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Basic concepts

Last modified by Iwona Budny Bjergø on 2022/01/18 12:23

User interface

Each module has a similar user interface and consists of the following parts:

Menu bar | Tab menus | Toolbars | Application window | Quick tools | Status bar | Tool palette | Dialog


Menu Bar

The Menu bar contains file operations (File), editing commands (Edit), drawing (Draw), assistant tools (Tools), settings (Settings), views (View), window-system (Window) and user-guides, license info and about (Help).

Menu commands having icons next to their names can be organized in Toolbars around the Application window. Some commands can be executed by hotkey displayed behind the command name.

Tab menus

Tab menus contain the main functionalities and their order displays the recommended structural design workflow.

Tab menuFunction
1584520572121-451.pngTools to define axis and storey system, structural elements, supports and connections
1584520578867-196.pngTools to define load cases, loads, load combinations and load groups
1584520584481-921.pngTools to define finite elements and finite element mesh
1584520590723-456.pngTools to run analysis for the current project and to display results

Foundation design

Tools to run automatic and manual design for foundations and to display results
1584520597599-565.pngTools to run automatic and manual design for concrete elements and to display results
1584520604845-203.pngTools to run automatic and manual design for steel bars and to display results
1584520611557-473.pngTools to run automatic and manual design for timber elements and to display results
Performance based designOnly available for Turkish seismic analysis

By default, Tab menus have different Object layer settings to protect their elements from the others. That means, for example, structural elements (defined at Structure tab) are protected against load editing (Load tab) although they can selected for load definition. Of course, the available layers of tabs can be customized (Status bar > Current layer). The optional module Documentation can be launched from the Tab menus bar


The Menu bar commands can be grouped in toolbars with their icons and placed next to Application window.

By default, all five toolbars are displayed. If you right-click anywhere on the menu or on one of the displayed toolbars, a list appears, where toolbars can be set visible or hidden.

customize toolbar 001.png

Customize… allows you to edit the command content of the toolbar, on which the right-click is used. A toolbar can be moved into new position by dragging it with its “Top/Left thick horizontal/vertical line”.

Application window

Two main windows types are available in FEM-Design:

  • Graphical window
    It works as a drawing board and displays the model defined in the current project.
  • Detailed result window
    Analysis and design results with detailed background calculation formulas (code references), figures and tables can be displayed by single elements or by design groups in separate windows. Quick navigation is powered with zooming details.

An arbitrary number of windows can be opened (Window menu) to show for example a model in different views at the same time. The list of the currently available windows is shown at the bottom of the windows (tabs) and in the Window menu. You can swap between the windows by clicking on their name tabs or by choosing the requested one in the Window menu. Applied windows can be arranged by Window > Arrange. Right-clicking on a window tab, the window’s name can be edited.

application window_FD19.00.001.png

Quick tools

Quick tools is a tool window that contains the often used functions such Layers, Results and Filter.

Quick tools 001.png

Quick tools can be enabled in several ways:

  1. Settings > Environment > General > Quick tools
  2. Right click on the toolbars > Quick tools
  3. Window tab > Other windows > Quick tools

Quick tool window can be placed anywhere on the screen and it can be docked to the left and right side of the FEM-Design model view area. The docked Quick tool window can be also collapsed.

Quick tools 002.png

Status bar

The Status bar is situated under the Application window and separated into the following parts.

status bar_FD19.00.001.png

  • Command
    Field to enter coordinates and shortcut commands. Command line also displays additional messages to show the steps of the current command.
  • Selection
    Number of the selected elements (bars, shells, supports, loads, etc.) can be seen in the lower part of design area.
  • Co-ordinate box
    It shows the exact coordinates of the crosshair cursor in the current co-ordinate system. Coordinates can be also given for point/direction definition in a dialog appears after clicking on the Co-ordinate box (see Entering Co-ordinates).
  • Layer button
    Clicking the button opens the Quick tools-tab. All layer operations like defining new, renaming, color-assignment, showing/hiding and deleting are available in the layer-system dialog.
  • Point/Direction editor
    Editor tools provide reference points and lines by using existing lines and points during element definition, drawing and editing.
  • Object snap tools
    Here you can set the snapping distance and turn object snaps on and off.

Tool palette

In most cases, a command/tool has own palette (Tool palette) that contains its definition and setting tools.

toolbar 001.png

Figure: An example for tool palette (Beam command in 3D Structure module)

The parts of a tool palette are:

  • Toolbar - It gives the editing modes and their additional tools. The main editing modes are:
    • Define: creates new objects according to its current settings (“Default settings”).
    • Properties: asks and/or changes the properties of selected object(s).
  • Default settings - If this button has 3D shape, then you can set all default parameters for the new object. Otherwise, it only shows the symbol of the function.
  • Main settings - The frequently changed parameters of the new object (Define) can be set directly in tool palette.

You can usually use a dialog to modify the settings, the properties of a command; it contains text and number fields where you can set parameter values.
The main difference between dialogs and Tool palettes is that you can work beside an opened tool palette, but cannot at a dialog.
There are three main switch types at a dialog or a tool palette: check boxes, radio and chain buttons.

Chain button 001.png

Figure: Function of chain buttons

In case chain button exists and it is “Active” (pushed in), any changes made to the related edit box will be transferred to the next edit box automatically. It gives a quick definition of defining surface elements with constant thickness, loads with constant intensities etc.


The Default settings dialog is used to change the properties of new objects. It usually contains a General tab where many commands and identifiers are shown, some dialogs also contains tabs for cross sections, materials and boundary conditions/connections.

dialog 001.png

Program Settings

Clicking Settings > All opens a dialog with all available settings of the program and the current project.


Figure: Project and program settings

The settings are valid for the current project, but they can be extended for later projects by saving them as default settings. OK closes the dialog and validates the settings for the current project. Save as default set the “selected” project settings available for next projects and new files.


“Selected” means that Save as default works only for the branch belongs to the list/folder title selected by the cursor. For example, apply Save as default for “Environment” to save the General, the Directories and the Cursor settings as default, or select “Settings” and click Save as default to store all current settings as default values.

The range of available settings depends on the currently opened Tabmenu. For example, all setting are available at launched “Structure” tabmenu, but the settings are reduced with e.g. finite element (Mesh) settings in case of activated “Analysis” tabmenu.

