Process attributes such as, for example, the identification of process elements, the characteristics of process elements, and the states of the variables produced by the process elements, are displayed substantially simultaneous with a graphical representation of a process under control. After displaying a graphical representation (P&ID) of a process being controlled (the graphical representation including icon representations of process elements), a user selects a portion of the graphical representation for which the underlying process attributes (202, 203) are to be displayed. This selection may be accomplished by selecting an icon image of a process element (112 - 118) for which the attributes are to be displayed.; After selection, the underlying attributes (202, 203) are displayed substantially simultaneously with the display of the graphical representation, for example, by overlaying a dialogue box (201) on top of the graphical representation containing indicia of the underlying attributes. The attributes (202, 203) that are included in the dialogue box may be entered manually, or may be generated automatically by use of a historical data base (601), or may be created through any combination of manual entry or automatic generation.