-------------------------Monitor------------------------ The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control Issue 121 www.windmill.co.uk August 2008 --------------------ISSN 1472-0221---------------------- In this issue - how to change the appearance of numbers with "custom number formats" in Excel. For example, you can align decimal points in a column, or display only the 3 most significant figures. CONTENTS ======== * Excel Corner: Choosing how to display numbers - defining a custom number format * Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions * DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Excel Corner: Choosing how to display Numbers by defining a Custom Number Format ________________________________________________________ A useful feature in Excel is changing the appearance of numbers with "custom number formats". Excel offers many built-in number formats, but these don't always fit your application. To change the way data is displayed you can create your own format. For example, you can align a column so all numbers line up on the decimal point or set all readings over 10 to be shown in yellow. To define a custom number format, from the Format menu choose the Cells command. In the Number tab choose Custom. You will see a list of custom numbers which have been defined for you. Enter your own into the Type box. Your new number will be shown at the bottom of the list. Custom numbers often feature bemusing combinations of #, ? and ; symbols, which we explain below Significant Figures =================== The # symbol specifies rounding to a significant digit. For example, the custom format .## would cause 12.3456 to be shown as 12.35. (Note that the rounding does not change the underlying data. Any calculations will be made on 12.3456 not on 12.35.) The 0 symbol has a similar function to the # symbol, but forces a zero if necessary. For example, the custom format: #.##### would cause 0.3456 to be shown as .3456 0.##### would cause 0.3456 to be shown as 0.3456 0.####0 would cause 0.3456 to be shown as 0.34560 Alignment ========= The ? lets you align numbers decimally. It actually adds spaces on either side of a number as necessary - so you may need to use a fixed-width font like courier for the alignment to work properly. To digitally align numbers with rounding to three significant digits you would use .??? Comma Separator =============== To add a comma as a thousands separator use #,###.##. Units ===== If you wish you can set a number format to include units. For example, to set readings to be shown with 2 significant digits after the decimal point and the units as mm, use .##" mm" Colours ======= To set the colour for a section of the format, type the name of one of the following eight colours in square brackets: Black, Cyan, Magenta, White, Blue, Green, Red or Yellow. For example [Magenta] You can set different colours for positive and negative numbers, 0 and text. These are specificed by four sections, separated by semicolons. For example [black];[red];[green];[blue] Where you have several instructions in a section, the colour code must be the first item. Conditional Number Formats ========================== To set number formats that will be applied only if a number meets a condition, enclose the condition in square brackets. The condition consists of a comparison operator and a value. For example, the following custom format displays numbers less than or equal to 10 in red and numbers greater than 10 in blue . [Red][<=100];[Blue][>100] Notice the semi-colon separating the two conditions. You could also use a conditional number format to display words alongside the readings, similar to the units topic above. For example, to show "low" if a reading is under 10, "high" if it is over 20 and "normal" if it is between 10 and 20 use [<10] "low" .#.;[>20] "high" .#.;"normal" .#.; (.# sets the data to be displayed to one decimal place.) For more tips on using Excel for data acquisition and control see http://www.windmill.co.uk/excel/ ________________________________________________________ Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions ________________________________________________________ Every four months we list the forthcoming exhibitions around the world related to data acquisition and control. NEPCON South China 26-29 August Shenzhen, China Exhibition featuring electronics manufacturing service, test and measurement. http://www.nepconchina.com/ Instrumentation Scotland and Offshore Systems 3-4 September Aberdeen, Scotland This biennial exhibition brings together companies who supply products and services specific to the offshore industry plus others who represent processing, power generation, paper, distilling, water and waste, and marine engineering. http://www.instrumentation.co.uk/ Automotive Testing Expo China 17-19 September Shanghai, China Covers mechanical testing, data acquisition, on-board diagnostics, fatigue testing, laboratory testing, acoustic testing, etc. http://www.testing-expo.com/china/en/index.php IFAT China 23-25 September Shanghai, China Practical solutions for air pollution control, environmental technology and natural energy sources. http://www.ie-expo.com/ Automation Austria 7-10 October Vienna, Austria International trade fair for industrial automation, drive and motion control. https://www.messe.at/ Messtechnik 7-10 October Vienna, Austria Trade fair for measuring, test equipment and quality assurance https://www.messe.at/ Automotive Testing Expo North America 22-24 October Novi, MI, USA Includes test simulation, engine and emissions analysis, vibration testing, environmental testing, data acquisition, quality testing, sensors and transducers. http://www.testing-expo.com/usa/en/ ICMD 29 October - 1 November Suzhou, China International component manufacturing and design show. http://www.icmd.com.cn/ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ DAQ News Roundup ________________________________________________________ Welcome to our roundup of the data acquisition and control news. If you would like to receive more timely DAQ news updates then grab our RSS newsfeed at https://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml. Read http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsfeed.php for notes on how to display the news on your own web site, read it via e-mail, mobile phone or a newsfeed viewer. Seals help unlock ocean secrets Small data logging transmitters have been attached to the heads of elephant seals to collect otherwise inaccessible information about the climate. Scientists usually collect ocean data to using satellite sensing, buoyant floats, and ship expeditions, but winter sea ice renders the Southern Ocean virtually impermeable to all three. Southern elephant seals are wide-ranging predators that roam all over the Southern Ocean, even under the sea ice in the wintertime - a time when conventional ocean observation methods are unable to gather data. The new devices measure temperature, pressure, and salinity and transmit data as well as seal positions to satellites when the seals surface. From this, researchers are able to amass data for a vast range of hitherto inaccessible ocean, including areas deep within the sea-ice in winter while also learning about the animals themselves. Source: SCUBA News http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/2008/08/seals-help-unlock-ocean-secrets.html Rubbery conductor promises robots a sensor-packed skin Giving robots soft and sensitive skin is difficult when it must be built using tough, inflexible electronics. But Japanese researchers have created super-stretchy circuits from a new elastic conductor material that could be the solution. The "e-skin" aims to be an affordable layer of pressure and temperature sensors flexible enough to completely cover a robot without limiting its movement. Source: New Scientist https://www.newscientist.com/ Intelligent scales German researchers have developed scales for supermarkets that can determine what type of produce is placed on them. The researchers created the intelligent scales by building in a camera and an image processing system. The intelligent scales are being tested in about 300 supermarkets across Europe. Source: The Engineer https://www.theengineer.co.uk/ HMI software market to grow The worldwide Human Machine Interface (HMI) software and services market will outperform the industrial automation market and grow at over 9.1% over the next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. Source: ARC Advisory Group https://www.arcweb.com/ To improve robots, researcher eyes jellyfish Biology professor Joseph Ayers is studying tactile sensory perception in jellyfish and lobsters to improve underwater robots. "There are hardly any autonomous robots out there that can operate in unpredictable environments," Ayers said. "What we bring is a really good understanding of how the nervous system controls behavior in animal models. If we can build a truly biomimetic robot, it will embody the results of four million years of evolution." Source: Pysorg.com https://phys.org/news/2008-07-robots-eyes-jellyfish.html ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ * Copyright Windmill Software Ltd * Reprinting permitted with this notice included * For more articles see http://www.windmill.co.uk We are happy for you to copy and distribute this newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site or publication, providing the above notice is included and a link back to our website is in place. An archive of previous issues is at http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html and an index of articles at http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsletter.html Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office, Manchester, M8 8QR, UK Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782 Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190 E-mail: [email protected] http://www.windmill.co.uk/ https://www.windmillsoft.com/
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