Column click-to-sort in results panes is painful!

Nearly every other system I have used, from Excel to MySQL Workbench, the last column you click to sort by is the highest priority sort field, not the lowest. As I'm exploring a result set trying to get a better handle on the data, I don't want to have to keep clicking each sort that I apply off before turning another one on. Consider this use case:

I have a result set that shows me a list of 1,000 problem transactions with 20 fields, I don't know what caused the problem yet so I am now just trying to look at the data and see what patterns pop out. So I start sorting it by date, type, amount, source system, accounting code, payment method, etc. I'm not sure if any of these fields will matter, this is just a first, exploratory look at each field independent of the others to see what I can glean. With DataGrip, to switch from examining one field to another via the sort order, I have to click three times. For example, I start looking at amount, and then want to look at it by type::
- (already clicked once on amount column to sort ASC)
- 1. click again to resort amount DESC
- 2. click again to unsort amount
- 3. click on type to sort ASC by type

On other systems that leave the last clicked column as the primary sort, I only have to click once because they don't keep the other sorts I've already clicked on locked into place. I.e.:
- (click once on amount to sort ASC)
- 1. click once on type to sort ASC by type. (amount is now unsorted)

Worse still, the highlighting to indicate what columns have an active sort locked onto them is barely distinguishable. So if I forget which fields I've tried, or I scroll away from one and then have to scroll back to it, it can be a real pain to hunt and peck for the columns that have a sort locked on them.

I just want my data to be free! Free to be sorted however my mind comes up with next in trying to diagnose this problem. If I really need a precise, multi-tier sort order, I'm probably going to end up thinking that through ahead of time when I write my query, so don't just assume I want a multi-tier sort and force me into using it when I'm just looking at my results trying to get a handle on them.

All you have to do is add a setting in preferences called "Column header click-to-sort retains multi-column sorts." or similar. Then, default, current behavior is that setting is checked. If unchecked, clicking a new column resorts existing table by that column as the primary sort field. In other words, whereas in current behavior clicking new fields counts up in sort order, this new option would make it so clicking new columns would count down in sort order, meaning each new column is 1 and each existing column gets pushed up by 1.

Please please please think about adding this setting! It would make my life so much easier!

1 comment

I agree 100%. I rarely use multiple sorting, that should be by an explicit setting and not the default.


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