Mastering Siemens HMI Programming: Practical Examples and Best Practices Using TIA Portal

Key Takeaways Table

What are the key steps in Siemens HMI programming?Creating and managing PLC tags, writing ladder logic program blocks, designing HMI screens, implementing animations and events, and using the recipe feature.
Why is TIA Portal important for HMI programming?TIA Portal integrates all Siemens devices into one project, simplifies programming, and enhances productivity with its comprehensive tools and features.
What are some best practices for HMI programming?Segmenting tags, using clear and simple logic in ladder programming, customizing HMI screens, and using animations and recipes to enhance user experience.
How can I create and manage tags in TIA Portal?Tags can be created under the PLC program blocks and linked to HMI screens. Types include Input (I), Output (Q), and Memory (M) tags, which are essential for interacting with physical devices.
What are the benefits of using the recipe feature?Recipes allow for consistent product creation by managing and loading different sets of parameters, which is crucial in industries requiring precise and repeatable processes.


At ControlNexus, established in 2013, we pride ourselves on being a leading provider of Siemens PLCs, HMIs, and Inverters. Our goal is to empower our clients with the knowledge and tools needed to excel in industrial automation. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore practical examples and best practices for Siemens HMI programming using TIA Portal. Whether you are new to HMI programming or looking to refine your skills, this guide will provide valuable insights and step-by-step instructions.

Creating and Managing PLC Tags

Creating and managing PLC tags is the first essential step in Siemens HMI programming. Tags act as the bridge between the PLC and the HMI, allowing for seamless interaction and control. Here’s how to get started:

Step-by-Step Guide on Creating Tags

  1. Open TIA Portal: Launch TIA Portal from your start menu.
  2. Create a New Project: Select “Create New Project,” enter a project name, and click “Create.”
  3. Add PLC Device: Add a new device, such as a Simatic S7-1200, to your project.
  4. Create Tags: Under the PLC program blocks, create tags with appropriate data types. For example, create tags like PushButton1, PushButton2, LED1, and LED2 with the Bool data type.
  5. Segment Tags: Organize tags into different tables for better management and clarity. Use “I” for Input, “Q” for Output, and “M” for Memory tags.

Properly segmenting tags ensures efficient programming and easier troubleshooting. It is also important to use descriptive names for tags to avoid confusion during the development process.

Writing Ladder Logic Program Blocks

Ladder logic is a visual programming language used to create programs for PLCs. It is essential for controlling industrial processes and automating tasks.

Detailed Instructions on Ladder Logic Programming

  1. Open Ladder Logic Block: TIA Portal will create an initial ladder logic block named “Main” under the program blocks folder.
  2. Create Logic Networks: Use the top navigation bar to add basic instructions such as XIC (Examine if Closed), XIO (Examine if Open), and OTE (Output Energize). For example, create two networks (rungs) – one for a motor starter and another for a simple switch.
  3. Add Instructions: Drag and drop instructions from the right-hand-side bar into the ladder logic editor. Ensure that the logic is clear and easy to follow.

By using clear and simple instructions, you can build robust and efficient ladder logic programs. It is crucial to test and validate the logic to ensure it meets the desired operational requirements.

Designing HMI Screens and Elements

HMI screens are the user interface that operators use to interact with the PLC. Designing intuitive and functional HMI screens is vital for effective control and monitoring.

Creating and Configuring HMI Screens

  1. Add HMI Device: Add an HMI device to your project, such as the TP700 Comfort panel.
  2. Open HMI Screen: Navigate to the default HMI screen and open it for editing.
  3. Add Elements: Use the toolbox to drag and drop elements like buttons, text boxes, and circles onto the screen. For example, add a “Push Button” element and configure its properties.
  4. Set Properties: Customize the appearance and behavior of elements. For instance, change the color of a button or set its label.

Designing user-friendly HMI screens involves considering the operator’s perspective. Ensure that the screens are easy to navigate and that critical controls are easily accessible.

Implementing HMI Animations and Events

Adding animations and events to HMI screens can enhance user experience and provide visual feedback for operations.

