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Creating Templates in Phoenix WinNonlin

One of the most useful features of the new Phoenix WinNonlin software is the ability to re-use objects for new projects. In particular, it takes quite a bit of time to adjust all of the settings for figures in Phoenix. You need to adjust the font on both axes, change the legend labels, choose the appropriate symbols and lines for the data, and create a title. Then you need to create a similar figure for another study. Wouldn’t it be great to take the existing figure that you created and then paste that into the new project? It would be almost like using the “Paintbrush” formatting tool from Microsoft Word.

Format painter button
Format painter button

Well, it might not be as easy as the formatting painter in Word, but is is very easy to re-use objects within Phoenix WinNonlin. First, re-usable objects in Phoenix® are called templates. A template can contain a single object (like an XY plot) or it can contain multiple objects (like an entire workflow or set of objects). In the example below, I show you how to create an XY plot template. Here are brief instructions that you can review while you watch the video below (Note: after you start the video, click the gear icon and select 1080HD for a clearer video):

  1. Create the desired XY plot including all customizations
  2. Select the XY plot to be “re-used” in the Workflow Diagram. Right-click and choose “Create Template”.
  3. Save the template in a location and with a name you will remember.
  4. To use the template, simply open the file and it will appear as an object on your workspace. Connect a new input data worksheet and execute the object to create your customized XY plot.
  5. Your input data layout (column headers) must match exactly what you had when you built the template for everything to work properly.

Here are some suggestions on how to effectively use these templates:

  • Use generalized input data file formats. For example, include period, sequence, and dose in every dataset (even if there is a single period or sequence in a given study). Creating templates from generalized data structures provides flexibility and ensures that your templates will work for all of your studies.
  • Bundle multiple objects together into small workflows for specific procedures. For example, bundle a set of figures as a workflow so that you can simply import that workflow and add it to your project to create mean and individual figures.
  • Use Data Links if possible. A data link is a way to standardize your data within a workflow. The data link simply takes existing data on worksheets and renames columns to a standard naming convention (of your choice) to be used in the workflow. That way your concentration column will always have the header “Conc” rather than the various names that bioanalytical laboratories use (eg, “Cp” or “Concentration” or “Concs”).
  • Build a template library in a static location on your hard-drive. Save all of your templates there and give them useful names.

To learn about how we’ve improved Phoenix to make performing NCA and PK/PD modeling even easier, please watch this webinar I gave on the latest enhancements to Phoenix.


Nathan Teuscher
By: Nathan Teuscher
Dr. Teuscher has been involved in clinical pharmacology and pharmacometrics work since 2002. He holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Michigan and has held leadership roles at biotechnology companies, contract research organizations, and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Certara, Dr. Teuscher was an active consultant for companies and authored the Learn PKPD blog for many years. At Certara, Dr. Teuscher developed the software training department, led the software development of Phoenix, and now works as a pharmacometrics consultant. He specializes in developing fit-for-purpose models to support drug development efforts at all stages of clinical development. He has worked in multiple therapeutic areas including immunology, oncology, metabolic disorders, neurology, pulmonary, and more. Dr. Teuscher is passionate about helping scientists leverage data to aid in establishing the safety and efficacy of therapeutics.

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