Simcenter Testlab Display Layouts

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This article will show how to use display layouts to control exactly how data is presented.  Changing the defaults of display layouts and how to create new layouts will also be covered.


DefaultLayout.pngPicture 1: Default “FrontBack” display before the layout is customized with annotated ticks and grids

Display layouts in Simcenter Testlab (formerly called LMS Test.Lab) can be customized in several ways, for example, users can add tick marks, grids, and set the limits.  These types of changes can be stored as part of the layout file so the changes do not need to be re-applied when opening a new layout.




Right click just outside of the graph area on the either the X or Y axis to change how the limits operate (Picture 2).  Select between Free, Optimized, or Fixed.




The default mode for the limits is Optimized.  When limits are set to Optimized, they are automatically adjusted to show the entire range of the data (Picture 2). 


LimitsOptimized.pngPicture 2: Right click on Y-axis and select “Limits” and switch between “Free/Optimized/Fixed”. Optimized is the default.

In Optimized mode, the limits will be rounded to the next highest/lowest integer number that is appropriate for the data such that the entire range is shown.




When the limits are set to Free, the upper and lower value of the limits will be adjusted to automatically exactly match the highest and lowest value in the data itself (Picture 3).  No rounding of the limits will be used as in the Optimized case.


LimitsFree.pngPicture 3: Right click just outside the display graph to set the display limits set to “Free”. “Free” sets the upper and lower value of the limits exactly at the minimum and maximum value in the data being displayed.

Setting the limits to Free is a one way to find the exact minimum and maximum of the entire displayed dataset quickly.




The limits can also be set to Fixed. The user controls the exact minimum and maximum value to display as shown in Picture 4.


LimitsFixed.pngPicture 4: The user controls the exact upper and lower limit value when using “Fixed” limits. Right click just outside the display graph area to change to fixed.

Fixed limits is useful to display data in a consistent manner throughout an organization or within a presentation.  Viewers can quickly tell if data is lower or higher than normal when fixed limits have been consistently used to display data.


Ticks Annotation, Fonts and Grids


In addition to setting the mode for the limits, one can also add ticks annotation, adjust fonts and add grids. These can be selected independently for the Y axis and the X axis by right clicking just outside the graph and choosing “Options…” menu as shown in Picture 5.


When using the “Options…” menu, the ‘Apply’ button can be used to preview changes.  ‘Apply’ makes the change, but leaves the dialog box open.  This way, several different options can be tried without having to reopen the “Options…” dialog each time.  Press ‘OK’ when the changes are final to exit the menu.


OptionsMenu.pngPicture 5: Right click just outside the graph area and select “Options” to change Ticks annotation, Fonts and Grids

Ticks Annotation


By default, the only numbers shown in a Simcenter Testlab graph are the upper and lower limit of graph.  Additional numbers can be added at regular intervals along the X-axis.


Right click just outside the graph area and select “Options…” to turn on Ticks Annotation.  This will display numbers between the limits at the ticks. The spacing of the ticks and tick annotation can be changed under Ticks.  The tick spacing default mode is Automatic.  If the default spacing is not desirable, it can be set to Custom and specified by the user.




A grid can also be added to the display. The line style of the grid can be set and changed.




The font of the limits, unit, ticks annotation, etc can be specified. Both the font type (Arial, Helvetica, etc.), font size, and font color can be set.


Saving and Managing Layouts


Saving a Layout


Want to save these changes permanently? Click in the upper right of the display to and select “Save as Layout” as shown in Picture 6.


SaveLayout.pngPicture 6: Click on the tab in the upper right of the display to choose “Save as layout”.

In the “Save as Layout” dialog, there are two options:


  • Save over an existing layout name
  • Create a new layout name

One can save to the existing default layout name that appears in the dialog and overwrite the default layout with the new changes. 


Or one can save to a new name to create a brand new layout.


Layouts saved by the user are stored in the directory “C:\LMS\UserConfiguration\{login}\LMS Test.Lab {rev}\Layout” or "C:\LMS\UserConfiguration\{login}\Testlab {rev}\Layout”.  The files have a *.lay extension.  They can be copied between different computers or users by copying the *.lay file between windows directories.


*** It is advisable to remove the data from the layout before saving, since any displayed data will become part of the layout. ***


Managing Layouts


There are many layouts that are provided by default in Simcenter Testlab. They can be accessed in two different locations:


  • Favorites – The row of icons across the top of the display are the most commonly used layouts. The user can choose which layouts are in the favorites by using the ‘Layout Management Tool’ which is covered later in the article.


  • “Create a Picture” – The button called “Create a picture…” accesses all the layouts, including the favorites. Generally, the layouts have names like “1x3” where “1” refers to columns and “3” refers to rows.  A “1x3” display has three Frontback displays in a single column. A “2x3” display would have two columns of three Frontback displays.


LayoutToolbar.pngPicture 7: Favorite layouts versus “Create a Picture…” list of layouts

Layouts saved by the user are also available via the “Create a picture…” button.


Opening a Display


To open a “1x3” display, click on the button “Create a Picture”. Find the “1x3” layout in the list and highlight it. Press OK to open it (Picture 8).


CreateAPicture1.pngPicture 8: Click on “Create a picture…” button to open a new display from the complete list of layouts.

Any layouts previously saved by the user will have the Level set to User in the list. 


Copying Layouts between Displays


After opening a new display with default layout settings, it is possible to copy layout settings from an existing display to a new one.


In the display that contains the desired layout settings, CTRL-RightClick and select “Display Format -> Copy” as shown in Picture 9.


FormatCopy.pngPicture 9: CTRL-RightClick and select “Display Format -> Copy” to select layout settings to copy.

