Part 1 — Spotfire Properties — Document Properties

  • Do you find Spotfire’s multitude of menu options confusing?
  • Do you skim properties menus and wonder whether you should be adjusting them?
  • Are you unsure of what the different properties menus mean or control?

 A New Blog Series!

I am writing a new blog series on Spotfire properties menus based on two big questions I had as a new user.
  1. What do all of these properties menus do?
  2. Where can I go to change <insert preference here>? I keep setting <insert preference here> over and over again.  There must be a better or faster way.
At first, I thought this would be a simple two-part series, but after writing two paragraphs on document properties, I realized the content needed to be broken up a bit more.  Thus, I will write one post for each type of property.  There are 6 types of properties — document, data table, column, data function, data connection, visualization.  Those six posts will answer the first question above. Then, I’ll post on how to edit settings and preferences, which will answer the second question.

Properties versus Settings

 You may be asking — What’s the difference between a property and a setting or preference? Well, there is overlap, but the jist of it is that changes made to properties will apply to the current DXP only. To impact other DXPs or future analysis session, change preferences or settings. Let’s kick this off by looking at all the different types of properties.
 

Properties Overview

 There are 6 different types of properties (or properties menus) in Spotfire.
  1. Document
  2. Data table
  3. Column
  4. Visualization
  5. Data connection
  6. Data function
All properties menus live in the Edit menu. Users can also access visualization properties by right clicking on a visualization. Let’s start with Document Properties.

Document Properties

The Document Properties menu contains features or functions found throughout the DXP. For example, you’ll find markings on every visualization in a DXP. Filtering schemes exist on every page in a DXP. Tooltips are available on all visualizations in a DXP. These features apply to the entire document rather than to a single table or visualization.
 
Document Properties has 6 tabs:
  1. General
  2. Library
  3. Markings
  4. Filtering Schemes
  5. Properties
  6. Scripts

General

The General tab holds everything applicable to a document but doesn’t fit into the other tabs. This includes:
  • Document description
  • Navigation
  • Visualization area size
  • Tooltip coloring
  • Auto-hide scrollbars
  • Striping for related tables

Document Properties - General Menu

In case you are super new to Spotfire…
  • Tooltips appear when you hover the mouse over a bar, line, or other feature on a visualization. They provide more information.
  • You may have noticed a square of color next to the table names in the Data Table Properties menu. By default, each table will have a different color. When a user creates relations, the related tables will share the same color. The stripe of color will appear in the title bar and filter panel. Relations integrate marking and filtering between tables.
 
Here are a few pro tips for the General tab of Document Properties.
  • Configuring keywords helps when searching the library.
  • I never configure navigation here. I always right-click on the page tabs.
  • If the analysis will be shown on a projector, customize the visualization area size. This will reduce distortion on the projector.
  • Skip configuring tooltips here and set them in the Tools menu.
  • I hate auto-hide scrollbars in tables. With auto-hide enabled, the scrollbars turn on and off as you mouse over and away from a table. This seems like a good idea, but when working in Spotfire, the mouse is always moving. Thus, it looks like scroll bars are flashing on and off all the time. With that said, change this in the tools menu so that it applies to all DXPs.

Library

The Library tab controls library, web player, and collaborative behavior. If you are creating content for others to consume in the Web Player, this dialog is very important. The menu includes:
  • The URL for the web player and the DXP location in the library.
  • Permission to edit content in the Web Player (the Edit button).
  • Permission to create new bookmarks and what type.
  • Enable/disable conversations.
  • Set the preview image shown when a user clicks on a DXP in the library.
 Document Properties - Library Menu
Here are a few pro tips for the Library tab.
  • This is a quick place to grab the Web Player URL from without saving.
  • Clicking the ‘Remember personalized view for each web client user’ has caused problems for me in the past. I have experienced Web Player files not updating content. Fortunately, I haven’t seen that problem in later versions of the software.

Markings

This tab controls markings for the DXP. This is the only place in the application where you can rename or delete markings.  You may also set the default marking color. 
Document Properties - Marking Menu
 

Filtering Schemes

This tab controls filtering schemes for the DXP. This is the only place in the application where you can rename or delete filtering schemes. You may also want to set a default filtering scheme if you have created your own filtering scheme. This menu used to be the only way to turn on the filtering scheme menu in the filter panel (with the checkbox). But, there is now a right click menu in the filter panel that is faster to get to.
Document Properties - Filtering Schemes Menu
 

Properties

This menu refers to Document Properties. Document Properties are input devices. They are most frequently used in text areas to define or change values passed to visualizations or calculations. Administrators may assign document properties. I also believe the application comes with two document properties preconfigured. Users create document properties when building property controls.  This menu is the only place in the application where the user can delete document properties. The edit button allows the user to change the value of some document properties. Many users want to edit the document property name after creation, but this is not possible. Lastly, tsers can also see and edit any scripts associated with a document property.
Document Properties - Properties Menu
 
 

Scripts

This tab shows all JavaScript and IronPython scripts used in the DXP. This is where the user may edit and delete existing scripts. They may also create new scripts and import scripts. Because scripts may be malicious, Spotfire requires the user to verify or trust scripts. When Spotfire opens a DXP with scripts the user has not run before (i.e. untrusted scripts), the application will ask if you want to trust scripts and then navigate to this menu.
Document Properties - Scripts Menu
 
 
Well, this was quite a long post. Now you can see why I decided to break it up into several posts. Next up will be Data Table Properties.

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