Business Intelligence Tools

Differences Between Bookmarks, Tags & Lists

Bookmarks, Tags & Lists

  • All three of these Spotfire features are used to capture pieces of an analysis, but have you ever wondered when to use one versus the other?
  • Have you ever wondered about the subtle differences between them?

I recently wrote a blog post on using lists to recall lost tags, and in the start of that post, I lamented not yet writing a post on lists since I have created one on tags that you can find here.  So, I started writing a blog post about lists that began by explaining the differences between bookmarks, tags, and lists, but it started to get long.  Therefore, I am splitting up the posts.  This post will be about the subtle differences between the three features, and next week I’ll dive into the details of lists.

Where to Find Them

First, all three of these features have their own panels that can be turned on and off in the toolbar as shown below.  They will be placed on the left hand side of the screen.  You can reorder them (if you have multiple panels turned on), but you cannot move them to the right hand side of the screen.

bookmarks, tags, lists panels


  • Used to capture the state of an analysis, including: marking, filtering, filter organization, page layout, page organization, visualization properties, the active visualization, and the active page.
  • Created privately by a single user but can be made public so that other users can access them.
  • Are specific to a DXP file.
  • Can be recalled in a different analysis session after reopening the DXP.
  • Can also be attached to buttons.
  • Bookmark specials allow you to only capture one or more states (ex. only capture filter settings) and apply them in other pages or to other visualizations.


  • Used to capture and recall marked data.
  • Are created by a single user but can be used by anyone with access to the DXP.
  • Are specific to a DXP.
  • When the analysis session is closed, tags drop marked data unless key columns are identified.
  • Create a new column of data in the filter panel that can be used for filtering and on other visualizations.


  • Capture and recall marked data.
  • Single users create lists, but the lists are exportable for other users.
  • Are not specific to a DXP file or an analysis session.  Lists created in one DXP can be used in another or another table when the column names are common.
  • The lists panel holds all lists ever created in any DXP or analysis session by a single user.
  • Can also be used to create tag collections.

Common Uses & Demos


  • The bookmarks panel by itself is a bit clunky and unfriendly, but bookmarks attached to buttons add a dynamic, interactive element to an analysis, especially one that is consumed via the web player.
  • Bookmark specials uses…
      • Use filter organization bookmarks to change what appears in the filter panel.  See the demo below.
      • Use page organization bookmarks to create a slide show presentation in Spotfire.  See the demo below.



  • Commonly used to create custom groupings of data when a column of data is not available.
    • For example: Mark well locations in a field according to their proximity to a river and then recall those well groupings.

  • A new column of data will appear in the filter panel after the tag collection and tags.  See the demo below.


  • Can be used to recall lost tags as described in this post.
  • Useful when you want to capture part of an analysis and transport it to another DXP.


To wrap up, I just want to note that in my own projects, I use bookmarks and buttons a lot.  The less Spotfire knowledge my audience has, the more bookmarks/buttons I use.  Tags are extremely useful to oil and gas folks for grouping wells on a map.  Lists I haven’t used as much, but they are helpful to recover tags if your data is in flux, and the defined key columns might change.  Overall, these three features are useful additions to the software that all users should be aware of.


10 thoughts on “Differences Between Bookmarks, Tags & Lists

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  4. Bren Reply

    Hi Julie, thanks for the helpful post.

    Just wondering if you know if it’s possible to rearrange the page using bookmarks but remove some visualisations or hide them completely off the page?
    When I try to do that it comes up with an error, but it’s a bit of a waste of space and an eyesore resizing one visualisation but being forced to keep the other on the page

    • Julie Sebby Post authorReply

      You can rearrange the page using bookmarks and you can hide them. Create a layout with all of your bookmarks. Then, open the bookmarks panel. Right click on the plus sign and choose bookmark special – page layout. Select Page Layout and Visualization and Active Visualization. Uncheck everything else. Name the bookmark. Then, use the maximize visualizations button in the title bar to maximize your visualizations one at a time. As you maximize them one at a time, create a new bookmark special. Does that make sense?

  5. Julie Sebby Post authorReply

    I will create a new blog post with precise instructions and a video that will be posted before the end of the week.

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