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Things You Didn't Know About Virtuoso: ViVA

Comments(0)Filed under: Custom IC Design, Virtuoso, Virtuoso IC 6.1.3, ViVa-XL, Virtuoso Analog Design Environment, IC 6.1

Sorry I've been missing from this space for so long.  I've been busily working on a number of projects to try to help get the word out about all the features I have been (and will be) blogging about.  I've also been becoming an expert on making video demos, some of which I'll try to feature here too.  Ask your Cadence rep about the new VSE L/XL and ADE XL/GXL interactive Quick Start Guides.  (If they don't know what you're talking about, have them contact me...)

The next tool I'd like to take up is ViVA and I thought I'd try using sort of a "Top 3" format and see how that works.

As I realized during a customer presentation earlier this week, the first "Thing You Didn't Know About" ViVA is:

1. What is this "ViVA" thing of which you speak?

Yes, indeed, it suddenly occurred to me that if you use ADE, you'd never know that the waveform viewer is now called "ViVA".  Someone at Cadence spent all that time coming up with a cute acronym and no one even knows about it unless they run the tool stand-alone (the executable is "viva") or access the documentation (perish the thought...).

Anyway, ViVA stands for Virtuoso Visualization and Analysis Tool and it consists of the Graph Windows, Calculator and Results Browser you use to display waveforms and make measurements after you run your simulations.  Pretty important tasks and, yes, I know, features that many, many people feel extraordinarily strongly about. 

So allow me to try to point out some of the little things that just might help you feel enthusiastic about using ViVA.

2. I've got all these waveforms on top of each other.  How do I sort out this pile of spaghetti?

Don't worry.  There are a lot of easy ways to do this. 

First, you'll want to start by figuring out which signal is which.  Hold down the "Alt" key over each trace and you'll see the name of the waveform as well as the name of the database file it came from.  This can be especially handy for parametric sweeps, when you want to find out which sweep value goes with each curve.

Now, one way to quickly straighten things out is to change to strip mode.  (Strip mode is where each waveform is plotted in its own little strip, and all the strips share a common X-axis).  To do this, click on the 4th icon from the left at the top of the window, called "Strip Chart Mode" (or choose Axis->Strips from the menu).  Voila!  Lots of skinny little graphs. 

Another way to clean up the graph is to move waveforms to other windows or subwindows.  You can do this by clicking on a trace to select (or hold Ctrl and click to select multiple traces).  You'll know something is selected if it turns green.  Then click on the 6th or 7th icon from the left at the top of the window to move the traces to a new subwindow or a new window.  You can also use the Trace->New Graph menu to choose whether you want to do a copy or move operation.

Regardless of whether you are in strip mode or not, did you know that you can drag traces around and drop them in other places to move them?  You can rearrange strips in strip chart mode (drop the waveform in between 2 other strips), or you can drag one or more traces between subwindows or windows.

Did you know that Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V also work to cut, copy and paste respectively, just like in many other applications? 

3. Is there a way to see where the actual simulation timepoints are?

Of course there is.  (I wouldn't be writing about it if the answer was "no", now would I?).   Just double-click on the trace to bring up the Trace Attributes form.  Now, at the end of the line that says "Symbols", click the "Show" checkbox.  Then, in the drop-down box next to it, select "All Points" and click OK.  This can sometimes help you understand why the waveforms look the way they do.

Worth 1000 words

As they say, watching this in action might help you more than reading about, so please watch this short video showing these and other features in action.  Also, click here for another video describing how to change the default colors for waveform plotting from ADE.

If the video fails to play click here.

Stacy Whiteman





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