Repeated Features

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This feature of IFs allows users to quickly annotate different Run-Result-Files and Scenario-Load-Files to understand exactly what parameters have been altered and how they were altered. When you see an Annotation option, be sure to highlight the Run-Result-File (.run file) or Scenario-Load-File (.sce file) that you would like to more clearly understand and click on annotation. A window will appear after a moment (it takes a bit longer because IFs is going online to retrieve the information you are looking for) that will show you specifically what interventions have been made in the Run-Result-File or Scenario-Load-File that you have chosen.

Country/Region, Group or G-List

186 countries underpin the functioning of IFs and these countries can be displayed separately or as parts of larger groups that users can determine.

Below is a visual representation of how different entities are organized into Countries/Regions, Groups or Glists:


*Note: In older versions of IFs, Regions were used as intermediaries between Countries and Groups. In the future, they, or some similarly named unit, will be a sub-unit of Countries. Regions, acting as a sub-unit of Countries, are currently not a feature of IFs. See the image located at the bottom of this Help topic.

When using IFs, there are many occasions where the user is asked whether or not they would like to display their results as a product of single countries, or larger groups. This is typically a toggle switch that moves between Country/Region and Groups, however, it might be a three-way-toggle that includes Country/Region, Group and Glist.

Countries/Regions are currently the smallest geographical unit that users can represent. The ability to split countries down into smaller regions, or states, is under development. There are 186 different countries/regions that users can display.

Groups are variably organized geographically or by memberships in international institutions/regimes. You can find out who is represented in each group and add or delete members by exploring the Managing Regionalization function.

Glists merge both Groups and Countries/Regions. These lists are mostly geographically bound. In the future, the Glist distinction will become more important as some users may want to place, for example, both the Indian state of Kerala in a Glist with Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Users may also want to create their own groups or explore what countries are members of what groups.

Define, Drivers, Explain, Code and Delete

These options are present when variables or parameters are selected either for display, to create a new Scenario-Load-File, or when users double-click no values located in a Table.

From Self Managed Full Variable/Parameter Selection:


From Quick Scenario Analysis with Tree:


Define: By selecting this option, a window will appear that will define the variables that are being displayed. You are able to print these drivers from this new window by selecting the Print option. May provide a pop-up window with a longer definition of the variable.

Drivers (Linkages): By selecting this option, a window will appear that graphically displays how different drivers interact. The form will pop-up with a diagram showing the variable in the center and the variables from which it is computed on the left plus the variables to which it contributes on the right. This drivers diagram is derived directly from parsing the computer code of the model. If you float the cursor over any variable name on this screen, a more extended name will pop up. If you click on any driver variable or driven variable, the diagram will repaint with the variable selected at the middle. The menu option named Options has sub-options that allow you to display the computer code, view the equations, or see a causal diagram, view equations, or display the computer code (just as do the options from the pop-up box itself). It is also possible to save the drivers diagram to the clipboard or to a file – or to print the diagram. From this window, users are able to do the following:

  • Exit Drivers: Select this to return to the previous screen.
  • Copy to Clipboard: Select this to copy the presented data to your clipboard. To paste this data in an application (such as Word, or PowerPoint), open your selected application and either right-click and select Paste or hold in CTRL-V.
  • Save: Select this option in order to save the image that is displayed. The default save option is a .bmp file.
  • Print: Select this option to print the image displayed in IFs.
  • How to: Selecting this option will call up a small window that explains this driver display feature of IFs in more detail.
  • Additional Features: Move your mouse over any driver and a longer definition will be displayed. The drivers/parameters on the left hand side of your screen driver the drivers on the right hand side of the screen. To move either foreword or backward through the list of drivers, simply click on one driver that lies to either the right or left of the center driver. This will shift the driver display. Experiment.

Explain (Block Diagram): Selecting this option will bring up a help-file that shows a diagram that broadly explains how drivers interact for the area of inquiry (agriculture, economics, etc.) that you have displayed in your table. There normally is also textual explanation.

Equations: Selecting this option will bring up a help-file that shows the equations used in computing the drivers displayed.

View Code: Select this feature and a help-file will be opened that shows the computer code used to express the calculation of these drivers and their interaction in IFs.

Delete: This option allows you to clear the selected variable/parameter from this box.

Source File

The Source File is where IFs looks to find historical data on a given country/region or group. The main source file used in IFs is titled Base. This file contains all of the historical data for the countries of which IFs keeps track.

For a small number of countries, however, data is available at the provincial or regional level. See the country/region or group help page for a description of how IFs uses these different terms. The data for one of these few countries can thus be further disaggregated, allowing the user to, for example, experiment with the distribution of a given variable or variables across provinces, or look at the growth of a given variable over time in a single province. To access data at the provincial level requires using a different Source File than the default used by IFs. An enterprising user of IFs could even add provincial data for a country that lacks such data.

Access to provincial-level data is available through two features: Analyze Across Countries (Cross-Sectional) and Analyze Across Time (Longitudinal), both of which are found under the Data Analysis option on the Main Menu.

General Display Options

Table Use

This help topic will go over possibilities available to users when they access a table while using IFs.

The format for tables used in IFs is displayed below:


Users can access tables from many different aspects of IFs. A typical table is organized into rows and columns with the rows representing different years and the columns representing different data series (depending on how the table is accessed, the columns could be one variable shown across different Run-Result-Files or data from different countries).

Some users will want to save these tables to .xls files that can then be used for further analysis. IFs provides many save options and users will be interested in the transpose and decompose save features detailed below. Other users will be interested in highlighting values that are above or below a certain specified range. For example, users may want to look at GDP growth data that is higher than 5%. Scroll down this help topic to the Filter section to learn how to do this.

Continue: Use this option to go back to the previous menu.

Refresh: If you have made any changes away from the default settings of the table, clicking on Refresh will bring about the default table settings.

Graph: Click on this and you will be able to create a line or a bar graph.

Save: This option offers IFs users flexibility in saving their work.

  • It is possible to save your table as an Excel file, a CSV file or an Excel Report by selecting the File Type option after you have selected Save. The CSV, or comma separated variable, is a type of file that can be used with Excel or other spreadsheet programs. Additionally, by accessing the File Type sub-option, you can also access additional Excel formatting options. You can change or clear background formatting, add grids or add color options.
  • By selecting First Year to Save, you can determine at what year your saved file will begin.
  • By selecting Save Normal View, you will be prompted with a screen that allows you to save your file in an Excel format.
  • By selecting Save and Transpose, you are then able to decide whether you would like to save the table as all of the years, every 5 years or every 10 years. Transposing your data switches the columns and rows so that the years are across the rows on the top of the table and the country data is located along the rows on the left hand.
  • By choosing Save, Transpose and Decompose, users are able to save their data, move the year data to the top columns, the country data to the left hand rows and separate group information into individual member countries. This is a very helpful feature of IFs for those who choose to display data for a group or Glist and who would then like that information broken down into individual members upon saving.

Display Options

  • Percent/Whole Toggle: By toggling between these two options, you can display data as either a percent deviation from the base year or as whole numbers.
  • Cumulative Toggle: You can choose to display your results as cumulatively building or as select numbers for each year.
  • Interval Average Toggle: This feature allows the user to smooth the forecast so that the trends are more clearly shown. Although it is available in every table, this feature is usable only through Self-Managed Display, because only this feature allows the user to set the display interval. To set the display interval, first select Set Title, Display Interval, or Year from the Display Format option on the Display Menu. Then enter the display interval at the desired level. Click on Exit, and then click on Table. Finally, click on the Interval Average toggle switch, located under Display Options on the heading of the Table Display. The average is computed by using the value for the previous years and the value for a given year. For example, the value for 2010 is calculated by using the value for the previous years, even though they are not displayed- that is, the value for 2010 is calculated by adding the values for the years 2006-2010 and dividing the total value by 5. The value for the year 2015 is calculated by adding the values for the years 2011-2015 and dividing that number by 5, and so on. This example had the display interval set at 5 years, but the process for calculating the interval average is the same when the display interval is set at other levels.
  • Moving Average Toggle: Similar to the previous feature, this option allows the user to smooth the forecast by “averaging out” the values of the forecast. However, this feature allows the user to adjust the number of years used to compute the average, while the previous feature does not. The moving average is “moving” because the recomputed values take into account values for previous years that have already been recalculated. Take the moving average for the population of the USA as an example, with the number of years included in the moving average set at 5. The value for the year 2007 with the moving average turned off is 302.5 million people. With the moving average turned on, the value for the year 2007 becomes 303.5. The moving average for 2007 is calculated by adding the moving averages for the years 2005 and 2006, as well as the unaltered values for the years 2007-2009, and dividing the total number by 5. The moving averages for the years 2006 and 2005 are calculated similarly, although with fewer years due to the lack of years prior to 2005. The moving average for the year 2005 is calculated by adding the values for years 2005-2007 and dividing by 3. The moving average for 2006 is calculated by adding the moving average for 2005 to the values for the years 2006-2008 and dividing the total by 4, and so on. The user is able to change the number of years included in the moving average from the default number of years, which is 5.

