English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am a programmer working on a chart component that allows to drill down on selection of a node. Drilling down will show the details of that node (like its children etc.). But I am struggling to find out a word to describe the opposite of drilling down. "Drill up" sounds wrong. Does anyone have a nifty little word that conveys the opposite of "drilling down"? Something to convey the action of moving from something more specific to something more general.

share|improve this question
Not every other sentence must end in a question mark ? And there is never , never a whitespace before the question mark or a period ? Come on , you 've been on the site for so long , you should know better . – RegDwigнt Feb 26 '13 at 10:29
@REGDWIGHТ Thanks for pointing . I edited the question. – Geek Feb 26 '13 at 10:33
And you have undone all of Reg's good work. – Andrew Leach Feb 26 '13 at 10:34
@AndrewLeach oops blame it on the concurrency handling of the site..His edits were not visible to me – Geek Feb 26 '13 at 10:37
I can think of one phrase which involves a rotating tool followed by the word 'up', but it's probably not appropriate. – Simon Apr 20 '13 at 13:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Drill up is indeed what is used in a large number of instances. Here's an example.

However you could use zoom out to get the larger picture of the data.

share|improve this answer
I'd use zoom out. – Hugo Feb 26 '13 at 11:05

Drill up or Roll up can be used as opposite of drill down.It makes use of a decreasing granularity showing things more globally

share|improve this answer
+1 for Roll Up. – Joel Brown Feb 26 '13 at 13:40

Probably, you can use reverse drill down (or, reverse drilldown).

I found this on a University of Georgia memo:

The opposite of drill down is reverse drill down where the initial view is at the most granular available level, rather than a summarised view.

share|improve this answer

Maybe you would like one of these?

"back out", "expand out", "zoom back", "pull back", "unspecify", "despecify", "focus out"

share|improve this answer

"Drill up" doesn't make sense. "Roll up" also has diverse, different meanings, and I have never heard it used to mean to encompass a more general perspective. "Elevator view" is a good antonym. Less colorful would be "overview." Neither of these is a verb, but no good verb comes to mind.

share|improve this answer
To leave comments on other answers, it's better to use the comment feature directly rather than including them in your answer. – Bradd Szonye Apr 20 '13 at 21:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.