Business Intelligence Tools

Why is my text area editing components rather than adding them?

  • Are you having issues adding property controls, action controls or dynamic items to a text area?
  • Is Spotfire editing an existing control instead of creating a new one?

One of the reasons I like blogging is to share my experiences with people so that you don’t waste time on the same problems I encounter.  I know that if it’s a problem for me, it’s probably a problem for other people. That is why we love the internet after all, right?  Community problem-solving…and cat videos.  Anyway….

For weeks, I was dealing with a problem in the Edit HTML dialog where Spotfire edits an existing control rather than creates a new one.  It was infuriating and frustrating.  Now that I know what’s causing this, I’m embarrassed I didn’t figure it out sooner.  It was just easier to close the text area and start over than troubleshoot the problem.  I feel like there is a major life lesson here — face your problems head-on and you’ll fix ’em sooner. Here are the details.


I was working with a text area containing several action controls, property controls, filters, and dynamic items.  I want to add more to the text area and because I write a lot of HTML in my text areas, I always use the Edit HTML functionality rather than the Edit Text Area functionality.


I would open the Edit HTML dialog to add a new component, but rather than adding, Spotfire modified one of the existing components.  This forced me to either undo the action or close the text area and start over.  Very frustrating.

What’s Happening

I intentionally left out one of the actions I executed from the scenario/problem description (because it was the source of the problem). Now, my text area had so many components that after opening the Edit HTML dialog, I clicked on an item in the menu to the right to figure out where the new component should go.  Then, I moved the cursor to the HTML editor to insert the new component.

This is a problem because the component I clicked on in the menu is still selected. Thus, when I attempt to add a new component, the selected component is edited instead.


The solution is very simple.  Click in the white space of the list on the right so that nothing is selected prior to adding new components.  I didn’t catch this because the highlighting in the list on the right is very faint and because when the “Add New…” dialog comes up, it blocks the text area.  Thus, I couldn’t see that an existing control was highlighted.

Spotfire Version

Content developed with Spotfire version 7.9.1.

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