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vec_order_radix() computes the order of x. For data frames, the order is computed along the rows by computing the order of the first column and using subsequent columns to break ties.

vec_sort_radix() sorts x. It is equivalent to vec_slice(x, vec_order_radix(x)).


  direction = "asc",
  na_value = "largest",
  nan_distinct = FALSE,
  chr_proxy_collate = NULL

  direction = "asc",
  na_value = "largest",
  nan_distinct = FALSE,
  chr_proxy_collate = NULL



A vector


These dots are for future extensions and must be empty.


Direction to sort in.

  • A single "asc" or "desc" for ascending or descending order respectively.

  • For data frames, a length 1 or ncol(x) character vector containing only "asc" or "desc", specifying the direction for each column.


Ordering of missing values.

  • A single "largest" or "smallest" for ordering missing values as the largest or smallest values respectively.

  • For data frames, a length 1 or ncol(x) character vector containing only "largest" or "smallest", specifying how missing values should be ordered within each column.


A single logical specifying whether or not NaN should be considered distinct from NA for double and complex vectors. If TRUE, NaN will always be ordered between NA and non-missing numbers.


A function generating an alternate representation of character vectors to use for collation, often used for locale-aware ordering.

  • If NULL, no transformation is done.

  • Otherwise, this must be a function of one argument. If the input contains a character vector, it will be passed to this function after it has been translated to UTF-8. This function should return a character vector with the same length as the input. The result should sort as expected in the C-locale, regardless of encoding.

For data frames, chr_proxy_collate will be applied to all character columns.

Common transformation functions include: tolower() for case-insensitive ordering and stringi::stri_sort_key() for locale-aware ordering.


  • vec_order_radix() an integer vector the same size as x.

  • vec_sort_radix() a vector with the same size and type as x.

Differences with order()

Unlike the na.last argument of order() which decides the positions of missing values irrespective of the decreasing argument, the na_value argument of vec_order_radix() interacts with direction. If missing values are considered the largest value, they will appear last in ascending order, and first in descending order.

Character vectors are ordered in the C-locale. This is different from base::order(), which respects base::Sys.setlocale(). Sorting in a consistent locale can produce more reproducible results between different sessions and platforms, however, the results of sorting in the C-locale can be surprising. For example, capital letters sort before lower case letters. Sorting c("b", "C", "a") with vec_sort_radix() will return c("C", "a", "b"), but with base::order() will return c("a", "b", "C") unless base::order(method = "radix") is explicitly set, which also uses the C-locale. While sorting with the C-locale can be useful for algorithmic efficiency, in many real world uses it can be the cause of data analysis mistakes. To balance these trade-offs, you can supply a chr_proxy_collate function to transform character vectors into an alternative representation that orders in the C-locale in a less surprising way. For example, providing base::tolower() as a transform will order the original vector in a case-insensitive manner. Locale-aware ordering can be achieved by providing stringi::stri_sort_key() as a transform, setting the collation options as appropriate for your locale.

Character vectors are always translated to UTF-8 before ordering, and before any transform is applied by chr_proxy_collate.

For complex vectors, if either the real or imaginary component is NA or NaN, then the entire observation is considered missing.

Dependencies of vec_order_radix()

Dependencies of vec_sort_radix()


if (FALSE) {

x <- round(sample(runif(5), 9, replace = TRUE), 3)
x <- c(x, NA)

vec_sort_radix(x, direction = "desc")

# Can also handle data frames
df <- data.frame(g = sample(2, 10, replace = TRUE), x = x)
vec_sort_radix(df, direction = "desc")

# For data frames, `direction` and `na_value` are allowed to be vectors
# with length equal to the number of columns in the data frame
  direction = c("desc", "asc"),
  na_value = c("largest", "smallest")

# Character vectors are ordered in the C locale, which orders capital letters
# below lowercase ones
y <- c("B", "A", "a")

# To order in a case-insensitive manner, provide a `chr_proxy_collate`
# function that transforms the strings to all lowercase
vec_sort_radix(y, chr_proxy_collate = tolower)