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Page is restricted to employees of Quality Systems International Only

NOTE: there are a lot of Form Client Version 6 concepts in here; its assumed this is a work in progress and only a starting point for the documentation.


General Concept

WinLIMS.NET Web Client is an pure browser (web) based application that communicates with a database (Oracle or SQL Server) via a web server Internet Information Services (IIS)[[1]]. The WinLIMS.NET database brings together all the information related to the sample such as the methods, sample type, project, etc. Data is stored in related tables with each table containing data about only one subject. The general concept provides a definition of terms and concepts used throughout this manual, and details the principal underlying tables’ characteristics.

The WinLIMS.ASP software is a web-based Laboratory Information Management system designed to administer the information and automate the processes of the laboratory. As a fully integrated system, WinLIMS follows a work flow that is characteristic of a laboratory. These standard operations begin when a sample is logged-in and are completed when the results for the sample are released. The following illustration outlines the various steps of the sample life cycle. Each of these steps is automated.

Included within the vast array of the WinLIMS.ASP standard functionality are the following capabilities: Tracking the status of all samples being processed, printing of labels, generation of work-lists and manual or automatic results entry. Additionally, easy access to the LIMS data is provided by reporting tools which enable the creation of day to day management reports through to non routine specialist reports.

Every result is automatically checked to verify that it is within the scope of acceptable limits and on-line statistics and graphical plots of the data are available for review to promote wise business decision-making.

WinLIMS.ASP system can be configured so that the validation and/or the approval steps can be performed automatically for specific users in order to speed up the processing of samples. WinLIMS traces and controls the sample in the laboratory so that at any time-related information can be accessed, examined, and associated with each sample record. Whenever sample records are changed, the user ID, the date, the reason for the change and old value are audit trailed.

WinLIMS.ASP provides a security system that limits users to only those functions for which he is qualified. The WinLIMS.ASP interface is easy to use and contains a wide range of configurable features so that it can easily meet specific and local laboratory requirements. Each laboratory can customize its own menu structure, as well as the descriptive text and position of each function on the screen.

This manual provides general information with reference to the use of the WinLIMS software. The first part is an introduction to the main characteristics of the WinLIMS system and the use of the major commands. The second section describes common procedures and their application.

The examples provided in this manual are based on a standard 'off-the-shelf' system.


This section provides a description of the terms that appear within this guide. In some case, related terms are cross-referenced to provide a clearer understanding of their interdependent relationships.


A database is a collection of information that is related to a particular subject or purpose. It is the central repository of information processed by WinLIMS. Databases have their own security management systems for accessing the data and functions that are contained within them. Within large organizations the database configuration and structure is usually managed by the IT department via the Database Administrator or the System Manager.

Additionally databases can be accessed by other applications to make integration with other corporate software (ERP, process control, statistics, graphics, etc.) easy and seamless.


A table is a set of data about a specific topic, such as products, methods or suppliers, etc. It helps to categorize the database into a separate table for each topic so that data is only stored once. WinLIMS tables are named logically, generally after the main application or function that uses them, to aid identification.

A table is typically organized into columns and rows. All entries (rows) in the table use the same number of columns, and columns have the same meaning for all rows. Each column is also known as a field and each row is also known as a record.

Each table in the database includes a field or set of fields that uniquely identifies each individual record in the table. Such a field or set of fields is called the primary key.

Records are accessed on the query form by specifying the value of the primary key field (e.g. sample number for the sample table).

Note: New tables or specific columns may be added and defined to meet the laboratory requirement. Please contact QSI Tech Support.


A Field (or Column) is a category of information for which data is stored within a table. Multiple fields (columns) of information are used to make-up a record (or row) within its associated table.

Lookup Field

A Lookup Field provides a list of values that you can choose from when you are entering data. It can get its list of values from a table, a query, or from a fixed set of values that you have specified in the Lookup Manager. Once created, a Lookup list field will displayed its values in the form via Combo boxes, column drop down lists, or a push button.


