Category Archives: System Properties

Method Forge … Acquisition and Method Creation

Below is a quick video of how to use the Method Forge feature while acquiring a data file.

Method Forge can be used with either an existing data file or be used to produce a data file using an instrument method. It then extracts the data out of the file and created compounds and components from detected peaks, defined in the assigned Method Template.

The Method template will be discussed in a post next week.

If the video is blurry select the cog wheel in the lower right of the video window and adjust the resolution setting.

Method General Setting Page – Hmmm.. I missed that setting

One thing that TF has as part of its DNA is to be flexible. Method development is a complex process and we are always looking at ways to reduce the effort, but to give flexibility in our approach.

One page that has alot of power, but is over looked many times is the General Setting Page.

These settings are the general setting for properties in the method.

These settings overide the default settings in the Application and apply to the Method and consiquently all the data that is processed with the method. These settings can be changed in at both the Master and Local Method levels.

Two points to look at.

1) Mass precision – This applies to all the masses used in producing results. It does not apply to the reporting    properties of thethings like RT, or calcualted amounts.

2) Instrument Method Edit/Update – In the master method you have a copy of the selected instrument method, which the ultimate Master instrument method is located in the Xcaliber/Methods directory. When you select edit, you are editing the copy that is located in the Master Method folder. When you select update you are overwriting the changes you made in the Master Method Copy, to the ultimate Instrument Master method in the Xcaliber/Methods directory. When you use these button in the local method you edit the Local Method copy of the instrument method that was copied to the Local Method directory, and the update button copies those changes to the Master Method instrument method. This isolated the Ultimate Master instrument method from batch level changes that you may not want to be inherited by other Master Methods produced in the furture.

“Got Data?” – New Version on the way – TF 2.1

We are glad to announce that TraceFinder 2.1 is being cut to disks this week and will be on the shelves shortly.

The version has many “bug” fixes and performance improvements, but the BIGGEST feature is the ability to be run  on any detector Thermo supports. So if yo have a QExactive or a FID standalone GC, its supported. As well as, blended configurations.

So “Got Data?” we have a tool for you.

Plus soon to be published iBook for getting started with TF. “The Guru Guide”, written by the product manager for TraceFinder.

Remember if you have a question please fill out the form on the “Ask A Guru” tab. That message goes directly to the product manager or one of the support staff.

Converting From Old to New… Methods, Data and Templates

TraceFinder provides an executable application the top level menu “Go” item, that will allow you to convert all of your old stuff to the latest versions of TraceFinder for use.

This includes all previous versions of TraceFinder and back to the LabForms 2.5.x application.

This allows you to reproduce your data and methods you currently use in the newer platform without having to recreate everything.


It also allows you to browse to any stored TF or LabForms directories to pull in the information even if,  it has been archived on a remote disk.

After you have opened the directory the contents for the selected data type will be listed below.

You can select individual files or right click and select all. the simply press the “Start Converting” button in the lower right corner.

If any issues occur the Status column will contain an entry and the log file will record the issues with conversion.

A Quick Note on OneNote and Report Printing?

Is Microsoft OneNote hijacking your print jobs?

on April 25

While we don’t usually focus on tech support issues here on the Office Blog (that’s what the Microsoft Answers forums are for), let me shine a quick light on a recurring issue that has caused some of you to scratch your heads and write in about.

In a nutshell, the problem appears to be that OneNote 2010 (or OneNote 2007) intercepts all of your print jobs whenever you try to send any information from your other programs or your Web browser to your trusty printer. While you must admit that this is a great way to save paper and finally “go green,” it’s no laughing matter when your boss expects you to hand him or her a printed report and you can’t seem to do that.

What’s happening?

Until recently, you’ve always been able to print anything from your computer to your printer. Now, your print jobs seem to suddenly bypass your printer completely and go straight into Microsoft OneNote, where they appear like scanned images. You really want things to go back to the way things were and have your print jobs sent to your actual printer once again.

What’s causing it?

