Organizing list subsets


The ordering of list subsets in Anaplan has always been an enigma to me, like a type of Anaplan acts in mysterious ways adage. I always thought, who am I to question the inner workings of our beloved platform in the cloud? In this article, I'll address the topic of organizing subsets.

If you work like me by adding list subsets on an ad-hoc and ongoing basis, adjusting to changing requirements, and leveraging Anaplan list subsets feature, you have probably experienced the same astonishment when opening the “Applies to” and seeing the subsets all over the place. You may find yourself asking, what happened here?

If you don’t know what I am referring to, here is an illustration with only 4 lists and 9 subsets. When you create a new module and need to pick the dimensions, the subsets of each list appear under the main list.

New module subsets.JPG

However, when you click “Applies to” in Blueprint (or in the list of modules), the view is different. It can be messy.

Applies to subsets v2.JPG

You can imagine that with a growing number of lists and subsets, one can get lost.


Here is a tip I use to tidy up the list subsets.

1. Every time I add a new list, I immediately create two dummy subsets > List X: START and >List X: END

List Dummy subsets.JPG

2. Then, whenever I add subsets to that list, I do it between these two. In general, I add the new subset before >List X: END. But adding it after >List X: STARTalso works.

Add subset.JPG

3. That's it...almost!

Creating the lists

This method works best when the lists are added from bottom to top. Continuing with my illustration above, if I add the lists in this order: List D, List C, List B, List A, I end up with a clean grouping of subsets, appearing in the same order as the lists.

Final list subsets v2.JPG

If I create the lists in the opposite order: List A, List B, List C, and List D (as most people would), I end up with the list subsets in the opposite order. This is not a concern, as I still know where to find them.

Final list subsets opposite order.JPG

If I add new lists between existing lists, then the order will be mixed up, but at least I will have all the subsets of a given list grouped together.

We cannot completely demystify Anaplan inner workings; we need a part of mystery to keep us on our toes!



  • Unknown

    Great idea!

  • Thanks @fabien.junod.

    It really helps a lot....

  • Interesting method.


    Another way to do it is to name subsets in the way: "sbs"+List name+ Subset Characteristic.

    For instance, "sbs 7.2 Active Sites" - this one refers to the list itself (called "7.2 Sites") and also to the fact that this is a subset ("sbs" in the title). Also you easily get the idea what's inside the subset and what it can be used for.


    But when your model boasts a large number of lists and subsets it is nevertheless not easy to pick the right one.

    If you pick a subset from the blueprint view it is still messy and you have to scroll a lot to find the one you need.


    Colored are different subsets for different lists.


    Ctrl+F doesn't work with this selection and to my opinion the best way to pick a subset in this case is to:

    - double-click the subset in the list view (as if you were to rename it),

    - copy it and paste in the blueprint view.


    If anyone has solved that issue - how to organize/order it in the "select list" view - please share the experience.

  • Hey @mikhivin 

    Thank you for sharing. I also use number like 7.2 to identify subsets. The only method I found to organize the subsets is the one I shared in this article. 

    If you create the lists in "reverse" order (starting from the bottom) and then add all your subsets between those dummy subsets I mentioned, your subsets will appear in order in the "Select lists"

    1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 etc.

    And you should be able to find the one you need pretty quickly

  • Pre fixing a subset with the name of the list is A MUST and has been done for years but never seen using a subset as a placeholder like we do with lists and modules.

    can be quite useful for lists with large number of subsets.

    clever !