Assign/set sort order based on standard taxonomy

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I’m am creating a database of sighting records of bird species. Each record includes:

ORDER (a taxonomic unit for a grouping of species which may include one or more FAMILIES)
FAMILY (a taxonomic unit for a group of species which may include one or more GENUS)
SPECIES (the individual species)
DATE SIGHTED (date species seen)

For reporting, sightings need to be sorted based on the standard taxonomic order of ORDER>FAMILY>GENUS>SPECIES.

I imported my sightings from a CSV in the standard taxonomic order. For example, the first set of sightings include:

ORDER (Anseriformes - Waterfowl) > FAMILY (Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, Swans) > SPECIES (Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard) > DATE SIGHTED (January 1, 2018)

ORDER (Gaviformes - Loons, Penguins & Petrels) > FAMILY (Gavidae - Loons) > SPECIES (Gavia Immer - Common Loon) > DATE SIGHTED (January 5, 2018)

My question is how I create reports that apply or fix standard taxonomic order that always puts ANSERIFORMES first, GAVIFORMES second etc.?

The idea I came up with is to add fields for sort order for each of the taxonomic units, number them and then somehow group them but not sure if that’s the right approach or how to do it. Would appreciate any pointers to resources where I can learn about how to do this.


For example, in bird species, the first grouping of species are from the “Order” Struthioniformes." The Order Struthioniformes includes one “Family” - Struthionidae (Ostriches) that includes two species - Struthio camelus (Common Ostrich) and Struthio molydophanes (Somali Ostrich).

I need to be able to create reports that sort sightings based

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast


I was happy to find your question, but disappointed that no one had attempted to provide input sooner.

I too am working on a project with a complex taxonomy. I’ll not bore you with the details, but like yours it involves multiple 3-4 levels of hierarchically organized categories.

I’ve played around with several ways to tackle taxonomies, both here, in Google Sheets, and in Excel. None are completely satisfactory. I suspect that the new “org chart” functionality built into the Pro plan may provide some solutions.

For now, I’m using three levels of color-coded drop-down, though I’ll convert those to linked reference fields if thats what it takes to get the org chart block to work.

If someone’s done this before, hopefully they’ll chime in and help us out!


One is to create separate fields for the levels of the taxonomy