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How to create a custom workflow in Testlab

Siemens Experimenter Siemens Experimenter
Siemens Experimenter

(view in My Videos)


If you’ve ever used Simcenter Testlab (previously known as LMS Test.Lab) to acquire or post-process data, you have used the workflow along the bottom of the screen.  The workflow enables the user to move between the various steps of making a measurement or performing an analysis (Figure 1).


Fig1.pngFigure 1: The workflow in Testlab

Notice that the various steps of the workflow are shaped like arrows.  This is used to indicate the “flow” of the process you are performing in Testlab, from left to right. This workflow grows each time a new Testlab Add-In is loaded via the menu found at Tools > Add-ins (with a few exceptions).  Figure 2 shows an extended workflow after adding-in several processing options.


Fig2.pngFigure 2: The workflow leads the user from left to right, through various steps of the process.

Depending on which Testlab products you are using, and what Add-Ins are loaded, this workflow can get quite long.  In fact, it may even be long enough to extend beyond what can fit on one page of your computer monitor (Figure 3).  When this happens, double blue chevrons appear on either end of the workflow to indicate the workflow has been truncated, and more is available just off-screen (red circle).


Fig3.pngFigure 3: Click on double chevrons (red circle) or use the navigation controls (green circle) to scroll through a workflow that extends beyond the screen.

Clicking on the double chevrons at either end will scroll the workflow one step in that direction, showing the next section in the workflow.  You can also use the controls at the far left of the screen (green circle) to move in either direction, either one step at a time (using the interior arrows), or jumping to the beginning or end (using the outside icons). When you have reached either the first or the last step of the workflow, the step will have a square cap as shown in Figure 4.


Fig4.pngFigure 4: Chevrons scroll the workflow one step. The last step in the workflow has a square cap.

The Testlab workflow is fully customizable by the user, not only in terms of which steps of the process are shown, but also the order in which the steps appear.  There are several reasons why customizing the workflow may be helpful:

Hiding Steps:

  • Consider a case where not all the steps shown by default need to be completed by the user. For example, the Calibration page may be skipped because all of the transducers being used are TEDS equipped, and sensitivities can be read automatically.  By hiding the Calibration page the workflow is shorter, minimizing scrolling.
  • Perhaps data is being acquired by a technician, and certain processing steps or acquisition options are already specified by another engineer, and should not be altered. By hiding all but the required steps for acquiring the data, the workflow is shorter and simpler, making data collection easier and less prone to error.

Reordering of Steps:

  • Often in Impact Testing it is beneficial to use the project geometry to help in entering the channel info in Channel Setup. Moving the Geometry step prior to the Channel Setup step in the workflow reminds the user to setup the Geometry before completing Channel Setup, and helps minimize errors like mismatching Point IDs and transducer layout. 
  • The Navigator page is where we can easily view and plot our test data and compare it to other data, view mode shapes, listen to audio files, etc. Moving this step to the end of the workflow makes it easy to review all of our data at the end of acquisition.


How to customize the workflow

The workflow in Testlab is controlled by the Workbook Configuration setting.  Begin by clicking on Tools in the menu bar, and selecting “Workbook Configuration…” as shown in Figure 5.


Fig5.pngFigure 5: Use Workbook Configuration to customize the workflow.

The following dialogue window will pop-up (Figure 6).  The list on the left are all of the possible sheets based on the Testlab product you are running, plus the applicable Add-ins that are loaded.  On the right is the list of sheets that are visible in the workflow, as well as the order in which they will appear.


Fig6.pngFigure 6: Workbook Configuration dialogue box.

In order to remove sheets from the workflow, simply select them in the list on the right.  Multi-select is possible by holding down [Ctrl] while clicking.  Then click the left-facing arrow in the center of the window to remove the selected sheets (Figure 7).


Fig7.pngFigure 7: Select pages in the list and click the left arrow to remove them from the workflow.

 Now the workflow in Testlab is much shorter and only consists of the steps we would like to use (Figure 8).


Fig8.pngFigure 8: Workflow after removing several pages.

Changing the order of the steps in the workflow is just as simple.  Suppose I would like to move the Geometry sheet up in the workflow order, from last in the flow, to just before Channel Setup.  I bring up the dialogue box again (Tools > Workbook Configuration…) and select Geometry in the list on the right (Figure 9).


Fig9.pngFigure 9: Select Geometry to move it up in the list.

To move it up in the list I can use the arrow icons on the right of the dialogue box (Figure 10).  The single arrows in the middle move the selection up/down one spot.  The double arrow icons at the top and bottom move the selection all the way to the beginning or end of the list, respectively.


Fig10.pngFigure 10: Use the arrows on the right to move the selected page up or down in the list.

When I have Geometry where I’d like it in the list, click OK.  Now Geometry is between Navigator and Channel Setup in my workflow.


Fig11.pngFigure 11: The Geometry worksheet has been moved to be immediately before Channel Setup.


Related Simcenter Testlab links: