Using Format Manager For Creating Format Files

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Using Format Manager For Creating Format Files

This guide will be relevant for the TPS 300, 400, 700, 800 and 1200 series and also GPS 500 and 1200.

Step Action Screen Display


Format Manager

This sub-program can be found in Leica Survey Office, Ski Pro, Leica Geo Office Tools and Leica Geo Office Combined.

It is found by going to ‘Tools’ and starting ‘Format Manager’.

Please note in Ski Pro the program is found in: C:\Program Files\LEICA Geosystems\SkiPro\FormatManager

The Format Manager program allows the user to custom design the data output from the total station or GPS unit.

The data output format can be designed to meet most survey program requirements or just display the data to specific user demands. For example the data output can be tailored for GSI format, CSV format or any standard text format to import into survey processing software. The measurements, points and codes can all be arranged in any order, including additional identifier text added to suit.

Creating Format Files

Open Format Manager Go to File, New

Select the Instrument class and specify Format Type

If you wish to use the format file on-board the




On left hand side of the screen are the available sources of data output from the instrument.

Data Export is for the output of measured information. Logfiles is for the output of quality control information and reporting of specific applications.

Expand Data Export: here you can set to export information in the Header of Footer of the output file, but for now we will look at Export Formatstrings only. This is where the main bulk of data will be output. Expand this and then expand Data Blocks:

The most popular blocks where information is exported are the Points, TPS Measurements (or

Measurement TPS) and Free Codes. Expanding any of these will reveal the Exportstring.

In this tutorial, expand the Points source. Click on Exportstring.

This will give you a blank white window in the centre and also different variables on the right-hand side. The upper centre (main) window is where text and variables are entered – these define what data is exported from the instrument.

The lower centre window shows an example of what the data will look like once exported from the


The right-hand window shows the list of available variables. Double clicking on these moves them into the main window.

Any variable that appears in the main window will mean that the particular variable is exported from the instrument every time the block event occurs. For example, in Points block, every time a point is recorded on the instrument, the information will be exported as defined in the main window.

You can add text in the main window; this will also be exported with the data. Any text will appear on every line of data when that particular block is exported. For example in GSI format, 21.024 could be added to appear before every horizontal angle.


Step Action Screen Display 4


In the tutorial we will create a simple comma separated file (CSV) using the Point ID, Easting, Northing, Height and Code.

- From the variables on the right, find Point ID and double click on it. This will move it to the main window. - With the cursor after <Point ID>, enter a comma character using your keyboard. Any characters can be added if required and will appear every time the block is exported.

- From the variables window, find Easting and double

click on it. Enter a comma from your keyboard to follow this.

- Continue to enter Northing, Ortho height, Point

Code (each separated by commas). Finally hit enter

on your keyboard to take the cursor to the next line (this ensures each line of data output is on a new line) In the main window, double click on <Point ID>. This will open a new dialogue box – formatting options. In the General tab you can define various parameters: Length defines the total length in characters of the exported value if a standard length is required, but ONLY when the truncate value option is ticked (see step 6). Otherwise the output will be as long as the value requires or use fill characters to meet the minimum length stated.

Enter 1 in this example and the output will adjust to the length of the real value.

The Precision is the length of characters after the decimal point. For example enter 3 for a distance stated accuracy to 1mm. Enter 0 if the value is not a number or does not require a decimal.

Enter 0 in the tutorial as the <Point ID> is text. The Fill character defines what character will fill the output when the number of characters does not meet the number in the length field (only applicable when alignment is right). If the length is set to 10 and the value only contains 2 digits, then the preceding 8 values will be filled with either a zero or a space. Alignment will send the characters to the right or left if they do not fill the whole field.

- In the tutorial, leave the fill character as space (as it will not be used)

Example 1 Length =10 Recorded value = 12 Alignment = right Fill character = 0 Output = 0000000012 Example 2 Length =5 Recorded value = 12 Alignment = left Output = 12--- (where - = space)


6 There will be further settings available if you double-click on a variable that has numeric values:

Representation – leave as normal

Sign will add a positive or negative sign to the value if required.

Unit defines the values units to be used, or tick box to use the same units as the instrument.

In the Flags tab, you have the option to set the following:

Truncate value will cut off part of the value if it

exceeds the specified length. The value is truncated to the specified length, either the left or right characters of the value as defined by the alignment.

Selecting Export nothing if variable is empty will mean the value is left blank if there was no value entered (instead of using the fill character)

For the tutorial, configure the <Easting>, <Northing> and <Ortho Height> variables so that they all have length =1, precision = 3 and Fill character = 0. Leave any other settings as they are. This will mean the characters before the decimal point are as long as the value requires and it always has 3 characters after the decimal point.

Configure the <Point Code> variable so that length = 1, precision = 0 and Fill character = space.

An example of the output would be as indicated:

Once these settings have been completed the format file is ready to be saved and then transferred to a GPS unit or Total Station for data export.

Format files are generally saved in the Formats folder on an instrument, or the Convert folder on the flash card and then transferred to the system RAM to be used.

23,920.443,1030.853,56.565,CODE 24,1032.231,1132.223,56.776,CODE 25,1132.351,912.273,56.471,CODE


Step Action Screen Display 7



Advanced settings

Double clicking on a variable and entering flags will show further options on some variables.

Allow scaling – leaving this ticked will allow the values to be scaled in the Options section (see below) Suppress rounding – Truncates the value instead of rounding them – eg 100.9 becomes 100

Options – Settings

General - Scales – the scales allow any value to be multiplied by a factor defined. This is useful when writing a GSI format for example, that doesn’t have a decimal place. Inputting a scale of 1000 will mean that a value of 123.456 will be output 123456.

The Linear scale applies to distances and coordinates. These settings apply to the whole file.

Units – you can define the various units to be output or check the “use instrument units” box to use whatever the instrument was using.

String Pool – copy and pasting values

Accessed by right-clicking in the main window. Use the string pool to copy and paste entries between different blocks. Saving a string pool is the equivalent of copying the entire row of variables and any additional text. Loading a string pool is the equivalent of pasting the variables and text.

Note that loading a string pool into certain datablocks may not work as the variables may not be valid in that datablock type.