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Different ways to sort an array in Descending Order in C#

Sorting is the basic process of arranging elements in a certain order. It is used in computer science and mathematics. The primary purpose of sorting is to make searching for elements easier, accessing them in a particular order, and performing efficient algorithms that rely on sorted data. Some common sorting orders are as follows.

Ascending Order:

The elements are organized in increasing order, i.e., from smallest to largest.

Descending Order:

In this order, the elements are listed in decreasing order, i.e., from largest to smallest.

Sorting an array in descending order in C# can be achieved using various methods.

I. Array.Sort Method with Custom Comparer

The Array.sort method in C# is a built-in method for sorting elements of an array. When you want to sort an array in descending order, use the Array.Sort method with a custom comparer. A custom comparer is an object that defines the rules for element comparing.


It has the following syntax:


  • array: It is an array of elements that need to be sorted.
  • Comparison: A delegate that represents the method used to compare elements. It takes two parameters of type T and returns an integer.
  • A negative value of the first element should come before the second.
  • Zero if the elements are considered equal in terms of sorting.
  • A positive value of the first element should come after the second.


Let us take an example to illustrate how to sort an array in descending order using Array.Sort() method in C#.


Sorted Array in Descending order: 
37 24 16 12 4


1. Array Declaration

In this example, we define an array of numbers that we want to sort in a descending manner.

2. Sort Method

The Array.sort method is invoked on the array, and we provide a custom comparer using a lambda expression.

The lambda expression (a, b) => b.CompareTo(a) defines a comparison function that compares two elements (a and b) so that the sort will be in descending order.

The descending sort is produced by the b.CompareTo(a) function ensures that b comes before an in the sorted order.

3. Getting the Sorted Array to Display

After that, a foreach loop is used to show the sorted array after sorting.

In this example, the custom comparer given by the lambda expression is used by the Array.Sort method to sort the array in descending order. The lambda expression specifies the comparison logic, which ensures that all elements are placed in the desired order.

II. Using LINQ's OrderBy and ToArray

  • LINQ (Language-Integrated Query) provides a declarative syntax for querying collections.
  • The OrderByDescending method sorts elements in descending order based on a specified key.
  • The ToArray method converts the result into a new array.
  • An easy and expressive approach to sorting an array in C# is to use LINQ's OrderBy and ToArray functions.

OrderBy Method

C# offered the Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) extension methods that include the OrderBy method. A given key is used to sort sequence elements in ascending order. OrderByDescending is also available for sorting the elements in descending order.

ToArray Method

Use the ToArray method to convert a LINQ query result into an array. It is helpful if you wish to turn LINQ query results into an array.


Let us take an example to illustrate how to sort an array in descending order using LINQ's OrderBy and ToArray functions in C#.


Sorted Array in Descending Order:
47 44 32 28 16


1. Namespace Imports

In this example, the code includes the necessary namespaces. The system provides fundamental classes and base types, and System.Linq provides LINQ (Language Integrated Query) functionality.

2. Initialization of an array

An array of integer values are declared and initialized into an array called 'numbers'.

3. Sorting with LINQ

The array is sorted in descending order using the OrderByDescending LINQ method.

In order to determine how to extract a key for sorting, use the lambda expression num => num as a key selector. In this case, sorting integers according to their values makes it a simple identity function.

The result is assigned to the variable sorted_Array.

4. Conversion to Array

After that, convert the LINQ query result into a new array using the ToArray function.

The sorted array is now stored in the sorted_Array variable.

5. The Sorted Array is displayed.

The array's decreasing order of sorting is displayed by a message that appears.

Every element in the sorted_Array is iterated through using a foreach loop.

The console prints each element with a space between them.

III. Using Array.Sort with a Custom Comparison Delegate

A type that represents references to methods with a certain parameter list and return type is called a delegate. The Comparison <T> delegate, which represents a method that compares two objects, can be used in the context of sorting.

The Array.Sort method in C# allows you to provide a custom comparison delegate for sorting.


It has the following syntax:

  • delegate: The delegate keyword is used to declare a delegate type. A delegate type represents a reference to a method with a specific signature.
  • int: It specifies the method's return type. In this case, the method should return an int.
  • ComparisonDelegate<T>: The delegate type is called ComparisonDelegate<T>. It can work with many types supplied at the time of use because it is a generic delegate. ComparisonDelegate is generic, and T is a type parameter, as indicated by the angle brackets (<T>). It allows the delegate to work with different types without specifying the type directly in the delegate declaration.
  • (T x, T y): These are the parameters of the delegate method. In this case, the method represented by the delegate takes two parameters (x and y), both of type T. 'T' is the type parameter specified at the delegate level, making the delegate flexible and usable with various types.