The program stores project and default settings in the fem.ini file can be found in the “FEMData” folder of the installed program.

New program release can use the default settings of the previous release, if you keep them after the first running of the new release in a warning message dialog.


General settings enable the user to adjust the main program settings affect on startup, system, rendering and display style.

  • Check for update at start
    By default, the program informs the user if a new official release of the current FEM-Design version is available.
  • Check for upgrade at start
    It sends a message if a newer commercial FEM-Design version is released. In this case, the newer version can be downloaded, but it can be run only in demo mode till renewing the current license agreement (please contact your local distributor).
  • Auto load last drawing
    Checking this box opens the last project at program start-up.
  • Language
    By default, the user interface is displayed in the installation language. Ask your local distributor about the available languages in your country.
  • Timesave [min]
    It defines the time period in minute for automatic project saving. Read more at Data safety.
  • Undo steps
    The number of executable undo steps can be set in the field. But do not forget, that there are some complex calculation processes (analysis, mesh preparing etc.) Undo does not work on.
  • Graphic engine
    The suitable graphic engine can be set here by choosing “DirectX” or “OpenGL” according to the video card.
    The DirectX graphic engine is faster than OpenGL on most of the computers. We recommend the User to check which graphic engine performs better on his computer.1584526922243-872.png

    For more information about the graphic engine read the Remarks.


    If you have any rendering problem with the default graphic engine, apply the other one. In case of further troubles, download the latest driver of your graphic card.

    Safe mode” is developed to protect the program from possible video drive crashes. If no graphic problem is detected with the current driver, uncheck this box to take the full advantage of the new powerful graphic engine and to reach the maximum rendering speed.

  • Enable Win8/Win7/Vista style
    By default, the user interface is developed in the height of Microsoft Windows 8, 7 and Vista fashion. Unchecking the box a simpler interface will be available after restarting the program.
  • Window background
    The color of the drawing background (graphical windows) can be set here. The default and suggested color is white. Objects having the same color with the background are always displayed in inverse color.
  • Display information pop-up
    If there is no running command, moving the cursor over an element displays an Information pop-up with the element’s main properties. Depending on the currently used working mode (Structure, Loads etc.), pop-up is available for different elements (structural elements, loads etc.) only. For example, the pop-up displays the ID, the material, the thickness, the alignment and orthotropic features for Plates in Structure mode.
    Figure: Information pop-up examples

Directories settings allow the user to specify the location of FEM-Design files.

  • Temporary
    The program stores temporary files during calculations and mesh generations in the given folder, which will be automatically removed, if the operations are done successfully. Remained temporary files can be erased from the Temporary folder after closing the currently opened project. The changes made in Temporary directory will affect after the program is restarted.
  • Working
    The default favorite folder can be set here for the open and save commands.

The style of cross-hair cursor can be set in Cursor dialog. It can be full-sized in graphical windows or custom-sized (Limited) by the scroll tool.


Title dialog allows the user to specify the content of drawing title block (Draw > Title information table) and the header title of printing (File > Print). Project, Description, Designer, Signature and Comments attributes are autotexts. That means, modifying their content updates all titles used in the current project. These five title attributes can be used in documentation and reinforcement list templates with the help of Field tool (Draw menu).

1584527715406-518.png 1584527732558-607.png

Figure: Title information table

Scale has effect in displaying texts, line types and wall hatches in graphic windows. Of course, printing scale can be set independently from drawing scale.

Param settings allow the user to specify the default initial settings for drawing (Draw menu commands) in the current or later projects (Save as default). Line type, pen width and drawing color can be edited independently from the default values with the Status bar tools “Current style”, “Current layer” and “Current color”.

Text settings enable the user to set the default font style and sizes for general text items.

 Text setting effect
Drawing Title blockyes
Structural element ID and labelyes
Design data labelyes
Load labelyes
Mass labelyes
Support ID and labelyes
Default settings of Draw > Textyes
Default settings of numeric result valuesyes
Draw > Dimensionno
Grid axis label (Structure > Axis)no
Storey label (Structure > Storey)no

Finite element and node ID (Settings > Display > Mesh)


Table: List of elements on which Text setting has effect or not

Dimension, Axis and Storey tools and the finite element display have individual text settings from the general Text settings.


Script solves the character problems of different languages. For example character “ő” appears as “õ” in “Western”, but as correct “ő” in “Central European” script.

Size is defined in real values (mm), so text size varies on drawings by modifying its Scale.

The Width factor 1.0 refers to the normal character width, so factor smaller/greater than 1.0 results a condensed/extended text.

For “italic” style use Slant between 10 or 15 degrees.


Calculation includes settings influence structural behavior, finite element mesh generation, analysis and result.

Code displays the current and available design code for the current project. Code influences:

  • the range of available modeling materials,
  • automatic combination of load groups, and
  • the method and result of reinforcement, steel and timber design.

Changing the current code erases the materials, the design parameters and the results in the project, so these properties have to be redefined to run valid calculations later.

Read more details from other Calculation settings in the connected topics:

  • “Rigid” values
    The default value of “infinite rigidity” can be set for supports, connections and fictitious bars by types.
  • Mesh
    Mesh and peak smoothing settings of automatic finite element mesh generation.
    Perform gives additional features to data safety.
  • Analysis
    In Analysis you can decide the way of Automatic save, in Find identical copies before calculation for you can set if the program should check the identical copies of structural elements and/or loads and in Warnings it can be checked if the program should warn about using non-linear elements in a linear calculation.
  • Result
    Options define the calculation sections of bars and affect on detailed results of bars.


The current and default display settings of the drawing elements, numbers, structural objects, loads and finite elements/mesh can be set here.

Displaying structural and analytical element ID’s is separated in order to avoid duplicate labels on the screen. The required ID can be set by Bar and Shell elements in Display settings dialog.


Figure: Display settings (Bar, Shell)


Co-ordinate systems include the display settings of the Global and the User-defined (UCS) co-ordinate system symbols. The symbols are shown in the defined size in working windows, but they can be hidden by unchecking the Display co-ordinate systems box.

Grid defines the distribution settings of the visible Construction grid. The grid can be hidden by unchecking the Display grid box. The grid lines can be set to be parallel with the axis directions of the Global (Ground) or UCS system.

All default settings of Object Snap tools are grouped in Snap dialog.