Queries allow the user to, view, change, and analyze data. There are also used to retrieve records for forms and reports. WinLIMS communicates with the database by sending SQL (structured query language) statements to the database and presenting the data that is returned as a result of the query. This SQL query is generally not seen by the user and was automatically created by WinLIMS, based upon the user’s actions within the WinLIMS.NET page. A full explanation of SQL transaction is outside the scope of this document; please refer to the WinLIMS.ASP administrator or QSI Support for further information.

Note: When the show SQL option is checked (File menu), WinLIMS will display the client/server SQL transactions (SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE statements) that are currently being executed.

Page/Web Page

This is the primary interface, or screen for input, or display of data within WinLIMS.NET. A page can also provide access to other pagesand reports on the database. Graphical modification of this interface can be done by your system administrator using the WINLIMS_INI table settings or by alterning 'markup' files. Pages can also be altered throug custom programming.

Frame or Div

A portion of the web page that includes a specific set of information and/or functional tools that are related to other sections of the web page. Frames are used to simplify user interaction by pulling as much information as possible into the limited space provided by your computer's screen and to minimize clicks and commands while maximizing the speed of the system.


A report is a way to present, or analyze, the data in a printed format or graphical output. WinLIMS.NET tightly integrates Business Objects into the software in order to make it simple to generate high quality reports using information that is currently presented on the page. WinLIMS reports can also be generated from the stand-alone Business Objects software or by any other reporting software that is available to your organization.


A program is a piece of code that, when run, will perform a specific action. In WinLIMS.NET, programs and their graphical interface (or page) are often referred as a “Manager” or "Web Page".

Table Characteristics

You'll need to understand some of the basic concepts used throughout WinLIMS.NET in order to make the most effective use of the software. This section describes some of the concepts that will be referred to throughout the documentation because they are ingrained within the software.


Many of the tables are closely related and are structured so that information can easily be presented without duplication of data. Many of the web pages used throughout the WinLIMS.NET software will pull data from the same set of tables, but simply organize it differently to present it to you in a format that reflects the desired context.

Although there are over 80 tables within the software, most users need only understand a few basic relationships which are, in reality, quite natural for anybody who works within the walls of a laboratory. Once these basic relationships are understood, the entire application should fall into place which will make the use and navigation of the software natural to all users.

Test Method (a.k.a. Test Template)

The basic relationship relates to the definition of a test method (or METHOD). A test method is used to identify the information that should be recorded within WinLIMS whenever it is applied to a sample. This is best illustrated by using an example of a test that is performed in many labs; the gravimetric determination of Percent Moisture. We'll refer to the name of this test method as 'Moisture (gravimetric)'.

  • Testing for gravimetric determination of moisture usually consists of weighing a container and recording the 'Tare Weight'.
  • Next, you place your sample into the container and weigh it again and record this 'Initial Weight'.
  • The sample is then placed into an oven for a few hours to drive off the moisture and then re-weighed and recorded as the 'Final Weight'.
  • Once these values have been obtained you calculate the 'Percent Moisture' using the following equation.

100 * ( 1 - ( ( Final Weight - Tare Weight ) / ( Initial Weight - Tare Weight ) )

Within the context of the WinLIMS.NET database, there will be one record in the METHOD table that has four 'child' records associated with it from the PARAMETER table. The relationship is illustrated below.


Sample Type (a.k.a. Test Suite or Product Specification)


Version Control

WinLIMS.NET supports data version control by keeping details of successive record modifications. In the case of table’s relationship, once a table record is modified the referencing table will reference the now current entry. However, for previously referenced data, WinLIMS.NET retains the original relationship and the specific version current at the time it was performed. The user can then review superseded versions. For example, in order to facilitate minor modifications to existing records which use version control, when an entry is displayed on the page, the New Version push-button is activated. Upon clicking this push-button, the user can copy the existing entry into a new version of the record. A new record will be added using the old record number, but the next sequential version number to provide a unique identifier for the record. The status of the new record is automatically set to “N” (New).