Microsoft OneNote comes with a nifty little utility called the Send to OneNote print driver. A print driver is a small piece of software that directs output from a computer to a printer. Typically, the operating system controls such software, so it can monitor how a computer talks to hardware devices like a printer. In the case of OneNote, a special print driver is installed that lets you send your print jobs as images into your OneNote notebooks.

The OneNote print driver wasn’t designed to override your printer settings and assume you want every print job sent to OneNote 2010. Instead, it’s intended to be waiting in the wings, available whenever you want to use it, and taking a backseat again whenever you’re done sending a particular print job to OneNote.

However, the OneNote print driver may have accidentally promoted itself to top dog in any of the following conditions:

  • You installed OneNote 2010 or Office 2010 with no physical printer installed or selected at the time, causing the Send to OneNote print driver to act as your default (preferred) printer.
  • You installed a new physical printer on your computer after installing OneNote 2010 or Office 2010, without promoting the printer to act as your default printer.
  • You share your computer with someone else who installed OneNote 2010 or Office 2010 and set the Send to OneNote print driver to act as the default printer.
  • Your printer software is incompatible with your operating system version and Windows has reverted to the Send to OneNote print driver as the default printer.

Even if you’re not really sure how it may have happened, there’s an easy solution.
Setting a default printer in Windows Control Panel

When the Send to OneNote 2010 print driver is marked as shown, print jobs will be sent to OneNote as images.
If you have a real printer installed, right-click its icon, and then click Set as Default Printer on the shortcut menu.
Your printer is recognized as the preferred printer for future print jobs when it has the check mark icon next to it.

How can I fix it?

On any edition of Windows 7, do the following:

  1. On the Windows taskbar, click the Start button.
  2. On the right side of the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. When Control Panel opens, click View Devices and Printers (if you’re in Category view) or click Devices and Printers (if you’re in Icon view).
  4. Right-click the printer icon that represents your physical printer, and then click Set as Default Printer on the shortcut menu.

If you’re using Windows Vista, the steps are nearly identical:

  1. On the Windows taskbar, click the Start button.
  2. On the right side of the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. When Control Panel opens, click Printer (if you’re in Category view) or click Printers (if you’re in Classic view).
  4. Right-click the printer icon that represents your physical printer, and then click Set as Default Printer on the shortcut menu.

If you do not see an icon for your actual printer, it’s likely that your printer is not correctly installed. Check the printer manufacturer’s website for any updated drivers that are specific to your version of Windows (for example, a 64-bit edition of Windows) and make sure that the printer is properly connected to your computer.

Don’t be hatin’!

Even if you had a bad first impression of the OneNote print driver hogging all of your print jobs, don’t be too quick to dismiss it even after you demote it from being your default “printer.” You might be surprised how useful it is to have the ability to print certain information right into OneNote.

Although digital printouts in OneNote are image files that you can’t edit, you can right-click such images in OneNote 2010 and extract the text from them with the Copy Text from Picture command. As long as the text in the image is large enough and legible, this works really well. You can then paste and use the copied text into your notes or elsewhere in your work.

When you’re properly introduced to it, the OneNote print driver is a pretty cool feature!  😉

Remember, whenever you have a technical support issue, head on over to Microsoft Answers — the official Support forums for OneNote and Office. It is monitored daily by knowledgeable and helpful members of the Microsoft MVP community, Microsoft Support, and the Office product teams.

— Michael C. Oldenburg

Sample List???…. Do I need a Sample List??? Yes and here’s how to import one

So the basic element of data navigation and collection is a list of samples.

This list will identify the properties of the data collected and tell the system, what to do to and the names of the files collected or to be collected.

So TF has a couple of different ways to do this.

The first and easiest is to make a template of the defined sample grid you want to use. In TraceFinder, the user can define the columns that are displayed in both the data results and sample definition grids.

In Batch View or in the sample page of the Acquisition Mode/Wizard, right click the mouse in the grid and a menu dialog that opens up.