Filter: This feature allows users to highlight certain variables that exceed or fall below a flexible threshold.

  • Set Filter Parameters allows users to customize what minimum, maximum, range and rate thresholds they would like IFs to highlight. For example, if you are displaying Youth Bulge information for all countries, set the minimum filter level at 0.5.
  • Users are then able to click on either Apply Min Level Filter, Apply Max Level Filter, Apply Range Level Filter or Apply Rate Level Filter. After selecting what filter the user would like to highlight, IFs will change the font of those selected variables to bold. For our Youth Bulge example, click on Apply Min Level Filter and all countries with a youth bulge higher than 50% will be highlighted in bold.

Rank Options: This feature allows the user to set a year by which to rank the forecast in ascending or descending order for multiple countries or groups.

Percent of Total Options: This feature shows the distribution of a given variable between two or more countries, groups, or regions as a percentage out of one hundred.

Comparison Options: This feature allows the user to divide or subtract two or more variables from one another. Will this feature is most likely to be used to compare forecasts of the same variable(s), it can be used for comparisons between different variables as well. For example, the user can subtract the demand for meat in Argentina from total meat imports to see the extent to which imports are exceeding or failing to meet demand. A single table will result. If the user wants to compare four variables, such as demand for crops with total imported crops and meat demand with total meat imports, two tables will result after the user selects a method of comparison. The use of the feature requires the selection of an even number of variables. 

Display Run Horizon: This allows users to choose how far into the future their table will forecast their selected variables.

Additional Table Features: If you double-click on any of the variables in the table display, you will be presented with a small menu with four options.

Graph Use 

Line Graph, Bar Graph, Scatter, Etc.

This general topic will go over the possibilities available to users when they access a graph.

There are several types of graphs available on IFs. These include Line Graphs, Bar Graphs, Pie Charts, Scatter Plots, and Radial Graphs. The use of Radial Graphs is discussed as another topic. Depending on whether you are accessing graphs to display historic data or forecast data, different options will be available.

Below is a general Line-Graph presented by IFs:


The display options at the top of the chart are typical for most graphs.

The Continue button: Use this to exit out of the graph and return to the previous screen.

The Save Option: This will save the image you have created as one of a variety of files. The image can also be exported to the clipboard for pasting in other applications. This option also allows users to specify the size of the file that they will be creating.

The Print option: Select this option, choose what printer you will send the file to and then OK.

The Common/Scaled toggle: The scaled option displays a traditional graph. The common function displays the data points as moving from zero to one, typically the top left or bottom right, and then moving towards the opposite corner of the graph. This option is useful for those who are displaying data that either vary greatly and thus trends and patterns can not be easily distinguished.

The Display Format Option: This allows users to change the names in the legends, the titles of the graphs and generally customize the image for export.

There may be other options on the top of your graph. Some displays, like Pie Charts, have an Advance and Regress option at the top of the Main Menu. These options will allow users to move their pie chart through time in 5 year intervals.

By double-clicking on the body of the graph, users are presented with a number of other display options. Users can change labels, colors, styles and much more through this option. This new window that is displayed by double-clicking on the body of the graph has its own help system that can be accessed by clicking on the Help button located at the bottom of the window.