Let us take an example to illustrate how to sort an array in descending order using Array.Sort with a Custom Comparison Delegate functions in C#.


Sorted Array in Descending Order:
60 54 51 37 21


1. Namespace Import

The code begins by importing the System namespace with base classes and fundamental types using System.

2. Custom Delegate Declaration

ComparisonDelegate<T> is the name of a declared custom delegate. The purpose of this generic delegate is to represent methods that return an int and compare two values of type T.

3. Main Method

The program's entry point is the Main method.

4. Initialization of an array

An array of integers named num_bers is initialized with the values {54, 21, 60, 51, 37}.

5. Sorting with Array.Sort

The Array.Sort method is used to sort the num_bers array.

A delegate instance is created using new Comparison <int>((a, b) => b.CompareTo(a)). This delegate represents a custom comparison method that compares two integers in reverse order, achieving a descending sort.

6. Displaying the Result

"Sorted Array in Descending Order:" is the message the program prints to the console.

Each element of the sorted array (num_bers) is iterated using a foreach loop and printed to the console.

IV. List<T> and Sort Method

In C#, the List<T> class is a part of the System.Collections.Generic namespace that provides a dynamic array-like data structure that can be resized dynamically. Use the List <T> class's Sort method to sort the elements in a list.

List<T> Class

1. Dynamic Array

A dynamic array is represented by the generic collection class List<T>. Without requiring a fixed size, it allows for dynamic addition, deletion, and access to elements.

2. Type Safety

The generic nature of List <T> ensures type safety because it can store elements of a specific type (T).

3. Resizing

In order to provide flexibility and remove the need for manual memory management, List<T> resizes its size when elements are added or removed.

Sort Method

1. In-Place Sorting

The Sort method of the List <T> class performs an in-place sort, meaning it rearranges the elements directly within the existing List without creating a new list.

2. Comparison Delegate

The Sort method may use the default comparer for the type T or take a Comparison<T> delegate for determining the order of elements.

3. Performance

The sorting algorithm Sort uses is an adaptive, hybrid algorithm that performs well for a wide range of input data.

4. Complexity

The Sort method is effective for large lists because of its O(n log n) average time complexity.


Let us take an example to illustrate how to sort an array in descending order using List<T> and Sort Method in C#.


Sorted List (Descending Order):
64 53 49 37 29


1. Using Directives

The program's beginning using directives indicates the namespaces that are being utilized. In this case, System and System.Collections.Generic are used.

2. Class Declaration - Demo

A class called Demo is defined in the code. This is where the C# program starts.

3. Main Method

The program's execution begins with the Main Method. It starts by creating a list called num_bers and initializing it with the following values: 53, 37, 64, 29, and 49.

4. Sorting the List in Descending Order

Using the Sort function of the List <int> class, the members of the List may be sorted in descending order by giving a custom comparison function (a, b) => b.CompareTo(a), the sorting is carried out in descending order. This lambda expression compares items a and b using the CompareTo method, which is used for natural ordering.

5. Displaying the Sorted List

After that, a foreach loop is used by the program to print the sorted List in decreasing order. The sorted List's elements are all printed to the console.

As a summary, the program initializes a list of integers, uses the Sort function with a custom comparison to sort the List in descending order, and then prints the sorted List to the console.

V. Reverse after Sorting in Ascending Order

Sorting an array in descending order can be performed by first sorting it in ascending order and then reversing it. It is a frequently used approach when sorting in ascending order is supported by default in the programming language or library being used.

1. Sorting in Ascending Order

Arranging elements in a particular order is known as sorting. The elements of an array are rearranged from smallest to largest when sorted in ascending order.

2. Reversing the Order

Reversing the order involves moving the elements from the end to the beginning of the array after it has been sorted in ascending order.

3. Result - Descending Order

The array is sorted in descending order when ascending order is sorted first, and then the order is reversed.

Now, the elements are sorted from largest to smallest.


Let us take another example to illustrate how to sort an array in descending order C#.


Sorted and Reversed Numbers:
8 5 3 2 1


1. Initialization of the Array

Five integer values, 5, 2, 8, 1, and 3, are defined and initialized in an array called num_bers.

2. Sorting in Ascending Order

The Array.Sort method is used to sort the elements of the num_bers array in ascending order.

3. Reversing the Order

After that, the Array.Reverse method is applied to reverse the order of the sorted array. It means the elements, initially in ascending order, are now arranged in descending order.

4. Displaying the Result

Finally, the "Sorted and Reversed Numbers" is displayed on the console.

The num_bers array's elements are iterated through using a foreach loop.

After printing every element to the terminal, a space is printed.

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