# C# – How to sort a two-dimensional (rectangular) array in C#

arraysc++sorting

I have a two-dimensional array (of Strings) which make up my data table (of rows and columns). I want to sort this array by any column. I tried to find an algorithm for doing this in C#, but have not been successful.

Any help is appreciated.

#### Best Solution

Can I check - do you mean a rectangular array (`[,]`)or a jagged array (`[][]`)?

It is quite easy to sort a jagged array; I have a discussion on that here. Obviously in this case the `Comparison<T>` would involve a column instead of sorting by ordinal - but very similar.

Sorting a rectangular array is trickier... I'd probably be tempted to copy the data out into either a rectangular array or a `List<T[]>`, and sort there, then copy back.

Here's an example using a jagged array:

``````static void Main()
{  // could just as easily be string...
int[][] data = new int[][] {
new int[] {1,2,3},
new int[] {2,3,4},
new int[] {2,4,1}
};
Sort<int>(data, 2);
}
private static void Sort<T>(T[][] data, int col)
{
Comparer<T> comparer = Comparer<T>.Default;
Array.Sort<T[]>(data, (x,y) => comparer.Compare(x[col],y[col]));
}
``````

For working with a rectangular array... well, here is some code to swap between the two on the fly...

``````static T[][] ToJagged<T>(this T[,] array) {
int height = array.GetLength(0), width = array.GetLength(1);
T[][] jagged = new T[height][];

for (int i = 0; i < height; i++)
{
T[] row = new T[width];
for (int j = 0; j < width; j++)
{
row[j] = array[i, j];
}
jagged[i] = row;
}
return jagged;
}
static T[,] ToRectangular<T>(this T[][] array)
{
int height = array.Length, width = array.Length;
T[,] rect = new T[height, width];
for (int i = 0; i < height; i++)
{
T[] row = array[i];
for (int j = 0; j < width; j++)
{
rect[i, j] = row[j];
}
}
return rect;
}
// fill an existing rectangular array from a jagged array
static void WriteRows<T>(this T[,] array, params T[][] rows)
{
for (int i = 0; i < rows.Length; i++)
{
T[] row = rows[i];
for (int j = 0; j < row.Length; j++)
{
array[i, j] = row[j];
}
}
}
``````