To update a new display with the copied settings, CTRL-RIghtClick in the new display and choose “Display Format -> Paste” (Picture 10).


FormatPaste.pngPicture 10: CTRL-RightClick and select “Display Format -> Paste” to apply layout settings to display

It is possible to propagate layout settings to all other displays. CTRL-RightClick in the display and select “Display Format -> Align Front/Back displays”. All other displays will be updated with the new layout settings (Picture 11).


FormatAlign.pngPicture 11: CTRL-RightClick and select “Display Format -> Align Front/Back displays” to propagate layout settings to other displays.Layout Management Tool


The Layout Management tool can be used to preview layouts, create custom layouts, and manage the favorites.


To create a custom layout, click on the “Layout Management Tool” icon in the upper right of the display area (Picture 12).


LayoutManagement.pngPicture 12: Layout management icon is in upper right of display area.

Once in the “Layout Management Tool”, one can highlight and preview existing layouts via the list on the left.  Use the UP-DOWN arrow key to scroll thru the layouts as shown in Picture 13.


LayoutManagement2.pngPicture 13: Layout management tool has layout list and display preview area

To make a combination Front/Back and Colormap display, for example, select an appropriate layout like “1x2”.  Right click on the desired display and choose “Switch to…” to change the Frontback to a Colormap (Picture 14).


SwitchTo.pngPicture 14: Create a custom layout using the “Switch To…” menu in Layout Management

After making the new FrontBack/Colormap layout, save it to a new name by changing the name from “1x2” to a new name (for example, “1x2col”) and press “Save Layout” button (Picture 15).


SaveLayout2.pngPicture 15: New name field and “Save Layout” button for creating a new layout

The new layout name will appear in the layout list on the upper left side of the menu.  If desired, used the “Add to Favorites” to make the new layout accessible with the favorite icons.  Favorites are managed in the lower left area of the “Layout Management Tool”.


To open the new display, it can be found under the “Create a Picture…” menu as shown in Picture 16.


CreateAPicture2.pngPicture 16: Open the new user display from the “Create a picture…” menu.

If the new display layout was added to the favorites, there will be an icon on the right side of the icon row to open it.


Resizing Graphs


When making custom layouts, it can be useful to resize graphs.  For example, one may want the time axis of two different graphs to be the same size (Picture 17).


Resize1.pngPicture 17: To make the time axis the same size between the two graphs, hold down the control key and click and drag on the graph boundary line.

This can be done by holding down the control key doing a click and drag on the appropriate graph boundary line.


Resize2.pngPicture 18: Time axis are the same size after control click and drag operation.

Resized graphs can also be saved with the layout as before.


Hope this layout tutorial is useful.  If you have questions, contact or Siemens PLM GTAC support.


Simcenter Testlab Display tips:

Simcenter Testlab General:


If I create a new Section, is there a way to automatically copy the entire Navigation layout/display setup from an existing Section within the same Test.Lab file?  Or, perhaps even from other Test.Lab files?


I would like to separate some of my data acquisition runs more, and I'm happy that the Channel, Tracking, Data Acq, etc. properties do not reset, but it would be nice to have the Navigator Pane contain the same plot layout when switching from Section to Section, without having to rebuilt the display every time.  I have intentionally avoided creating new sections when I have over three, or so, displays open, for that reason.

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I haven't tried this but ...

Click on source section in left pane. All associated displays will show up in middle pane. Select all the ones you want and right click and copy.

Click on destination section in left pane. Right click in middle pane and paste.

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Thanks MKS.  I'll give that a try next week when I'm running new tests.  I'll post if I'm sucessful.


Thanks again!

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It is possible to copy all plot layouts (i.e., pictures) from one section of a project to another section.


layout.pngPicture 1: Section1 contains no plot layouts



Take a project with two sections: Section1 and Section2


  1. Section1 – Contains no plot layouts. All plot layouts are to be copied to this section from Section2.
  2. Section2 – Has existing plot layouts to be copied to the other section.


To copy the plot layouts of Section2 over to Section1, Section2 must be the active section.


layout2.pngPicture 2: Section2 contains plot layouts. With Section2 as active section, right click in middle pane and “Copy” plot layouts


In LMS Test.Lab Navigator, highlight Section2.  The plot layouts of Section2 will appear in the middle pane.  Select all the plot layouts, right click and choose “Copy”.


layout3.pngPicture 3: Highlight Section1, right click and choose “Paste”

Highlight Section1, right click and choose “Paste”. All plot layouts are in the Section1.  Activate Section1 to view them.


layout4.pngPicture 4: All plot layouts are in Section1






Great information and procedural description!  This will definitely allow me to segregate my Runs/Sections better during future tests.  Thank you for posting.


Good Night Friends.


I have a question respect to this topic.


I want to display my time data in "navigator",e.g., my aceleration data, but i want to display it in original way, part positive and negative and not only positive part. how can i do it?


Thanks in advance.


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Hello Alvaro,


There are a couple of choices:

1)  If using a FrontBack picture, right click on the Y axis and change the format from Amplitude to Real.

2)  Use a Multi-Trace picture instead.  That automatically displays data in Real format if it is time data.  If you drag to the left of the display they are on top of each other in the same picture.  If you drag to the right side each curve gets its own picture.  Shift-O switches between the two views (you may need to click or double click in the display first before that works).  There is a nice Overview that you can drag your mouse and then zoom in on that area.  Note, this picture works with all data types and is a handy display for FRFs, orders, spectrums, etc.

3)  Under Create a Picture, select FrontBack_Time which already has the Y axis format set to real.


Here are examples of the displays with the Multi-Trace in both views.

10-3-2018 8-28-24 AM.jpg10-3-2018 8-29-07 AM.jpg