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Community member blawson submitted an idea back at the end of 2009 about a "Recently Used" Palette.




The idea has received quite a few Kudos over the years but the discussion going on in the comments about the idea is more interesting to me. Community members are having a discussion on whether they would use this functionality if it was available or if this wouldn't really be needed. What do you think? I personally feel that some functionality in this direction would be welcomed by developers but let us know what you think by adding your own comments or Kudos. Check out blawson's idea here.


One of the many factors that I like about LabVIEW is the visual debugging. To be able to turn on Highlight Execution and watch the data flow as your VI runs can be very powerful be developers that are debugging. I like to compare it to stepping through lines of code but simpler because I don't have to go back and forth between 10 different lines of code as it get parallelized. One of the things that catches me up personally though is sometimes Highlight Execution can appear too slow or fast for me while debugging. I have learned to proper ways to add breakpoints and single step through the areas that I'm debugging, but an idea submitted by JackDunaway on the LabVIEW Idea Exchange caught my attention. His idea is a Variable Speed Highlight Execution which would allow the developer to change how slow or fast highlight execution moves through the block diagram code. I know I personally thought the idea would be beneficial. If you have any thoughts on whether this idea is good or bad, join in on the discussion going on in the comments section of the idea and kudos if you agree.




I have seen a couple of different ideas on the LabVIEW Idea Exchange dealing with changes to how one creates property nodes. A very interesting idea was posted by community member tst in which they suggest that you should be able to easily browse properties and create nodes using a style seen Visual Studio. LabVIEW does have a built in browser for properties and other things called the Class Browser (Control+Shift+B) but tst's idea expands on the functionality some more. Some LabVIEW users might like it if this type of functionality was added while others are fine with the Class Browser as is. Go check out tst's idea called Add Intellisense support to the property node and weigh in on the discussion heating up there.


If you have a new product idea or some changes that could be made in LabVIEW that would make your life easier, please post it to the NI Idea Exchange. Community members can vote up the ideas they like the most and discuss how the idea could be laid out. The top ideas are reviewed by NI R&D every year and development stems directly from your submitted ideas. Happy wiring!




If you are a constant lurker of the Idea Exchange as I am then you probably have been noticing a lot of ideas having their statuses updated. This new activity is because of a new internal process we are putting in place at National Instruments. This new process will more efficiently get responses to your submitted ideas. With the growing acceptance of the Idea Exchange as a communication line with R&D, we needed to find something that will provide that real-time feedback for ideas and is scalable.


The new system has a task force of senior R&D people helping to evaluate the ever growing number of middle range ideas. The ideas with a mid-range kudos level needed attention because this was the fastest growing section. The ideas with the most amount of kudos are already looked at once a year by top level R&D and key decision makers to determine which of the top community voted ideas should be develop for the product. The bottom ideas aren't as critical at the moment because the good ones will start to get votes and rise from the bottom. The issue was that the ideas in the middle ground were good ideas but they didn't have the same advantage of being decided on like the top ideas. This new process will hopefully start to push some of these ideas into decision maker hands so we can decide if an idea is plausible or if it doesn't really match up technically or strategically. If the idea is plausible then we can let it go back into the Idea Exchange and the community (that's you) can vote on the best of them. Eventually, I would like to see the ideas that show up in the "New" category Idea Exchange to reflect ideas that NI has looked at and think are plausible but are waiting on the community to tell us which one is most important to them. If you have any questions about the internal processes with the Idea Exchange, please post in the comments section and I will address them as they come in. Thanks and keep the great ideas coming!


*Grant's Favorite Idea This Week That's Under 100 Kudos*


A Universal Conversion Bullet by altenbach


I am all about reducing palatte size to make it easier to navigate in LabVIEW and altenbach's idea does just that. The Universal Conversion Bullet idea takes this to heart by stating that most of the numeric conversion VIs could be encompassed into on polymorphic VI that does them all. As long as the universal approach wouldn't have any performance hits over the conversion primatives there wouldn't be any VI upgrade issues then I would definitely be on board with this idea.




A Look Inside

Posted by Jeffrey_P Mar 3, 2011

I try to spend a few hours each week looking through the Idea Exchange, seeing what ideas jump off the page at me. Since I'm sure everyone is trying to figure out how to learn more about the brilliance that's behind these fascinating posts, I thought I give you a sneak peek at a few of the ideas that I think would be useful.


Advanced Code Commenting Functionality

This post by user Chris H. is nothing short of genius. The idea of this post is basically two-fold. The first is to add the following label to the Structures palette:



This label vastly improves the organization of commenting on the block diagram. The genius part of this idea is the second part. The second part is that each ID (left column) can be associated with a block diagram element (such as a VI, case, function). This would be denoted on the actual element on the block diagram, and hovering over the numeric indicator would present the comment in floating fashion.


origina1l.png                   origina2l.png


This genius not only because it is a vastly better way of documenting LabVIEW code, but because documentation is one of the areas where frankly, I think LabVIEW is weak on. If you peruse the examples that ship with LabVIEW you will see the same format repeated, with floating numbers under code, and one big box at the bottom with detailed explanations about those sections of code. Decent? Maybe. Good? No.


