Tekla Structures – Tools


Tekla Structures includes many tools you can use alone or together with other tools to snap to specific locations. These tools are:

•     Snap  

•     Numeric snapping 

•     Orthogonal snapping 

•     Tracking 

•     Temporary reference points See also Snapping examples 

Numeric snapping

Use the Enter a numeric location toolbar to key in position coordinates you want to snap to.



To display the toolbar, initiate a command that requires you to pick positions, and then do one of the following:
•      Start entering the coordinates using the keyboard.

      Click Tools > Enter a Numeric Location and select an option. To access additionaloptions, click Tools > Options > Shortcuts > Enter a Numeric Location.

The following table explains the types of information you can enter.

You can enter Description/Example

Special character

Cartesian coordinates

The x, y, and z coordinates of a position separated by commas, e.g. 100,-50,-200. , (comma)
Polar coordinates
Angles increase in the counterclockwise direction.

Absolute coordinates

The coordinates based on the origin of the work plane. Set with the variable

Relative coordinates

Set with the variable
One value A distance to an indicated direction.
Two coordinates If you omit the last coordinate (z) or angle, Tekla Structures assumes that the value is 0.
In drawings, Tekla Structures ignores the third coordinate.
Three coordinates
After you enter the coordinates, press Enter or click OK to snap to the position.
Snapping mode Tekla Structures has two snapping modes, relative and absolute. Use the variableXS_KEYIN_DEFAULT_MODE to indicate the default snapping mode.

See also                      XS_KEYIN_ABSOLUTE_PREFIX


Orthogonal snapping

Use the shortcut O (Tools > Ortho) to snap to positions in orthogonal directions on the work plane (0, 45, 90, 135, 180 degrees, etc.).

To control orthogonal snapping, use the variables XS_SEMI_ORTHO_ANGLE andXS_USE_SEMI_ORTHO. For more information, see Appendix C, Variables, in the System Manual.

178 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
Tracking means that you follow a line and pick a point at a specified distance along the line. You usually use tracking in combination with other snapping tools, such as snap switches, or orthogonal and numeric snapping.

Temporary reference points

You can create a temporary reference point to use as a local origin when snapping in models or drawings.

1.    Initiate a command that requires you to pick positions.

2.    Hold down the Ctrl key and pick a position. A green cross indicates that this position is now a temporary reference point.

3.    Use this temporary reference point with snap tools to define directions and distances.

Snapping examples

When you have snap switches on and you use a command that requires you to pick positions, the mouse pointer locks onto a snap point. Tekla Structures displays a magenta line between the last point picked and the snap point.

You can track along the line towards a snap point, and use the Enter a numeric locationtoolbar to specify the distance from the last point picked.
You can also track along an orthogonal direction..

In the illustration below, we snapped to a grid line midpoint and tracked along the tentative line for 1000 units.

TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 179Settings and Tools
You can also track beyond the snap point, for example, 4000 units from the last point picked.
Track in the opposite direction by entering a negative value, for example, -1000.
Reference points

In this example, we create a beam using a grid line midpoint as a temporary reference point and tracking along an orthogonal direction (shown as green dashed line) for 500 units. Click OK,and Tekla Structures creates the beam along the magenta line.

180 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
Locking                       You can lock the x, y, and x coordinates on a line. This is useful when you need to determine a
coordinates                point to pick and the needed point does not exist on the line.

To lock the x coordinate, for example, press x on the keyboard. To unlock the coordinate, press x again.

Exact lines
With fast representation of parts, use View > Representation > Show Part with Exact Lines todisplay selected parts with exact lines. Click View > Redraw All to clear the exact lines effect.
1.    Select the parts.

2.    Click View > Representation > Show Part with Exact Lines.

3.    Click the window in which you want to display exact lines. Youcan also right-click on the selected parts and choose Exact lines.

See Display in the online help for more on drawing techniques.
Hide lines
Use this command to display hidden lines in selected parts in wire frame views. Click View >Redraw All to clear the hidden lines effect.
The options in Tools > Options > Options… > General determine the way Tekla Structures displays hidden lines:
TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 181Settings and Tools
Option Example
No dotted
Other parts dotted
All parts dotted
Solid bolts
No solid bolts
Hide parts To display hidden lines:
1.    Select the parts.

2.    Click View > Show > Hidden Lines.

3.    Click the window in which you want to display the hidden lines

You can also right-click a part, then click Hide Lines. Using this option there is no need toclick the window to make it active.

You can quickly hide selected parts from a view. For example, you could use this feature in complex connections, to temporarily hide parts in order to see the parts behind them.

1.    Select the parts to hide.

2.     Right-click and select Hide.

•       By default, hide changes parts to sticks

•       To completely hide parts, use the Shift key with the hide command.

