In BASH you might quite often use
sort -n to ensure that strings are sorted as if they were numeric (i.e. so 12a,2a,4a is sorted into the order you'd expect based on the integers at the front).
There isn't a direct way to do this to a list in Python, so you need a wrapper to help implement the functionality
import re def sorted_nicely( l ): """ Sorts the given iterable in the way that is expected. Required arguments: l -- The iterable to be sorted. From https://arcpy.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/sorting-alphanumeric-strings-in-python/ and http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2669059/how-to-sort-alpha-numeric-set-in-python """ convert = lambda text: int(text) if text.isdigit() else text alphanum_key = lambda key: [convert(c) for c in re.split('([0-9]+)', key)] return sorted(l, key = alphanum_key)
a = ['1a','12a','21c','3b','4a','5a'] print sorted(a) # ['12a', '1a', '21c', '3b', '4a', '5a'] print sorted_nicely(a) # ['1a', '3b', '4a', '5a', '12a', '21c']