Print Intouch Displays with Annotations


Thread Starter

Frank Parks

Hi All,
Our company is quoting on a project where the customer has asked us to provide extensive documentation. He is determined to having it done a certain way. The PLC documentation is about the same as the other projects that we have done. The customer is not familiar with Wonderware Intouch. He has asked us to supply a hard copy of each display with annotations (callouts with lines and arrows) that point out and describe each animation link (Type of link, Tagname and Access/Item name).

No one here as ever done anything like this before. So far all we can come up with is to capture a bit map of the display, paste it into a Word document and add Callouts from the Drawing tool Bar. The boxes are only large enough to put a number in. We are then going to put a numbered list below the bit map image with the animation link information. We estimate that it will take longer to document the display then it takes to build it. I looked at trying to use the Print function from Window Maker and sending it to a file. It has not graphic of the display, just text.

It has a lot of information there but it isn’t organized were I can use it. And it has a bunch of funny characters in it.

Has anyone done this before?
If so, how do you go about it?
Is there a faster way than the one we have come up with?
Are there any utilities to help us?
Is there something in Intouch that can do this?

Thanks in advance.
Frank Parks
In Wimdowmaker there is print options. Select print windows, there are lot many options again from that you can select one, I think there is also option that will display all tags used in window.
I've done this before for a pharmaceutical client. I did it with Visio but your approach should be equally time consuming, laborious, and wasteful of otherwise well-intended effort.

Such documentation has value as a validation tool only. If the intended use is other, there are far simpler and effective documentation methods.

There's also scripting and dynamic properties to account for. Basically, the requirement you speak of leads the developer to use simpler (more primitive)graphics and makes the developer more resistant to implement enhancements/changes once the documentation has been produced.

Good Luck
Why not create a bunch of memory string tags in Intouch and set a visibility property on them on the screen? Then, run a script to load them, or hard-code them, or create an Excel table of them and link it to the tags on each screen. Then let anyone call up the annotations whenever they wish
real-time, and just call them up and do a screen print for the manual. This documents it all too within the screens themselves. Good luck.

Paul T
Paul & Jim,
Your idea sounds good, but it is a lot of effort and would take up space on the graphic as well as be difficult to maintain. It does not correspond to what our customer wants. He wants the displays as shown in the WindowMaker with value formats and some of our animation uses the visible link and does not show all the time when in view. We already have a type of Tool Tip implemented to display the Tagname, comment, scaling, and reference information. When the ToolTip function is enabled, it pops up a small window with the information on it when you click (on key down) on the value or object. It goes away when you release the mouse button (on key up).

Frank Parks

Lewis Bodden

I've seen customers like that before. They are new to this and have been use to old hard-wired systems or just have trouble understanding the HMI. Some have a fear of computers. They want something they can hold in their hands. They haven't heard of the "Paperless Society". We have convinced some of them that the printed documentation is of limited use and will soon become out dated. In some cases we have documented a typical window or the complex ones to show how the animation works. This is a big help for training. Viewing the Wonderware windows with Window Maker is more efficient in the long run.

There are some advantages to documenting the graphics as you have described. It is a good review of the work done. It helps to uncover mistakes like typos. It is also a good checklist for testing. It shows that you are thorough. ("A validation tool".) JimU has some excellent points.

We have done this many times and have some utilities that we use. It generally takes us about an hour per window. If you are interested let me know.

One thing our utility does is to place a numbered callouts over the point in the graphic we copy and paste into a word document. Our utility puts them directly on the graphic object and sometimes we have to move them a little when the graphic is very dense or if there are a number of objects stacked on each other. When we print the graphic we print the graphic without the callouts on paper and then print the callouts without the graphics on a transparency film. When the transparency is placed over the printed graphic the transparency places the callouts on the graphic but allows you to remove the callouts to see the complete window graphic.

Each callout, with a number, references an item in a table on subsequent pages. The table shows the reference number and the animation information. The animation information consist of type of object, location, specific animation link configuration (colors, conditions, expressions, ...), and Tagnames. Objects with a script show the complete script. The Access/Item information from the tag can be shown also. At the end we put all the window scripts and a list of tags used on the window as an index. It looks much better than the stuff you get from the print function in Window Maker.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any other questions, let me know.

Lewis Bodden
[email protected]
Providing this functionality will require a lot of effort and maintenance regardless of how it's implemented. Doing it within Intouch poses the advantages of (1)not having to recreate/maintain two sets of graphics, and (2) the convenience of annotating while creating or changing the graphics.

(Do you know who in your client's organization will be using this documentaion and how they intend to use it)? This is a fair question to ask of them.

Well, I didn't mean that the info should be able to be used simultaneosly with the system- it might be possible to provide some additional stuff on the screens to document objects and their properties, but it would certainly cover and block the screen and make it a complete mess when the extra info was displayed. Hm. OK... so he wants something in WindowMaker that documents the system. Outside of what Wonder already provides if you understand InTouch and then dig for it. I would still look for something that you could do as part of WW itself, so that it's easy to maintain over time. I don't know how you could "document" WM in the way being asked for. I can imagine creating a picture script that is not a script, but simply a write-up of what's on the screen and how it's used/connected/programmed. There wouldn't be any way to relate that to each object in a visual way, tho. You might be able to place a small number next to each screen object, 1 to whatever, visible only in WM and then use that to identify which comment in the psuedo-script applies.

As a real extreme... you could create a dummy copy of each screen, which existed solely to provide the info your client wants and which you
entered with a PW only their developers had. This would still run in view mode, tho, so if they are insisting that something be provided that "shows up" only in WM I still don't see a good solution.

This may be the time to sit down with your customer and do a couple of exercises to meet in the middle. You might start by both sides agreeing
to "principles" that then let you define the task- for example, if your principle is "Document using Word" and theirs is "Document using FrameMaker" you will have a hard time creating any deliverable that's acceptable. That's not quite this situation, of course, but the idea's
the same. You both need to agree on what underlies the task, then you can agree on a deliverable that you can provide and they can accept. It's funny how often there are a lot of little misperceptions on both sides. It may be that if you can talk with them, the task can be done differently from what you are trying to do now or you can get them to agree to more time, money, software to do what they want you to try to do now.

Good luck... please let us know how you make out, as if there is a good way to do this a lot of us could doubtless use it. As Jim points out, there are a lot of bad ways already known <g>.

Paul T
Hi All,

I contacted Lewis at Quick WizE Factory. He agreed to document two of our windows from a project that is similar to the one we are bidding on. I e-mailed him a zipped copy of our application and in less than an hour I got back two Word Documents that were terrific. It’s more than what our customer has asked for. I will be presenting it to them tomorrow and I will let you know what they say.

Hi All,

Our customer was amazed at the Windows Lewis documented for me. That's just what they wanted. I have to admit that it looks really good. It shows all the animation information color coded. It makes it easy to find what you are looking for. We plan to use it to check our windows and as a check list for testing.

I'm curious about your "Tool Tips". Is it something you custom made? More than that, i'm interested in finding a way to make text or graphic symbols display or pop-up based on the mouse pointer's location. say for a given hotspot on a graphic i slide my mouse over an area of interest and a small dialogue box appears to display some significant info without actully clicking with the mouse, but rather having the mouse pointer hover over a hot spot. is there an active-x control for this or some simple script? I really want to get to the bottom of this. I know it can be done.