Sorting meta-data column in Outliner not working

I’ve decided the best way (ATM) to manage the chronology of scenes is to create a meta-data field called ‘Dateline’ and use this while in Outliner view. However, sorting by this column doesn’t work when using date formats (which is to be expected), so I’ve begun pre-fixing the date with a numerical representation, e.g.

‘10 = 14th Sep 2024’
‘11 = 15th Sep 2024’
‘21 - 25th Sep 2024’

… and so on.

I would expect, therefore, to be able to sort this field so as to see the chronology of events and figure out where some jiggling might be necessary. I.e all scenes would appear in the correct order based on the pre-fix. But strangely it’s still not working. Instead, I get ‘1 = …’ scenes followed by ‘2 = …’ scenes but then a gap until the ‘3 = …’ scenes.

Am I doing something really dumb here, or is there a bug in the way sorting works when using numbers?


May I suggest that you would be best using two or three digit numbering, depending on how many you need, i.e. 001 … 009, 010 … 019, 020 … 029 … … 100 … 199 etc. Then it should sort correctly.


It looks like you’re getting an alphabetical sort, not a numerical sort. This is what you typically get in the Finder with file names. Try inputting your dates as 20240914, etc. without any prefix.



As Mark says, this is because you aren’t zero-padding the numbers. The sort is alphabetic, and alphabetic searches will always put “21” before “3”.

However, rather than using numbering at all, a much easier way would just be to reverse the date format, e.g:


This is guaranteed to sort correctly, and doesn’t require you to insert arbitrary numbering.

All the best,

P.S. I see Martin said the same thing while I was writing this.

Nice to beat you to it once in a while :smiley:

Doh! I already use that format for some of my Outlook folders so I should have thought of that myself.

Thanks all.