Adding Animations and Events to HMI Screens

  1. Create Animations: Add animations to elements on the HMI screen to indicate states or processes. For example, use a circle element to show the status of a process by changing its color.
  2. Configure Events: Set up events like “Press” and “Release” for buttons. For instance, configure a button to set a bit to “HIGH” when pressing and “LOW” when releasing.
  3. Use Symbol Library: Incorporate industrial symbols from the symbol library to make screens more intuitive. For example, use pump and pipe symbols to represent a fluid control system.

Animations and events make HMI screens more interactive and informative. They help operators understand the status and actions of the system at a glance.

Using the Recipe Feature in Siemens HMI

The recipe feature in Siemens HMI is invaluable for industries that require precise and repeatable processes. It allows for the creation and management of parameter sets, ensuring consistent product quality.

Creating and Managing Recipes in TIA Portal

  1. Set Up Recipe: Create a new recipe in TIA Portal and add parameters that need to be controlled. For example, define a recipe for a batch-mixing process with parameters like ingredient quantities and mixing times.
  2. Link Tags: Connect the recipe parameters to the corresponding PLC tags. This ensures that the correct values are used during production.
  3. Simulate and Test: Use TIA Portal’s simulation tools to test the recipe before deploying it to the HMI. This helps identify and resolve any issues early.

Using recipes simplifies the management of complex processes and ensures that operations are consistent and efficient.

Expert Tips and Best Practices

Mastering Siemens HMI programming involves not only understanding the technical steps but also applying best practices to ensure efficiency and reliability. Here are some expert tips and best practices to guide you through the process:

Best Practices for Creating and Managing Tags

  1. Descriptive Tag Names: Use clear and descriptive names for your tags. This makes it easier to understand the program and troubleshoot any issues.
  2. Organize Tags: Segment your tags into different tables based on their function (e.g., inputs, outputs, memory). This helps in maintaining a structured and organized project.
  3. Consistent Naming Conventions: Stick to a consistent naming convention throughout your project. For example, prefix input tags with “I“, output tags with “Q“, and memory tags with “M_”.

Writing Clear and Efficient Ladder Logic

  1. Keep it Simple: Use simple and clear logic in your ladder programs. Complex logic can be difficult to understand and maintain.
  2. Modular Design: Break down your program into smaller, reusable modules. This makes it easier to manage and debug.
  3. Document Your Code: Add comments to your ladder logic to explain the purpose of each section. This is especially useful for others who may work on the project in the future.

Designing User-Friendly HMI Screens

  1. Intuitive Layout: Design your HMI screens with the user in mind. Ensure that critical controls are easily accessible and the layout is intuitive.
  2. Consistent Design: Use consistent design elements across all screens. This includes color schemes, button styles, and fonts.
  3. Feedback Mechanisms: Incorporate feedback mechanisms such as animations and status indicators to provide visual feedback to the user.

Implementing Effective Animations and Events

  1. Relevant Animations: Use animations that are relevant to the process being monitored. For example, use color changes to indicate the status of a process.
  2. Optimize Performance: Ensure that animations and events do not overload the HMI and affect its performance.
  3. Test Thoroughly: Test all animations and events thoroughly to ensure they work as intended under various scenarios.

Using the Recipe Feature for Consistency

  1. Define Clear Parameters: Clearly define all parameters in your recipes. Ensure that each parameter is linked to the correct tag in the PLC.
  2. Version Control: Implement version control for your recipes. This allows you to track changes and revert to previous versions if needed.
  3. Validate Recipes: Validate your recipes through simulation before deploying them. This helps identify and fix any issues early.


In conclusion, mastering Siemens HMI programming using TIA Portal involves a combination of technical knowledge and best practices. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create efficient, reliable, and user-friendly HMI applications. Remember to organize your tags, write clear ladder logic, design intuitive HMI screens, implement relevant animations and events, and use the recipe feature to ensure consistency in your processes. For more detailed information and additional resources, visit ControlNexus.

Additional Resources

To further enhance your skills and knowledge in Siemens HMI programming, here are some additional resources:

By leveraging these resources, you can continue to build your expertise and achieve excellence in Siemens HMI programming.


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