Why You Should Use Macro Programs - To Simplify Routine Tasks

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Each generation of Shimadzu FTIR workstation software offers powerful macro functions to simplify various tasks. The latest IRsolution FTIR control and data processing software inherits this tradition of powerful macro functions. This FTIR Talk Letter introduces the possibilities offered by macro functions.

 

1. Automated easurement

If measurements are required on two types of sample with the following different measuring conditions for each:

Sample A Resolution: 2 cm-1; wavenumber range: 400 to 4000 cm-1
Sample B Resolution: 4 cm-1; wavenumber range: 750 to 3500 cm-1

In this case, it is necessary to determine which sample is being measured and then ensure that the measurement parameters are correct. This process involves the following steps:

  1. Set the resolution to 2 cm-1 (2 clicks);
  2. Set the wavenumber range: 400 to 4000 cm-1 (2 clicks + keyboard entry);
  3. Measure the background (1 click);
  4. Load sample A;
  5. Measure sample A (1 click);
  6. Unload sample A;
  7. Set the resolution to 4 cm-1 (2 clicks);
  8. Set the wavenumber range: 750 to 3500 cm-1 (2 clicks + keyboard entry);
  9. Measure the background (1 click);
  10. Load sample B;
  11. Measure sample B (1 click); and
  12. Unload sample B.
 

If this process is handled by a macro, the following dialog box is displayed.

Select the sample you want to measure

 

Click [Sample A] to set the measurement parameters for sample A and measure the background. The following dialog box is displayed when the background measurement is complete.

Set sample A to the sample compartment and click OK button

 

Load sample A in the sample compartment and click [OK] to start sample measurement.
When sample A measurement are completed, a dialog prompts whether to measure another sample. Click [Yes] to display the sample selection dialog box again. Click [Sample B] to measure sample B in the same way.

Measurement has finished. Measure another sample?

 

When handled by a macro, the process described above can be summarized as follows:

 
  1. Run the macro;
  2. Click the [Sample A] button;
  3. When the background measurement is complete, Load sample A, and click [OK];
  4. Unload sample A;
  5. Click [Yes] in the measurement complete dialog box;
  6. Click the [Sample B] button;
  7. When the background measurement is complete, Load sample B;
  8. Click [OK], and
  9. Unload sample B to complete the measurements.

Comparing the required number of mouse clicks and keyboard entries shows:

Manual operation: 13 mouse clicks + several numeric entries from the keyboard
Macro operation: 6 mouse clicks

Using the macro reduces the number of mouse operations required. No numeric entry is required, which eliminates the chance of careless errors.

 

2. Simplification of input

IRsolution macro has more freedom of designing user interface than previous software. Many of parts to receive user input (these are called "control")can be available on IRsolution. You can build in useful user interface bycombining these controls.
Available controls are shown below.

Radio buttons (to select a single item from multiple options)

Radio buttons (to select a single item from multiple options)

 

Check boxes (to select multiple items from multiple options)

Check boxes (to select multiple items from multiple options)

 

Edit box (for keyboard entry)

Edit box (for keyboard entry)

 

List box (to select from preset character strings)

List box (to select from preset character strings)

 

Combo box (to select from preset character strings or make a keyboard entry)

Combo box (to select from preset character strings or make a keyboard entry)

 

Dropdown list box (a list box to select from preset character strings – ▼ button displays the candidate items)

Dropdown list box (a list box to select from preset character strings – ▼ button displays the candidate items)

 

3. Automation of Complex Data Processing

Automating multiple data processing operations in a designated sequence with a macro ensures they are
conducted reliably. The measured data is processed after measurements are complete and only the processed results are displayed.

 

4. Automation of Special Data Processing

Some special data processing, which is available by combining some standard data processing, can be done with easy operation by macro program. In case you calculate the corrected height of a peak by selecting peak top and peak bottom, you need many steps of operation to get the final result. You can decrease most of the steps by macro program which can process many steps of operation automatically.

 

5. Links to External Software

A macro program can call up external programs. This feature uses external programs to expand the functionality
of IRsolution, such as accessing the RS-232C port.

 

6. Finally

Macro programs are introduced above. As macro programs offer higher functionality, it may become difficult for customers to create detailed macro programs. Therefore, Shimadzu handles all tasks from designing the specifications to writing the program and instruction manual. The standard procedure to create a macro program is shown below.

standard procedure to create a macro program

We hope that this information assists customers who are considering introducing macro programs to enhance working efficiency.

 

FTIR Talk Letter Vol. 5

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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