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Macro System Features

[Macro Dialog (14K image)] Daqarta's scripted Macro System allows you to automate many tasks. Each macro definition consists of one or more commands that perform calculations, display custom meters or messages, and do many other things that there are no built-in controls for. But one of their most important functions is to directly operate controls, without needing to open their respective control dialogs. Even very long sequences of commands operate virtually instantly.

Macros can be used to create " mini-apps" that run entire tests or demonstrations, such as those shown in the macro list here which are included with Daqarta.

You can assign a single-character ID to any macro, and then run it at any time as a "hot-key" by hitting F8 followed by the ID character.

Alternatively, you can use CTRL+F8 (or the Options menu) to open the Macro Dialog, like the example shown here, and run a macro by double-clicking on its entry in the list.

You can keep this dialog open while you work, to automate frequent tasks or to act as the command center for an entire test suite. No other dialogs need to be opened, though you can have macros open them to prompt manual control where desired.

Speaking of prompts, the macro system includes commands for creating pop-up prompt messages. These can act as reminders, or guide novice operators through a series of tests.

The highlighted "First_Run" macro at the top of the list has a special ID of '!', which means it will run automatically every time Daqarta starts up. You can use this ID for your own macros to set initial test parameters, and prompt the operator for needed information.

Besides replacing keystrokes or mouse clicks to operate ordinary Daqarta controls, macros can perform operations that are not otherwise available. For example, you can use timer macros to wait for specified intervals or wait until a specified time before proceeding. For very long waits, the macro can automatically waken the system from Standby or Hibernate mode at the desired time.

Macros can also enter random values, limited to a specified range, into Daqarta controls. Macros can wait for certain events, like Pause, or Average done, or they can wait for the operator to enter data into a specified Field such as a test code number or subject name.

Macros can also use two important control methods normally found in high-level programming languages: IF statements allow blocks of macro commands to be run conditionally, and Loops allow repeating a macro a specified number of times, or until a certain condition is met. IF statements can be nested up to 16 levels deep, as can Loops, with an arbitrary number of IFs or Loops at each level.

Macros have access to their own independent variables that can persist across sessions, to allow you to keep track of internal macro states or counts.

Pro-level users can save macro collections and load them from macro files, including an auto-loaded file that can run the special startup macro. (Non-Pro users, including free expired-trial users, can use all macro features except saving macro files. They can use files created before the trials expired, and they can use macros created during the current session. They can also use Instant Macros... see below.)

Macro Editor

[Macro Editor (15K image)]
Macros are created or edited via the Edit dialog shown above. The macro shown here (which is included with Daqarta) is named dB_Sum and has no ID, although it could be given one if you wanted faster access via an F8 hot-key. The Description acts as a reminder that this macro is for combining multiple dB values in RMS fashion to get an overall dB. The bulk of the dialog is taken up by the macro Definition.

The comments at the right (beginning with semicolons) show what each line does. You don't need these in your own macros, but they can be very helpful as documentation, either for others or for yourself at a later date.

Instant Macros and Accessibility

In addition to "normal" macros, Daqarta also offers an "Instant Macro". By hitting F8 followed by Spacebar at any time, the Edit dialog pops up with a default Name and the cursor positioned in the Definition field. Enter your command or commands and hit SHIFT+Enter. The dialog vanishes and the macro runs immediately.

Instant Macros can be used with Windows copy and paste operations from an external text editor of your choice, allowing mouse-free operation of Daqarta with tools you are already comfortable with. This option is always available, even without a Daqarta license, so you can use it with the free Generator.



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