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The typical piping system has a large number of design documents associated with it that support and document the system design.  Often these documents are available in electronic form on a Local Area Network (LAN) or the Internet.

Using the Link feature you can immediately access these key design documents with a mouse click.  You can also set up Links to provide access to other programs needed to operate a piping system, such as a CAD program, maintenance management program, or document control software.

Version 2009 and Before

This article discusses how to set up and view typical Links.  Each type of available Link is described and an example of the Link syntax is provided.  You are also encouraged to download the attached .zip file which includes a sample piping system (links.pipe) that contains the Links described below.  The other files included in the .zip file should be extracted to the same folder as the links.pipe file.

Adding a Link

  1. Click the Select button.
  2. Double-click on the item for which you want to add a Link and then click the Links tab in the item's dialog box.
    NOTE:  You can quickly display the Links tab for an item by right-clicking on the item then selecting the Links / Edit Links  menu item from the context menu.
  3. Click the Add button.
  4. Specify a description of the Link in the Link name text box.
  5. Specify the path for the Link in the Link path text box.
    NOTE:  You can browse for the Link location by clicking the Open button to the right of the text box.
  6. Click OK.

Opening a Link
There are three different ways to open a Link:

  • Click the 4 symbol located next to the item's name.  From the context menu, select the Link you want to open.
  • Right-click on the item, then choose the Links menu item from the context menu, and select the Link you want to open.
  • Display the item's dialog box, then click the Links tab.  From the list, select the Link you want to open and click the Open button.


Basic Links in v2009 and Before
Link to a document file
Document Links can be setup to display a PDF file, a DOC file, a TXT file, etc.  The path and file name must be specified.  If a path is not specified, the folder containing the PIPE-FLO system file is assumed.  If the file cannot be found, PIPE-FLO displays an error icon next to the link name: 

Example link path: c:\my engineering files\projects\pump1 dimensional drawing.pdf

Link to a website
Links can be created to provide quick access from your piping system to information that is available on the internet.   For example, you can create a Link to the website of a manufacturer that you frequently purchase pumps from, giving you immediate access to online literature, product availability, and dealer information.  The link path should include the "http://" prefix.

Example link path: http://www.eng-software.com

Link to an external program
Links can be set up to access programs external to PIPE-FLO.  For example, you can set up a link to a CAD program or a maintenance management program.  

Example link path: c:\program files\microsoft office\office10\excel.exe

You can also specify parameters.  In the example below, a PIPE-FLO results .txt file is specified as a parameter:
Link path: c:\program files\mm\maintenance.exe c:\my engineering files\projects\results.txt

Link to e-mail
You can set up a Link that will start up the registered e-mail client with the specified e-mail address in the To box.

Example link path: Mailto: solutions@eng-software.com

FLO: Commands
You can think of FLO: Commands as advanced Links that provide control over how PIPE-FLO operates.  They are mainly intended for setting up examples and demos.  A list of these commands is provided below for completeness.

FLO:Open  [file name]
This command opens another PIPE-FLO file.  This command takes a parameter of the file to open, but this parameter is optional.  If left off, the link re-opens the current file.  If no path is given, the .pipe file is assumed to either be in the same directory as the current .pipe file or in the default projects directory.  Note that when this link is executed, the user is not prompted to save the system file that is currently open.

Example link path: FLO:Open plant#1.pipe

FLO:Design  [tangible object name]
Opens the design dialog for a specified flow sheet drawing object.  The parameter is the name of the object.  If left off, it displays the design dialog for the currently selected object.

Example link path
Link path: FLO:Design pump923_95

FLO:Erase [tangible object name]
Erases a specified flow sheet drawing object.  The parameter is the name of the object to erase.  If left off, it erases the current object.

Example link path
Link path: FLO:Erase South Tank

FLO:Select [tangible object name]
Selects a specific flow sheet drawing object.  The parameter refers to the object to select.  If left off, the current object remains selected.

Example link path
Link path: FLO:Select Valve1

FLO:Msg [message]
Displays a message box for the user.  The parameter is the text to display.

Example link path
Link path: FLO:Msg This pipeline was sized assuming a flow rate of 800 gpm.

FLO:Calc
Performs a system calculation.

FLO:Zoom [left top right bottom]
Sets the flow sheet zoom to a specific location.  This function requires four parameters, which specify top left corner and bottom right corner of the zoom area.  These numbers refer to grid coordinates.  The origin is the middle of the drawing, and each medium grid tick is one unit long.  X values get higher as you move to the right on the flow sheet, Y values get higher as you move toward the bottom of the flow sheet.

Example link path
Link path: FLO:Zoom 10.5 2.3 23.5 5.5
(This command zooms to a rectangle starting at 10.5, 2.3 and extending to 23.5, 5.5.)

FLO:Script [Filename]
PIPE-FLO can open a script file (a text document) and execute each of the lines in it.  This gives you the ability to have batch files that execute several tasks (e.g. select a pipe, display a message about the pipe, then open the design dialog box for that pipe once the user clicks OK).  This lets a link do multiple things at once, and is very useful for step-by-step tutorials or demonstrations.

Example FLO:Script
FLO:Msg Select PIPE1.
FLO:Select PIPE1
FLO:Msg Display the design box for PIPE1.
FLO:Design PIPE1
FLO:Msg Calculate results.
FLO:Calc

Autoexec Links
Links with the name "Autoexec" execute automatically when certain actions are performed.  Links named Autoexec do different things depending on what item or object the link is associated with:

Tangible flow sheet objects:  When the object is double-clicked, the autoexec link executes.  For example, you could set up an autoexec link to launch an HTML page when the user double-clicks a particular pump or tank on the flow sheet.

Fluid zones and Pipe specifications:  When the fluid zone or pipe specification that a pipeline references is changed and the pipeline dialog box is closed, any autoexec link associated with the new fluid zone or pipe specification is executed.  For example, if the user chooses a pipe specification, a link can go out to a website that contains the written specification that the PIPE-FLO specification is based on.

PIPE-FLO System Files:  Autoexec links in System Settings & Properties dialog box are executed when the system file is opened.  

Lineups:  Autoexec links associated with a lineup execute whenever the user switches to that lineup.