3.     To make parts visible, use the command View > Redraw All or right-click the parts andselect Show with Exact Lines.

See also
Show component
Use Show component to display the contents of selected components (parts, bolts, etc.),even if Visibility in components is not checked in the View properties dialog box.
182 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
If Visibility in components is not checked for the parts within the components, they arevisible when you create them. When you redraw the view window, they are no longer visible.
To use Show component:

1.    Click View > Representation > Show Component Content.

2.    Click a component symbol or select an area.

Show assembly

Use Show assembly to display the actual contents of a selected assembly, even if someobjects are hidden in a view:

1.    Click a part.

2.    Right-click a part.

3.     Select Show assembly from the pop-up menu.

Tekla Structures displays all parts, bolts, welds, cuts, fittings, and other details belonging to the assembly, even if they were hidden in the view properties.


Lots are consignments of for transporting to site. You can use lot names and numbers in reports.

To use lotting:

Click Tools > Lotting to open Lotting dialog box. This displays the properties of existing lots. Lots can be changed.

Creating a lot

To create a lot:

1.     Click Tools > Lotting to display the Lotting dialog box. Tekla Structures lists the existing lots.

2.     Click Properties to display the Lot properties dialog box.

TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 183Settings and Tools
© Enter new lot number here
3.     Enter new lot number, and then enter a number in Current lot, Number and ensureNumber is checked.
4.     Enter a the maximum weight of the lot in Max weight. Click Add.

5.    You now have an empty lot.

Adding parts to an existing lot

To add parts to a lot:

1.     Click Tools > Lotting to display the Lotting dialog box.

2.    Click an existing lot on the list. Tekla Structures highlights the parts included in the lot. The total weight of the lot and the number of assemblies it contains in are displayed underApplied values.

3.     To add parts to an existing lot, use the Shift key and select the part(s). Click Apply selected. Tekla Structures displays the weight and number of the parts you add underCurrent values.

4.     Click OK to close the dialog box. When you re-open the lotting dialog box, the Applied values include the weight and number of the parts you added.

5.    Tekla Structures displays a warning message when the weight limit of the lot is exceeded.

184 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
Deleting parts from an existing lot
To delete parts from a lot:

1.     Click Tools > Lotting to display the Lotting dialog box.

2.    Click an existing lot on the list. Tekla Structures highlights the parts included in the lot.

3.    Hold down the Ctrl key and select each part to remove.

4.     Click Apply to remove the parts from the lot.

5.     Click OK to exit the Lotting dialog box.

Deleting an existing lot

To delete an existing lot:

1.     Click Tools > Lotting to display the Lotting dialog box.

2.     Click Properties.

3.    Click an existing lot on the list.

4.     Click the Delete key.


Use Sequencer to name sequences and assign incremental numbers to parts. There aremany uses for the Sequencer, including defining erection sequences. You can define several sequences for different purposes. You can include the same parts in several sequences at the same time.

The Sequencer works by assigning user-defined attributes to parts. So you can use theSequencer to create user-defined attributes when you only need to use numeric values.With Sequencer you can also assign numeric values to existing user-defined attributes.

Creating a report

To include the sequence number in reports, enter the sequence name in the text field.

You can also use the sequence number in a report by entering the sequence name in the table part row.

To create a list showing all the parts belonging to a sequence, use the

v following rule in a row or intermediate row in the Template Editor:
if(curr(“SEQUENCENAME”) != 0) then do()
Checking the sequence value

You can check the name and number of a sequence using the Inquire object command. To do this, the sequence name must appear as a user-defined attribute in the objects.inp file. For more information, see Adding properties in the System Manual.

Using Sequencer

Click Tools > Sequencer to open a dialog box displaying existing sequences. You can enterthe following information:

TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 185Settings and Tools
Option Description
Sequence name If you want to assign values for existing user-defined attributes with the sequencer, enter exactly the same name as in the objects.inp file. For example,PRELIM_MARK for preliminary marks.
Max number The highest number to use in the sequence. Objects are numbered from 1 up. If you select an object that has already been included in a sequence, Tekla Structures prompts if you want to override the existing number. If you click Yes, Tekla Structures gives thenext available number to the object.
Delete Deletes the sequence. If there is only one sequence in the list, the name of the empty sequence remains.
Creating a new sequence
To create a new sequence:

1.     Click Tools > Sequencer to display the Sequencer properties dialog box.

2.     Enter the Sequence name.

3.     Click OK or Apply.

4.    Select the parts you want to include in the sequence. The first part gets the sequence number 1, the second, number 2, etc.