Some tables support the Approval Option, that is, each time a change is carried out on an entry it needs to be approved before the changed record is used by the system. The changes are suspended until authorized personal review and approve them.

With the approval option enabled, any change made to an entry has to be approved. Additionally WinLIMS.NET preserves the previous revisions. The previous entries cannot be modified but may be displayed and duplicated and new versions of the record may be based upon an obsolete version as well as upon the current approved version.

The Approve function allows the user to approve change(s) made to a table entry and the user’s ID will be automatically entered into the Approved By field along with the system date into the Approved on field. For example, creating a new method in the Method table, the Approve pushbutton will be activated when a method record is displayed with a status of “N” (New). Upon clicking on the Approve push-button, the status will be changed from “N” (New) to “A” (Approved). If there was an existing approved record for the corresponding Method (ME_N), its status will be changed from “A” (Approved) to “O” (Obsolete).

Audit Trail

As a general rule, changes made to a batch, a sample, sample result(s) or any other type of record within the system are audit trailed and the old record is stored in another table (named TBLAUDIT) within WinLIMS.NET. The user ID and system date indicates when and by whom the change is made. When managing table records the Entered By and Entered On fields are filled in when a new entry is created and the Approved By and Approved On fields when the entry is approved.

A Modification Reason can be requested to explain the reason for a particular change. The conditions for which reasons for modification are required can be configured by the System Administrator.

Standard Tables and Views

TODO: create a basic description of the "Off-The-Shelf" database tables, their different fields and column attributes.

Note: The definitions within this documentation will not reflect any changes made to existing tables, columns or describe new objects, in the case of customized systems.


WinLIMS.NET Web Client is a full-function, web-based Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Through the use of web pages, WinLIMS.NET allows the user to manage data in the system by creating, modifying, and deleting entries in the WinLIMS.NET tables. This data can then easily be associated or reported on alongside the sample information.

Queries, web pages, and reports can be designed to search and display information from several tables at once and to perform actions on data from more than one table.

As the content of a table may need to be modified, WinLIMS.NET provides the user with various programs to operate on entries. These programs are also referred as ‘Web Pages’ or ‘Managers’. For example, actions performed when using the 'Sample Manager Page', which contains all related sample information such as Sample Id, Product Code, Lot Number, Project Number, etc., will interact with all database tables that are associated with samples, test methods and parameters (results). The following section describes the principal tools and functions provided when working with WinLIMS.NET tables and data.

Although the pages can be configured or customized specifically to accommodate your organization and the commands and pushbuttons that appear might change from one site to another, their operational mode will be generally very similar to the common functionality provided by the examples used in this documentation. Also, since WinLIMS.NET follows the standard conventions found in other web and Windows applications it should be fairly intuitive to your users who use the web for personal use. If you can Ebay, Google,, etc. you can use WinLIMS.NET. The following chapter details the principal system characteristics and the use of its major commands.

WinLIMS.NET Web Client has a unique and powerful user interface that makes creating and locating information fast and easy. Once you master the general navigation tools, the use of any page within the WinLIMS.NET Web Client software will become second nature to you and you’ll maximize the benefits of the WinLIMS.NET Web Client software. There are basically two types of pages that are used by the software;

Page Styles

Single Table Pages

Single table pages are used to create and manage records within a single table. These are normally represented in rows and columns; a format that resembles a spreadshee.

Multi-Table Pages

Multi-Table pages are used to pull information from different logical areas of the WinLIMS database. The "master" represents the main topic of interest and the "detail" represents the information that is associated with the "master" record. The Sample Management page is an example of a Multi-Table page. The following illustrations describe the key layout features and tools that are used to navigate through each of the pages.

Multi-Table pages include three general navigational areas that provide different functions. These areas are:

  • Menu Navigation
  • Data Navigation (treeview)
  • Row Level Details (with or without child details)

Menu Navigation

The Menu Navigation area which allows each user to access the various functions of the software to which they are granted permission.


