LabVIEW Idea Exchange

About LabVIEW Idea Exchange

Have a LabVIEW Idea?

  1. Browse by label or search in the LabVIEW Idea Exchange to see if your idea has previously been submitted. If your idea exists be sure to vote for the idea by giving it kudos to indicate your approval!
  2. If your idea has not been submitted click Post New Idea to submit a product idea to the LabVIEW Idea Exchange. Be sure to submit a separate post for each idea.
  3. Watch as the community gives your idea kudos and adds their input.
  4. As NI R&D considers the idea, they will change the idea status.
  5. Give kudos to other ideas that you would like to see in a future version of LabVIEW!
Top Kudoed Authors
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

LabVIEW IDE Overhaul

1. Allow for "Tabbed Browsing" of VI's to better manage windows.

2. Allow for the BD to be open independent of the FP.

3. Allow dockable palettes... dock to either the edge of the screen, or to the top bar (pictured below) of LabVIEW.

4. As a bonus, consider being able to open PDF's, txt's, and html's in tabs also for Help and documentation.

5. Finally, allow the project tree to be docked into the IDE.


Please, add your own IDE upgrade ideas in this discussion - illustrations will be especially helpful here. If it's a major enough idea, create a new idea!



Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW

How will you know you are at a LabVIEW programmer's computer when they don't have a triple high task bar anymore?  I will have to go looking through the start menus or something.


This looks like a very clean, usable interface.  Just like the "new booleans", as soon as you see this, you want it real bad.

Knight of NI Knight of NI
Knight of NI
You should read this post to see why NI is unlikely to do this. Some of the others have either been suggested (BD without FP) or have had similar suggestions (bring the project window to the front using a shortcut key).

Try to take over the world!
Trusted Enthusiast

Aristos' post is over 2 years old, and hopefully by now (Moore's law) R&D is thinking about and operating under an entirely new set of parameters.


True, the LV8 we use today may be riddled with impediments that preclude ideas such as this. The question is, if those impediments were removed in a future release, would you want an integrated IDE?


I was hesitant to show FP's inside the tabs, because this would hamper nearly every UI FP. Consider the option of popping out FP's, or not including them in the tabs.

Message Edited by mechelecengr on 07-27-2009 08:16 AM
Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
Knight of NI
Yes!  There's nothing more annoying than having 30 windows open trying to trace a signal path through 15 different VIs.  If it makes life easier for the NI folk, the FP does not have to be docked.  But it would be easier if the BD could be opened without the FP and then only dock the BD.  Probes, breakpoint manager, compile error messages, toos pallette, other pallettes could all be docked.  Yeah, the LV IDE is definately lacking.

There are only two ways to tell somebody thanks: Kudos and Marked Solutions
Unofficial Forum Rules and Guidelines
Knight of NI

I'd be strongly against it. Even microsoft got rid of the MDI for MS-word many versions ago, probably for good reason. Your UI would look horrible once you have 30+ subVIs open (30BD and 30FP=60 tabs! Smiley Surprised). What do you suggest? 10 rows of tabs?


I don't even like tabbed browsing, simply because it hides the titles of the inactive tabs in the task bar, so it is difficult to find an page that has been opened earlier in a different tab.


The task bar is a great tool to get to any open FP or BD in an instance. We should always leverage the OS as much as possible so we don't need to learn a new environment for each set of programs.


My VIs have very different sizes of BD or FP and squeezing them into a one-size-fits-all container will not work. Besides, there is a large majority of programmers (judged by posts in the forum) that seems to have all BD and FPs maximized to the screen. This is one of the most annoying settings for me. 


Many times, I have multiple small VI diagrams open at the same time so I can compare code and copy/paste between the two. Like LabVIEW, my brain is multithreaded and I suffer if I only can work under tunnel vision, seeing only one VI at any given time. I want to use all my screen area for LabVIEW and I don't want to be confined to a MDI jail.


Not that there are areas to improve the current UI and here's something I would like to have. Once we no longer are constrained to the runtime bounds at edit time, things such as toolbars can be modernized a bit.


One thing that should be improved is the font pulldown which feels so early 1990's. When working with text, we want a text toolbar like anywhere else, (even in the post editor here in the forum!) with a bold, italic, etc. buttons, font and size rings, etc. You know what I mean! (...maybe I'll turn this part into a new idea...stay tuned).

LabVIEW Champion Do more with less code and in less time
Active Participant
Maybe just adding some sort of window manager to the Project view would be adaquate, so you can find all those open VIs easier.  Frankly this is a downfall of the Window interface and not so much the decision to avoid MDI by NI.  Maybe Windows7 will offer something better?
Certified LabVIEW Architect
Trusted Enthusiast

In response to altenbach:


1. The problem of "hiding the titles" for 60 tabs could break down fairly easily. Let's say, when you double click a VI in the docked project it automatically jumps to the tab of the BD of that VI. If there is not a tab, it creates a tab. Now, your "window manager" becomes very clean - a hierchal view of all VI's in the project. Now, you have a list of about 20 text items you can visually scan and choose, rather than a WIN+Tab that you have to scroll through. And when you CTRL+E, it brings up the FP in a SEPARATE window (Ok, completely ditch the "FP in a tab" idea.) Would you propose a more elegant method of scanning through 30 VI's?


