Customizing the LabVIEW Palettes is (Ridiculously) Hard

Posted on Monday 16 June 2008

Have you ever tried editing the LabVIEW palettes in order to integrate your reusable VIs into LabVIEW?  If you have then you've undoubtedly experienced the frustration of finding your VIs missing from your custom palettes, at some point.

Where is my reuse library?

Maybe you didn't realize one of the following facts about *.mnu files:

Tip: you can skip over this list, because it's probably completely irrelevant to you.
  • *.mnu files uses Symbolic Paths for linking to files some times
  • *.mnu (palette menu) files can be set to Synchronize with Directory
  • *.mnu files have both a Functions palette and Controls palette inside them
  • an LLB file contains a built-in palette menu
  • your palette was being stored in an LLB file that you overwrote
  • your palette was being stored in your My Documents LabVIEW data folder and didn't propagate with your reuse library folder
  • *.mnu files store deleted/hidden items
  • LabVIEW automatically creates dir.mnu files in folders found inside user.lib
    • except for folders that begin with an underscore ("_")
  • The "merge VI" setting is used to place a VI's contents when dropped, rather than placing a subVI
OK, you get the point.  There's a lot you don't know (or more likely that you don't care to know) about *.mnu files.  Whatever the reason, getting your reuse library into the palettes is way too hard.  Only an unlucky few people in this world understand the idiosyncrasies of editing the LabVIEW palettes.  Fortunately, a few of these people are at JKI working hard on a solution to this problem.  And, the next version of VI Package Manager is going to make understanding how the LabVIEW palettes work completely irrelevant (unless of course, you work at JKI). :)

Imagine being able to get your reuse libraries into the LabVIEW palettes with the press of a button.  And, that's just the beginning...

Have you tried editing the LabVIEW palettes?  Were you successful?  Do you feel that you understand how the palettes work?  Are you looking for a better solution?

7 Comments for 'Customizing the LabVIEW Palettes is (Ridiculously) Hard'

    June 16, 2008 | 6:24 pm

    I can hardly wait. This issue has been a PITA for me for many years!

    Troy Kujawski
    June 16, 2008 | 7:18 pm

    I’ve edited the pallets plenty of times. Mostly achieved what I set out to. I like to tinker and experiment though so I don’t mind stuffing around until I achieve the result I’m looking for.
    It should be easier though.

    Ton Plomp
    June 16, 2008 | 9:23 pm

    Major problem, you can forget you are editing the palette….
    Who has ever done that?
    while closing all your VI suddenly the Palette editing dialog arises… bummer.

    I think I know how to edit the palettes but sometimes I just have to restart LabVIEW to see what happens.


    Antoine Chalons
    June 16, 2008 | 11:46 pm

    Customizing the palette has always been possible but far form easy, if you come up with a simple solution that just works, you’ll make many people really happy :)

    I’m holding my breath :-o

    Joe Z.
    June 17, 2008 | 7:45 am

    Tinkering with the palettes is an interesting archeological exercise, but it gets old after a dozen times. It’s a shame NI’s IDE hasn’t advanced as quickly as some other environments, but hopefully it provides some good opportunities for third parties…

    I’m looking forward to the solution Jim.

    June 17, 2008 | 10:49 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you’re all excited. I can’t wait to show off what we’ve been working on :)

    Javier Lopez
    June 3, 2015 | 1:25 am

    I should make a .exe tool that creates the .mnu file if somebody said me the structure.

    I would like add c++ dlls to the pallete that could be synchronized with VS2008 or any other to debug them

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