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Tool for Displaying and Manipulating Hierarchical Information

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004394D
Publication Date: 2000-Nov-03
Document File: 2 page(s) / 138K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The ability to display and navigate through a large hierarchical set of information is difficult with products like computer spreadsheets products. Two issues need to be addressed: 1) filtering information so that only information at a specified level is displayed and 2) clearly identifying which level in the hierarchy the displayed data represents. This invention resolves these issues by utilizing a software program of a graphic tree diagram that links to the underlying data in another application and controls the selection and filtering of the displayed information.

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Tool for Displaying and Manipulating Hierarchical Information

The ability to display and navigate through a large hierarchical set of information is difficult with products like computer spreadsheets products. Two issues need to be addressed: 1) filtering information so that only information at a specified level is displayed and 2) clearly identifying which level in the hierarchy the displayed data represents. This invention resolves these issues by utilizing a software program of a graphic tree diagram that links to the underlying data in another application and controls the selection and filtering of the displayed information.

The invention consists of a method and software program to control the filtering and displaying of data through the use of a graphical hierarchical tree diagram. The operator, using a computer mouse, selects a label on a displayed graphical display. The program sends a message to the underlying data-based application to filter the data at the given level. By choosing selectively higher leafs on the tree, more inclusive data are displayed.

Figure 1 Computer system 100

Figure 1 shows a computer system 100, which includes a monitor 102, a mouse 105 and a hard drive 108. A database file 110, and a hierarchy software program 120 reside on hard drive 108 of computer 100, or may be accessed from a disk inserted into computer 100. Database file 110 may be constructed in an off-the-shelf database or spreadsheet tool, such as Microsoft Excel?. Hierarchy software program 120 is custom-designed code designed for use with files such as database file 110.

Figure 2 Method of using hierarchy software program 130

Figure 2 shows the method steps for using the present invention. In step 210, database file 120 is opened using the off-the-shelf software in which it was created. In step 220, hierarchy software program 130 is opened. In step 230, if a desired hierarchy has been established, it is chosen and the method proceeds to step 240. If a desired hierarchy does not yet exist, the method proceeds to step 270. In step 240, mouse 105 is used to select a hierarchy. In step 250, mouse 105 is used to choose a hierarchy category, and if desired, a subcategory for filtering. In step 260, hierarchy software program 130 seeks the data underlying database file 120 and filters the data according to the chosen category/subcategory. In step 270, hierarchy software program 130 displays the filtered data set for viewing. In step 280, if another filtering is desired, the method returns to step 230; otherwise, the method is done. In step 290, a hierarchy of categories and subcategories is created, and the method returns to step 240 for hierarchy selection.