In different windows different scales can be defined, which is especially useful in documentation module. By choosing an appropriate scale factor the displayed labels are easy to read. In another window the parameters can be decreased to highlight another result.

Units setting offers various unit types for modeling (length, angle, force, mass and cross-sectional data) and for results. Stress and displacement units can be set independently of the length and force units.


Figure: Available units

Data Safety

Time saving and protection system ensures more the data safety of working files.

Time Save

FEM-Design automatically saves copy of the working file by given time period.

The saving time period can be set in minutes at Settings > All > Environment > General > System > Timesave.


Working on a project file called e.g. “steel construction.str” in the 1584528158180-507.png  3D Structure module with a 15-minute time save period, an extra file will be generated and updated by the time period (0, 15, 30min …) with special extension and in a hidden folder:

Rules of time save:

  • In case of a program crash, the last saved copy opens automatically in the right module.
  • If you successfully exit from FEM-Design after saving the current project, its time save copy will be erased from the recovery folder.
  • The location of time save files cannot be modified for data safety.

Additional automatic savings can be set before and after calculations at Settings > Calculation > Analysis > Automatic save…, but automatic savings overwrite the original project file.

Recovery files

Recovery file command in File menu is for managing time-save files which are generated after some unexpected events. Its tool-window:


Figure: Recovery file dialog

You can open the desired version and delete the useless ones, and you can also set the sorting criterion, by clicking on File / Date / Size.

Protected Work File

All working files are locked not to be modified, overwritten by another user or process. Starting a project, a file having the project name with .lck extension is generated automatically, which guarantees the protection till closing the working file.

Opening a protected file sends the warning message: “The file is locked by another user or process.” You are allowed to open and modify the content of a protected file, but changes can be saved only under a new name (File > Save as).

Element Types

Two main types of elements are available in FEM-Design: Drawing elements and (structural) Objects. These element types are stored in different Layer-systems and have different kind of property and display settings.

Drawing Elements

TypeIconCommandProperty and Display SettingsDefault Short Command
Point1584530266767-880.pngDraw > PointSettings > Drawing > Param, “Current layerPT
Line1584530272407-567.pngDraw > LineSettings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current style”, “Current layerLN
Rectangle1584530279892-292.pngDraw > RectangleSettings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current style”, “Current layerREC
Arc1584530286613-592.pngDraw > ArcSettings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current style”, “Current layerARC
Circle1584530295398-277.pngDraw > CircleCurrent style”, “Current layerCIRC
Region1584530338169-765.pngDraw > RegionSettings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current style”, “Current layerRGN
Solid1584530345250-241.pngDraw > SolidSettings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current style”, “Current layerSLD
Text1584530351731-851.pngDraw > TextText tool > Default settings,TEXT
Field1584530358907-656.pngDraw > FieldField tool > Default settingsFIELD
Dimension1584530377027-942.pngDraw > DimensionDimension tool > Default settings, “Current styleDIM
Title information table 

Draw > Title information table

Text tool > Default settings, “Current style”,

Settings > Title, “Current layer” (! Object layer)

Logo Draw > LOGODocumentation > Draw > LogoLOGO

Table: Drawing elements


TypeTabIconCommandProperty and Display Settings
Axis1584530896455-165.png1584531288473-843.pngAxis tool > Default settings, “Current layer
Storey1584530899061-989.png1584531275835-603.pngStorey tool > Default settings
Soil1584530902100-741.png1584531282163-547.pngSettings > Display >Soil and foundation, Soil tool > Default settings
Borehole1584531067210-578.png1584531295239-172.pngSettings > Display >Soil and foundation, Borehole tool > Default settings
Isolated foundation1584531068523-680.png1584531302008-620.pngSettings > Display >Soil and foundation, Isolated foundation tool > Default settings
Wall foundation1584531071082-678.png1584531309451-398.pngSettings > Display >Soil and foundation, Wall foundation tool > Default settings
Foundation slab1584531074838-177.png1584531315796-764.pngSettings > Display >Soil and foundation, Foundation slab tool > Default settings
Beam1584531075798-160.png1584531338924-338.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Bar Current style”, “Current layer”, Beam tool > Default settings
Column1584531076967-356.png1584531358355-426.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Bar, “Current layer”, Column tool > Default settings
Intermediate section1584531079935-875.png1584531365819-206.pngIntermediate section tool > Default settings Drawing elements and Bar
Apex1584531085014-657.png1584531374092-590.pngApex tool > Default settings
Corbel1584531712289-369.png1584531975436-899.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Bar Corbel tool > Default settings
Truss member1584531714365-559.png1584531953482-712.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Bar, “Current style”, “Current layer”, Truss member tool > Default settings
Plate1584531728971-744.png1584531960399-406.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Shell, “Current layer”, Plate tool > Default settings
Wall1584531716300-788.png1584531991203-684.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Shell, “Current layer”, Wall tool > Default settings
Profiled panel1584531885978-255.png1584531998246-816.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and Shell, “Current layer”, Profiled panel tool > Default settings
Timber panel1584531893595-274.png1584532006720-889.pngSettings > Display > Drawing elements and ShellTimber panel tool > Default settings

Settings > Display > Drawing elements and Support,

Settings > FEM > “Rigid” values, Support tools > Default settings, “Current layer


Settings > Display > Drawing elements and Connections,

Settings > FEM > “Rigid” values, Connection tools > Default settings, “Current layer

Fictitious bar1584531888730-869.png1584532030311-528.png

Settings > Display > Drawing elements, “Current layer

Settings > FEM > “Rigid” values, Fictitious bar tool > Default settings

Fictitious shell1584531888730-869.png1584532074798-170.png 

Settings > Display > Load, “Current layer”,

Load tools > Default settings,

Finite element1584531912082-171.png 

Settings > Display > Mesh, “Current layer”,

Settings > FEM > Mesh and Calculation

RC bar1584531918892-233.png1584532090389-520.pngAuto design and Manual design

Settings > Display > Design, “Current layer”,

Auto design and Manual design tools > Default settings 

Steel bar stiffener1584531934519-836.png1584532097404-173.pngSteel bar stiffenerCurrent layer

Table: Objects


The FEM-Design layer-system helps you to work in a well-organized way in drawings and in models while constructing and documenting. The layers can be considered as transparent papers put on top of each other will seem to be one drawing. All layers can be reached in a dialog appears by pressing the Current layer button.

