HOWTO: Ordered Lists VS Unordered Lists on iPhone

Last Updated:

Lists in ListPro are categorized as Ordered or Unordered. To determine if you need an Ordered List or an Unordered List, ask this question:

Does order matter?

Is there some reason why Item A must always come before Item B? Does it make a difference if the items in your list stay in the order you entered them, or is it okay if they get mixed up? Or is your list more like a generalized database, where having one permanent order isn’t important, but being able to sort and rearrange items temporarily is?

Unordered Lists 

Unordered lists are lists that don’t have a permanent order. Each time you sort a list, that becomes the new order for that list. You can’t return to the previous order, unless the previous order was achieved through some other type of sorting. This is the default list type in ListPro.

When you move items around in an unordered list or sort an unordered list, the changes are always permanent - that is until you sort the list again. 

Ordered Lists

Ordered lists always remember their order. If you sort an ordered list, you can always return to the original order by removing the sorting.

When would you want to use an ordered list? One example is a list of steps in a procedure. Consider changing a tire on your car:

  1. Loosen lug nuts
  2. Jack up car
  3. Remove wheel

If those steps get out of order the list no longer makes sense:

  1. Remove wheel
  2. Loosen lug nuts
  3. Jack up car

But consider an even more complicated procedure, one requiring multiple groups to coordinate:

Item Responsible
1) Create test plan QA dept
2) Review test plan vs requirements Product management
3) Respond to test plan comments QA dept
4) Sign off on test plan VP software development
5) Deliver test version 1 Development
6) Execute test plan QA dept
7) Enter defects in defect system QA dept
8) Review assigned defects Development

The items should be carried out in that order, but you might want to sort these items temporarily by the “Responsible” column in order to get a list of each group’s responsibilities. Still, you’d want to be able to get back to the original order later since doing the steps in the correct order is very important.

For lists like this, an Ordered List is the best choice. When you move items around in an Ordered List, the change to the order is permanent. When you Sort an Ordered List, however, the change is temporary unless you tap the New Order button in the Sort group of the Control Bar. Otherwise, you can always tap the Remove Sort button in the Sort group of the Control Bar to return the list to its original order.

Is Your List Ordered or Unordered?

If you’re looking at an existing list and you aren’t sure if it is an Ordered List or an Unordered List, there are a couple ways to figure it out:

  • Check the Setting: In non-Portal lists you can tap the Settings button in the List group of the Control Bar and check to see of Ordered List is turned on.
  • Sorted Indicator: If the list is sorted and you see a red Sorted badge on the Sort group button, you have an ordered list.

Note that some Portal lists are always created as Ordered Lists since for some Portals (like the To Do Portal), an Ordered List is the best option.

  • iPhone