For Drupal 6 you could do something like this:

$header = array(
  array('data' => t('Order id'), 'field' => 'order_id'),
  array('data' => t('Transaction time'), 'field' => 'payment_time', 'sort' => 'desc'),
$sql = "...";
$sql .= tablesort_sql($header);
$limit = 25;
$result = pager_query($sql, $limit);

I took a look and for drupal 7 and both pager_query and tablesort_sql is now gone. It seems that instead the PagerDefault class can be used to create a pager query using DBTNG. I wasn't able to find any clues on a simple API for attaching a sortable table to the query like it is done in Drupal 6.

So how do you create a sortable table with a pager pulling data from a custom table?


4 Answers 4


You use the so called extenders. In your case, the code would be similar to the following one.

$header = array(
  array('data' => t('Order id'), 'field' => 'order_id'),
  // ...
  array('data' => t('Transaction time'), 'field' => 'payment_time', 'sort' => 'desc'),

// Initialize $query with db_select().
$query = db_select('your table name');

// Add the fields you need to query.
// ... 

// Add the table sort extender.
$query = $query->extend('TableSort')->orderByHeader($header);

// Add the pager.
$query = $query->extend('PagerDefault')->limit(25);
$result = $query->execute();

See HowTo: Convert a module to DBTNG, Dynamic queries: Table sorting and Extenders.

  • Don't forget to add the actual pager in your output: // Build table. $output = theme('table', array('header' => $header, 'rows' => $rows, 'empty' => t('No strings available.'))); // Add the pager. $output .= theme('pager');
    – kbrinner
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 17:49

Use the TableSort and PagerDefault extenders.

$query = db_select('node', 'n');
$query->fields('n', array('nid', 'title', 'status'));

$table_sort = $query->extend('TableSort') // Add table sort extender.
  ->orderByHeader($header); // Add order by headers.

$pager = $table_sort->extend('PagerDefault')
  ->limit(5); // 5 rows per page.

$result = $pager->execute();

Use the DataTables module.

The DataTables module integrates the jQuery plugin DataTables into Drupal as a views style and a callable theme function. DataTables lets you add dynamic features to tables, including:

  • Variable length pagination
  • On-the-fly filtering
  • Sorting with data type detection
  • Smart handling of column widths
  • Themeable by CSS
  • And more to come...
  • I'd advise against adding a module to do something that's part of the DB API and can be done with about 50 or fewer lines of custom code. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 14:36

You can just include the same Drupal 6 tablesort_sql in your code and it works fine.

For pager:

$count = <Total No. of Table rows>

$sql = "...";
$sql .= tablesort_sql($header);
$limit = 25; //Pager limit

$results = db_query( $sql );
$rows = array();
//Loop through the result.
while ( $row = $results->fetchAssoc() ) {
$rows = <Get your array values for Table row>
$current_page = pager_default_initialize($count, $limit);
$chunks = array_chunk($rows,$limit, TRUE);
$output = theme( 'table', array( 'header' => $headers, 'rows' => $chunks[$current_page] ) );
$output .= theme( 'pager', array('quantity',$count ) );
print $output;

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