Saturday, 8 November 2008

Re-ordering songs in a playlist in iTunes - you first need to click on the playlist number (1st column)

I haven't really had much to complain about when it comes to iTunes, until now.

I was preparing a CD songs for my son, and I had the songs in a playlist. The first group of songs I added was from a single CD, so that was easy enough. I added a few more songs later, and discovered that changing the order of the songs in a playlist can be a bit puzzling. Trying to drag around a song in the list, which normally you'd expect to be enough to change the sequence, had no effect. Googling it reveals that it doesn't work when the list of songs is already sorted on a column other than the first one, which is the list number. However, there is no indication anywhere in the interface that this restriction is in place!

Now from an implementation point of view, I can see why they don't allow it. For example, if the list of songs is sorted by Name, in ascending alphabetical order, allowing the songs to be dragged around and resequenced would be inconsistent with what the table widget is meant to
be doing.

But this is a totally inadequate user experience! If you can't drag and drop the songs while it's sorted on any of column after list number, then why couldn't they tell that to the user? There should be a drag/ drop event detectable from the GUI toolkit, so why couldn't they put in a condition like:

IF (song is being dragged and dropped) AND (songs are sorted on any
column from 2 onwards) THEN
SHOW MESSAGE "Click on 1st column before changing the order of the songs"

Unfortunately, iTunes has worked like this for a while (and so have complaints about it), so I don't think Apple will be making this operation a bit easier.

So to change the order of songs in an iTunes playlist, click on the first column to cancel out any other sorting on the list, before dragging the songs to the desired sequence.




NOTE: Make sure that the shuffle button in the bottom left is not clicked. (thanks Andrew!)

19 comments:

Michael said...

Dude.... thank you for this post... I was stumped until I checked it out.

I agree, there should be some message to the user indicating a user error.

krangsquared said...

That's great! That's my intarweb good deed for the day then. :)

Kevin & Shellie Atchison said...

Thank you SOOOOO much!!! This has been driving me crazy for days. I have googled and finally found your post. Thank you!!!

krangsquared said...

You're very welcome! Happy to help.

Andrew said...

also, make sure the shuffle button on the bottom left is not selected.

S. Spenser said...

You can add my "me too" to the others... couldn't figure this out to save my soul. Thanks!

Trail gal said...

thanks a million! I read through the basic instructions on several other pages and kept trying to re-order my songs and feeling like such a failure! What a simple but essential tip that is left out.

Emily said...

thanks, i was totally lost - turns out i had shuffle on! you've saved my day :)

Paul L. Marciano, Ph.D. said...

OMG -- thank, thank you, thank you!!!! I was about to have a total meltdown. Paul

broken.thoughts said...

wow you totally saved me from hating itunes (for at least one minute more). Thanks for the analytic description, works.

Amy Genn said...

THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!!!

I've been steaming for a week trying to figure it out! :)

krangsquared said...

Hi Amy,

you're welcome!

Tutorgal said...

Reiterating what others have said: THANK YOU! I'm so glad I found your post--I thought I was going crazy trying to order and print my playlist.

gxcad said...

Dude this is so great! I can't believe all the years I've been putting up with iTunes to discover this simple solution!

Moray Barclay said...

Thanks a lot - your post is near the top of the Google search query "re-ordering playlist in iTunes" so I suspect you've helped many more people!

Moray Barclay said...

Thank very much - you're near the top of the Google search query "re-ordering iTunes playlist" so suspect you've helped many more people!

krangsquared said...

You're all very welcome. Glad that this post is still helpful after 3 years!

(Though not happy that Apple still hasn't fixed it)

thisisme said...

You're now top when googling "re-ordering itunes playlist" - 4 years on and people still haven't figured it out. Me included! In the past I've created a second playlist, and reordered it that way, which is just frustrating! I thought there must be an easier way, and your blog gave me the answers - thank you!

kss said...

THANK YOU! Everything else I found just said "It's easy, just drag and drop." but failed to point out thge first-column-sort thing. I was going crazy. THANK YOU!