Using Django Admin Sortable


To add sorting to a model, your model needs to inherit from Sortable and have an inner Meta class that inherits from Sortable.Meta:

from adminsortable.models import Sortable

class MySortableClass(Sortable):
    class Meta(Sortable.Meta):

    title = models.CharField(max_length=50)

    def __unicode__(self):
        return self.title

It is also possible to order objects relative to another object that is a ForeignKey.


A small caveat here is that Category must also either inherit from Sortable or include an order property which is a PositiveSmallInteger field. This is due to the way Django admin instantiates classes.

from adminsortable.fields import SortableForeignKey

class Category(Sortable):
    class Meta(Sortable.Meta):

    title = models.CharField(max_length=50)

class Project(Sortable):
    class Meta(Sortable.Meta):

    category = SortableForeignKey(Category)
    title = models.CharField(max_length=50)

    def __unicode__(self):
        return self.title

Sortable has one field: order and adds a default ordering value set to order, ascending.

Adding Sortable to an existing model

If you’re adding Sorting to an existing model, it is recommended that you use django-south to create a schema migration to add the “order” field to your model. You will also need to create a data migration in order to add the appropriate values for the order column.

Example assuming a model named “Category”:

def forwards(self, orm):
    for index, category in enumerate(orm.Category.objects.all()):
        category.order = index + 1

See this link for more information on Data Migrations.

Django Admin

To enable sorting in the admin, you need to inherit from SortableAdmin:

from django.contrib import admin
from myapp.models import MySortableClass
from adminsortable.admin import SortableAdmin

class MySortableAdminClass(SortableAdmin):
    """Any admin options you need go here""", MySortableAdminClass)

To enable sorting on TabularInline models, you need to inherit from SortableTabularInline:

from adminsortable.admin import SortableTabularInline

class MySortableTabularInline(SortableTabularInline):
    """Your inline options go here"""

To enable sorting on StackedInline models, you need to inherit from SortableStackedInline:

from adminsortable.admin import SortableStackedInline

class MySortableStackedInline(SortableStackedInline):
    """Your inline options go here"""

There are also generic equivalents that you can inherit from:

from adminsortable.admin import (SortableGenericTabularInline,
    """Your generic inline options go here"""

Overriding queryset()

django-admin-sortable supports custom queryset overrides on admin models and inline models in Django admin!

If you’re providing an override of a SortableAdmin or Sortable inline model, you don’t need to do anything extra. django-admin-sortable will automatically honor your queryset.

Have a look at the WidgetAdmin class in the sample project for an example of an admin class with a custom queryset() override.

Overriding queryset() for an inline model

This is a special case, which requires a few lines of extra code to properly determine the sortability of your model. Example:

# add this import to your
from adminsortable.utils import get_is_sortable

class ComponentInline(SortableStackedInline):
    model = Component

    def queryset(self, request):
        qs = super(ComponentInline, self).queryset(request).filter(

        # You'll need to add these lines to determine if your model
        # is sortable once we hit the change_form() for the parent model.

        if get_is_sortable(qs):
            self.model.is_sortable = True
            self.model.is_sortable = False
        return qs

If you override the queryset of an inline, the number of objects present may change, and adminsortable won’t be able to automatically determine if the inline model is sortable from here, which is why we have to set the is_sortable property of the model in this method.

Sorting subsets of objects

It is also possible to sort a subset of objects in your model by adding a sorting_filters tuple. This works exactly the same as .filter() on a QuerySet, and is applied after get_queryset() on the admin class, allowing you to override the queryset as you would normally in admin but apply additional filters for sorting. The text “Change Order of” will appear before each filter in the Change List template, and the filter groups are displayed from left to right in the order listed. If no sorting_filters are specified, the text “Change Order” will be displayed for the link.

An example of sorting subsets would be a “Board of Directors”. In this use case, you have a list of “People” objects. Some of these people are on the Board of Directors and some not, and you need to sort them independently:

class Person(Sortable):
    class Meta(Sortable.Meta):
        verbose_name_plural = 'People'

    first_name = models.CharField(max_length=50)
    last_name = models.CharField(max_length=50)
    is_board_member = models.BooleanField('Board Member', default=False)

    sorting_filters = (
        ('Board Members', {'is_board_member': True}),
        ('Non-Board Members', {'is_board_member': False}),

    def __unicode__(self):
        return '{} {}'.format(self.first_name, self.last_name)


django-admin-sortable 1.6.6 introduces a backwards-incompatible change for sorting_filters. Previously this attribute was defined as a dictionary, so you’ll need to change your values over to the new tuple-based format.

Extending custom templates

By default, adminsortable’s change form and change list views inherit from Django admin’s standard templates. Sometimes you need to have a custom change form or change list, but also need adminsortable’s CSS and JavaScript for inline models that are sortable for example.

SortableAdmin has two attributes you can override for this use case:


These attributes have default values of:

change_form_template_extends = 'admin/change_form.html'
change_list_template_extends = 'admin/change_list.html'

If you need to extend the inline change form templates, you’ll need to select the right one, depending on your version of Django. For Django 1.5.x or below, you’ll need to extend one of the following:


For Django >= 1.6.x, extend:



A Special Note About Stacked Inlines... The height of a stacked inline model can dynamically increase, which can make them difficult to sort. If you anticipate the height of a stacked inline is going to be very tall, I would suggest using TabularStackedInline instead.