The SORT command in Windows CMD is used to sort the lines of input from a specified file or standard input (the keyboard, a pipe, or another output source) and writes the results to standard output (the screen, a file, or another input source). It is primarily used to organize data into a readable or required sequence. This command is most effective when working with large text files or output from other commands that need ordering for easier analysis or processing.


The basic syntax for the SORT command is as follows:

SORT [options] [filename]
  • filename is the name of the file to be sorted. If no filename is given, the command reads input from the standard input device (usually the keyboard).


The SORT command includes several optional flags that alter its behavior:

  • /R : Sorts input lines in descending order (default is ascending).
  • /+n : Starts comparison used for sorting at the nth character of each line (default is character 1). The first character in a line is character 1.
  • /M : Specifies the amount of main memory to use for the sort, in kilobytes. If not specified, the system chooses a default.
  • /L : Overrides the system locale with the specified locale when sorting. This impacts how characters are interpreted.
  • /REC nnnn : Maximum record length.


  1. Sort a text file in ascending order:

    SORT myfile.txt

    This command sorts the contents of myfile.txt in ascending order based on each line’s content.

  2. Sort input in descending order and save to a new file:

    SORT /R myfile.txt > sortedfile.txt

    This reads myfile.txt, sorts it in descending order, and redirects the output to sortedfile.txt.

  3. Use sorting starting from a specific character:

    SORT /+3 myfile.txt

    This sorts myfile.txt based on characters starting from the third character of each line.

Common Issues

  • Memory Limits: If sorting very large files, users might encounter memory errors. Use the /M option to specify higher memory usage.
  • Character sorting issues due to locale: Sorting might not behave as expected due to locale differences, especially with characters like accents. Use the /L option to specify a locale.


The SORT command is commonly used in conjunction with other CMD commands through piping (|) for more complex tasks. Here’s an example using DIR and SORT:


This command lists all files and directories in the current directory in bare format (/B), then sorts them alphabetically.

  • FIND: Searches for a text string in a file or files, often used in combination with SORT to filter and then order output.
  • MORE: Displays output one screen at a time; useful for viewing sorted results that span multiple screens.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the official Microsoft documentation.