Extract and Store Balloon Numbers From Your Feature Labels (ver. 3.2 or higher)
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written: 09/20/2022
last modified: 03/15/2024


From time to time, customers want to store balloon numbers or other information about their dimensions in separate fields. As of versions 3.2 and higher, QC-CALC offers the Characteristic Source and Extra Info fields (Dimension Source and Dimension Information in 3.4 and earlier). These are great for storing characteristic-specific information. This is different from the factors since factors are part-based. In other words, each part could have a different value for the same characteristic so it won't fit the bill. Let's take the above example of storing a balloon number from your print. This is something that can be entered once at the feature level whether you have 100 or 10000 parts in your part file.

In the related article (link on right side), there are instructions for doing this manually via the Nominals and Tolerances screen in QC-CALC SPC, but you can also do it automatically during data collection if the information you want to extract is built into your feature label.

Take the following example feature label:

(105) Hole Position:X

Let's say you set up your data collection so the balloon numbers are between parentheses in the feature label. In this case, the balloon number from your print is 105 and you want this information to be extracted from the label and added to the Dimension Information field for that dimension.

The following steps will show you how this is done.

PLEASE NOTE: You can extract/store any piece of the information from the feature label. We are just using the balloon number because it is a common request.


  1. Start QC-CALC Real-Time and go to Tools > Edit Application Defaults... (in earlier versions, press SHIFT+F8). The Configuration Editor window should appear.
  2. In this tab, there are several groupings. Expand the DataCollectionSettings grouping and look for items starting with "Extract".

    There are two sets of 7 fields beginning with Extract. These are listed as follows with definitions.

    ExtractDimField1Enabled - This field is an ON/OFF switch. It starts as 0 or OFF. To turn it on, change the value to 1.

    ExtractDimField1Destination - The destination of the value. Currently, there are two supported values here; "ExtraInfo" and "DimSource". Enter one or the other without quotes.

    ExtractDimField1StartChar - The starting character. QC-CALC will search for this character in the feature label and grab values after it.

    ExtractDimField1EndChar - The ending character. QC-CALC will search for this character after the start character position and grab the value between the two.

    ExtractDimField1UseStartCharOnly - Another optional ON/OFF switch if you don't have an end character. An example is below under More Information.

    ExtractDimField1UseEndCharOnly - Another optional ON/OFF switch for when you don't have a start character. An example is below under More Information.

    ExtractDimField1KeepLabelIntact - Optional ON/OFF switch. If set to "1", the extracted portion of the label will be retained in the label. If this is set to "0", that portion will be copied to the Characteristic Source/Extra Info fields and removed from the label. NOTE: This option is available in 4.0 only.
  1. Based on the definitions above, set the values to the following:

    ExtractDimField1Enabled = 1
    ExtractDimField1Destination = ExtraInfo
    ExtractDimField1StartChar = (
    ExtractDimField1EndChar = )
    ExtractDimField1UseStartCharOnly = 0

    This will tell QC-CALC to search for the value between "(" and ")" and put it in the Dimension Information field for each dimension on your part.

    Set the fields by double-clicking them, entering the new value, and clicking OK on the dialog.
  1. Once you are finished, click Apply or OK to save your changes.

NOTE: You must restart QC-CALC Real-Time for the changes to take effect since it only reads the settings when it starts (for performance reasons).

  1. When you collect a part with the example above: (105) Hole Position:X,
    the "105" will go to the Dimension Information field and the feature label will become "Hole Position:X".


General Rules when Using the Extract Commands

  1. Do NOT nest the extractions or it won't work.

    Example: "(105(13)) X Hole Position"

    If you are using both extract commands and want to extract both the 105 and the 13 it won't work since they are nested.
  2. If the extractions cause the dim label to be blank, they will not take place so we don't have an empty label. Specifically, if the first extraction makes the label blank, it won't happen. If the first one works, but the second extraction makes the label blank, the label will be reset to the value before the second extraction and the second extraction won't happen.

    Example: "(105)"

    If you are extracting between parentheses, then the extraction would cause the feature label to be blank (since the extraction is removed from the feature label). If this occurs, no extraction will occur.
  3. The default destination is DimSource. Any destination that doesn't match the above will go to the dim source.
  4. The start and end characters must be at least one char. long, but can be more than one char. long. If either is zero length, extraction is aborted (unless StartCharOnly is set to 1).
  5. If either character is not found, it is aborted (unless StartCharOnly is set to 1).


NOTE: If you do not see this field, please update to the latest version of QC-CALC 3.3 as it was added in a revision.

This field is used when your dimension label doesn't have two characters surrounding the value you want to extract. For example, let's say your feature label is "Hole Position:X" and you want to extract the "X". If you set the extraction commands like the following, it will ignore the end character and grab everything after the colon (:).

ExtractDimField1Enabled = 1
ExtractDimField1Destination = ExtraInfo
ExtractDimField1StartChar= :
ExtractDimField1EndChar = )
ExtractDimField1UseStartCharOnly = 1


NOTE: QC-CALC Real-Time 4.0 only. If you don't see this setting in 4,0, update to the latest revision.

This field is used when your dimension label doesn't have two characters surrounding the value you want to extract. For example, let's say your feature label is "107_Hole Position" and you want to extract the "107". If you set the extraction commands like the following, it will extract everything up to the underscore (_).

ExtractDimField1Enabled = 1
ExtractDimField1Destination = ExtraInfo
ExtractDimField1EndChar = _
ExtractDimField1UseEndCharOnly = 1

ExtractDimField2 Fields
There are two sets of extract fields provided for your convenience. You can use one or both of them if desired. The same rules apply.

Applies To

QC-CALC Enterprise v.3.30
QC-CALC Enterprise v.3.20
QC-CALC Real-Time v.4.10
QC-CALC Real-Time v.4.00
QC-CALC Real-Time v.3.40
QC-CALC Real-Time v.3.30
QC-CALC Real-Time v.3.20


Data Collection
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