Layer Types

Regarding the element types there are two main layer types: “Drawing” and “Objects”.


Figure: “Drawing” and “Objects” layers

Drawing” layer contains all drawing elements defined by the Draw menu commands or generated from DWG and DXF imports. Drawing layers can be renamed and erased, and their colors and states can be edited. Only the default “0” layer cannot be deleted and edited. At the same time only one drawing layer called “Current” can be used for drawing. The name of the “Current” layer is appears on the Current layer button. The “DIM” layer is a special drawing layer for the dimensions. It is automatically created by using the Dimension command (Draw menu). ”Drawing” Layers can be excluded from the Object Snap by dechecking the „No snap” option in the Sn column.


Figure: „No snap” option

Objects” layers are built-in layers for objects like plate, wall, column, supports, loads etc. Each object type has an own layer (e.g. walls are displayed on the “Wall” object layer). Objects layers are not allowed to be deleted and renamed, but their states and the display colors and pen width of objects can be edited. ”Objects” Layers can also be excluded from the Object Snap by checking the „No snap” option.

Layer Status

Layer StatusSymbolFunction
Hidden1584538368886-274.pngThe layer content is hidden in graphic windows
Protected1584538379415-995.pngThe layer content is visible, but protected from editing
Active1584538374458-474.pngThe layer content is visible and editable in graphic windows

Table: Layer status

In Layers dialog changing the layer status is real-time, which means that the selected active (hidden) drawing or object layers become hidden (active) without closing the dialog.

Editing Layers

ToolFunctionAvailable for layer type
Make currentSets selected layer to be the current oneDrawing
New…Creates new layer in the available layer listDrawing

Deletes the selected layer from the layer list

warning.png  Delete function cannot be undone

All elements will be erased of a deleted layer


Removes all elements of the selected layer

warning.png  Clear function cannot be undone


Modifies the current color of the selected layer

Defines the current drawing color

Defines the display color of Objects

light.png  Colour can be modified by elements with

     Edit > Change appearance

Drawing, Objects




Sets the pen width assigned to the selected layer

Defines the current drawing pen width

Defines the display pen width of Objects

light.png  Pen width can be modified by elements with

     Edit > Change appearance

Drawing, Objects



Save>Save the current settings for the layersObjects
Load>Restore saved layer settingsObjects
Delete>Delete saved settingsObjects

Table: Editing layers

1584538527519-672.pngThe full content of an Objects layer can be erased with Tools > Delete all. The objects deleted with Delete all can be restored with Edit > Undo. Delete all erases the objects of protected layers too!

Co-ordinate Systems

Various co-ordinate systems are available in FEM-Design with different function, properties and display settings.


Global co-ordinate


User-defined co-ordinate

System (UCS)

Local co-ordinate



Definition of co-ordinates

Definition of directions

Interpretation of results


Definition of co-ordinates

Definition of directions




Definition of directions

Interpretation of results

Definition of profiles

TypeRight-handed CartesianRight-handed Cartesian

Each structural object has got

Its own right-handed Cartesian

co-ordinate system

AxesX, Y, ZX, Y, (Z)x’, y’, z’
Symbol1584538589442-105.png1584538594772-163.png1584538600338-346.png 1584538606183-590.png
Symbol color

Fixed 3 colors,

X = green

Y = red

Z = blue

Fixed 2 colors,

X = cyan

Y = orange

User-defined 3 colors,

Settings > All >

Display > Local systems



- View > UCS

- 1584538616094-847.png  moves the origin to the

   position of the cross-hair cursor

- 1584538628028-565.png  + 1584538618070-399.png  moves origin

   back to the origin of the Global


Fixed for an object


- View > UCS

- 1584538630374-591.png  + 1584538620392-967.png  resets the

   directions to the original state


Edit > Change direction


Settings > All > Window >

Co-ordinate systems

Settings > All > Window >

Co-ordinate systems

By element types:

Settings > All > Display

Symbol size

Settings > All > Window >

Co-ordinate systems

Settings > All > Window >

Co-ordinate systems

By elements types:

Settings > All > Display

Table: Co-ordinate systems

User-defined co-ordinate system (UCS) is developed in order to easily define coordinates and directions in a 2D user-defined working plane.

Point Definition with Co-ordinates

Points can be defined with their co-ordinates in Descartes or Cylindrical co-ordinate systems.


Figure: Co-ordinate system types for point definition

Point co-ordinates can be defined in various unit types available at Settings > Units (Length and Angle).

The crosshair cursor position can be displayed on the Status bar in the Descartes or in the Cylindrical co-ordinate system by clicking the 1584538745675-880.png  symbol of the Co-ordinate box.

Descartes Orthogonal Co-ordinate System

(Cartesian co-ordinate system)

The individual co-ordinates represent the distance of the point from the origin of the orthogonal co-ordinate system (absolute) or from a previously defined point (relative) measured along X, Y and Z axes. Cartesian co-ordinate system is available for co-ordinate definition both in the Global co-ordinate and the UCS systems.

Cylindrical Co-ordinate System

(Polar co-ordinate system)

Point is defined by three components: an angle (a1) and two distances (d1 and d2). The a1 and d1 co-ordinates define the point position in the XY plane of the Global co-ordinate and the UCS systems, d2 sets the distance from the XY plane. The angle and the distances can be given from the origin of the co-ordinate systems (absolute) or from a previously defined point (relative).

Co-ordinate Definition Modes

Point co-ordinates can be defined by typing them in the Command line or the Co-ordinate box of the Status Bar, or just by mouse-clicking combined with the Object snap tools in the drawing area or in special points.

Absolute co-ordinate definition

Co-ordinates of a point are defined as distances/positions from a co-ordinate system origin.


Figure: Absolute co-ordinates given in Command line and Co-ordinate box

 Descartes Orthogonal SystemCylindrical co-ordinate system

Global co-ordinate system

UCS system

Global co-ordinate system

UCS system

Command line-

X_Y or X,Y







Co-ordinate box1584538803237-696.png1584538819898-514.png1584538823960-275.png1584538828297-218.png
Command line-

X_Y_Z or X,Y,Z







Co-ordinate box1584538846439-830.png1584538851707-244.png1584538856448-486.png1584538860513-119.png

Table: Absolute co-ordinate definition modes

Rules of co-ordinate definition:

  • Co-ordinates given in Command line are valid only in UCS. But, if the UCS and Global system are in the same position (same origin and same axis directions), the defined point will be in the similar position in both two systems.
  • Decimal point has to be defined as “. ” and not “,”.
  • If you do not give Z value in the 3D modules, its value will be automatically zero.

