Reporting Options for LabVIEW Data


Technology is moving at a rapid pace and constant innovation is imperative for a company to survive and remain competitive. With each new advance, numerous tests must be performed to benchmark the product and ensure a quality experience for the end customer. These tests produce a lot of data that often must be presented to a team so that knowledgeable data driven decisions can be made and fed into the product development lifecycle. To drive consensus among a group, the best way to present data is through reports. Reports can highlight anomalies and help you dig into the details of why a change didn’t perform as expected. Reports can also verify that a change did impact a product positively, such as a performance improvement over the last iteration of a product. National Instruments provides a few options for generating reports. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and understanding these is critical for choosing the right method for your application.


Report Express VI

There is an Express VI that can generate a preformatted report which contains only VI documentation, the data the VI returns, and report properties, such as the author, company, and number of pages. When you use the Report Express VI, a Configure Report dialog box will appear. You can set all of the report properties, testing notes and select how you would like the data displayed. You can have two signals wired up to the Report Express VI and you can display the data as a graph and/or a table. The last item you set is how you would like the report to be saved. You can choose to print the report without saving a soft copy to your computer, generate HTML for a web page or save it as a Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

Figure 1 – Report Express VI and the Configuration Dialog Box


Figure 2 – An example report with one signal displayed as a graph and table


Report Generation VI


If you want to customize the look of your report and do not want to invest in additional software, then you can use the Report Generations VIs. These are VIs that you wire up together to format the report however you want with as many pages or elements as you want.  You can create two types of reports, an HTML report which you can save to file or a standard report which is printed to your connected default printer. You can save a standard report to file, but it is not a default option. To do this you must follow some additional steps outlined in the KnowledgeBase How to Save Standard Reports. Also, if you want to add a graph to the report, you must create a control reference of the front panel object you want to include and wire it to the Append Control Image to Report.VI 

Figure 3 - Using Report Generation VIs in LabVIEW to create a report

Figure 4 – An example HTML Report created from Report Generation VIs


NI LabVIEW Report Generation Toolkit for Microsoft Office


The LabVIEW Report Generation Toolkit provides tools for creating and editing professional, consistent reports in Microsoft Word and Excel. It extends standard report generation VI functionality to support Word and Excel formats and the toolkit contains more than 70 additional Word-specific and Excel-specific VIs for customizing these types of reports. You can use templates created in Word and Excel to ensure a consistent appearance in multiple reports by specifying placeholders for text, tables, graphics and images. This toolkit is also customizable. For any functionality that is not inherently included, you can run Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros or develop your own to add custom features.

Figure 5 – Example code for a Report Generated in Microsoft Word

Figure 6 – Report Generation Toolkit for Microsoft Office Example Report for Word


Using DIAdem for Reporting

DIAdem is an interactive data management software where you design your report templates using a drag-and-drop editor so that what you see is what you get when you export your report. This environment eliminates the need to programmatically generate your report. After you collect your data in LabVIEW you can use the DIAdem Report Express VI. You can use any of the predefined report templates or you can create your own. Opening the configuration dialog box also opens up the DIAdem report panel for you to design or modify your custom report layout with DIAdem’s drag-and-drop report editor. You can also modify the Report Object text in the Configure DIAdem Report dialog box by double clicking on the value you want to change and entering the new values. The preview that you see in the dialog box Once the report is designed to your liking you can wire your data sources to the DIAdem Report Express VI and run your application.

Figure 7 – DIAdem Report Express VI and the Configuration Dialog Box with a report preview

Comparison of Reporting Options

Here is a chart comparing the different reporting options for LabVIEW Data. You can use this to make the most informed decision for your application needs. 

1requires the LabVIEW Report Generation Toolkit
requires NI DIAdem