10.2. Order by

ORDER BY is a sub-clause following RETURN or WITH, and it specifies that the output should be sorted and how.

Note that you can not sort on nodes or relationships, just on properties on these. ORDER BY relies on comparisons to sort the output, see the section called “Ordering and Comparison of Values”.

In terms of scope of identifiers, ORDER BY follows special rules, depending on if the projecting RETURN or WITH clause is either aggregating or DISTINCT. If it is an aggregating or DISTINCT projection, only the identifiers available in the projection are available. If the projection does not alter the output cardinality (which aggregation and DISTINCT do), identifiers available from before the projecting clause are also available. When the projection clause shadows already existing identifiers, only the new identifiers are available.

Lastly, it is not allowed to use aggregating expressions in the ORDER BY sub-clause if they are not also listed in the projecting clause. This last rule is to make sure that ORDER BY does not change the results, only the order of them.

Figure 10.2. Graph

Order nodes by property

ORDER BY is used to sort the output.

Query 

MATCH (n)
RETURN n
ORDER BY n.name

The nodes are returned, sorted by their name.

Result

n
3 rows

Node[0]{name:"A",age:34,length:170}

Node[1]{name:"B",age:34}

Node[2]{name:"C",age:32,length:185}

Order nodes by multiple properties

You can order by multiple properties by stating each identifier in the ORDER BY clause. Cypher will sort the result by the first identifier listed, and for equals values, go to the next property in the ORDER BY clause, and so on.

Query 

MATCH (n)
RETURN n
ORDER BY n.age, n.name

This returns the nodes, sorted first by their age, and then by their name.

Result

n
3 rows

Node[2]{name:"C",age:32,length:185}

Node[0]{name:"A",age:34,length:170}

Node[1]{name:"B",age:34}

Order nodes in descending order

By adding DESC[ENDING] after the identifier to sort on, the sort will be done in reverse order.

Query 

MATCH (n)
RETURN n
ORDER BY n.name DESC

The example returns the nodes, sorted by their name reversely.

Result

n
3 rows

Node[2]{name:"C",age:32,length:185}

Node[1]{name:"B",age:34}

Node[0]{name:"A",age:34,length:170}

Ordering NULL

When sorting the result set, NULL will always come at the end of the result set for ascending sorting, and first when doing descending sort.

Query 

MATCH (n)
RETURN n.length, n
ORDER BY n.length

The nodes are returned sorted by the length property, with a node without that property last.

Result

n.lengthn
3 rows

170

Node[0]{name:"A",age:34,length:170}

185

Node[2]{name:"C",age:32,length:185}

<null>

Node[1]{name:"B",age:34}