This would be a much more sophisticated implementation. If you agree with sure to give your kudos to this idea!


-Jeff Out


Here are a few others ideas that you can check out in the LabVIEW 2011 Beta:


Allow the Distribute Tool to Work on Wires

Like JackDunawaysays, the Distribute tool is endlesslyuseful. This idea to expand the use of this feature to distribute blockdiagram wires is nothing short of genius. I can already think of at least 50times in my life that this tool would save me time clicking and movingindividual wires…mainly because I’m entirely too meticulous…sometimes I scareeven myself.



Create Proper Connector Pane When DoingEdit>>Create SubVI

My programming technique is a little raw. I still like towrite sections of my application into the same diagram, and then create subVIsfrom common functions and modules to clean up the code. As such, I use theCreate SubVI function in the Edittoolbar A LOT. Like, a lot a lot.Not a lot like an engineer-in-the-making passes up on the opportunity  to talk to a hot girl, but a lot a lot…likean engineer drawing a to-scale map when giving directions. TST’s idea to actually have this function create the properconnector pane was amazing, incredible, possibly even genius.


You can check all of these functions out, as well as theother features implemented in LabVIEW 2011, in the LabVIEW 2011 Beta. Visit to get signed up today!


No, I’m not talking about the sais that the ill-tempered Rafael used in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, nor am I referring to the psi oft mentioned in college fraternities and sororities. I’m talking about those things in LabVIEW that make you pause in your tracks, take a deep breath, and exhale with a frustrated exalt. In browsing the features implemented in LabVIEW 2010 from the Idea Exchange, and looking through those planned for LabVIEW 2011, it seems as though the most popular features are those seemingly small and insignificant changes to the LabVIEW environment, but in turn save you from those frustrating sighs that cause you to take lap around the office.


There are several features currently labeled In Development for LabVIEW 2011. Throughout the next month or two, I will highlight several of these. I'll start with this one:


Boolean Function Accept Error Cluster

Right-click, Boolean>>Or, Left-click.

Right-click, Cluster, Class, & Variant>>Unbundle By Name, Left-click.

Left-Click on Unbundle by Name, status.

Left-Click on Error Wire, Left-Click on Unbundle By Name.

Left-Click on status, Left-Click on Or.


Why is it that this seems so hard to me? I don’t know, but it sure is annoying do this for every application that has a While loop. Thanks to Dany Allard, this is now a much simpler process.


Right-click, Boolean>>Or, Left-click.

Left-Click on Error Wire, Left-Click on Or.


Iterate that across every LabVIEW app I write, and wow, I can count the minutes my life just got back.


You can check this out, as well as the other features implemented in LabVIEW 2011, in the LabVIEW 2011 Beta. Visit to get signed up today!


Jeff Out


Hello to all of you would-be LabVIEW idea makers, and welcome to the LabVIEW Idea Exchange blog. I’m Jeff Phillips, and I have been a LabVIEW user for a little over 7 years. I have been with NI since 2005, and on the LabVIEW team since the beginning of 2007. You could say I’m pretty much a LabVIEW baller at this point. I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. This new blog will be a source of entertainment and information, and will serve as a platform for me to pontificate, postulate, propagate and promote exciting news and ideas relating to the LabVIEW Idea Exchange. I’ll pick some exciting new and useful ideas as they are posted, or expound on changes that you might find useful.


For the inaugural post, let’s talk about some recent changes made to the “infrastructure” of the LabVIEW Idea Exchange that will better help you filter through the noise and get to the useful data. We can consider it an FFT of sorts, helping focus in on the highest amplitude of ideas at each frequency. Since the number of ideas in the exchange continues to grow at a rapid rate, we felt it was important for our process of managing ideas to become more transparent.


We are organizing all of the ideas into the following buckets:



  • New
  • In Development
  • In Beta


  • Declined
  • Duplicate
  • Completed


You can filter the ideas by any status from the main page of the LabVIEW Idea Exchange (, and then sort them by Most Recent and Top Kudoed.


Perhaps the most interesting of the categories is the “Declined” status. There are a variety of reasons why an idea would be declined. There are several instances where the idea already exists in LabVIEW, violates LabVIEW programming paradigms, or there are reasons why National Instruments won’t or can’t implement an idea. Whatever the case may be, the idea will be placed in the “Declined” status along with an explanation of why to help clarify the reasoning behind the decision.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installation of the LabVIEW Idea Exchange blog. Stay tuned!