Sorting by clicking on column names


What I’ve noticed that makes ERPNext’s interface really inflexible is that to change the sorting of any list for example Quotations, Items, Sales Orders you have to customize the form and set manually the sorting field which will permanently change the sorting of that form.

In all commercial ERPs in the market here in Greece you have the ability to just click on the column and sort the list based on that column instantly.

Would it be hard to implement such a functionality because I think that if you set it up for a trial run on a customer this would be annoying for him.

Best regards,

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Well I think erpnext’s list interface does not sort by clicking on column but the reports made in erpnext follow this nature of sorting by clicking a column.

I think if you make a custom report on a document or transaction (doctype) then you can easily sort just by clicking on the column.


yes indeed this works for the reports but not the list interface so I was wondering if it would be possible to add similar functionality to the list interface too so that while demonstrating the app, we can go to the client and say:

“See how easy it is? You can click here and here and everything gets sorted, or you can click the button here and select a filter or even combine both”.

Whilst in contrary if he now asks
"How do i see the quotation with the biggest amount that was lost to maybe renegotiate first?

We’ll have to say
“yes of course we can create a report for that so you can have them sorted etc etc.”

Whilst with competitor ERPs we can say
"just right click this column, add a filter, then click on the column name to sort ascending/descending. "

I mean we can survive with the interface like this but I think ease of use is usually one big factor in determining which ERP to choose as a customer. And most of our customers employees are used to how Microsoft Excel functions regarding lists and tables so if it’s possible to replicate that behaviour to some extent it would be a big plus in the selling points of ERPNext.

I hope you understand why I think this would be an enhancement from a 4 star interface to a 5 star for lists.

You can only see 3-4 real columns in the list view, which will hardly be enough for the mentioned type of use case. That type of question is better answered through a report with more columns rather than interface.

The question of what belongs in the domain/model vs view (UI) has been going on for a long time in many places. A particularly interesting blog on this topic which i read was What If All User Interface (UI) Data Came In Reports?. The post also has some responses with differing viewpoints more along the lines of what you mentioned above.

Now, if there is a different use case with a different value proposition, the analysis changes, obviously.

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That was a very interesting read thanks for sharing and I can see that indeed the discussion is huge on such matters however I wasn’t trying to say that we should add more objects info than we already have because that would also be overkill but more like provide a better way to process the information currently in display. After all if we want to show more info regarding the current document we can always add the fields from “Customize Form” which is awesome.

However think of this case scenario for simplicity. I’m an employee processing my eshop sales orders daily at 1pm to 5pm because my physical shop is swamped from 10am to 1pm with customers. I only think that it’s reasonable that I process the orders in a FIFO way so the latest order gets processed last and also let’s think of it in a scalable manner.

If my orders are more than a specified limit I would obviously get pagination in my list view or load more as I scroll down using ajax.

That would mean that I would have to either scroll down a lot depending on the number of orders or click through the pagination to reach the first unprocessed order for the day because the latest shows on top.

If I had the ability to change the sorting for the activity column I could just click on the activity column name and get the orders sorted so I think it would be more flexible and helpful.

Also it may not be simple but it looks simple to the customer’s eye. So if his custom access database application can sort the columns why shouldn’t his newer/better ERP be able to do it?

And the ultimate question in my opinion is that do you consider the current list view interface better than the other competitors’? And which would you choose from the alternatives if you were basing your decision on interface only?

For example odoo


I’ve never encountered an ERP the last 5 years that doesn’t have sorting in list views by clicking on column name in any company I’ve visited. Especially commercial ones with the only exception some really old ones that were adding an interface to an old DOS application.

Sorting by clicking on the column name is on every interface I’ve ever come accross in the web, be it a CMS, an E-Shop, a Cloud Hosted ERP

That’s why I think this would really benefit ERPNext in the long term and should be planned to implement.

This is a huge discussion and will take too much time if we continue! What all users need understand is:

ERPNext is not designed with focus in a business segment.
ERPNext is a result of years listening the difficulties of the users, and they opnions!

If we return back to 2012, ERPNext had sorting in all columns, he had too editable grids in all forms, but the community (the users), raised the flag in favor of Mobile support. Because this, the team started a new UI, that did not please everyone, but this is the cost of all evolution of this system.

In a tecnical point of view, I fully agree with this thread, sorting columns are required, but not is required for everyone, if you need mobile, you will understand that the sorting columns dont make difference, with a poor performance in mobile.

Keep in mind that ERPNext is a incomparable product, our “brother” Odoo, on each new release get new features, new size and new latency.

ERPNext on each new release get a lot of new features, reduce your code size, in increase the performance.

We can compare ERPNext with all the others ERPs in the market, but anyone is like another, and the most important in ERPNext is the pure result of discussions managed by people like me, yours, everyone.

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I completely agree with @gabtzi

ERPNext is wonderful product. No doubt about it. We have recently switched over from odoo.

But, at the same time, we must accept certain facts and customer voice (here i am not saying that ERPNext is not listening). With certain minor modifications, ERPNext can be turned from classic to amazing. Listview is one of such feature, which is not only perceptive requirement but contributing to efficiency loss also.

Look at screenshots at the bottom of this post. Following points are worth considering.

  1. Sorting by clicking on column
  2. Field-wise Filter selection (selection row is collapsible one) (see second Screenshot)
  3. Customize-able and selection of view directly from List View (why one should go to Custom Report). (See second screenshot)
  4. AND/OR selection for multiple filters (See third screenshot)

Below mentioned screen are taken from Zoho. Similar is the case in Salesforce. They are equally available/compatible/useful in mobile without disturbing performance. If required, I would send mobile screen-cast.

