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Memory Alpha  AboutPolicies and guidelines → Category sort keys
Memory Alpha
This page describes one of Memory Alpha's policies and guidelines.
Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.

In the category tree, it is important to use a sort key when tagging an article with a category. This aids in the ordering of the articles when they are viewed from the category they are placed into.

Category sort keys are entered into the "[[Category:" tag by means of a piped link. If multiple categories need the same sort key, you can use the template "DEFAULTSORT", like so: {{DEFAULTSORT|sort key}}.

A few different general sorting rules are applied here, but be careful – individual categories may have special rules, dependent of the topic – they will be listed on individual talk pages if they apply. Otherwise, the following situations are standard:


For species with definitive first and last name structures, such as Humans or Cardassians, use the following form to alphabetize them by last name:

on Elim Garak
  • [[Category:Cardassians|Garak, Elim]]
on Ulani Belor
  • {{DEFAULTSORT|Belor, Ulani}}
  • [[Category:Cardassians]]

Remember it would be inappropriate to sort by the last name only – categorizing John Q. Phillips as [[Category:Humans|Phillips]] would be incorrect because omitting the first name will ruin the sort if there is more than one person named Phillips. Please do not assume that just because there aren't two people by that name now, there won't be later – it would be very troublesome if you categorized everyone's last names without the first, whether they are the only Phillips or not.

This will alphabetize the results in the category:

Roman numerals

For items listed with Roman numerals, the sort key should convert them to digits with an appropriate number of leading zeroes. For example, planets are numbered with two digit places:

on Alpha IX
  • [[Category:Planets|Alpha 09]]

If you didn't add the sort key, the following problem would occur:


For items listed with numbers, leading zeros need to be added in order to maintain the sort. For example, sectors are numbered with six digit places – five for the maximum number of digits plus one leading zero to list all articles under the same heading:

on Sector 30
  • [[Category:Sectors|000030]]

If you didn't add the sort key, the following problem would occur:


For starships with prefixes, the prefix is dropped for sorting purposes. This is so starships will be searchable in the category by name, since without the sort key all Starfleet starships, which use the USS prefix, would be located in "U". Also, starships with a disambiguation, like any starship Enterprise, should included a disambiguation so the ships will display in the correct order. Generally this is the registry number, if known, but a few exceptions exist:

on ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
  • [[Category:Starships|Enterprise (NCC-1701)]]
on ISS Enterprise (NX-01)
  • [[Category:Starships|Enterprise (01)]]

The "NX" is dropped from the the "NX-01" so the ship will be sorted before the NCC prefix.

This will display the results in the category in chronological order:


For titles of episodes or other works, alphabetization never includes "The" or "A" occurring at the beginning of the title:

on "The Squire of Gothos"
  • [[Category:Episodes|Squire of Gothos, The]]
on "A Taste of Armageddon"
  • [[Category:Episodes|Taste of Armageddon, A]]

The episodes sort correctly:

Sort keys can, of course, be omitted if the articles are ready to be alphabetized as they were originally titled. If you have further questions, see the category help page or ask an administrator.


Names with apostrophes are sorted as if they didn't have them, otherwise those names would be sorted artificially high in the alphabet:

on M'Ress
  • [[Category:Starfleet operations personnel|MRess]]