Insider Tips for Using an Oscilloscope with Touch

Blog Post created by KeysightOscilloscopes Employee on Sep 1, 2016

Author: Chris Felder

As one of the Keysight R&D engineers who developed Project Echo, the touch screen and interface for Keysight InfiniiVision oscilloscopes introduced on the 4000 X-Series in 2012, I know these oscilloscopes from the inside out; literally. Here are a few creative shortcuts we have built into the oscilloscope interface to help you get more out of the scope.

As Keysight was designing the first touch interface, which is used on the Keysight 3000T, 4000-X, and 6000-X Series scopes today, we conducted extensive usability testing to ensure the touch screen and interface design enhanced the existing interface and the scope could be entirely driven using the touch screen. While touch can provide many benefits, we also wanted to be sure that it did not impair the usability for those not using the touch feature. Even if you prefer to drive the scope using the front panel keys and knobs, using touch in minor ways may greatly accelerate your tasks.

Let’s start with the “main menu” button in the upper left corner.

All of the oscilloscope’s menus and dialogs are accessible through this menu.  There are some handy shortcuts along the left side, and you can manipulate several feature states directly through this menu (channels, cursors, measurements, etc.).  The Applications menu gives a list of your licensed and installed oscilloscope applications, but also lists unlicensed applications – handy if you’d like to explore and read about all the capabilities built into your scope.


From the main menu, we move on to the status area along the top of the graticule; this area hold lots of readouts that show the state of the oscilloscope, and all of them are touchable.  Touch the scale or delay values in the Horizontal grouping, for instance, and you’ll get this handy popup:


From here, you can step the values using buttons, or touch the values once more to get a numerical keypad for direct entry.  If you want to change other timebase settings, you can press the gray ‘H’ button in the status area for a quick shortcut to the Horizontal softkey menu.

In some areas, we’ve added more significant shortcuts for the most common tasks.  Touch the trigger status indicator, for example, and you immediately toggle from Auto mode to Normal mode, and vice-versa:


The sidebar along the right side of the screen is another area we’ve really optimized for touch.  Any dialog box with a series of dots in the upper left (what we call a “gripper”) can be repositioned by dragging it from the title bar area; the same is true of sidebar tabs.  Any tab can be grabbed using the grippers, undocked, and positioned anywhere you like.  You can even re-dock the tab in a half-height mode, allowing you to see two tabs at once:


Like the status area, sidebar tabs are filled with touch shortcuts.  You can touch the analog channel input information in the Summary tab to quickly perform a slew of front end and probe configuration settings:


Titles in the sidebar tab look a bit like buttons for a reason – they all have handy shortcut menus when you touch them.  Touching the title in the Cursors sidebar, for example, lets you directly change mode and source settings without needing to travel to the Cursors Menu:


In the Measurements tab, you can touch individual installed measurements to track, clear, or reset them:

The softkey menu area along the bottom of the screen frequently includes readouts for status items related to the current menu, and…you guessed it…they’re all touchable! If you have the WaveGen (waveform generator) option enabled on your scope, the Waveform Generator Menu contains a particularly handy shortcut; if you touch the “Gen Out” area, you get a comprehensive control stack for the selected WaveGen, from which you can change a variety of settings without bouncing between multiple softkey menus:

Like all dialog boxes, this dialog can be re-positioned by dragging it within its title bar area.  You can also use the blue Menu button to configure dialog boxes to use a transparent background.  Now you can position and configure dialog boxes and sidebar tabs as you wish!

We strive to follow the rule, “everything is touchable” and we’re constantly adding new shortcuts and convenience menus with every software release. 


We always welcome your suggestions and feedback – comment here to let us know what we can do to make your oscilloscope experience more efficient.