Scatter Plots have different options that are located at the bottom of the plot. Below is an image taken from IFs of a scatter plot:


The Print option is similar to the print option discussed above.

The Excel option allows users to export the data and the chart into Excel for further manipulation.

The Save option allows users to save their image.

The Continue option allows users to exit.

If you have accessed historic data and are taking a longitudinal analysis (found by selecting Data Analysis from the Main Menu and Analyze Across Time), there is the ability to extrapolate historic trends into the future.

By selecting the Trend option from the Main Menu of this feature, users are able to fit Linear, Polynomial, Logarithmic, Exponential or S-Shaped curves to historic data sets. One example is displayed below:


Radial Graph

The Radial Graph is accessible through the Flexible Display and Self-Managed Display options. Let's walk through the use of this feature.


The Continue button: Use this to exit out of the graph and return to the previous screen.

The Save option: This will save the image you have created as one of a variety of files. The image can also be exported to the clipboard for pasting in other applications. This option also allows users to specify the size of the file that they will be creating.

The Print option: Select this option, choose what printer you will send the file to and then OK.

Advance: Clicking this button advances the graph by 5 years to a maximum of 2100.

Regress: Clicking this button regresses the graph by 5 years to a minimum of 2005.

Scaling: This option uses the maximum and minimum values for each variable across all regions and time, producing values between 0 and 1. This feature is particularly useful in conjunction with the Display in Different Graphs option (see below).

The Display Format option: This allows users to change the names in the legends, the titles of the graphs and generally customize the image for export.

By double-clicking on the body of the graph, users are presented with a number of other display options. Users can change labels, colors, styles and much more through this option. This new window that is displayed by double-clicking on the body of the graph has its own help system that can be accessed by clicking on the Help button located at the bottom of the window.

Multiple Graphs: Several sub-options appear after clicking on this option. We will walk through the use of these various features with an example. In Full Variable/Parameter Selection, first select a scenario- try Markets First. Then, select AGDEM-Venezuela-All. Next, select a different scenario, say, Sustainability First. Next, select AGDEM-Venezuela-All. Go the Display, and then to Radial Graph.

The first step is to adjust the number of variables display in the graph. The default number of variables displayed depends on the number selected. In this case, as we have six variables selected, six are displayed. However, selecting more than six variables will nevertheless require the user to manually adjust the number of variables displayed, as the default does not automatically go higher than six. For the example here, change the Variables Per Graph to three. A graph like the one pictured below should appear.


Next, click on Display in Different Graphs. This option is useful when working with two or more years or scenarios, as the user can choose to display the forecast or data for the years in different graphs. To facilitate making comparisons, the user should consider turning on Common Scaling under the Scaling option.

The next feature to experiment with is Continuous Mode. This feature involves adjust the manner in which variables are loaded in radial graph. In the current example, the first items selected in Full Variable/Parameter Selection were the two different scenarios- Markets First and Sustainability First. When Continuous Mode is selected, these are the criteria by which the variables are grouped. With Discontinuous Mode selected, the variables are interspersed between variables loaded in the even positions and variables loaded in the odd positions. To tell which variables are loaded in even and odd positions, simply return to the Display Menu and review the selected names. Similarly, if the variables were loaded according to country instead of by scenario, then using continuous mode would group the variables according to country. Note that selecting between continuous and discontinuous mode requires selecting an even number of variables.

The final feature to experiment with is Display Multiple Years. As the name says, this option allows the user to display multiple years in a single graph. Hold down Ctrl when selecting multiple years. The various years are identifiable by different colors corresponding to certain years. To keep with the current example, select 2005 and 2030. The following graphs should appear.


Format options: Double-clicking or right-clicking anywhere on the graph will bring up a dialogue box that has several display/formatting options.

Map Use

This general topic will go over the possibilities available to users when they access a map. There are two main places where users can access maps while using IFs:

You can find this by selecting Display from IFs Main Menu. Maps located here will display forecasted variables.

The other way that users can access maps when using IFs is through the Data Analysis option on the Main Menu of IFs. These maps will display historic, empirical data.

