Working with the Generic Interface

Generic VISA

In both the command-line toolbox and the Test & Measurement Tool, a generic VISA interface is now supported. In the Test & Measurement Tool, generic devices will appear in the More node under the VISA node. In the command-line toolbox, they are available as a type 'generic'.

For example, if you have a generic VISA device that is made by National Instruments®, you could use the instrhwinfo function to see it, as follows.


This generic support can be used to communicate over open VISA sockets, USB Raw, etc.

VISA Node and Generic VISA Support in Test & Measurement Tool

In the Test & Measurement Tool, instruments that use the VISA interface show up under the VISA node in the instrument tree. For example, if you are using a TCP/IP instrument with the VISA interface, instead of a TCP/IP - VISA node in the tree, you will see a VISA node, with a TCP/IP node under it. It is easier to see what protocols can be used with the VISA interface with the VISA node.

Generic devices will appear in a More node under the VISA node in the instrument tree. If your instrument is recognizable as a type such as 'gpib' or 'tcpip', it will show up in that type-specific node. For example, a TCP/IP instrument would show up in the TCPIP node under the VISA node. But if it is a generic instrument, it will show up in the More node.

Generic VISA Support in the Command-line Interface

You can use the instrhwinfo function to see generic VISA devices.

instrhwinfo('INTERFACE', 'ADAPTOR', 'TYPE')

INTERFACE is 'visa'. ADAPTOR can be 'keysight' (note that 'agilent' also still works), 'ni', 'rs', or 'tek', depending on whether your instrument vendor is Keysight™, National Instruments, Rohde & Schwarz, or Tektronix®. TYPE can be 'gpib', 'vxi', 'gpib-vxi', 'serial', 'tcpip', 'usb', 'rsib', 'pxi', or 'generic'. Use 'generic' when it is a generic device or form of communication.

For example:

This shows that there are four generic devices using the NI adaptor. If you look at the object constructor names, you can see the four devices.

In this example, there are three instruments capable of TCP/IP socket communication, and one of raw USB communication.

To communicate with a generic instrument using the generic interface, use the same functions, properties, and work flows described in the other interface sections of the VISA documentation.


Some VISA drivers do not support EOI Mode. Therefore, if a device does not support EOI Mode, the VISA generic adaptor will default to 'off' for the EOI Mode property, so that it does not cause a failure.