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Sorting Arrays

PHP has several functions that deal with sorting arrays, and this document exists to help sort it all out.

The main differences are:

  • Some sort based on the array keys, whereas others by the values: $array['key'] = 'value';
  • Whether or not the correlation between the keys and values are maintained after the sort, which may mean the keys are reset numerically (0,1,2 …)
  • The order of the sort: alphabetical, ascending (low to high), descending (high to low), natural, random, or user defined
  • Note: All of these sort functions act directly on the array variable itself, as opposed to returning a new sorted array
  • If any of these sort functions evaluates two members as equal then they retain their original order. Prior to PHP 8.0.0, their order were undefined (the sorting was not stable).
Function nameSorts byMaintains key associationOrder of sortRelated functions
array_multisort()valuestring keys yes, int keys nofirst array or sort optionsarray_walk()
asort()valueyesascendingarsort()
arsort()valueyesdescendingasort()
krsort()keyyesdescendingksort()
ksort()keyyesascendingkrsort()
natcasesort()valueyesnatural, case insensitivenatsort()
natsort()valueyesnaturalnatcasesort()
rsort()valuenodescendingsort()
shuffle()valuenorandomarray_rand()
sort()valuenoascendingrsort()
uasort()valueyesuser defineduksort()
uksort()keyyesuser defineduasort()
usort()valuenouser defineduasort()
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