Relative co-ordinate definition

There are three ways to define a point with given distance from another point (called “relative co-ordinates”).

Relative coordinates can be defined both in the Descartes and the Cylindrical co-ordinate systems and both in the Global and the UCS systems.

Relative (A): Distance from the last defined point

Distance from the last point can be defined in the Command line or with the Co-ordinate box. This mode is useful while creating line/polyline/polygon/surface with the distance from the start/previous point.

StepsCommand LineCo-ordinate box
1Define the start/previous point

Type the distance co-ordinates as:

R_X_Y or @X,Y



Launch the Co-ordinate box dialog, change Origin to Last point, and give the distance co-ordinates.





Type the distance co-ordinates as:

R_X_Y_Z or @X,Y,Z



Launch the Co-ordinate box dialog, change Origin to Last point, and give the distance co-ordinates.




Table: Relative (A) co-ordinate definition modes


Figure: Meaning of Relative (A) way in case of beam and plate definition

Relative (B): Distance from a selected point

With the help of function key 1584539434842-740.png  and the Co-ordinate dialog box, a point can be defined from the point on which the cross-hair cursor is left. The steps of definition:

  1. Leave the cursor above the required point found by one of the Object snap tools, which you would like to define the distance from.
  2. Click 1584539435991-327.png  function key.
  3. Set the distance co-ordinates in the Co-ordinate dialog according to a selected co-ordinate system.


Figure: Column definition with the distance from a slab corner or from a beam endpoint (Relative (B) way)

Relative (C): Point defined on line/edge with the distance from the end point

With the help of function key 1584539471935-788.png  and the Co-ordinate dialog box, a point can be placed accurately on a line/edge defined with a given distance from the closer end point of the line/edge. The steps of definition:

  1. Leave the cursor above the required line/edge found and next to its end point you would like to define the distance from. The 1584539480933-120.png  “Nearest” Object snap tool helps you to find the line/edge.
  2. Click 1584539472860-489.png  function key.
  3. Set the distance (d) from the closer end-point you left the cursor in the appeared dialog box.


Figure: Column definition on a beam by using the Relative (C) definition mode


If you press 1584539500131-310.png  while defining numeric values in a field of a dialog box, the Windows Calculator comes up. It is automatically filled with the content of the edit box. When you close the Calculator, the value calculated or typed in it will be written into the numeric field. It can be used with both Normal and Scientific views of the Calculator.


Figure: Calculator used in numeric fields of dialog boxes

Working Plane

The default working plane – where the points and coordinates are defined – is the following by different FEM-Design modules.

1584539615383-826.png 1584539637758-207.png  1584539645842-686.png1584539623073-398.png  1584539633898-240.png1584539627586-193.png
Design modulesSection Editor
Global XY planeGlobal XY planeGlobal YZ plane
Gravity direction 
Global Z directionGlobal Y direction 

Table: The default working plane by FEM-Design Modules

As the User-Coordinate system defines the working plane, its custom position can be set by the UCS definition tools. The 1584539670431-402.png  UCS command (View menu or toolbar) gives different definition ways depending on the applied FEM-Design module.


UCS definition toolsFunctionNote
1584539692590-925.png  AxisDefines vertical working plane by the global Z axis and a selected axisAvailable only in the 3D modules
1584539698043-884.png  StoreyDefines horizontal working plane in the plane of a selected storeyAvailable only in the 3D modules
1584539703386-864.png  Object planeDefines working plane in the plane/reference plane of a selected drawing/structural regionAvailable in all modules, but it has not effect on the default working plane in 2D modules, where only the position of the origin changes
1584539708560-444.png  3 pointsDefines working plane with 3 given points in their common planeAvailable in all modules, but it is useful in 3D modules, where the working plane can be set in arbitrary 3D position with 3 arbitrary points
1584539714351-179.png  Global XY planeSets the working plane in the global XY planeAvailable in all modules, but it has not effect on the default working plane in 2D modules, where only the position of the origin changes
1584539722846-361.png  Global XZ planeSets the working plane in the global XZ planeAvailable only in the 3D modules
1584539731742-739.png  Global YZ planeSets the working plane in the global YZ planeAvailable only in the 3D modules
1584539736646-730.png  OriginMove the current working plane parallel with its original position into a given pointAvailable in all modules, but it has not effect on the default working plane in 2D modules, where only the position of the origin changes

Table: UCS – working plane definition tools (in Design modules)


Figure: Working plane set into one of the global coordinate planes


Figure: Custom-defined working planes

warning.pngIt is very important to set correct position (plane) for the structural model. For example, although the default working plane is the Global XY plane in the 3D design modules, place the model of a 2D frame in a vertical (Global Z) plane with the help of a vertical working plane, because the gravity direction is always the Global Z axis direction.


Figure: Correct model (plane) definition of a 2D frame done in the 3D Frame module

The program automatically sets the working plane into the reference plane of a planar element (plate, wall, surface support, surface load etc.), if you use the Hole tool to cut hole in a structural element or a load.


Figure: Hole definition automatically sets the working plane into the plane of the attached object

Grid Systems

The program offers a number of aid tools finding specific points and directions while drawing and editing. These are the Grid system and the Object snap tools.

Two grid systems are available in the program: Construction grid and Snap grid.

Construction grid

By default, Construction grid is the grid visible in the working plane. Of course, it can be hidden at the program settings (Settings > All > Window > Grid). That grid sets the characteristic sizes of your project.


Figure: Construction grid and its settings

You can snap to the raster points of the Construction grid permanently by activating the 1584538172177-485.png  “Raster” Object snap tool and temporarily by holding down 1584538179396-485.png  function key. By default, the grid directions are parallel with the UCS axis directions, so you can rotate the grid together with the UCS.

Snap grid

Although Snap grid is an invisible grid, you can join to its raster points permanently (Raster tool) or temporarily 1584538182403-581.png  as written before at Construction grid. The distribution of the grid can be set at Object snap tools or at Settings > All > Window > Snap. The grid distribution can be set as default for the project/program in the latter setting dialog.


