Most of us know what Qlik Grey is. An example of this being:

The grey in listboxes

Here you can see we selected a price range of ‘200-300’. After that, a lot of values turn white and/or grey. White values still associate with the selection you made, meaning there are values holding the same property for price range. Grey values don’t hold these properties and thus don’t associate with this selection for price range. A few interesting observations of this concept:

  1. All data (even excluded from selected items) is still available to the consumer to get insight (again: also for not associated data)
  2. Grey forces you to think outside of the box, the box beying our price range ‘200-300’
  3. Creating context this way brings an interesting ‘new’ dimension to the game of ‘data discovery
  4. Questions around the ‘what not’ of your data are being highlighted
  5. Visualizing this ‘grey’ data could help create better context or give insight into what we are missing out on
  6. Think: “What am I not looking at now?”


We don’t know what we don’t know.

Grey values in this example could get us a step closer to the things we don’t know we don’t know. Sounds strange right, but think about it. All knowledge and/or answers are available to us. We just need to get familiair with new questions we did not know we could be asking. That is the start of almost every innovation out there. Seeing new questions and being able to experiment with them.


With that being said, the point for this article is to get more understanding of what this ‘grey’ data could mean to us and/or create additional value with it. So one of the things that I like to do with this grey data is to visualize it and use it as a comparison within an analysis interface. That way you are creating context and additional value out of this data. When doing this you will also get a good feeling for if you are looking at a tip of an iceberg and how big it is compared to your full dataset.

An example of what your grey data could do for you:

Grey data visualized

In this example all green visualizations and elements ‘hold’ the insights for the selected data, green and white values. Our grey (excluded) data can be found on the right hand side of this interface. All grey visualizations and elements.

I’m curious to know if you and how you are using this concept, if you are doing this already. If you are not, go ahead and experiment with it.

See you next post!


If you want to download an example app, go here.