Data Navigation (treeview)

The Data Navigation area presents a treeview representation of the results of the current query. Like Windows File Explorer, the result set is displays in treeview fashion with explandable "nodes" at each level. The following illustration highlights samples sorted by the Material (SAMPLE_TYPE) followed by the Insp# (LOT) and finally by SAMPLE_ID (indicated by the flasks containing green liquid).


Row Level Details

The Row Level Details area displays the details of the currently selected record and any of its related "child" rows. The following illustration shows the details of a sample record that is presented based on the selected tree view node (or leaf if the last level of a tree view node was clicked; in this case the highlighted Sample Id leaf) within the Data Navigation area. If more than one row is fetched based on a node click you can navigate the rows using the "Slider Control". The following illustration highlights samples sorted by the Material (SAMPLE_TYPE) followed by the Insp# (LOT) and finally by SAMPLE_ID (indicated by the flasks containing green liquid).


In the following example the Materials (SAMPLE_TYPES) are ‘Base Oil A’, ‘Chips Deluxe’, ‘DE7099’ and ‘Oil – SW30’. The Insp# (LOT) values for the ‘DE7099’ are in the folder directly below it and include; ‘060417-20’, ‘060417-71’, ‘060418-61’, etc. The samples (SAMPLE_IDs) that are associated with one of the Insp# (LOT) of ‘070718-01’ are ‘2007000367’, ‘2007000368’, ‘2007000369’ and‘2007000370’. Here the SID (SAMPLE_ID) named ‘2007000369’ is selected and all of its associated information is displayed.

A Current Record Frame may include Detail Frame(s) that display ‘child’ records that hold information that related to the ‘master’ record on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis. The following illustration highlights the multiple result records that are associated with the selected sample record.


Section Expansion & Contraction

Pushbuttons Pushbuttons-Expand-Contract.jpg are provided that allow you to optimize the use of your screen by expanding and contracting frames and sections within frames. The following illustrations show the same sample record with different frames and sections expanded and contracted for the same SAMPLE record.

The following illustration shows frames that you may wish to expand when using the WinLIMS.NET navigation tools to locate specific SAMPLE records...


...once the SAMPLE record set is located, you may wish to collapse the navigation frames and open up the frames that allow you to review and/or edit results.


Queries & Data Organization

A series of powerful query tools are provided within each WinLIMS.NET web page that enables you to quickly locate and organize information for data entry, data review and reporting.

The high degree of productivity and efficiency that is gained through the use of WinLIMS.NET is done through the ease of extracting data out of the system and converting it to information that allows you to improve the quality of the products you produce and the services you provide. With this in mind you'd be best served to become proficient in the use of the query tools that are described within this section of the document in order to allow you to get the most out of your system.

Within each of the major WinLIMS.NET pages there are 4 different types of query tools that are provided. Each has their own advantage.

  • Smart Search Function is a "Google-like" function that is very easy to use but its the least refined query tool
  • Query by Example (QBE) Function is slightly more complex than the Smart Search, and allows better refinement
  • User-Defined Queries is an incredibly flexible query design tool that provides a wide variety of operators and expressions but can be complex to design
  • Favorite Queries are QBE or complex queries that are stored, named and listed in a drop-down menu for quick access

Queries combine both a data selection criteria along with multi-level sorting using any column (field) that is available within the database table that is used within the WinLIMS.NET page. A default selection and sorting criteria is associated with each page which can be modified by your system administrator. Each of these queries are described herein.

Smart Search Function

The "Smart Search" function is a "Google-like" tool that you can use to locate any record from the database that is associated with the currently presented page that contains the text string that was entered into the "" field. The operation of "Smart Search" is simple:

  1. Enter a value into the "Smart Search" field
  2. Click the "Execute Smart Search" pushbutton


That's it! And all records that have the entered text present within any of its associated fields will be returned to the page. The records will be sorted within the systems default sort order.

Query by Example Function

Clear the page by clicking the "update" command on the main menu or by sliding the "Slider" to the zero position. Enter the text, date and/or numeric values into the appropriate fields and then click the QBE pushbutton Pushbutton-QBE.jpg. The data that matches the entered selection (or filtration) criteria will be retrieved and the data will be sorted in the default sort order.