Figure: Snap grid and its settings

The X and Y directions are always parallel with the UCS axes.

Settings affect the Snap grid (Raster dialog box):

  • Dot cursor
    If it is active, a small black dot shows the grid points at applied Raster snap.
  • Sensitivity
    It sets the sensitivity area of the raster snap for both the grids and other snapping tools. The sensitivity is constant while zooming.

Object Snap Tools

The Object snap tools finds and joins to special points of drawing elements and objects. The cursor form changes to the symbol of the actually used Object snap tool. A snap tool can be activated permanently by clicking its icon on the Status bar or checking its box in the Raster dialog box. The dialog shows the hotkeys of the snap tools activate the current tool temporarily while holding down the key.

Object snap toolFunctionHotkeyExample

Select closest/

Farthest point



Two states: finds the closest or the farthest point/element from the overlapped ones-1584539929369-295.png
Raster1584540070454-557.pngActivates the Snap grip and finds its points1584539940350-190.png1584539935593-324.png

Defines straight directions parallel with the UCS axes

Available for line-type elements

End point1584540082050-158.pngJoins to point, corner point and endpoint1584539951154-349.png1584540060117-944.png
Middle1584540088274-380.pngJoins to line/edge midpoint1584539957349-525.png1584539962702-505.png
Center1584540022778-741.pngJoins to the center of circle/ arc/circular surface1584539969505-863.png1584540018054-352.png

Finds line/edge with its points

It joins to line/edge with the closest point to the cross-hair

Perpendicular1584540035830-447.pngLocates the point on an element that forms a perpendicular line to it from the last set point1584539979607-389.png1584540007643-205.png
Intersection1584540041407-349.pngFinds the nearest intersection point of two elements1584539986551-497.png1584540001618-499.png
Tangent1584540047367-188.pngLocates the point on a circular/ curved element that forms a tangential line from the last set point1584539991217-586.png1584539995605-802.png

Table: Object snap tools

Settings affect to the Object snap tools (Raster dialog box):

  • Dot cursor
    If it is active, a small black dot shows the points found by the applied Raster tool.
  • Symbol cursor
    If it is active, the symbol of the current Object snap tool when the cursor finds the similar snap point.
  • Sensitivity
    It sets the sensitivity area of the raster snap for both the grids and other snapping tools. The sensitivity is constant while zooming. Too high Sensitivity value makes more difficult to find a point from the neighbors close to it.
light.pngSnap will not work on objects obscured by other elements (such as surfaces) outside of Wireframe.

User can exclude entire Drawing layers from the snapping on its objects. For more information see „No snap” option.

Input Devices

The following figure summarizes the main keyboard and mouse functions. Of course, these functions, which depend on the current working mode (drawing, editing, selection, documentation or no command is running), are mentioned at the related topics of this user manual.


Figure: Keyboard and mouse functions

From the above displayed buttons, the following ones have special functionalities during drawing/editing:

1584540331895-152.png ... 1584540348371-865.pngActivate temporarily the Object snap functions.
1584540343098-500.pngDefines point on a line or edge by giving distance from the closest end point (Relative (C)).
1584540356631-714.pngInserts a relative point from the position of the crosshair cursor (Relative (B)).
1584540362491-692.pngMoves UCS to the position of the crosshair cursor.
1584540368483-343.png + 1584540383541-705.pngMoves UCS back to the Global co-ordinate system position (original state).

Pressing 1st Esc breaks the current command (e.g. placing a structural element).

For pressing 2nd Esc the active tool palette closes.

1584540389622-967.pngOpens the properties dialog (Default settings) of the current command.
1584540396419-615.pngConfirms data input / repeats the last command / finishes multi-selection.
1584540401964-187.pngRestarts the steps of the current command.
1584540406226-947.pngGoes back to previous step in a multi-step command.

Some commands can be accessed by hotkeys. See those commands in the Menu bar or in the Toolbars.


Mouse and keyboard selection

FEM-Design offers various selection modes to select objects for requiring and modifying their properties and for editing. If selection is possible, the available selection modes appear in the Command line.


Figure: Selection modes displayed in the Command line

light.pngUse 1584540503252-693.png  to restart selection, if you make mistakes while selecting.

Box selection

Rectangular selection box can be defined with two points placed with the 1584540512028-683.png  mouse button. Depending on the box definition, the box selects elements:

  • that are fully in the defined rectangular area                       →     the end corner of the box is on the right from the start one,
  • that are fully or partly (intersected) in the defined area       →     the end corner of the box is on the left from the start one.


Figure: Box selection modes

Object selection

Use 1584540537074-157.png  on an object to select it directly. If you click on a common part of more objects, the first drawn one will be selected.

Holding 1584540558567-862.png  pressed and by using 1584540564551-407.png  objects can be added to or subtract from the current selection.

Selection of same type elements

It is a quick selection to select visible elements defined with the same command (e.g. selection of all walls created by the Wall command). Just hold down 1584540570950-302.png  and select on element (e.g. one wall element) with 1584540539457-811.png , and all same type elements will be selected (e.g. all walls) independently their properties differ or not.

Select all

Depending on the current command, all visible elements (e.g. for the Edit > Move command) or all visible same type elements (e.g. for the Properties tool) will be selected by using 1584540593271-434.png  and 1584540601842-916.png  together.


  • ‘+’ sign is drawn if multiply selection is active (by pressing 1584540591106-171.png )
  • The selection box has different colours depending on the way of the selection:
    1. By ‘left-to-right’ selection (the included objects get selected) the colour of the selection box is blue.
    2. By ‘right-to-left’ selection (all intersected objects get selected) the colour of the selection box is green.
    3. By area selection (e.g. to print the selected area) the colour of the selection box is grey.

Multiple selection can be ended by 1584540709849-138.png  + 1584540542433-847.png  (it has the same effect like pressing 1584540722536-649.png ).

  • For pressing 1584540712365-549.png  + 1584540544465-727.png  in the application window (without any active tool palette) the quick menu appears.
  • When a tool palette (e.g. Beam tool palette or Point load tool palette) is active, for pressing 1584540715819-107.png  + 1584540546512-678.png  the properties of the items belonging to the active window appear.

