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Sorting portal based on value list?


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I have a portal that shows all boarding reservations for a given date. Active reservations are given a pen number, and some reservations (like No Shows and Cancellations) are not given a pen number. I'd like to show ALL of the reservations, but make the active reservations show up on the top, and sort by them by pen number.

In technical terms...

When I simply sort by [pen_number], records with blank [pen_number] fields show up on top (obviously not what I want). So, I believe the correct method is by using the "Custom order based on value list". BUT, I do not know what to enter in my value list to sort ascending, THEN blank values... Any suggestions?

A specific solution would be great, but I wouldn't mind a general "Dummies Guide to Sorting by Value Lists" response. :

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It's a very limited feature, bacause it looks for an exact match of data to a value. It is not an alternative alphabet.

IOW, if your value list is a, c, b, the sort will produce:







As you see, where the entries are not an exact match to a value, the sort defaults to normal.

This feature is handy if you have a field that is set by a value list and you want sorting to follow some logic that is not alphabetical, e.g. month names.

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