Query by Example

Query Design Tool

Favorite Queries

Default Startup Query for a Page

Each page within the WinLIMS.NET web client can be assigned a default query and sort criteria that will be executed by opening the page and clicking the QBE pushbutton without making any selection.

Whenever a QBE is executed by clicking the "Update" menu, entering one or more selection criteria into the page and then clicking the QBE pushbutton Pushbutton-QBE.jpg, the retrieved data will be sorted in the default sort order. You can replace the selection criteria and sort order using the query designer and retrieving and ordering the data based on any desired criteria. You can also replace the selection criteria and sort order by using a query that is available from your "Favorites" menu.

The selection and sorting criteria are "reset" in one of two ways:

  • By clicking on the page’s "update" menu item
  • By dragging the "slider" to the zero position

All pages have default queries associated with them. QSI provides default values but provides you with two ways to define a default query for each web page. Within this document we will use a standard WinLIMS page "Sample Life Cycle / update" for our examples. You’ll need to follow the pattern for any custom-designed pages that are site-specific.

Define Default Query using Page Settings

Because this affects all users, redefining the default startup query requires that you be part of the Administrator role.

The first step it to select the 'update' menu item of the page for which the default query is being defined or updated. The following illustration shows where to locate the "update" menu item for the "Sample Life Cycle" page. Next expand the Explorer frame and click on the "Page Settings" pushbutton Pushbutton-Create-Page-Settings.jpg to reveal the query designer as shown in the following illustration.


  • Select the various fields and conditions that will be used as the default data selection criteria by using the selectors within the "Selection Criteria" section of the page.
  • Select the desired sort order (including ASCending and DESCending criteria) within the "Sort Order" section of the page.
  • Select the desired "Page Size" and 'Maximum Rows' within the "Other Preferences" section.
  • Click the "Save/Update" pushbutton to commit the change. The values are assigned to settings within the "siteSettings.xml" file for the associated page. When saving setting for the "Sample Life Cycle / update” page the values will be associated with the "Where" and "Orderby" settings within the <sampleFormView> section.

Define Default Query by editing siteSettings.xml directly

The "siteSettings.xml" file is located within the "App_Data" folder of your WinLIMS.NET virtual directory. Only a user with access to the web server can perform this action. Sections are included within the file that are associated with each of the pages within the WinLIMS.NET web client software. The following is an example of the section that is used to control the "Sample Life Cycle / update" page. The two highlighted settings can be manually updated to define the default selection and sort order criteria. These are the settings that are updated when defined using the “Page Settings” function within the web client.

   <setting key="MaxRows" value="100" />
   <setting key="View" value="V_SAMPLE" />
   <setting key="Table" value="SAMPLE" />
   <setting key="Where" value="  (SAMPLE_STATUS IN ('N','P'))" />
   <setting key="Orderby" value="ENT_ON DESC" />
   <setting key="Results_HideColumns" value="ME_N,ME_VERS,PA_N,PA_VERS,INDX,PA_INDX,SAMPLEPARAM_ID,SAMPLE_ID,MENU" />
   <setting key="Results_View" value="V_SAMPLEPARAM" />
   <setting key="Results_Table" value="SAMPLEPARAM" />

Managing data

TODO: what goes here?

Using WinLIMS Programs

Methods Manager

Method Details Information

Audit Information
Method Status Codes
Descriptive Information

Methods Manager Functions

Methods Manager Functions

Batch Pattern
Manage Related Document

Creating New Methods

Editing and Approving Method Records

New Method Version
Duplicating Test Method Records
Approve New Method

Parameters Definition

Audit Trail Information Section
Identification Section
Results Settings
Menu Choices
Creating Calculations
Formula Design
Calculation Parameters
Calculation Delimiter (§) (~)
Arithmetic Operators
Intrinsic Functions
Intrinsic Calculations
Advanced Syntax for ‘Cross’ calculation
Parameter Type (PA_TYPE)