Filter selection

Filter is a pop-up window in the workspace, which helps to select the requested objects easily for all kind of editing and modifying functions. When clicking on it, the following appears:


With the cursor pointing on Point support group +, -“ and ”&” buttons appear, enabling the user to add or remove point support group elements. If you want to select most, but not all of the point support groups, you should click +, and then “Continue” for deselecting the few individual supports not needed for the selection.

The ”&” button works as an “AND” boolean operator: If you want to select the columns on the second storey, you have to click +” at column and then ”&” at storey 2.

After closing the Filter palette, it can be switched on again by a right click on any toolbar, or on the main menu zone. Another way is available through Settings>All…>Environment>General>View, where filter palette can switched on and off:


User defined filter 1584540834379-665.png  in Tools menu is a function for saving some frequently used selections. If you define a filter of your own, it will appear at the bottom of the list. When defining, a name has to be given and then desired objects have to be selected. A window appears “Filter has been created.”After this, if needed, with properties ”?”, the name of the block can be modified; with “+” you can add other members, and with “-“, you can remove undesired ones.

It also can be exploded with 1584541535319-672.png :


At first (like in the figure above) “OK” is grey, but after clicking on Explode button “OK” becomes active. Don’t forget to validate the explosion with “OK”, before closing this window.

Point/Direction Editors

The program offers

The program offers tools for defining special points and directions while drawing and editing. You can reach them from the Status bar.

Object snap toolFunctionExample
Multi steps1584541609127-170.pngFixes reference points defined by the following tools

Define a new point with X=Y=1m distances from the virtual intersection of two predefined lines:

Launch Point (Draw menu), and then activate both 1584541660383-478.png  and 1584541666241-885.png . Define the virtual intersection of the two lines and place the cursor close to it. Press 1584541672093-107.png  and type 1 [m] for X and Y in the Co-ordinate dialog box. Pressing 1584541655178-130.png  on Status bar defines the new point.



Virtual intersections of lines1584541614196-321.pngEdits the intersection of two lines crossed virtually each other

Start a new line from the virtual intersection of two predefined lines:

Launch Line (Draw menu), then activate 1584541647347-350.png , and select the two lines one-by-one. The new line starts from the virtual intersection.


Divider point1584541635334-839.png

Edits a point on a straight-line with a given ratio:

ratio = the distance of the divider and start point divided by the section length

Draw a new line from the quarter point of another line:

Launch Line (Draw menu), and then activate 1584541641555-348.png . Define the start and end point of the line (section), and set the ration to 0.25 (from the start point). The new line starts from the quarter point of the defined section.



Parallel with line1584541684944-708.pngDefines direction parallel with a line

Draw a new line parallel with another line starting from a point:

Launch Line (Draw menu), and define the start point of the new line in the point. Activate 1584541685995-498.png  and select the line. Click the point again and finally define the end point of the new line.



Perpendicular from line1584541720513-546.png

Defines direction perpendicular from a line

Draw a new line perpendicular from a fixed point of an arc:

Launch Line (Draw menu), and define the start point of the new line in the fixed point. Activate 1584541725701-888.png  and select the arc. Click the fixed point again and finally define the end point of the new line.

Tangent from line1584541711599-951.pngDefines tangent direction from an arc

Draw a new line tangent with an arc and starts from a fixed point of the arc.

Launch Line (Draw menu), and define the start point of the new line in the fixed point. Activate 1584541713326-427.png  and select the arc. Click the fixed point again and finally define the end point of the new line.



Table: Point and direction editors


Thanks to the improved video engine, the advantage of all modern displaying technologies such as live pan, live rotation, live zoom, special display modes and transparency (see the next chapter) is available in FEM-Design.

light.pngThe suitable graphic engine can be set at Settings > All > Environment > General > Graphic engine.


Panning view on the drawing area can be done in different ways. “Panning” modifies the current view only and not the position of elements.

1584541879497-911.pngFirst start Animate pan from the View menu or View toolbar, then press 1584541912084-338.png or 1584541940233-167.png and drag the mouse to pan the current view. If you are in panning mode, you cannot edit the model and the currently running command is also paused. Click 1584541953389-453.png  to exit panning mode and return to editing mode.

However, while in editing mode, you can temporarily simulate Animate pan by pressing the 1584541962993-884.png to pan the view. Release the mouse button to stop panning.

With the command Pan (View menu) the current view can be moved with a displacement vector defined by two points.


Different tools allow you to zoom on the current view.

Live zoom


First start Animate zoom from the View menu or View toolbar, then press 1584541913870-455.png or 1584541922123-801.png and finally move the mouse up to zoom in or move it down to zoom out. If you are in zooming mode, you cannot edit the model and the currently running command is also paused. Click 1584542006307-211.png  to exit zooming mode and return to editing mode.

However, while in editing mode, you can temporarily simulate Animate zoom by scrolling 1584541926811-598.png forward to zoom in or backward to zoom out.

Other zooming tools of View menu

Zooming toolsFunction
Zoom margin1584542015021-395.pngFits the view to all visible elements and leaves a 5% additional margin around it
Zoom in1584542020341-118.pngEnlarges the view area defined with a box and fits it to the current window size
Zoom out1584542025848-629.pngDisplays the current view in the defined box area
Zoom enlarge1584542033144-656.pngZooms in to the 133% of the actual size
Zoom reduce1584542038858-625.pngZooms out to the 75% of the actual size

Table: Zooming tools


View rotation can be done in different ways. “Orbit” modifies the current view only and not the position of elements.

1584542063828-524.pngFirst start Orbit 1584542090957-850.png  from the View menu or View toolbar, then press 1584542096375-762.png or 1584541930926-995.png and drag the mouse to turn the model around its center point. If you are in rotation mode, you cannot edit the model and the currently running command is also paused. Click 1584542103577-570.png  to exit rotation mode and return to editing mode.

However, while in editing mode, you can temporarily simulate Orbit by pressing 1584542109198-582.png  together with 1584541933761-337.png to orbit the model. Release the keys to stop rotating.


Figure: Temporary Orbit

Alternatively, you can press 1584542131701-486.png  together with 1584542137439-171.png  to orbit around the closest valid snapping point to the cursor; in some cases, this may result in a more predictable orbiting behaviour. Valid snapping points include points specified by the Object Snap tool, or outside Wireframe view mode, also the closest surface point to the cursor.


Rotation view can be set in a dialog box too with the command 3D Rotation (View menu).


Figure: Rotation by dialog box


Besides of navigation tools, specific built-in 2D and 3D views can be used to set the required project view. All views can be stored with given names (user-defined views).

