Clearing Sort Fields in iTunes | iLounge Article


Clearing Sort Fields in iTunes

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Q: Since establishing my iTunes library many years ago, I have been sorting artists by my preferred ordering (last name, first name), ensuring, for example, that Bob Dylan appears in iTunes and on iPods under D rather than B. I have been using the sort field rather than manually changing the artists’ actual names in the info field.  However, this is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain as I accumulate more music, as each new purchase will be imported as, for example “Bob Dylan” and I do not really have time to be adding sort fields each time.  I think it is time I bit the bullet and allowed iTunes to sort as it sees fit and so would now like to remove, en masse, all sorting data on all music but do not believe there is such a function in iTunes? Any suggestions you may have would be appreciated. I realize I can highlight all items by a sorted artist and delete the sort field but this would have to be done for all artists in a 20000 track library.

- James

A: There is no specific menu option to do this, however you can clear the sort field for ALL of your tracks in one pass simply by using the Multiple File Information dialog box—there’s no need to do this on an artist-by-artist basis.

Simply go to your main Music listing in iTunes, ensure that all tracks are displayed and then choose Select All from the Edit menu to select every track in your library. You can then choose File, Get Info and edit the track properties for every track. The Sort fields will naturally contain no information to edit, as the fields are not the same for every track, however you can clear the content of these fields simply by checking the box to the left of each one and leaving the field itself blank.

The checkbox is normally enabled automatically when you enter something in the field, but selecting the checkbox and entering nothing in the field tells iTunes to remove the content of that field for all of the selected tracks. Clicking “Ok” will apply the changes, which may take a few minutes on a large iTunes library. Once this completes, however, the sort fields should be cleared out and your music should again be sorted by the defaults.


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I disagree with what is indicated here. If you click on the field but nothing is written in the box, iTunes may revert to the previous value on that field. Is there any external editor I can use to actually make those sorting fields adopt a blank value?

Posted by Marc in Toronto on October 28, 2012 at 8:15 AM (CDT)


iTunes should definitely be clearing this field properly. If it’s not working for you it’s possible there’s something wrong with your iTunes database or the media files themselves (although sort order shouldn’t get stored in the media tags). 

Note that if you’re trying to clear this for multiple tracks, you must ensure that the checkbox beside the field is selected, otherwise changes will not be applied.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on October 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM (CDT)

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