NB Multi-language Tutorial

This article will provide details for the use and functionality of the multi-language feature supported by the NB HMI.
The NB HMI supports up to 32 languages and has a convenient method for easily switching among multiple languages during run time. This article will provide a general tutorial for the implementation of multiple language switching in the NB with an example to illustrate the steps required. More detailed information can be found in the NB series NB-Designer Operation Manual (Cat. No. V106).
This article has the following sections:
General Information

The Text Library in NB-Designer can be used to store the text contents needed by the project during development and run time. This library provides a quick way to change the language of specific items throughout a project quickly and easily.

NB-Designer currently supports up to 32 kinds of language settings. The default is 8.

The special system memory register LW9130 is used to switch languages defined in the Text Library configured in NB-Designer.

The Text Library allows completed text to be imported and exported in CSV format. This provides a convenient editing method via common third-party software such as Microsoft Excel.

NB-Designer requires a specific file format for importing of Text Libraries. Unicode Text renamed to .csv file type is required.

A specific font setting can be applied to an entire language selection, making the appearance consistent among multiple languages.

Once a language switch is made, it occurs throughout the entire project, not just the present screen.

There is also a "Change System Language" option in NB-Designer that is not related to this tutorial. This changes the NB-Designer software language.  

A new NB-Designer project has a default setting of 8 for the maximum number of languages. This can be increased to 32 by opening the PT Property window, selecting the PT Extended Property tab and clicking the Language Setting button. Now the number of languages used can be increased in the PT Extended Property tab beyond the default 8 setting.


Font Types

NB-Designer provides 3 types of font called bitmap, graphic and vector.

  • - Bitmap font prepares bitmaps for each character and has disadvantages for scaling and multi-language and therefore should not be used when multiple languages are required in a project. Some ASCII characters are treated as single-byte characters but when another language is used, certain characters require double-byte size and will not be displayed correctly.
  • - Graphic font is similar to bitmap font and is also not recommended for use in a project with multiple languages. The Text Library does not support graphic font types.
  • - Vector font does not have the disadvantages of bitmap or graphic font and is recommended when a project has multiple languages. Each language can be assigned a specific vector font which can reduce efforts to maintain consistent text appearance throughout the project. See step 11 in the example below for the procedure to assign a vector font to a defined language number.

When adjusting the properties for an item with text, there are generally three text font options; Transport Font, Graphic Font and Use Text Library (optional only when the Text Library is configured).

  • - Transport font should be used when vector or bitmap font types are needed for a non-Text Library item.
  • - Graphic font should be used when a specific font installed in Windows is required. This font can make full use of the fonts installed in Windows and the display quality is high for large font sizes.
  • - Use Text Library should be used when there are multiple languages. It also supports both bitmap and vector font types.

The following example is based on the example provided in the NB-series Programmable Terminals Startup Guide Manual (Cat. No. V109). This manual is included with the NB-Designer installation and can be accessed via the help menu. This example adds Spanish as language 2 and keeps English as language 1. The PLC is a CP1L-EM type and the HMI is an NB7W-TW01B type for this example.

  1. Open the example project included with the NB-Designer software. It can be found in the Windows Start Menu NB installation location under NB-Designer - Screen Data - Sample Screen(NB7).
  2. Open the screen named 10:Wait shown below

  1. To better understand the import/export functionality we will make a few language changes for the first two screens and then export to examine the Text Library CSV file created. Open the Text Library in the options menu or with the following icon.
  2. Add the title "Flash Headlights" and state no. "1", then click OK. Because this text object only has one state and will not conditionally switch in this application, enter 1 for state as shown below. Then click OK to close the Add Text pop up.

  1. Click the plus sign next to the newly created Text Library entry and add the text you want to display for language 1 and language 2 (this example uses English for language 1 and Spanish for language 2). This text needs to be displayed in two lines, so press the enter button to create a second line of text for proper screen fit. This second line of text will be indicated as $_enter_$ in the exported CSV file in the following steps.

  1. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the next screen text "Opening". The Text Library should appear similar to this.

  1. Now we are ready to export and modify the CSV file accordingly. Click Export and select a location for the CSV Text Library File.
  2. Open the CSV file in a spreadsheet editing software program such as Microsoft Excel. Add subsequent cells for new text languages as shown below (also attached as TextLib.csv). Certain text may have multiple states, such as the bit lamp text "Shutter Stopped" highlighted below. Make the spreadsheet entry reflect this accordingly.

  1. Save the spreadsheet in the format required for importing on the next step as "Unicode Text" and as a .txt file extension. Then modify the extension to .csv in the file explorer to prepare for importing.

  1. Now the Text Library file is ready to import and populate the database with all necessary languages to use in the project. Open the Text Library and click Import.

*Note: If there is an error in the format or cell placement or content in the CSV file, the file will not import. Ensure all fields are present and contain the necessary values. Also be sure to save the file in the proper format and file extension as detailed in step 9 above.

  1. Each text item should now have a Language1 and Language2 entry. To format the font and style of all entries for each language, select Language, make the appropriate font changes and click Copy Font Attribute to all Languages. This feature prevents the need for reselecting font each time a Text Library language is applied (this function can also be found in the PT Property window under the PT Extended Property tab by clicking the Language Setting button).


  1. Now that the Text Library has been completed, select multi-language text items in the project and modify the text property to select the appropriate Text Library item as shown. Individual item font attributes may also need to be adjusted accordingly.

Switching Languages

All project components that are set to use the Text Library can be easily switched to another defined language at once by selecting View -> Language1, Language2, etc.

During run time, a screen part such as a Word Switch can be used to cycle through the various languages. See the attached example (DemoProject_NB7W_Langs_MO.zip) for a full implementation using the special system memory register LW9130 for this functionality. 

Additional Information

The details and references for this article were made at the time of NB-Designer Version 1.3. Newer versions may operate and function differently. Contact your local Omron representative for more information.