We should conduct a survey to know this. (here I am referring to need of revision on format of List View).

We have recently switched over from odoo (Obviously due to advantages we all know, one of them is customization). But, the same legacy is missing for “List View”. Believe me, our team is little upset as they need to go through various “Custom Reports” for acting on “Priority things”.

More importantly, user-friendliness is USP of ERPNext. We are just continuing the process through which ERPNext is evolved - Discussion. I strongly believe that LIST-VIEW configure-ability is something which is a “need”. It will surely add one more feather in cap of ERPNext.

Hi again,

obviously I haven’t watched ERPNext from it’s early stages of development so I can’t say how removing that feature became the reasonable thing to do and I’m pretty sure performance could degrade a bit by it but I also see it as redundant to have to create a report to list your sales orders just to get sorting functions when you already have a list view for those orders with the fields you need.

As of some points:

I don’t understand this as a concept. ERPs are used by businesses for businesses so they can improve their workflow. So obviously they need ERPs and ERPs are always focused on businesses and unless they aim for specific businesses like restaurants or gas stations which have special things to consider they ought to be as flexible as possible to fit in any business process.

Since however you mention that it’s mobile oriented and this choice was done to improve mobile support, I can’t help but think that businesses who I’m going to offer this solution to as a better alternative are mostly companies with one stationary PC/Server and 1-2 workstations at tops and they only use tablets/cellphones so they can have a quick overview of orders at home and emails or during inventory.

I highly doubt any of them would opt to process all their current orders and then issue invoices and try to send them to an electronic signing device through a tablet or cellphone because there are practically no drivers for android/ios for such signing devices. So it’s pretty safe to assume that the most important work for them which is invoicing and sales orders would be done through a desktop PC ultimately in most cases. That’s why I’m confused over the lack of this feature due to the reason you suggested about mobile performance.
On the other hand for cataloging, inventory, barcodes and other stuff regarding warehouses I do indeed think that mobile performance should be given priority to because they usually happen away from a workstation with a handheld device.
So my finest selling point about this ERP’s interface would be that it is optimized for mobile devices, but my clients willl tell me they won’t be using mobile devices most of the time.

PS: Don’t take me wrong I obviously like ERPNext more than Odoo and the other ERPs for other reasons but as I see the lack of a feature like this being a hindrance I thought I should note it.

PS2: couldn’t the sorting just be a setting that can be turned on or off based on current implementation requirements?

seems to a highly emotional topic. If in settings the report view cld be set a default the discussion cld be closed i believe

I also think that would be great if it could be implemented.

I see the points made here, but using a specific report for each of many necessary combinations of (already displayed in list views) fields and orderings seems unnecessary configuration work… and even uncomfortable usage…

Then again, I’m no developer and I don’t have a clue about how much work is needed to have this as an alternative… I’m only supporting the need for it from a user perspective.

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I will add my 2 cents here with a concrete example on why the ability to choose which column to display in a given report is an important.
I’m using a Macbook Pro (15’’ screen size I believe). I am assuming that a majority of accountants and people working with stocks are working with computers / laptop (not cellphone).
I am using the stock balance report. See below.

So I have a decent size screen and a stock balance report where I have lots of information but not my stock balance on it.

OK yes, I can scroll on the right size to see stock quantity, but then I have this:

A stock quantity without anymore for what product it is.

So here we go. One of the most important report for any company (its stock level) is not very practical at all.

Hence the ability to choose which column we want in our report.
I am not a programmer at all, and it was quite a task to come up with a useful report like below where the information is available into one screen :


Normally one should not have to digg into coding to do this kind of report.

But again as @abelinux I am not a developer either and so I have not clue as well if this is feasible or not and how easy of a fix it can be. From a user & business owner perspective (with lots of transaction daily) , report like stock balance and stock ledger are way too big to be useful and it is quite hard for simple user (non-developer) to make them useful.

That said, I love ERPNext, it is a fantastic product and it is an inconvenience I can live with.

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@Francois_Ifitwala What I think would be the ideal combo would be:

  1. the ability to choose the columns to be viewed ie a column picker button which brings up a list of all columns available you can check/uncheck those that you want to see or not see

  2. the ability to dynamically resize columns because sometimes headers make columns wider than you need to see once you know what the column is, like in any spreadsheet

  3. the ability sort columns which includes multisort ie you can sort as many columns as you like. They way would envisage this working would be that you would click the column head of the first column you want to sort and there are 3 ways you can sort that column (ascending, descending or non sorting so basically clicking on the head toggles those options and they would be indicated by an up arrow, down arrow and no arrow for no sorting), when you’ve got that sort the way you want you then click the column head for the next column you want to sort on, etc until you have the order you want.

  4. Filters so that you can exclude data you don’t want

So basically you can very, very quickly get the information you want without having to resort to endless report writing.

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(I totally second that… again not sure how easily or not it could be implemented.)

@eamonn that would be ideal but I think it’s already established that the developers have opted to remove those functionalities to improve performance. So I just hope that at least we can choose any doctype list view to look like a report type view so we can get sorting at least

@gabtzi It’s odd that you would use an argument about performance issues to say that we should only concentrate on sorting when the sorting was the problem that caused the issues for performance that resulted in it being removed :wink:

I think we need to think about all users and not just mobile users.

@eamonn that’s what I said in my earlier posts. I was just expressing my slight disappointment

Sorry jumping in late on this discussion. But column click sorting on list views should be do-able. Somehow I personally have never felt the need for it!