Quick Tip: Sorting by Start Dates in P6

Sorting by start dates in Primavera P6 is quite easy but there are times when two activities with same start dates but different finish dates are not sorted in the desired order. This quick tip looks at the problem and how to resolve it.

Assuming we have the schedule shown below, you will notice that by default, P6 sorts by Activity ID.

Though there is nothing wrong with the schedule, the layout could be better formatted to make it easy to read and one way to do this is to sort by start dates.

To sort by Start Date, go to View > Group and Sort by, this will open the Group and Sort interface.
Click on Sort button  (arrow 1) and this will open up the Sort interface.

Click on Add button (arrow 2) and under Field Name select Start (arrow 3), and under Sort Order select Ascending (arrow 4) and then click on OK (arrow 5).

On return to the Group and Sort interface, click on Apply button (arrow 6) and then the OK button (arrow 7). This will now sort the schedule by Start Date as shown below.
While all activities are sorted by start dates, you will notice the following

  • Dummy 3 has a start date of 04-Jul-16 & a finish date of 22-Jul-16 and Dummy 5 has a start date of 04-Jul-16 & a finish date of 15-Jul-16
  • Dummy 4 has a start date of 25-Jul-16 & a finish date of 12-Aug-16 and Dummy 7 has a start date of 25-Jul-16 & a finish date of 08-Aug-16
Ideally, one would expect Dummy 5 to be placed ahead of Dummy 3 because it has an earlier finish date and similarly you would expect Dummy 7 to be placed ahead of Dummy 4, but because P6 default sort order is by Activity ID, P6 still makes use of Activity ID to prioritise when there is a clash in the selected sort criteria.

To solve this sorting issue, so that Dummy 5 appears before Dummy 3 and Dummy 7 appears before Dummy 4, all we need to do is add another sort criteria. This time, we add a Finish Date criteria as shown below.
With this, our layout will be presented as we want it, sorted by Start Dates and where there are activities with matching start dates, then the matching activities will be sorted by Finish Dates
Hope you find this quick tip handy. Don't forget to send us an email using the contact form if you have a problem in Primavera P6, Microsoft Project or Primavera Risk Analysis.


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