Raw Value Parameter Types

Defining a Raw Value Parameter
Raw Value Settings
Raw Parameters Information
Raw Parameters Results Entry

Sample Types Manager

Sample Types Manager Form

Audit Information Section
The Sample Types Status Codes
Descriptive Information Section

Sample Type functions

Marketing synonyms
Hazard and Handling Information
Managing Related Document

Creating a new Sample Type

Associating Test Methods

Appending Test Methods

Inserting Test Methods

Assigning Confirmatory Tests

Defining Reduced Test Frequencies

Method Subclass Function

Associating Method Subclasses to a Sample Type
Selecting a Method Subclass at Sample login

Setting Test Limits

Editing Sample Type Records

Approving a Sample Type

Creating New Versions of a Sample Type

Creating Duplicate Sample Type Records

Customer Specification Matching

Creating a Sample using Customer Specifications
Customer Specification Matching
Create a Sample Type for each Standard Type

Address Manager Fields

Creating Contact details

Editing Address records

Projects Manager

Project Manager Fields

Creating a Project

Associating a Sample with the Project

Qualifying the Project List

Editing Project Records

Instruments Manager

Instruments Details Information

Instrument Descriptive Information

Instrument Maintenance and Calibration information

Maintenance Information

Creating and Managing Instrument Records

Managing Maintenance Records

Document Manager

Document Manager Fields

Registering a document

Directory Merge Documents command

Server Change Wizard

Editing Documents records

Compound Manager

Compound Manager Fields

Creating a New Compound Record

Editing Compound records

Compound functionalities

Consistency in Parameter Nomenclature
Characteristics Used in Calculations

Materials and Consumables Manager

Materials and Consumables Fields

Managing Inventory Items

Training Module

Course Manager

Course Manager Form
Method Qualification Section
Creating New Course Records
Associating Method Qualifications

Training by Course

Training by Course Form
Recording Course Attendance
Editing Training Records

System Environment

Lookup Manager

Lookup Manager Fields

Creating a New Lookup Value

Editing Techniques for Lookup values

Items controlled by the Lookup Manager

Combo Box Lookups and Columns Definition =

Units Manager

Units Manager Fields

Creating Units of Measure

Editing Techniques for Unit Record

Auto Sample Scheduler

Auto Sample Scheduler Fields

Creating a new Auto Sample Scheduling record

Duplicating or Copying an Auto Sample Scheduling record

Deleting Auto Sample Scheduling Records

Altering Auto Sample Scheduling Records

Changing the Auto Sample Scheduling Login Status


Setting up the Generic Shortcut

Creating a Shortcut for a Specific Template

Creating a LimsLink™ Template

Acquisition Settings

Acquire Now!
Acquire every N seconds
Enable Log File

Options Settings

WinLIMS Interlink

Initial Setting Up of Interlink

Creating a new Instrument Configuration

Using an existing Configuration file

Assign Instrument Buttons

Using Interlink to Acquire Data

Monitoring Interlink progress

Importing Data into WinLIMS

Running Data Import (DATAX)

Populating the INTER_LINK_DATA table ready for import

Final Import into WinLIMS

Script Reference Definition

Example of configuration files

Mail Events

The LIMS_Event function

Electronic Signature

Sample Overview

Other Menu Settings

Screens Design

Changing Field LabelsChange

Repositioning Database Fields and Labels

Resizing Database Fields and Labels

Reformatting Tabular Column Names

Hiding Tabular Column

Repositioning Tabular Columns

Resizing Tabular Columns =


Crystal Report Management

Create the Report

Register a Report using the Document Manager

Register a Single Document
Register Multiple Reports within a Directory

Run Crystal Report within WinLIMS

Browse Report fields and settings
Additional Crystal Reports Options

Print and Design Crystal Report Based Labels

Connecting Crystal to a Different Data Source

Centura Report Manager

Centura Reports Manager Fields

Report Manager Commands

Further Reading

For further information concerning details that are not covered in this user manual, please consult these other WinLIMS.ASP documents: