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Configuring the Appearance of Front Panels

Module by: National Instruments. E-mail the author

Summary: In this lesson, you will learn how to configure the appearance of the front panel.

After you build a VI, you can configure the appearance of the front panel so users can more easily operate the VI. For example, you can hide the menu bar and scrollbars to create VIs that look and behave like standard dialog boxes for each platform.

Select File>>VI Properties to configure the appearance and behavior of a VI. You also can right-click the VI icon on the front panel or block diagram and select VI Properties from the shortcut menu. You cannot access the VI Properties dialog box while a VI is running. Refer to the LabVIEW Basics II: Development Course Manual for more information about configuring the behavior of VIs.

Use the Category pull-down menu at the top of the VI Properties dialog box to select from several different option categories, including the following:

  • General: Displays the current path where a VI is saved, its revision number, revision history, and any changes made since the VI was last saved. You also can use this page to edit the icon or the size of the alignment grid for the VI.
  • Documentation: Use this page to add a description of the VI and link to a help file topic. Refer to the original Thermometer VI for more information about documenting VIs.
  • Security: Use this page to lock or password-protect a VI.
  • Window Appearance: Use this page to configure various window settings.
  • Window Size: Use this page to set the size of the window.
  • Execution: Use this page to configure how a VI runs. For example, you can configure a VI to run immediately when it opens or to pause when called as a subVI.
  • Editor Options: Use this page to set the size of the alignment grid for the current VI and to change the style of control or indicator LabVIEW creates when you right-click a terminal and select Create>>Control or Create>>Indicator from the shortcut menu.

Window Appearance

In the VI Properties dialog box, select Window Appearance from the Category pull-down menu to customize the window appearance for VIs.

These options apply to the VI when it is running. Use these options to change how the user interacts with the application by restricting access to LabVIEW features and by changing the way the window looks and behaves. You can make the VI look and act like a dialog box so the user cannot interact with other windows while the VI window is open. You also can remove the scrollbars and toolbar, and you can set a window to be centered or automatically sized to fit the screen.

By default, the VI window title is the same as the VI name. You can customize the VI window title to make it more descriptive than the VI filename. This is useful for localized VIs so the VI window title can be translated to the local language. Remove the checkmark from the Same as VI Name checkbox to edit Window title.

To configure the window appearance, select one of the following window styles. A graphical representation of each style displays on the right when you select the style.

  • Top-level Application Window: Shows the title bar and menu bar, hides the scrollbars and toolbar, allows the user to close the window, allows run-time shortcut menus, does not allow resizing, and shows the front panel when called.
  • Dialog: The VI functions as a dialog box in the operating system, so the user cannot interact with other LabVIEW windows while this VI window is open. This option does not prevent you from bringing windows of other applications to the front. (UNIX) You cannot make a window stay in front of all other windows. Dialog style windows stay on top, have no menu bar, scrollbars, or toolbar, allow the user to close the window but not resize it, allow run-time shortcut menus, and show the front panel when called. Also, if a Boolean parameter on the front panel is associated with the <Enter> or <Return> key, LabVIEW highlights the parameter with a dark border.
  • Default: Same window style used in the LabVIEW development environment.
  • Custom: Custom window style.
  • Customize: Displays the Customize Window Appearance dialog box.

Window Size

In the VI Properties dialog box, select Window Size from the Category pull-down menu to customize the window size for VIs. This page includes the following components:

  • Minimum Panel Size: Sets the minimum size of the front panel. If you allow the user to resize the window on the Window Appearance page, the user cannot resize the front panel smaller than the width and height you set on this page.
  • Size the front panel to the width and height of the entire screen: Automatically resizes the front panel window to fit the screen when you run the VI. The VI does not retain a record of its original size and location, so it stays in the new location if you switch back to edit mode.
  • Maintain proportions of window for different monitor resolutions: Resizes the VI so it takes up approximately the same amount of screen space when opened on a computer with a different monitor resolution. For example, if you develop a VI on a computer with a monitor resolution of 1,024×768 1,024 768 , you might want to run the VI on a computer with a monitor resolution of 800×600 800 600 . Use this control in conjunction with scaling one or all the objects on the front panel.
  • Scale all objects on front panel as the window resizes: Automatically resizes all front panel objects with respect to and in proportion to the size of the front panel window. Text does not resize because the font sizes are fixed. Use this option when you allow the user to resize the front panel window.

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Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

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