I have jQuery but I'm not sure if it has any built-in sorting helpers. I could make a 2d array of each item's text, value, and selected properties, but I don't think that javascript's built in Array.sort() would work correctly.

+2  A: 

Well, in IE6 it seems to sort on the nested array's [0] item:

function sortSelect(selectToSort) {
    var arrOptions = [];

    for (var i = 0; i < selectToSort.options.length; i++)  {
        arrOptions[i] = [];
        arrOptions[i][0] = selectToSort.options[i].value;
        arrOptions[i][1] = selectToSort.options[i].text;
        arrOptions[i][2] = selectToSort.options[i].selected;


    for (var i = 0; i < selectToSort.options.length; i++)  {
        selectToSort.options[i].value = arrOptions[i][0];
        selectToSort.options[i].text = arrOptions[i][1];
        selectToSort.options[i].selected = arrOptions[i][2];

I'll see if this works in other browsers...

Edit: it works in Firefox too, woo hoo!

Is there an easier way than this though? is there some method built into javascript or jQuery that sorts selects that I am missing, or is this the best way?

Note that this function does not sort the **option** elements; it changes the *[value,text,selected]* on the existing elements such that they are sorted (by value in this case). This is sufficient for most applications, but if you have other attributes (CSS, tool tips, etc.) then this approach will not suffice.
+1  A: 

Array.sort() defaults to converting each element to a string, and comparing those values. So ["value", "text", "selected"] gets sorted as "value, text, selected". Which will probably work fine, most of the time.

If you do want to sort on value alone, or interpret value as a number, then you can pass a comparison function into sort():

arrOptions.sort(function(a,b) { return new Number(a[0]) - new Number(b[0]); });
+1  A: 

There's a closed jQuery ticket for a sort that should work, but just wasn't included in the core.

jQuery.fn.sort = function() {
  return this.pushStack( [].sort.apply( this, arguments ), []);

Referenced from a Google Groups thread, I think you just pass in a function that is used to sort, like so

function sortSelect(selectToSort) {
        return a.value > b.value ? 1 : -1; 

Hope it helps!

+2  A: 

bdukes I like your answer but it would not sort a select list in place for me?

Instead the options had to be pulled into a temporary array, sorted, then the list rebuilt:

var my_options = $("#my_select option");

my_options.sort(function(a,b) {
    if (a.text > b.text) return 1;
    else if (a.text < b.text) return -1;
    else return 0

$("#my_select").empty().append( my_options );
thanks man, that helped me out just fine