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Simcenter Testlab: Format Based Printing with PowerPoint

Siemens Phenom Siemens Phenom
Siemens Phenom

(view in My Videos)


Make beautiful, multi-page PowerPoint reports! Automatically annotate without lifting a finger!


Did you know that you can print directly to a PowerPoint file in Simcenter Testlab (formerly called LMS Test.Lab)?


Read on to find out more!


Printing Options


First change the printing options by selecting ‘File -> Printing Options…’ from the main Simcenter Testlab menu (Figure 1).


FilePrintingOptions.pngFigure 1: Choose “File -> Printing Options” to print to PowerPoint files directly.

In the ‘Printing Options’ menu, change the following as shown in Figure 2:



  • Set ‘Default Microsoft Office Application’ to PowerPoint
  • Set ‘Electronic’ as the default print destination
  • Turn on OOXML. With the newer versions of office, this makes *.pptx files rather than *.ppt files.  The *.pptx files are smaller and faster.

General Settings

  • Set ‘Use picture settings from’ to ‘Test.Lab Pictures’. The linestyles and grid settings will be in the resulting PowerPoint as shown in LMS Test.Lab when printing

Settings for electronic:

  • Turn on ‘Combine multiple documents into a single document’ – A very useful option for making multiple page reports, as will be seen later

PrintingOptions.pngFigure 2: ‘Printing Options…’ Menu

When finished making the changes, press the “OK” button. 


Printing to PowerPoint


A display layout can be printed directly to a PowerPoint file by clicking on the layout tab (near the downward blue arrow) and selecting “Print” as shown in Figure 3.


Print.pngFigure 3: Click on the layout tab (near the downward blue arrow) and select “Print”.

Because PowerPoint was selected under Printing Options, the user is prompted for a power point file name for storing the plot from the ‘Select a file to print to:’ menu as shown in Figure 4.


FileToPrintTo.pngFigure 4: ‘Select a file to print to:’ menu allows PowerPoint to be stored to any directory

The PowerPoint plot can be stored in any directory and be given any file name. Press “Save” when finished. A PowerPoint file will be generated and stored in the directory.


Default PowerPoint format


After opening the PowerPoint that was just created, one can see that some improvements could be made to the plot: bigger picture, company logo, etc.  The default PowerPoint plot has a small picture and lots of white space as shown in Figure 5.


DefaultPlot2.pngFigure 5: Default plot has small picture, lots of white space

A format file can be created to improve the look of this plot!


Changing the Default PowerPoint Format


To create a custom, cool default format for a layout, click on the layout tab (near the downward blue arrow) and select ‘Make PrintFormat…’ as shown in Figure 6.


MakePrintFormat.pngFigure 6: Click on the layout tab (near the downward blue arrow) and select ‘Make PrintFormat…’

A ‘Create PrintFormat’ menu is opened (Figure 7).  The default name of the new format is the same as the layout.


Pressing the “OK” button will create a default PowerPoint format to associate with the layout. This format will be stored in a default directory: C:\LMS\UserConfiguration\{login}\LMS Test.Lab {Rev}\PrintFormats.  The directory cannot be changed by the user, but Format files can be copied and pasted between different logins/systems to and from this directory.


CreatePrintFormatMenu.pngFigure 7: Use the default name and press OK.

PowerPoint will open up with the default format which can be edited and changed. For example, a logo can be added, and the graph can be resized (Figure 8).


FormatLogoandResized.pngFigure 8: PrintFormat with added logo and resized graph

After making the desired changes, it would be good to remove the data curves from the plot before saving the format.  This is done by doubleclicking and activating the graph, then right clicking on the curves and selecting 'Remove' (Figure 9). 


RemoveCurves2.pngFigure 9: Remove data curves by activating the picture, right clicking on data, and choosing "Remove"

If the curves are not removed, they become a permanent part of the format. Any new data is plotted on top of the unremoved curves in the format.


Choose ‘File -> Save’ in PowerPoint when done.


