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2001 South First Street

Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 384-6330

Simulator 13 – New look of the Ribbon and Model Explorer

When PowerWorld Corporation first introduced Simulator in the mid 1990s, we introduced a
new user interface to power system analysis that was built on top of the Windows 95 platform.
This interface made your power system analysis tool look and feel the same as other software
you used on a daily basis. The heart of this interface was the familiar menu structure still used
by most software today. In Simulator 5.0 we first introduced toolbars to the interface, which
complemented the traditional menu structure.

Since that time, Simulator has grown substantially as more and more features have been added to
make your analysis faster, easier, and more convenient. However, the basic user interface with
the menu structure and toolbars remained unchanged. Over the last few versions of our products,
we have found it increasingly difficult to fit all these new features into the menu and toolbar
structure in a manner that made the program approachable and continued our history of being
easy to use for all users. The primary flaw with the menu structure is that all menu items and
toolbar buttons visually appear to have the same priority, making it difficult to signal to the user
the most commonly used features. As more features were added, the menus got longer making
the program more difficult to navigate.

To combat these problems, Simulator Version 13 introduces a new Ribbon Interface as a

fundamentally different structure which replaces the old menu and toolbar interface. This
innovation was first introduced in the Microsoft Office 2007 desktop applications, which ships
with most computers running Windows Vista. In researching the development history of
Microsoft Office 2007, PowerWorld found that it addressed many similar hurdles that we have
found in our own development. We believe the new Ribbon Interface will be more efficient for
you and will allow more flexibility when adding new features in the future.

As part of the changes to the menus, a related change was also made to the old Case Information
Menu. This menu in particular was getting exceedingly long, and our users often had a number
of case information displays open simultaneously leading to a cluttered environment. To
alleviate both of these problems, the new Model Explorer now provides convenient direct access
to most case information displays in a single window.

The remainder of this document will provide you a brief introduction to the new Ribbon
Interface and Model Explorer.

PowerWorld Corporation continues to produce software that is complex in its scope. At the
same time, we invest in user interface improvement, ensuring that your use of the software
remains both efficient and enjoyable.

Mark Laufenberg
President, PowerWorld Corporation
2001 South First Street
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 384-6330

The Ribbon
When you first open Simulator 13, you will notice the new Ribbon Interface. The new Ribbon, opened to the Case Information
Ribbon Tab, is shown in the following image. The first thing to learn about the new Ribbon is the Application Button. Click on this
button to open the Application Menu.

Application Button Ribbon Tabs

Click on the Application Button to open the drop-down menu All of the features in the software are organized in seven Ribbon
(shown below) which provides access to the familiar Open, Tabs. Browse through each of the Ribbon Tabs and you will see
Save, Load, and Print options, as well as the list of recently that each is designed for a specific way of using the software.
opened cases.
Ribbon Groups
Application Menu Each Ribbon Tab is further sub-divided into between 4 and 7
groupings called Ribbon Groups. Ribbon Groups join sets of
buttons and menus that are related to one another.

Large Buttons and Menus

There are Large Buttons and Large Menus that represent features
of the software that are most commonly used. As you navigate
the Ribbon Tabs notice the buttons which are large. The various
types of buttons available now are depicted below.

Large Button

Large Button Menu

Small Button with Caption

Small Button Menu
Small Button without Caption
Menu only Caption

Quick Access Toolbar

The Ribbon Quick Access Toolbar provides you with The default buttons that appear in
quick access to the most frequently used buttons. the Quick Access Toolbar are
These buttons are found in the top left portion of the
Ribbon just to the right of the Application Button. Save Case
Load Auxiliary File
You can add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar by Model Explorer
right-clicking on the button in the Ribbon and Message Log
choosing Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Also Single Solution Buttons
experiment with the options Show Quick Access Simulator Options
Toolbar Below the Ribbon and Minimize the Ribbon.
2001 South First Street
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 384-6330

Summary of Ribbon Tabs

A brief summary of each Ribbon Tab along with a picture of it are shown on this page. A brief note about the design of the Ribbons:
the number of items in any grouping is no more than seven. Thus, there are seven Ribbon Tabs, in each Ribbon Tab there are no more
than seven Ribbon Groups, and in each Ribbon Group there are no more than seven buttons or menus.

Case Information
Primarily used to navigate all of the
data in your model. Provides access
to the Model Explorer and
Area/Zone/Owner Filters.

Replaces the old Edit, Insert, and
Format Menus. Features are used to
draw new onelines or edit existing
ones by adding, moving, formatting,
or resizing existing oneline objects.

Primarily used after you have
already created a oneline diagram.
This provides features for
customizing the appearance of your
oneline diagram.

Provides access to all of the analysis
tools available in the base package
of Simulator such as power flow
analysis, contingency analysis, or
the sensitivities tools.

All of the buttons on this are also
available on one of the other ribbon
tabs, however this ribbon tab brings
most of the options in the software
into one place.

Add Ons
This ribbon tab provides access to
all of the add-on tools available for
Simulator including the OPF,
SCOPF, ATC, and PVQV tools.

This ribbon tab provides access to
customizing the windows in the user
interface. It also has some
information regarding help topics.
2001 South First Street
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 384-6330

Model Explorer
The old Case Information Menu has been replaced by the Model Explorer. The Model Explorer Button is available on the Tools
Ribbon Tab, Case Information Ribbon Tab, as well as the Quick Access Toolbar. The three menus (Network, Aggregation, and
Filters, Expression, Etc…) on the Case Information Ribbon Group on the Case Information Ribbon Tab mimic the behavior of the old
Case Information Menu, but PowerWorld encourages you to leave open a Model Explorer in the future and navigate using the Explore
Pane instead.

The Model Explorer is made up of several regions which are described below and are depicted in the image below.

Explore Pane The Explore Pane contains a hierarchical list of most of the objects contained in the power system
model. Entries in the Explore Pane that are grayed out represent objects that presently are not defined
in the model. The Explore Pane is separated into eight primary folders, with only the Network and
Aggregations folder expanded by default. The Network folder contains the objects that represent the
physical devices in the model, while the Aggregations folder contains objects that represent groups.
Options Pane The Options Pane contains access to some commonly used case information display actions. All
options here can also be accessed from the case information toolbar or local menu.
Recent Tabs The Recent Tabs represent a list of the most recently viewed case information displays on the Model
Explorer. You can click on the X to the left of each tab to clear from the recent list.
Case Information Toolbar The Case Information Toolbar contains a graphical representation of all of the options and actions
which can be applied to the case information display. These are the same options that have always
been available on the Case Information right-click local menu. This is depicted in the image below.
Search Toolbar The Search Toolbar provides direct access to the former Search For Text dialog.

Explore Pane Recent Tabs

Options Pane

Case Information

Note: The option available on the

Case Information right-
click local menu are now all
available on the Case
Information Toolbar
directly above the display

Search Toolbar