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Today I will focus on discussing the TIA Portal development environment and the views available. In a nutshell, I want to outline how to navigate this environment, what goes where, so that when you are developing a project you have an orientation to the available options. Let's now move to the computer screen to look at the available views.

Portal view

The first view we see is the so-called 'Portal View'. This is the default view that appears as soon as TIA Portal is launched. There are two main views, but the one that is currently on the screen will always appear after start-up. Of course, this can be changed. As we can see, this view is task-based, which makes it more suitable for diagnostic and maintenance work, allowing you to easily jump to specific tasks.

03b TIA views image2

Now let's discuss what is in the different places. In the first place, we have the one, where we choose which task we want to complete. Here we see the different tasks in a column. Once we have selected a task, we move to two, where more detailed tasks related to what we selected earlier appear. At three, further options to choose from appear.

Personally, I do not use this view and switch to the second view, numbered four. This is the change between the 'Portal View' and the 'Project View'. The quick change between views is on the bottom left and each view has its own button. Siemens calls this second view a quick introduction to the project, it features a more elaborate view of the project. Personally, I prefer this second view. Now let's switch to the second view. If we click the button to move the view, we get the project view.

Project view

Here we see an empty development environment, without any project or hardware.

03b TIA views image3

However, this view will be clearer once we have opened a project.

Now let's take a look at this open development environment.

03b TIA views image4

On the left, under the "Device" tab, we see tools that are useful for diagnostics, especially when we want to connect to the actual controller and check for errors. The "Online Access" tab allows you to connect to the actual controller.

Now let's discuss the most important places in the TIA Portal development environment:

  1. Menu bar: This is a standard menu bar, similar to the one in any program. From this menu, it is possible to configure, set, go to various tasks and functions, such as downloading the hardware configuration from the PLC (upload).
  2. Design blocks: These are the blocks in which we organise our project. Each block can represent a specific part of the project, for example a PLC, HMI panels, etc.

In the following lessons, we will go through each location in detail and discuss what it is used for and what can be done there. It is worth pointing out that the TIA Portal offers a variety of functions accessible from the menu bar to facilitate the configuration, programming and diagnostics of PLCs.

If we look at the second icon, the part numbered two, we notice icons with the most commonly used tasks, such as uploading code to the driver, also known as uploading during hardware configuration. We will usually use this shortcut bar to perform these actions.

As for the third icon, the project and devices view, this is where we start all our activities. We choose whether we want to proceed to the hardware configuration, assign programme code or undertake another task. Everything is done in this project area.

The four stands for the working area, which depends on what we have selected in the project tree. Here we usually see the program code, the hardware configuration or the network view. In most cases, we will use this area as we do now, i.e. with the programme code.

The five represent additional tabs that change depending on what we have in the workspace. For example, in the program code workspace, the 'Instruction' tab contains instructions that we can use when writing program code, such as timing instructions.

The sixth is the area for detailed information about what we have marked in the project tree. This space is often used to work with the so-called symbolic names that are available in the folder. This allows us to conveniently use drag-and-drop to place the relevant instructions when writing the corresponding table or parameters.

If you look at the seven, you will find the properties and the inspector window, which are most often used during the hardware configuration of the PLC. They are also used when errors occur during the compilation or uploading of program code to the controller. Here the errors will be visible. This window is used less often when entering program code, as the defaults are usually there, but sometimes some small adjustments to some blocks are needed, and this is where we can do it.

Eight is the button to change the view of the TIA Portal development environment to Portal View or back to Family, i.e. as I mentioned earlier, at the bottom left this button is always available and allows this change.

As for Nine, there is a bar similar to the one in Windows, and depending on the settings, blocks or tabs related to the driver's hardware configuration will appear at the bottom.

Summary

Overall, TIA Portal stands out because everything is concentrated in one place. All you have to do is go to the relevant tab or place where you can set up, configure the necessary parameters, and all this is done within TIA Portal. Compared to previous versions of this classic development environment, where additional windows appeared in the Windows start bar, now everything has been integrated in one place. This is, in my opinion, very useful and makes work much easier, especially with more complex configurations. Depending on the view selected, we have dedicated editors where we can adjust parameters, configure and write programme code. This is all done according to the activity currently being performed. This gives a brief overview of what TIA Portal looks like both at start-up and when opening a specific project. In the following lessons, we will focus on the individual elements of this development environment, especially when working on an open project.

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Author of entries
Tomasz Gilewski

Hello, my name is Tomasz Gilewski. I am the author of books on the S7-1200 controller and HMI panels (i.e. Siemens hardware). I have been programming exclusively on Siemens hardware and engineering tools for several years.

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