Plotting Module - Selecting Plot Files
The normal method of selecting plot files is using the Select Plot Files dialog shown below. This appears when you invoke the top menu bar File – Open option or click on the corresponding toolbar button; both of these will be described in the next section.
Select Plot Files
The Select Plot Files dialog has three main sections. The first section includes the Plot Type menu and the Add, Add List, Remove and Clear All buttons; these are collectively used to compile a list of files to be viewed. A list of all files currently selected is displayed in the Files list to the right of the Plot Type menu.
The second main section of the dialog is the Layout section. This is used to specify the number of rows and columns per page, and to combine plots from different files on one graph. The Superpose and Variable/Variable check boxes provide options for combining plots.
The third main section of the window has three buttons in it, OK, Cancel and Print All. OK and Cancel work in the usual way. Print All will be described later in the article entitled ‘Copying and Printing’.
The first step when selecting plot files is to nominate the type of plot. As you can see from the picture of the Select Plot Files dialog above, there are four plot types: Timetrace, Spectrum, Snapshot and Statistics. You can select plots of one type only at a time, but by changing between plot types, you can compile a list of files of all types for subsequent viewing. Simply select the plot type required from the list. Then press the Add button to get a standard File Open dialog as shown below.
Open File Dialog
Files of the selected Plot Type are displayed in the File Open dialog. For example, in this case Snapshot files are displayed; these have the file extension “.Sn.mps”, where n is the number of the plot, and “.mps” is the plot file extension. To display plot files of a different type, you can use the Files of Type list box at the bottom of the dialog. Files are selected in the usual manner, and selected files are added to the list of files in the Select Plot Files dialog. You click on Open or Cancel to exit the File Open dialog.
When PipeLay performs a postprocessing run, in addition to creating individual plot files it also generates a file which contains a list of all of the plot files it created. You can use the Add List… button to open one of these lists through a standard File Open dialog, as shown below. It’s a quick way to load a large number of plots.
In the Select Plot Files dialog, a file may be removed from the list by selecting it in the Files display and pressing the Remove button. The Clear All button removes all files from the Files display.
Alternatively, the generation of the plot list could be automated using a scripting language such as Python. An example Python script to automate the generation of this plot list for multiple stages is given in the Automatic Plot Collation section.
In the Layout section, there are four inputs. Two of these, Superpose and Variable/Variable, are discussed below. The other two inputs are the Number of Rows and Number of Columns. As discussed earlier in this article, PipeLay generates plot files with one graph in each. In the Plotting module, however, you can arrange any number of graphs on a page, by specifying the number of rows and columns you require. The figure below shows a page with two rows and two columns.
Plot File Layout
When you specify more than one row or column per page, the graphs in the selected files are combined into one or more new files, each having the specified number of rows and columns. These new files are initially untitled, and the Plotting module prompts you to save them to when you try to exit or view another page.
Please note that only plot files with one graph can be arranged in this manner. If one of the files already contains several graphs arranged in rows and columns, it is displayed in its original layout and cannot be combined with any others.
After selecting a list of files and specifying the layout you require, press OK to view the plots on screen. One page is displayed at a time on screen. It is then possible to make further changes to the appearance of individual graphs and the page as a whole. Details are contained later in the articles entitled ‘Graph Settings’ and ‘Page Settings’.
When plot files are superposed, all the data sets from the plot files are drawn on a single graph. This can only be accomplished with plots that have the same variable on each axis. For example, two or more timetraces of effective tension can be superposed, but a structure snapshot and a snapshot of effective tension cannot.
To superpose two or more plot files, select their names in the Select Plot Files dialog, and select the Superpose option in the Layout section of the dialog, as shown below. Note that this disables the other Layout options, Number of Rows, Number of Columns and Variable/Variable.
Select Plot Files
An example of two superposed plots is shown below. When you superpose two plot files, you may want to change the associated legends to distinguish between the two data sets. To do this, use the Graph – Edit Legend command described in ‘Graph Settings’.
Superposed Plot Files
The Variable/Variable facility allows you to generate a time history of the variation of one variable against another. To use this facility, select two timetrace plots in the Select Plot Files dialog, and then select the Variable/Variable option in the Layout section of the dialog. Note that this disables the other layout options. A sample variable/variable plot is shown in the figure below.