In that dialog , select “Export to CSV”. This will make a copy of the grid and the header lables is a file that can be opened by any editing grid application. The most common is Excel, but you could open in a text editor also.

Simply, open the file and for daily use just input  sample information in the template and save as a daily/batch .csv file.

A LIMS system, can create a .csv file in this same format  or even use a bar code reader to fill in certain fields even in Excel.

Once the sample input is done save the file as .csv and close the editor.

If  the file is still open in Excel,  MS Office will not let it be used by another program so TF can’t import it until it’s closed.

Right click in the grid and select “Import Samples”.

The Dialog below opens, then select the appropriate file.

The information contained in the CSV file will be inserted into the grid either at the end of the current data or where the index indicator is if that is the option selected in the drop down list below the browse section.

There is also a xml format that can be created fromat LIMS system that can be used, or if Xcalibur has previously been in use the .sld files can be utilized also. Any sample type that TF does not recognize will be set to the Unknown Sample type.





Hmmm… License, Do I Really Need One??? YES

TraceFinder Installation Instruction, including license registration process

In the link above you can find the installation instructions, plus a process that tells you how to register your copy of TF.


So if you see the above notice, you have that amount of time to register the product.

After this runs out you will not be able to open TF.

It will only open to the registration page until a license is obtained.

Just enter in the your info and email the text, “Blob” ,to the address listed at the top.

This occurs whether you have a demo or full version.

This is also the only way to extend the demo version by a specified amount of time, which is handled on a case by case basis.

If you are a Thermo Employee. Please register your version and as long as we are sending this to a Thermo email address, then YOU, will receive a full license.


BIG HINT: The license is good for one PC. It is Mapped to the motherboard’s MAC address.

So it is not transferable between systems.

Each purchase gives the user the right to install on two PC’s TYPICALLY, the instrument PC and an offline processing station.

Houston We Have A Problem… Communicating How Issues Occur

Many times, messages come through asking for help that say, ” I have an error.” The problem is, to fix something we need to reproduce the error or see what the error says.

If you get an Unhandled Excection error, Windows is telling you the application is in a bad state. Here basically you have two choices. Close the application “Do this, Please” or Continue, not recommended because the system will be running in an unknown state.

Before, you do either of these, please click on the details button. This will open up a text dialog below the error message, which contains valuable information on what files internally or externally to the application are being effected by the error. Please copy this text and email it or post it someplace where the person rendering you assistance can get to it.

Also, a good tool to use if the problem is reproducable, is a Free tool in Windows called the Problem Step Recorder.

See the Link Below for how to use the Problem Step Recorder.

And there is always the Windows 7 Snippet tool for capturing images off your screen and saves them in picture format.

So help us help you, by using these tools to get us info to pinpoint your issue as rapidly as possible.

Fight the Good Fight.


Processing Across A Network

TraceFinder can store batches on a remote mapped drive on a companies network.

One issue that may arise is latency/slowness of the network itself. Remeber the processing occurs on the local PC, so files and results have to read and written to disk by passing through the network.

If the storage disk is very far away or the network has heavy traffic, processing will slow down.

A remendy of this is to locate the storage server within the building of the laboratory or have a dedicated line.

Also TraceFinder 2.0 and above can be installed in a Cloud configuration where the processing and storage are on a remote server, with multiple instances capable of being hosted. This allows the user to see via a browser the application and process and review results without the latency issue.

Sluggish PC response on Windows 7 installations

Running on systems with Windows 7 and Office 2010 have had some issues with sluggish response over time with TraceFinder and Xcalibur.

There seems to be an issue with memory leakage that is addressed in current Windows and Office updates. Especially surrounding the Excel 2010 installation.

The solution has been to update Windows 7 to the latest update/hotfixs and to update MS Office with its latest updates or Excel if the is the only office component available.

Easiest way to do this is connect to the internet and choose update Windows from the Windows Update icon in the Control panel.

The updates for each can be downloaded from the section of the Microsoft website.

Windows Update From Control Panel

Office Update From Excel Help