The format for maps used in IFs is displayed below:


Main Meu Map

The Main Menu Map is the first thing that appears after starting and loading the International Futures program. The Main Menu Map is a world map that allows the user to easily access a range of information related to the countries tracked by IFs. The user is also able to adjust the view of the Main Menu Map by right-clicking, which allows the user to zoom in or out, re-center the map, and reset to the original view.

The user can view the information on any of the countries for which the IFs program has data by simply left-clicking on the desired country, which causes a small dialogue box to appear with options from which the user can select. This section outlines the functions performed by the multiple options, with links to the topic pages for each of the options in case the user wants a more in-depth discussion of how to use the options.

The first option in the dialogue box is Country Profile, an option unique to the Main Menu Map. After clicking this option, a new dialogue box opens which displays a map of the selected country followed by a list of various facts in bold and forecasted values in blue, both organized into several categories: Population, Health, Education, Social, Economic, Energy, Environment, Political-International and Political-Domestic. See Issues and Modulesfor more information on these categories. Clicking on a blue value causes a table to appear that displays both historical and forecasted data. Click on table to learn how to use this feature. Note, however, that Country Profile is listed as a display package in Flex Packaged Display.

The next option in the dialog box is Basic Report for Countries/Regions or Groupings. This option displays similar forecasted data as the country profile, but allows the user to adjust the forecasted data by running alternate scenarios. Click on Basic Report to learn how to use this feature in greater depth.

Most of the remaining options can be also found under the Specialized Display option, which is located on the Display Menu.

The next option is Cohorts of Population. This option shows the distribution of the total population for a given country across age groups and divided between genders.

The next option is Cohorts of Education. The diagram displays the distribution of levels of completed education from none to tertiary across age groups and separated by gender. Click on Cohorts of Education to learn more about using the features along the top of the screen.

Next on the list is Cohorts of World Values Survey (WVS). The WVS displays three different value orientations: Material vs. Postmaterial (MATPOSTR), Survival vs. Self-expression (SURVSE), and Traditionalist vs. Secular-Rationalist (TRADSRAT). The user can advance and regress years using functions at the top of the screen. The user can also change countries in the left-hand option box.

The next option is Mortality by Age, Sex, and Cause. This option displays number of deaths per 1000 people due to injury, non-communicable disease, and communicable disease.

The next option is Morbidity by Age, Sex, and Cause. The use of this feature is similar to that of Mortality by Age, Sex, and Cause, albeit with less features. Cohorts of Morbidity deals with the number of years of life lost due to disabilities stemming from injury, communicable diseases, and non-communicable diseases.

The next option is Development Profile. The purpose of the Development Profile display feature is to track how Human Capital, Social Capital, Physical Capital and Knowledge contribute to the annual growth of a country/region or a group.

The next option is Financial Profile. This option displays domestic and international financial information for a given country or region in absolute numbers and as percentages of GDP and of exports.

The next option is the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM). SAM is an input-output table of various stocks and flows among actor-classes in a given economy of a country or region.

The next option is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This option allows the user to track the progress made towards meeting the MDGs, and to experiment with what is necessary for those goals to be met.

The next option is World Bank Financial Flows. This option allows the user to view the annual flows from and to the bank, the cumulative position of the country/region or group, and the flow of World Bank funds to various sectors.

The next option is the Advanced Sustainability Analysis. This option displays the relationships between material inputs, such as fossil fuels, flowing into human systems and emission from these systems, and the size of GDP, population, and the labor force.

The next option is Evaluate Priorities. This feature allows the user to set numerical weights to the categories, subcategories, and variables, in order to evaluate which of them most heavily affects the output of the model.

The last option is Infrastructure Profile. This option displays the value of the categories of water and sanitation, transportation, energy, information communication technology, and knowledge systems that collectively represent the level of development of the infrastructure for a country/region or group.


Another feature of IFs is the Computations button. Computations allow users to create a formula of variables which correlate historic data with forecasted data, format data for uniform analysis, or provide for interesting combinations of variables that are not directly available in IFs.

For example, you know that there is a variable used in IFs called LIT (percentage of population who are literate) but you need to know the absolute number of literate people in each country, not just the percentage. If you would like to compute from the Self Managed Variable/Parameter screen, you have two options: