‘User Interface’ Category Archives


“Secret” LabVIEW System Colors

by Christina in LabVIEW, User Interface

Internally, LabVIEW uses a lot more system colors than the six that are available through the color picker.

Despite my post title, they’re not really “secret.” There’s an article on DevZone that shows them (circa LabVIEW 7.0) and provides VIs to give you their color values more easily. You can use them when you set colors programmatically. Once you have these colors in a VI you can use the “Get Color” (eyedropper) tool and “Set Color” (paintbrush) tool to apply them to other items interactively.

[Note: In later versions of LabVIEW, Most Recent Color has been deprecated and several colors have been added, which I’ll list below]. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Add Decals to LabVIEW Buttons

by Christina in LabVIEW, User Interface

For today’s post, I would like to showcase a video from Simon Hogg’s presentation, “Creating Quality UIs with NI LabVIEW – Developer Days 2010 Presentation.” If you have time to read the whole thing, I highly recommend it. It has some really great content, including more tips and techniques like the one I discuss here.

Here’s Simon’s video: How to Add Decals to LabVIEW Buttons (YouTube).

A LabVIEW button with a decal image

A button with a decal image

What exactly are decals, you ask? Well, in the LabVIEW Control editor, you can always add arbitrary cosmetics (e.g. images) to a control. However, if you just paste in an image and move it on top of your button, you’ll find that you can’t click the button when you click on the image, because the image is in front of the button.

Decals solve this problem. They are images that are integrated with the button and thus do not interfere with its behavior.

Here are the steps demonstrated in the video, along with my additional comments:

  1. Place a button on the panel.
  2. Right-click and select Advanced>>Customize. (You could also choose Edit>>Customize Control from the main menu).
  3. From the menu, select Edit>>Import Picture to Clipboard. This is extremely important. LabVIEW does not currently preserve transparency through the system clipboard. If you copy and paste an image from another application, any transparency in the image will be lost. This menu option is the only workaround to use images with transparency inside LabVIEW.
  4. Right-click and select Import Picture from Clipboard>Decal. (You could add more than one, but you’re probably not going to need to do that very often).
  5. If you need to move the decal or boolean text, switch to Customize mode by clicking the toolbar button with the wrench icon. (It’ll change to tweezers). Make sure you change back to Edit mode if you want to continue editing the control normally.
  6. You can re-use the control easily by saving it to user.lib. After you restart LabVIEW, the control will appear in the User Controls category of the palette. You can also customize the icon and name displayed in the palette. To customize the icon, edit the control’s icon just like you edit a VI’s icon. To set its palette name, go to the Control Properties dialog, and in the Window Appearance category set the Window Title.

System Colors – Don’t Believe Your Eyes

by Christina in LabVIEW, User Interface

What color is the fill area in the tank in the picture below?

VI with a tank control

This is, of course, a trick question. There is no way, looking at this image, that you can tell what color that is. It looks like blue, right? Read the rest of this entry »


Missing System Controls? Don’t Panic!

by Christina in LabVIEW, User Interface

Comments Off on Missing System Controls? Don’t Panic! Comments

As I mentioned in my last post, there are certain controls that are in the Modern and Classic control palettes that aren’t in the System category.

Why are these controls omitted from the System palette? Because the system (e.g. Microsoft Windows) doesn’t define versions of these control!

Graphs, tanks, thermometers, arrays, etc. – these are very useful in LabVIEW, but not often seen in standard OS dialogs.

Given my “don’t mix-and-match” advice, does that mean that you can’t use the System style for VIs that need these types of controls? Not necessarily. Read the rest of this entry »


System Controls: What You See is NOT What You Get

by Christina in LabVIEW, User Interface

The Front Panel Controls in LabVIEW today are divided into three main categories: Modern, Classic and System.

Modern” becomes more of a misnomer each year. These controls were introduced in LabVIEW 6 and have the appearance of physical controls. The Classic category contains the controls that were in LabVIEW before the Modern controls. They are still useful in many cases*, but they don’t mix-and-match well with the Modern controls.

The third category is called System. At first glance, these controls appear to be just another style like Modern and Classic, but there’s a very important difference.

Read the rest of this entry »