Can you sort data in DITA tables?

In DITA, sorting data in tables is a common requirement, especially when dealing with large sets of information. While DITA itself doesn’t provide native sorting functionality for tables, you can achieve data sorting through various methods and tools, especially when publishing or rendering DITA content.

Third-Party Tools and Plugins

One approach to sorting data in DITA tables is to leverage third-party tools or plugins. Some DITA publishing engines or content management systems may offer sorting capabilities as part of their feature set. Additionally, you can explore custom plugins or scripts that can be integrated into your DITA publishing process to enable table sorting. These tools often allow users to interactively sort table data based on specific columns or criteria.

Post-Processing Techniques

Another approach involves post-processing your DITA content after it’s been rendered or published. You can use JavaScript or other scripting languages to add sorting functionality to HTML output. This means that once your DITA content is transformed into HTML, users can interact with the tables on the web page to sort data as needed. However, this approach may require web development skills to implement effectively.


Here’s a simplified example of how JavaScript can be used to add sorting functionality to a DITA table after rendering to HTML:

      function sortTable(col) {
        var table, rows, switching, i, x, y, shouldSwitch;
        table = document.getElementById("myTable");
        switching = true;
        while (switching) {
          switching = false;
          rows = table.getElementsByTagName("tr");
          for (i = 1; i < (rows.length - 1); i++) {
            shouldSwitch = false;
            x = rows[i].getElementsByTagName("td")[col];
            y = rows[i + 1].getElementsByTagName("td")[col];
            if (x.innerHTML.toLowerCase() > y.innerHTML.toLowerCase()) {
              shouldSwitch = true;
          if (shouldSwitch) {
            rows[i].parentNode.insertBefore(rows[i + 1], rows[i]);
            switching = true;
    <table id="myTable">
        <th onclick="sortTable(0)">Header 1</th>
        <th onclick="sortTable(1)">Header 2</th>
        <td>Value A</td>
        <td>Value B</td>
        <td>Value C</td>
        <td>Value D</td>

This example uses JavaScript to enable sorting of an HTML table after rendering from DITA content. Users can click on the table headers to sort data based on the selected column.