Automatic Annotation


To have annotation appear automatically, use the add-in tab (Figure 9).  If Simcenter Testlab in installed on the PC, there will be several add-in elements:


  • New Picture: Creates a new picture (ie, FrontBack, Waterfall, 2x3, etc) in the PowerPoint format
  • New Field: Used to place a text string in the format that will automatically be filled in during plotting, for example Simcenter Testlab Project Name, Run Name, Number of averages, etc.
  • Edit Field: Modify existing text field to different value.
  • About: Indicates revision of Simcenter Testlab associated with add-in

To create an automatically updating text field, choose “New Field” from the add-in area (Figure 10) after selecting a picture in the format.


AddIn.pngFigure 10: For automated text, use the “Add-in” tab in Powerpoint and “New Field”

If a warning message “No Picture Selected” appears, it means that a picture was not selected prior to pressing ‘New Field’ (Figure 11).  Because there can be multiple pictures within a format, the software needs to know from which picture the text should be generated from.


Selecting a picture means simply clicking once on the data graph (so it is selected in PowerPoint) before pushing the “New Field” button.


PictureSelectedWarning2.pngFigure 11 – To avoid the “No Picture Selected” warning click on the graph of interest once to select it

Once a picture is selected, choose “New Field”.  In the resulting menu ‘Select Display Dependent Attribute’ (Figure 12), just about any meta-information associated with the data can be displayed, including:


  • Lab -> Project -> Name: Name of the project from the data
  • Lab -> Project -> UA:##: User attributes from documentation tab
  • Lab -> Run -> Name
  • Lab -> Block -> Section Value: Order Number
  • Lab -> Block -> Point Id
  • Lab -> Block -> Function Class

DependentAttributeMenu.pngFigure 12: To add a project name to the plot, choose “Test.Lab -> Project -> Name” and press “Add”

Press the “Add” button to create annotation on the plot. Position where desired as shown in Figure 13. There is no limit to the number of attributes which can be added.


PositionText.pngFigure 13: Position text in PowerPoint format

Choose ‘File -> Save’ in PowerPoint and exit.  Now choosing “Print” on the layout tab will now create PowerPoint files with a logo, automatic user annotation, and larger graph (see Figure 3).


Multi-Page PowerPoint


By choosing ‘File -> Print’ from the main menu of Simcenter Testlab, a multi-page report can be made (Figure 14).


FilePrintMainMenu.pngFigure 14: Choose ‘File -> Print’ from main menu to make multi-page PowerPoint. Each display layout in Simcenter Testlab becomes a separate page in the resulting PowerPoint.

Each layout/picture in the current section of Simcenter Testlab becomes a separate page in the resulting PowerPoint.  A unique format can be associated with each display.


Batch Reporting


A PowerPoint format can also be used in conjunction with Simcenter Testlab Batch Reporting to create multi-page reports in an automated fashion.


Replace Data Origin


This multi-page feature is very useful when used in conjunction with the ‘Replace Data Origin’ layout feature. In any display layout, choose ‘Replace Data Origin’ to automatically substitute data across multiple pictures on either a Project, Section or Run basis.


Questions? Post a reply, email, or contact Siemens PLM GTAC support.


Simcenter Testlab General

Simcenter Testlab Display tips:


By default batch reporting tool prints an active picture. My template has 3 waterfall plots and 2 frontbacks. Hence I get an error - 'exceeded 8 MB limit, Cannot use OOXML for this dataset'. How create a batch report with bitmap pictures so that my report ends up being smaller in size ?

Siemens Phenom Siemens Phenom
Siemens Phenom

Hello ,


Microsoft has enforced the 8 MB limit with the OOXML (*.docx and *.pptx) formats.   We don't have a workaround for OOXML formats other than use pictures less than 8 MB.


I suggest saving your print format as *.ppt or *.doc and then in LMS Test.Lab under File, Printing option you can turn off OOXML.  You can then print using active pictures or not, whichever you prefer.


Prining without OOXML formats is quite a bit slower though.



I had problems with 8MB limit using OOXML.

To solve it i changed format to *.ppt