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I'm maintaining a reporting application. When displaying data, there is an option of displaying a certain number of items explicitly and lumping together other items into a single category. For months, the lumped category was named "OTHERS", so e.g. if you wanted to display data about two fruits, you got data for "APPLES", "ORANGES", and "OTHERS".

The problem is that recently our clients have added an item called "OTHERS" to the database, so there's two otherses. What can we do to display them properly? My first thought is adding some punctuation to our "OTHERS", so that it's e.g. "(OTHERS)". I like the general look of that, but parens don't seem to be the best choice here. Perhaps some other formatting?

The most obvious option of displaying it differently (like a highlighted background on charts and an indentation in plain text) is the last resort since it would involve lots of changes.

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what is the difference between your OTHERS and your client's OTHERS is not clear. Can you please elaborate ? – rags May 21 '13 at 12:18
Is your "others" category a collection of uncategorized items? or just a way of displaying that there are also items already categorized into several smaller categories that won't fit on the screen? – Graham Herrli May 21 '13 at 15:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I like the way Mint handles this kind of situation by automatically applying the UNCATEGORIZED category to the item. This term isn't as vague as Other and also explains to the user why the item is in that category. In mint's case the bold and all caps also draws attention to the item, which encourages the user to categorize the item.

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+1. Uncategorised is good enough. It is direct. It is meaningful. – Mohit May 21 '13 at 15:05

I don't like using the word "others" because it seems to imply that the items do not have a category. If you are simply grouping categories into "others" for brevity, a potential solution is using "{n} other categories" or maybe just "other categories". I think this makes it clearer that the items do have a category, but they are grouped together just for presentation.

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