Best Practices for Lists

  • Updated

Lists are a flexible way of organizing data, the information stored in a list can be easily modified or removed. Lists can show a lot of data, and the design of the filters may require some guidance. This is an article to help you create lists that are efficient to load for end users. 

The suggestions do not guarantee improved list performance. Instead, we suggest testing the recommendations to see what works best for your list.

List type

  • Instance lists generally perform better than task lists. Do not create case overview lists by using a task list.


  • Use an application filter

  • Use a created date filter

    Set the start date to the date the application was deployed or later. No end date is necessary.

  • Both active and completed instances can affect list performance. Do not include completed tasks or instances in your list if they are not necessary. Select Active not All.

  • If using filters, select the operator “Equals” over “Contains”.


  • Do not include unnecessary columns. Make sure to remove them, not just deselect the visibility option.

  • Only add the columns that you need to the list. We do not recommend adding more than 20 columns. It is better to create multiple lists with fewer columns than to try and create a general list with many columns.

  • Avoid adding the Unread Comments column.

Sort Order and Grouping

The sort order can have a great impact on list performance, generally, it is best to not change the default sort order and group by setting on the list. 

Using the Search filter

Do not construct a way of working involving the Lists search filter. It is better to design a list that makes the information easier to find than relying on the search feature.  The Lists search functionality is limited in how much data it can handle and is not ideal for searching lists with many columns.

Should it be a Task List?

The purpose of a Task List is to help the end user find the tasks they are expected to perform. For other purposes, like application overview of ongoing cases, use an Instance List. If you do not want to see the instance overview when you click on an instance, disable navigation from Instance list to instance overview. You can accomplish this by selecting the option Disable navigation from list to instance overview.

Exporting to Excel

Exports to Excel are limited to 10000 rows. Exports to Excel tend to be especially slow and resource-consuming because they include all data, not just the first 450 bytes for each cell. In some extreme cases, we have seen a factor of above 10. If you need all your data in a BI report, it is better to set up an integration. For more information, read the article BIA - Business Integration Agent.

Completed instances may be slowing you down

Do not construct lists that increase in number over time. Sooner or later there will be performance issues. Think ahead, how many instances and work items will there be 3 years from now? Use redaction to delete completed instances. To read more about redaction, see the article Application Configuration.


Lists are not constructed to be used for integration purposes, therefore they should be used with care and avoided if possible. Consider using the Application message instead to notify or send data to BIA.

If lists are called by an API user, follow the guidance:

Suggested guidelines for running automated list request through API

  • Minimize the amount of columns. For example, using only the Instance ID and a data column.
  • Do not include filter parameters. Instead, fetch the entire list and apply a filter on the results.
  • Run these as seldom as possible
  • Do not run 24/7, only run when needed. It may be best to run them once every 24 hours and outside of business hours.
  • Only use a list that is performing well. Request time should be under 5 seconds.
  • If a request fails, do not retry immediately. Wait at least 5 minutes before requesting again.

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