Business Intelligence Tools

Using Lists to Recall Marked Data

  • Have you ever wondered what lists are used for?
  • Have you ever wanted to compare the contents of two lists?

A few weeks ago, I realized I had talked about tags and bookmarks in blog posts, but not lists.  What!?!?  But they are so useful.  It took a while to crank this out, but finally I have a comprehensive post on the subject.  Here you will find an explanation of what lists are, why they are useful, how to create them, and how they are different from tags and bookmarks.

What Are Lists?

Lists work with marking.  Mark data on a visualization and create a list based on that data.  For example, a user might want to know the well names of all wells with High Tank Level downtime in a field.  The user would mark a visualization showing High Tank Level downtime (as shown below by clicking on High Tank Level in the legend), create the list, and then use it to recall those wells at a later time or to recall the marked data on other visualizations or even in a completely different analysis/DXP.

Lists of High Tank Level


What Are They Good For?

Lists are useful in the following ways:

    • Marked data from lists can be recalled across different visualizations, as shown in the video below.


  • Users share them by exporting and importing (right click on the list to import or export).
  • Venn diagram like functionality called “List Logic” compares the contents of multiple lists (explained below).
  • Tag collections can be created from lists, which means that they can also create new columns of data just like tag collections.

How to Create Lists

In the process below, the list is created before data is marked, but the process can also be executed where the data is marked before the list is created.  It’s Spotfire, so there are three ways to do everything!

  1. Open the lists panel by clicking on the lists button in the toolbar that looks like this:
    Lists panel button
  2. Choose the column of data you would like to create a list of.
    Choose lists column
  3. Click on the Create new list button in the panel and name it.
    Create new lists
  4. Mark data on a visualization.
  5. Right click on the list and select ‘Add Marked to List’
  6. Simply double click on the list to recall the markings on the original visualization or any other visualization.

How to Use List Logic

Using the visualization below, I created two lists of Downtime Descriptions — one for the East Water field and one for Briscoe field.  Marking the visualization and clicking in the lists panel created the list.  I then used list logic in order to generate a new list of only the downtime descriptions that overlap between the two fields.  As you can see the Briscoe field had downtime for 19 different reasons.  East Waters had downtime for 22 different reasons, and between the 2 fields, 13 of the reasons overlapped.  Look below to find the steps for creating a new list using list logic.

Sample vis to generate listsResult of lists logic

  1. Select at least two lists from the panel.
  2. Right click and select ‘New list from List Logic’
    New lists from list logic
  3. Name it and make sure the lists you selected are correct.
  4. Choose AND or OR logic by moving the radio button.
    Lists logic choice

Characteristics of Lists

  • Users may share lists by importing and exporting.
  • They “attach” to a user.  For example, a user creates 3 lists in a DXP called MyDXP.dxp.  These lists will appear in the lists panel of every DXP the user works with until they are deleted.
  • Lists are universal in the application and are not connected to a single DXP, although, they can be imported and exported between DXPs.
  • Lists reside on the C: drive rather than with the DXP, and the application accesses them during every analysis session.

In addition to this post, you can also learn more about lists and tag collections by reading these posts:

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