What Is a Slot?


A slot is a narrow opening or groove in something, often used to insert or remove items. It can also refer to a position in an organization or game. For example, a football player might be described as a “slot receiver.” A slot receiver is a wide receiver that lines up on the outside of the field in a split formation, away from the TE and FB but near enough to the center to receive the ball with minimal coverage. They are usually faster and more nimble than other players, and can run routes like slants and switch patterns, making them hard for linebackers to cover.

The term slot is a shortened version of the word slip, which was an early name for a slot machine. It was later changed to its current name, a reference to the narrow opening into which coins or tokens were dropped to activate the reels. Slot machines are played by inserting cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into the slot. The reels spin, and if a winning combination is made, the player receives credits based on the paytable.

Many different types of slots are available. Scalar slots (the default) represent a single value. They can be configured with unit information and display format. Periodic slots are used for time series data, and may be configured to Lookup or Interpolate. The period of time that is used to determine the values for a periodic slot is defined by the interval setting. The default is 1 Day, but it can be set to any duration. The values for a periodic slot are sorted in decreasing order by year and then averaged to produce one result value for the duration that is used.

Table slots are used for any table of data, including curves (2-Dimensional) or surfaces (3-Dimensional). A Table slot may contain several unrelated sets of data.

The most common slot is the periodic interval slot. It displays the date of the first value in a given interval, and has a scroll button to move quickly to other dates. It can be configured to show/hide display compression, note information and a Plot option. It is also possible to detach a slot from the viewer and show it in its own Slot Dialog by using the File, Undock Selected Slots menu item. This can be useful if a slot needs to be opened and closed repeatedly, or if it contains data that is not easily displayed in the Slot Viewer.