A list is a basic way of storing tabular information. LabKey lists are flexible, user-defined tables that can have as many columns as needed. Lists must have a primary key field that ensures rows are uniquely identified.

The list design is the set of columns and types, which forms the structure of the list, plus the identification of the primary key field, and properties about the list itself.

Create New List and Set Basic Properties

  • In the project or folder where you want the list, select (Admin) > Manage Lists.
  • Click Create New List.
  • Name the list, i.e. "Technicians" in this example.
  • Adding a Description is optional, but can give other users more information about the purpose of this list.
  • Use the checkboxes to decide whether to Allow these Actions for the list:
    • Delete
    • Upload
    • Export & Print
  • Continue to define fields and other settings before clicking Save.

Set Advanced Properties

  • Click Advanced Settings to set more properties (listed below the image).
  • Default Display Field: Once some fields have been defined, use this dropdown to select the field that should be displayed by default when this list is used as a lookup target.
  • Discussion Threads let people create discussions associated with this list. Options:
    • Disable discussions (Default)
    • Allow one discussion per item
    • Allow multiple discussions per item
  • Search Indexing Options (by default, no options are selected):
    • Index entire list as a single document
    • Index each item as a separate document
    • Index file attachments
  • Click Apply when finished.

Continue to define the list fields before clicking Save.

Define List Fields and Set Primary Key

The fields in the list define which columns will be included. There must be a primary key column to uniquely identify the rows. The key can either be an integer or text field included with your data, OR you can have the system generate an auto-incrementing integer key that will always be unique.

You have two choices for defining fields:

Manually Define Fields

  • Click the Fields section to open the panel.
  • Click manually define fields (under the drag and drop region).
  • Key Field Name:
    • If you want to use an automatically incrementing integer key, select Auto integer key. You can rename the default Key field that will be added.
    • If you want to use a different field (of Integer or Text type), first define the fields, then select from this dropdown.
  • Use Add Field to add the fields for your list.
    • Specify the Name and Data Type for each column.
    • Check the Required box to make providing a value for that field mandatory.
    • Open a field to define additional properties using the expansion icon.
    • Remove a field if necessary by clicking the .
  • Details about adding fields and editing their properties can be found in this topic: Field Editor.
  • Scroll down and click Save when you are finished.

Infer Fields from a File

Instead of creating the list fields one-by-one you can infer the list design from the column headers of a sample spreadsheet. When you first click the Fields section, the default option is to infer fields. Note that inferring fields is only offered during initial list creation and cannot be done when editing a list design later. If you start manually defining fields and decide to infer instead, delete the manually defined fields and you will see the inferral option return.

  • Click here to download this file: Technicians.xls
  • Select (Admin) > Manage Lists and click Create New List.
  • Name the list, i.e. "Technicians2" so you can compare it to the list created above.
  • Click the Fields section to open it.
  • Drag and drop the downloaded "Technicians.xls" file into the target area.
  • The fields will be inferred and added automatically.
  • Select the Key Field Name - in this case, select Auto integer key to add a new field to provide our unique key.
  • If you need to make changes or edit properties of these fields, follow the instructions above or in the topic: Field Editor.
  • Below the fields section, you will see Import data from this file upon list creation?
  • By default the contents of the spreadsheet you used for inferral will be imported to this list when you click Save.
  • If you do not want to do that, click the Import Data slider to disable the import portion.
  • Scroll down and click Save.
  • Click "Technicians2" to see that the field names and types are inferred forming the header row, but no data was imported from the spreadsheet.

Shortcut: Infer Fields and Populate a List from a Spreadsheet

If you want to both infer the fields to design the list and populate the new list with the data from the spreadsheet, follow the inferral of fields process above, but leave the Import Data section enabled as shown below. The first three rows are shown in the preview.

  • Click Save and the entire spreadsheet of data will be imported as the list is created.

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