ORDER BY Clause (Microsoft Access SQL)

Access Developer Reference

Sorts a query's resulting records on a specified field or fields in ascending or descending order.


SELECT fieldlist     FROM table     WHERE selectcriteria     [ORDER BY field1 [ASC | DESC ][, field2 [ASC | DESC ]][, …]]]

A SELECT statement containing an ORDER BY clause has these parts:

Part Description
fieldlist The name of the field or fields to be retrieved along with any field-name aliases, SQL aggregate functions, selection predicates (ALL, DISTINCT, DISTINCTROW, or TOP), or other SELECT statement options.
table The name of the table from which records are retrieved. For more information, see the FROM clause.
selectcriteria Selection criteria. If the statement includes a WHERE clause, the Microsoft Access database engine orders values after applying the WHERE conditions to the records.
field1, field2 The names of the fields on which to sort records.

ORDER BY is optional. However, if you want your data displayed in sorted order, then you must use ORDER BY.

The default sort order is ascending (A to Z, 0 to 9). Both of the following examples sort employee names in last name order:

  SELECT LastName, FirstName
  FROM Employees
  ORDER BY LastName;
  SELECT LastName, FirstName
  FROM Employees
  ORDER BY LastName ASC;

To sort in descending order (Z to A, 9 to 0), add the DESC reserved word to the end of each field you want to sort in descending order. The following example selects salaries and sorts them in descending order:

  SELECT LastName, Salary
  FROM Employees
  ORDER BY Salary DESC, LastName;

If you specify a field containing Memo or OLE Object data in the ORDER BY clause, an error occurs. The Microsoft Jet database engine does not sort on fields of these types.

ORDER BY is usually the last item in an SQL statement.

You can include additional fields in the ORDER BY clause. Records are sorted first by the first field listed after ORDER BY. Records that have equal values in that field are then sorted by the value in the second field listed, and so on.


The SQL statement shown in the following example uses the ORDER BY clause to sort records by last name in descending order (Z-A).

This example calls the EnumFields procedure, which you can find in the SELECT statement example.

  Sub OrderByX()
    Dim dbs As Database, rst As Recordset
    ' Modify this line to include the path to Northwind
    ' on your computer.
    Set dbs = OpenDatabase("Northwind.mdb")
    ' Select the last name and first name values from 
    ' the Employees table, and sort them in descending 
    ' order.
    Set rst = dbs.OpenRecordset("SELECT LastName, " _
        & "FirstName FROM Employees " _
        & "ORDER BY LastName DESC;")
    ' Populate the Recordset.
    ' Call EnumFields to print recordset contents.
    EnumFields rst, 12
End Sub
See Also

ALL DISTINCT, DISTINCTROW, TOP Predicates (Microsoft Access SQL)

FROM Clause (Microsoft Access SQL)

GROUP BY Clause (Microsoft Access SQL)

HAVING Clause (Microsoft Access SQL)

SELECT Statement (Microsoft Access SQL)

SELECT…INTO Statement (Microsoft Access SQL)

SQL Aggregate Functions (SQL)

WHERE Clause (Microsoft Access SQL)