5.     Finish adding parts to the sequence with the Interrupt or Esc key. The Sequencerproperties dialog box closes.

Adding parts to a sequence

To add parts to an existing sequence:

1.     Click Tools > Sequencer to display the Sequencer properties dialog box.

2.     Click the Sequence name.

3.    Select the parts you want to add to the sequence.

4.     Finish adding parts to the sequence with the Interrupt or Esc key. The Sequencerproperties dialog box closes.

status visualization

Use the project status visualization tool to review the status of the objects in the model, in specific time frame, for example:

•      Display the erection schedule for groups of parts using .

•      Identify the parts that are scheduled to be fabricated during a specific time period.

To create project status visualizations, you need predefined object representation settings which include object groups based on date rules.

186 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
T The 4D tool is included in the Project Management configuration only.
Usage                          To use the project status visualization tool:
1. Click Tools > Project Status Visualization… to open the Project Status Visualizationdialog box. You have the following options:
Field Description
Review date By default, the current date.
Change by selecting a new date in the calendar, by stepping backward or forward with the buttons, or by moving the slider.
Step buttons Enter the time step in days. Use the backward and forward buttons to change the review date as many days as the time step defines.
Time scale Move the slider to change the review date.
Scale start Select the start and end date for the slider.
Scale end
Object representation Select object representation settings from the list box.
Click Edit to modify the existing settings.
Refresh view automatically Select the checkbox to automatically refresh the model view when you click the Step buttons, or use the slider.
(To manually refresh the model view, click theRefresh button.)
Reporting Create reports based on the latest time step or on the review date project status.
2.    Select the object representation settings from the list box.
3.    Select the Review date.

4.    Enter the time step.

TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 187Settings and Tools
5.     Select Scale start and Scale end.
6.     Select the Refresh view automatically checkbox.

7.     Click Save to save the properties.

8.    Use project status visualization tool by clicking the step buttons.

Project status visualization files

Tekla Structures saves the project status visualization settings with filename extension *.4din the current model's attributes folder.

•      You can copy the *.4d file to another model's attributes folder.

•      To make the *.4d file available to all models, copy the file to the system folder.

•      Include also a copy of the object representation file (filename extension .rep) and object group files (filename extension .PObjGrp) when copying the *.4d file to theattributes or system folder to have all the files working correctly.

Tekla Structures searches for the *.4d files in the standard search order.

Project status visualization example

In this example, we visualize when parts are erected. The project status visualization is based on object representation settings including an object group rule for the user-defined attribute Planned erection date.

This is how the model looks with the standard object representation settings:

Object                         To define which objects are shown in the model:

1.    Click View > Representation > Object representation… to open Object representation settings

dialog box.

2.    Enter a name for the object representation settings.

3.     Click Add row to add a new row.

4.     Select the newly added row, and click Create new group… in the Object group list box.

188 TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 Settings and Tools
5.     In the Object group – representation dialog box, enter a name for the group, for example, “plan_same_or_before_review_date”.
6.    Click Save as.

7.    Modify the rule. This rule should include all objects that have the user-defined attributePlanned erection date earlier than or equal to the review date.

        Select Object in the Category column.

•        Select Planned erection date in the Property column.

•        Select Earlier than or equal in the Condition column.

•        Click Select date… in the Value list box and select Review date in the Select datedialog box and click OK.

8.     Save the object group and click Close.

9.     In the Object representation dialog box, select Color by class for the new object groupin the Color list box and check that the row is set to Visible.

10. Set the All object group to last, and select Hidden:
11. Click Save.
Project status             To use the object representation settings in the project status visualization tool:


1.    Click Tools > Project Status Visualization… to open the Project Status Visualization

dialog box.

2.     Modify the properties (the image below shows the Review date and other properties according to this example):

TEKLA STRUCTURES 14.0 189Settings and Tools
3. Click the step buttons to change the Review date and to view the changes in the model.
The images below show how the objects are shown when you click the step button. The object group rule defines the visibility of the objects based to the time steps:
Review date 01/11/2006 Review date 01/18/2006
Review date 01/25/2006 Review date 02/01/2006
Function keys Use Screenshot to capture dialog boxes, views, or the entire Tekla Structures window. Tekla Structures saves the screenshot as a bitmap in the current model folder. This can be a useful tool. You can use screenshots in posters, brochures, or other material to show projects carried out using Tekla Structures. Tekla Structures technical support staff may ask you for a screenshot if you contact them with a question.
Use the following function keys to create screenshots:
Key Action
F9 Captures entire Tekla Structures windows
F10 Captures the last dialog box displayed
F11 Captures the active view
F12 Captures the active view, without borders
Print screenshot Select the Tools > Screenshot > Print Screenshot switch to have Tekla Structures automatically print out the screenshot.
If you need high resolution screenshots, use the command Tools > Screenshot > Custom….Tekla Structures opens a dialog box where you can define the properties of a screenshot, as follows:

•     From which view to take the screenshot

•     Filename

•     Include or omit view borders

•     DPI, size, background color, line properties (only for rendered views

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