Ranking intuitionistic fuzzy numbers is an important issue in practical application of intuitionistic fuzzy sets. For making a rational decision, people need to get an effective sorting over the set of intuitionistic fuzzy numbers. Many scholars rank intuitionistic fuzzy numbers by defining different measures. These measures do not comprehensively consider the fuzzy semantics expressed by membership degree, nonmembership degree and hesitancy degree of intuitionistic fuzzy numbers. As a result, the ranking results are often counterintuitive, such as the indifference problems, the non-robustness problems, etc. In this paper, according to geometrical representation, a novel measure for intuitionistic fuzzy number is defined, which is called the ideal measure. After that a new sorting approach of intuitionistic fuzzy numbers is proposed. It is proved that the intuitionistic fuzzy order obtained by the ideal measure satisfies the properties of weak admissibility, membership degree robustness, nonmembership degree robustness, and determinism. Numerical example is applied to illustrate the effectiveness and feasibility of this method. Finally, using the presented approach, the optimal alternative can be acquired in multi-attribute decision making problem. Comparison analysis shows that the intuitionistic fuzzy value ordering method obtained by the ideal measure is more effectiveness and simplicity than other existing methods.