BY clause, which is used to sort data in SQL queries.

The ORDER BY Clause

The ORDER BY clause is used in SQL to sort the result set of a query based on one or more columns. It is typically used in conjunction with the SELECT statement and appears at the end of the query. The basic syntax of the ORDER BY clause is as follows:

SELECT column1, column2, ... FROM table_name ORDER BY column1 [ASC | DESC], column2 [ASC | DESC], ...;

  • column1, column2, ...: The columns you want to retrieve from the table.
  • table_name: The name of the table you are querying.
  • column1, column2, ...: The columns by which you want to sort the result set.
  • [ASC | DESC]: Optional. It specifies the sorting order. “ASC” stands for ascending (default), and “DESC” stands for descending.

Sorting Examples

Sorting by a Single Column

Let’s start by sorting data by a single column. Suppose we have a “Products” table, and we want to retrieve all products sorted by their prices in ascending order. The SQL query would look like this:

SELECT product_name, price FROM Products ORDER BY price;

In this query, the result set will include the product names and prices, sorted in ascending order of prices.

Sorting by Multiple Columns

You can also sort data by multiple columns. For example, if you want to sort the products first by category (in ascending order) and then by price (in descending order), you can use the following query:

SELECT product_name, category, price FROM Products ORDER BY category ASC, price DESC;

In this query, the result set will first be sorted by the “category” column in ascending order, and then within each category, the products will be sorted by price in descending order.


Sorting data with the ORDER BY clause is a fundamental SQL operation. It allows you to present query results in a structured and meaningful way, making it easier to extract insights from your data. Understanding how to use the ORDER BY clause is essential for any SQL practitioner.

In the next lesson, we will explore advanced SQL concepts such as filtering data with the WHERE clause and joining tables to retrieve more complex query results.