Difference Between INDEX and SORT

What is an index and what is a sort?

Here is a table that I will refer to during my answer:

RecNo  cName      nAge-----  -----      ----1      Rick       342      Dan        303      Chris      33

An index is a logical reorganization of the data in a table. The record numbers do not change; the index just allows the table to be viewed in an order other than record number order. If I create an index on the cName field in the table above, here are the results:

RecNo  cName      nAge-----  -----      ----3      Chris      332      Dan        301      Rick       34

Notice that even though Rick appears as the last record, it is still the first record in the table (Recno=1).

A sort is a physical reorganization of the records in a DBF. If I sort the table above by cName, I get the following table:

RecNo  cName      nAge-----  -----      ----1      Chris      332      Dan        303      Rick       34

Notice that the records in the table have been reorganized: record 1 is no longer “Rick.”

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