2. This is important to remember: Like most integrated, tabbed IDE's, you can resize the relative size of each element. Have a vertical divider that makes the tabs larger and project smaller. Have options that remove the docked palettes from the top of the window.


3. Comparing two small VI's would be easier with the tabbed method! Consider the case structure, and CTRL+Scrolling through the cases. When I want to compare two very similar cases, I CTRL+scroll Up, Down, Up, Down, comparing differences. Take two VI's in adjacent tabs: you could click a tab, then Arrow Left, Right, Left, Right, comparing differences. The overlay method of comparing (think the animated sketch artist, flipping up and down the previous frame in his or her sketchbook) is easier than side-by-side comparisons (remember the "can you find the differences between these two pictures" in your kid's coloring books? Subtle differences are not as readily evident).


4. Copy and pasting between two VI's, I normally do by dragging. In this case, you're right, two side by side windows is better. I suppose we would more heavily rely on CTRL+C and CTRL+V. I would readily accept this standardized concession.


5. The "one size fits all" container could DEFINITELY not apply to a FP (!!!), but there's no reason why it could not suit a BD! By default, all FP's have both vertical and horizontal scrollbars turned on. The size of the container is boundless... but the size of the viewing window is limited to how large you physically make the Windows window... just like today! Just make your environment window as large as your largest VI, and then the smaller VI's will have white space around them (pretty much like my original screenshot... a small BD in a larger window).


6. Although MSWord ditched MDI, Excel didnt'! Why? The nature of the documents open is dramatically different. Are you likely to be jumping around from .doc to .doc? Eh, maybe. How about .xls to .xls? Much more likely. How about from .vi to .vi? WAY more likely!!


7. Font toolbar... money. Pre-Kudos. (Just make it dockable!) 


8. MDI for a LV deity? Jail. MDI for mere mortals? Productivity. MDI for NI? Sales. (A little dramatic? Arguable.)


To jlokanis:


1. Windows 7 has a MUCH improved taskbar. It provides basically exactly what you are talking about - a window manager with one icon on the taskbar. I will use Windows 7, and it will suffice until LabVIEW offers a tabbed IDE.

Message Edited by mechelecengr on 07-27-2009 08:58 PM
Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
Trusted Enthusiast

I'm all for a change, but I'm not sure which change I'm for.


I think dockable Palettes is a great idea.


Maybe the taskbar for VIs could work if we MANUALLY place them there (like Favourites) for VIs which we are mainly working on instead of the load of other VIs we have open at the time....


Font dialog - is REALLY showing its age.  I have to agree with Altenbach on this..... (Like that's anything new)



Why wouldn't a FP work in this interface?  Visual Studio has for years been just fine showing user forms that are smaller than the tab container that holds them (white space surrounds the user form in the container).  Also, if I'm not mistaken, you can create a view with tabs top and bottom by dragging a tab towards the bottom.  It's either Visual Studio or some other program with a tabbed interface that allows this.  At this point, you may have a row of tabs across the top, with a visible item showing, and at the bottom another tab container showing another item.  You can drag and drop between these tabs just as you used to.  You can then even drag the tab from the bottom back up, and it will join the other tabs again.  I believe a side by side view can be created by dragging a tab to a hot spot on the side of the screen.


LabVIEW is notorious for having MANY MANY windows open at a time, so a tab will have to exist that just lists all of the open tab's names in a text list.  You click on the tab name you want to go to, and then you jump to that tab.  No more squinting at tiny task bar buttons with just a LabVIEW icon to identify them.  Or the grouped task bar button, which isn't much more useful.

Active Participant

Long thread, many comments, nice idea... I would love this kind of dockable LabVIEW as well.

Seems to have been tried in 8.0 but abandonned due to usability issues. :/



The one thing I don't like with LV right now is when ou have a lot's of VIs opened at the same time. It is actually hard to find the one you need in the Windows group list (I mean through the taskbar button that groups them all - and in the darkness binds them Smiley Tongue).


There should be a window listing currently opened VIs and  by clicking on their name - and/or icons, it would bring the FP (or BD) up. I will try to code this feature, but it should be integrated in LV (it may already axist aswell, feel free to provide the link)


Note that it doesn't match the project explorer tool that doesn't show all opened VIs



Edit: seems to match internationaL's idea somehow...
Message Edited by Mathieu Steiner on 07-31-2009 08:55 AM