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Things You Didn't Know About Virtuoso: ViVA (Part 2)

Comments(3)Filed under: Custom IC Design, Virtuoso, Virtuoso IC 6.1.3, ViVa-XL, Virtuoso Analog Design Environment, IC 6.1
This week's installment, boys and girls, is brought to you by the letters H, V, m & a and by the symbol %.  Apologies to anyone out there who didn't grow up with Big Bird and Cookie Monster.  (Is that even possible?)

Remember those letters, we'll get back to them in a bit...

First a couple of FAQ's about axes in ViVA. 

How can I tell which axis a signal is associated to?

Well, this isn't the easiest thing in the world, but if you look very closely, you'll notice one or more colored bars next to each axis title.  They only appear if you actually have more than one axis on your graph, which will happen if you plot quantities of different units (like voltage and current).  If you look closely, you'll see that the colored bars on each axis correspond to the colors of the plotted signals associated with that axis. 

How can I move a signal from one axis to another (or to a new axis)?

This is easy.  Simply select the signal you want to move by clicking on the waveform or it's name in the legend (don't forget you can use the Alt key--one of the sponsors of last week's episode--to quickly see which signal is which).  Then, from the menu, select Trace->Assign To Axis and either select the axis you want to move it to or choose New Axis to do just that.

Now a word from our sponsors...

The letters H, V, m & a are the bindkeys you use to create interactive marker measurements in ViVA. 

  • H (that's capital H, or Shift-H) will place a horizontal marker and Shift-V will--no fair, you peeked--place a vertical marker.
  • m (that's little m, without the Shift)  will place a single point marker. 
  • a (again, lowercase) will create a delta marker between itself and the most recent "m" marker.

There are several nice things about these markers.

  • You can have as many of them on your graph as you like.
  • You can select Marker->Show Table to get a tabular readout of all your marker intercepts with your signals.  There's also an icon to do this.  I'll let you find that on your own.  If you move the markers (or rerun the simulation), simply press the Update icon in the marker table to refresh the values.  This table can then be saved to a file for documentation.
  • They stay where you put them (unless, of course, you drag them to move them somewhere else--or delete them)
  • Speaking of dragging, you can drag the marker labels around to position them wherever looks nicest, without disconnecting the marker from the trace.
  • Speaking of marker labels, that's where our final sponsor comes in, the mysterious % symbol.  First, double-click on the marker label to bring up the marker attributes form.  The marker labels can be customized and the % sign is used to create some powerful types of formatting.  The complete list can be found in the Virtuoso Visualization & Analysis Tool User Guide, but here are a few useful examples:

    • %X, %Y will display the X and Y coordinates (%x, %y will display the 2nd X and Y coordinates for delta markers)
    • %W, %H will display delta X and delta Y
    • %N will print the name of the trace (handy on a crowded graph)
    • My personal favorite, %E, works with the Expression field in the form to allow you to pull an expression from the calculator buffer or one of the calculator memories (more on that in a future episode) and annotate it directly onto the graph.  This way you can get a clear visual representation of what is being measured. (Note: This was broken for a while, so make sure you've got the latest IC6.1.3 ISR if it doesn't work for you)

Now you can use the File->Save As Image or File->Print menu to save your beautiful graph to display at your design review.

Stacy Whiteman



By Lukas on April 3, 2012
Hello Stacy
Are there any variable to set range for Y-axes to fixed values e.g. <-200,+200> with using embedded variables? I would like to keep the settings for AC analysis to see magnitude and phase graphs in the same ranges. With this approach the phase margin is easy to read :-)
Thank you for any hints.

By Stacy Whiteman on April 16, 2012
There isn't any way to do this directly, but you can set up the graph with the limits you want, then do File->Save Window to save the graph to a .grf file.  Then you can later do File->Load Window and point to that .grf file and use the same or different results database to reuse the setup with a subsequent simulation.
For repeated simulations without changing the graph setup, you can use the "Refresh" plotting mode accessed through the ADE plotting options.

By Reinice on October 4, 2012
Is there an equivalent of "aMarker", "bMarker" and "delta Marker" of ViVA in SKILL?

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