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5 Things You Need to Know About LabVIEW Bookmarks

‎10-18-2013 11:09 AM
‎10-18-2013 11:09 AM

This article was adapted from a post on the NI Community forums.

LabVIEW bookmarks are here! We announced this feature during NIWeek 2013. Now that LabVIEW bookmarks are floating around the programming world, here’s what you need to know:

1. What are LabVIEW bookmarks?

Bookmarks are a way of tagging things within a VI Block Diagram. LabVIEW now automatically identifies any text that begins with a hashtag (#) as a bookmark. Maybe you want to mark an unfinished task in one section of your code? Just write “#ToDo revise algorithm”. LabVIEW will detect the bookmark and bold the bookmark tag (the text immediately next to the # symbol, “ToDo” in this case)


2. What is the LabVIEW Bookmark Manager?

Bookmark Manager is a tool for finding all of the bookmarks in your project or application. To find it, click “View” in the menu bar, then scroll down to the “Bookmark Manager” item. You can also use  Bookmark Manager to view a specific section of your block diagram. Just double click on any bookmark entry, and LabVIEW will open the VI where the bookmark resides and highlight its location on your block diagram. 


3. The bookmark manager has an API.

The bookmark API has a open interface, which means it’s completely customizable. You can even create your own bookmark manager!

The bookmark manager API is built on the VI Server interface. You can either start from scratch, or follow these steps to copy the existing bookmark manager code. Be sure to copy the default bookmark manager instead of modifying the original so that you can return to the working original if something goes wrong.

4. There are two ways to get VI bookmarks.

The first way, the VI method, allows you to return all bookmarks within a certain VI. This method works for all VIs in memory, not just those that have been saved to disks.

The second way, the application method, uses a VI path to access all bookmarks in an application class. This works for any VI on disk, even if they haven’t been loaded into memory.

5. Your bookmark manager is shareable.

Give your bookmark manager the chance to be famous! Share your bookmark manager to the LabVIEW Tools Network as a free download or paid product.

Alternatively, you can distribute your bookmark manager dialog to your team using the VI Package Manager. This allows your users to immediately install the files in the right directory and mass compile the VIs to the current version.

Do you have other tips about LabVIEW bookmarks? Comment and share your advice.

>> Learn more about LabVIEW bookmarks.

Member McChalium

Since when has the number sign (#) been renamed to hashtag? It is probably used that way in some social network, but that is not its name.

Member Mach4

In most of the English speaking world, the # symbol is referred to as "hash" (less so in America, but I have heard it called that).

"Hashtag" is the long way of saying: to tag (verb) a term with a hash symbol or a hash symbol that is being used as a tag (noun) to flag a term for a search function.  In this case, it is perfectly valid usage because you are using the hash to tag a term for the Bookmark search function.

Because of its wide usage in many social networks, it makes perfect sense for me for NI to use this as an efficient and instinctive flagging mechanism.  Even if I have used a #hashtag fewer times than I have fingers, I still know what they are and how they are used.

Member McChalium

Dear Mach4,

After receiving your reply I “googled” “#” by itself and followed the search to Hot where I learned a lot about this symbols origins and people’s inspired usage of it to mean just about anything they want to. It seems it has many names including “octothorp” (coined by Bell Labs many years ago) “pound sign”, “number sign” and yes , even “hash”. But a “#” by itself is not a hashtag, a hash tag is a word or phrase that has had a “#” appended to it either prefix or postfix. So, by current twitter universe standards you can call your bookmarked word a hashtag and all the tweeters in the world will understand your usage. However, I still think another device might be better. Consider that “#!” is pronounced “hashbang” or sometimes “shebang” and that “#def” is pronounced as “pounddefine”. In certain Asian countries the “#” symbol is called PIG PEN (in their own language) due to its resembling the construction of a bamboo pig pen. The word hash itself is descended (likely) from the French word hache which means hatchet which was used by French cooks to make a hash (a finely chopped preparation) of something which may explain how the “#” came to be called hash. Hash also is used to mean a “mess” or an excessive amount of static in the signal coming from a radio. Of course, it also resembles the playing field in the game of TIC TAC TOE or Naughts and Crosses as our British friends might say. To this HASH of meanings you have now added the word “bookmark”. The concept is not new to you though. I have used triple asterisks (***) appended to any code I wanted to come back to for many years now. That also includes text documents since I can search for the triple asterisk and find any section that I want to resume work on later. Interestingly enough, you can also pick out the triple asterisk quickly even on a hard printed document. One last example of the way that certain symbols are overworked.  A man walks into a hardware store and requests 10# of #10 widgets @ 10£ #. So in English that would be 10 pounds of number 10 widgets at 10 pounds sterling per pound. At this point you may be wanting to tell me to go #sand, but I hope you understand that as a boomer with no inclination to tweet anything I simply think the hashtag concept should be left on Twitter. By the way, in the USA, hash is usually the name applied to a finely chopped food such as corned beef or potatoes, mainly to tenderize it to enhance its ease of chewing or to create a combination dish. Corned beef hash usually contains hashed potatoes and is fried into patties or loose as a breakfast dish sometimes including scrambled eggs or other ingredients. Hash Browns are finely chopped potatoes that are then fried loose or in patties as a breakfast side. So you can see, many uses of the word hash involve finely chopped things. Remember the French hache? Chop, chop, chop the whole #!. Just remember to keep your fingers well clear of the “#” and you will probably never get them hashed off. That, I hope, is instinctive for you by now. J

Respectfully yours, McChalium

Member TedAnderson

Bookmarks are a good idea!  Couple of comments:

1) Hopefully format strings are not identified as containing bookmarks.

2) Just to be clear, this is only available in LV2013, since it's not an add-on module and older versions of LV never receive updates, correct?

3) As a boomer I've got no issue with the hash symbol/sign/mark being used in this manner.  Thanks for the research, McChalium, it has a diverse history of applications!

Active Participant David_L
Active Participant


1) Strings do not get picked up by the Bookmark Manager, only Free labels, subdiagram labels, wire labels and object name labels (except name labels of Front Panel terminals)

2) Correct, bookmarks will be only be available in LabVIEW 2013 and later. 

3)  Agreed.  I've learned more about the hash/pound/number/octothorp symbol than I'd ever think I would know!

Member McChalium

3) One can never tell what will set off a word smith. The thing is, a # does not have a connotation of redirection (or a search function) anywhere except twitter. On the other hand, when you see an *, you qet an urge to go find the matching * so you can find out what additional data the author may have wished to pass on to you. The redirection or search function is built into the character, whereas when you see a # there is no action required other than determining just what in heck the writer means by "#". Even if the intent is a shorthand for the word "hash", what does that mean? Only in the so called twitterverse does it have any meaning and then only for some software somewhere. A human reading a hashtag has to filter out the word hash from the bit of attached text in order for it to be sensible. It is as if you want the human reader to accept a software directive as a normal bit of text. In the final analysis none of this discourse makes any difference to NI since they are not going to change anything based on my comments especially in the midst of a rollout of a new feature.

Member Mag1

What McChalium says!  -a fellow boomer... Mag1

Member AgentAstronaut

99% Invisible has a good podcast on the history of the Octothorpe.