Built-in views


Just click one of the following view buttons to set a specific 2D view or a general 3D view:

User defined views and Home view

To return frequently to a view of the current project, you can save it as “Home view” (View > Home view > Save as). Choose View > Home view > Return to set this view just with one-click. Home view is saved with the project.

Current view can be also saved with names in a dialog appeared by clicking 1584542391298-734.png  (View > User defined views) or using 1584542400506-274.png +1584542439686-465.png . Define a name and click Add to store the view. If you have more than one user defined views, Select displays preview of them. To use a stored view as the current one, click Select and exit. The list does not contain the Home view. User defined views can be saved with the 2D and 3D View commands too.

1584542432941-107.png  specifies a section view, which contains objects within a given range (Tolerance), while 1584542409737-510.png  defines a space view perpendicular to a given plane. The section/plane can be defined with the following tools:

1584542418145-971.png      1584542423218-831.png

Figure: 2D and 3D View commands

Vertical plane

Creates a section/view parallel with the global Z axis by selecting two points.

Horizontal plane

Creates a section/view perpendicular to the global Z axis by selecting two points.

Object plane

The section/view plane is parallel with a selected region (Plate, Wall etc.) plane. The final direction can be set by moving the cursor at the selected storey. The view direction is always the opposite of the local Z’ direction of the selected surface object.

3 points

The section/view plane is defined by adding three points. The first point defines the origin, then the second point defines the X direction together with the first one, and finally the third point defines the Y directional extension of the plane. The last point also defines the view direction (an arrow shows it).

User Co-ordinate System

The section/view plane is set to the X-Y plane of the UCS. The view direction is always the opposite of the Z axis of the UCS.


With this tool, you can define the position of the section/view plane in a dialog box. At 3D View, Dialog opens 3D Rotation.


Figure: Section/view plane definitions in dialogs

Swapping among views

Moving one step back from the current view, zoom operations etc., click 1584542509882-519.png  (View > Previous view) or use 1584542518274-287.png +1584542542086-958.png . To go to the next view, click 1584542530035-893.png   (View > Next view) or use 1584542516983-590.png +1584542536597-724.png .

Select view

With this tool, you can select some specific views (Storey view, Axis view and User defined view).


Figure: Example for using Select view command


Figure: List of selectable views

After choosing Storey 2 you can see all the elements belonging to the current level, but for example, if you have high columns going through the whole building, they will belong only to the level where they have been created. You can return to previous view by clicking on the icon 1584542583102-248.png  again and then selecting “Return to 3D view”.

You can also obtain cross-sections of the whole building. By choosing axis no. 1. (which is the global X axis) in the example above, this is what you can see:


Figure: Cross-section view of the building

The green dots emphasized with the blue arrows in the figure above indicate the truss elements pointing out of the plane determined by the current axis and global Z.

The name of the selected view is displayed in the upper left corner under the current code.


Display Modes

Thanks to the graphic engine, the following display modes (View menu or View toolbar) are available:


1584542641616-498.png or 1584542728751-352.png + 1584542762858-239.png displays the model with all edges and lines drawn, but with no surfaces drawn.

Hidden line

1584542649793-139.png or 1584542740726-313.png + 1584542755569-737.png displays the model with all edges and lines drawn except those covered by surfaces.


1584542655024-213.png  or 1584542737942-921.png + 1584542748254-297.png displays the model with all surfaces shaded according to their assigned layer color. A default (non-editable) light source provides illumination for shading. All non-building elements such as drawing elements (lines, regions, texts etc.), loads, supports and the grid-system (if not hidden) are also displayed in shading mode.

Shading with edges

1584542660246-154.png or 1584542730989-930.png + 1584542768810-456.png displays the non-occluded edges of the model in addition to Shading mode.


Figure: The meanings of the view modes

Display thickness

1584542792382-132.png is a quick tool developed to real-time display or hide 3D solid representation of structural objects (Plate, Wall etc.). It’s a switch that can be turned on/off in the View menu/toolbar or by using 1584542800253-474.png +1584542806315-476.png .

Beam, Column and Truss member3D solidReference line
Shell3D solidReference plane

Table: The visual effects of “Display thickness” switch status on element types


Figure: The statuses of “Display Thickness”

Hiding Element

1584537936986-554.pngThe hide and show functions are merged in one command called Hide/show objects, which is available in the View menu/toolbar or by using 1584537961539-667.png +1584537968455-837.png . To hide elements use the Hide tool for selecting them. The selected elements are displayed as transparent till closing the command and then they disappear on screen. Resuming the command, the transparent objects represent the previously hidden objects. Apply the Show tool to display hidden elements again by selecting them. Click All error to hide or show immediately (without any selection) every project elements depending on the Hide or the Show tool is the active.
1584537993812-615.pngHide all stories of the building except the first story and the ground floor.


Figure: Hide tool and box selection

Unhide the second and third stories.


Figure: Show tool and box selection


1584537621968-254.pngTransparency can be set for all element types such as structural objects, drawing elements, loads, supports etc. Start the Transparency command from the View menu or View toolbar or with 1584537640851-113.png +1584537646320-716.png . Set the transparency value in the Set transparency dialog and then select elements you would like to display as transparent.


Figure: Example for Transparency

light.pngTo reset transparency settings to opaque for all elements, set the transparency value to 0% and click All error.

At solid (Display thickness switch is on) and Hidden line/Shaded representation of plates/walls, the finite element mesh can be displayed, if transparency is given for the host surface element.


Figure: Display finite elements in solid and shaded view

1584537813511-351.pngTo set the transparency of all walls to 50% in a project, select one wall with 1584537828663-182.png +1584537835426-934.png .


Figure: Transparency command combined with “Select type” selection


Axes (Axis objects) have multifunction in FEM-Design. They can be used to find special points and to define different kind of planes:

  • Intersections of axes
    Figure: Intersections may define column base points
  • Working plane
    Figure: Working plane defined on an axis by UCS
  • View planes (2D View and 3D View commands)
  • Project planes (used in the model transfer between the FEM-Design modules)
    1584534224633-899.png Wall module can open an axis plane defined in the 1584534243024-768.png  3D Structure model and imports the walls attached to the view.

New axis or axis-system can be defined with the  1584534263441-700.png  Axis command of the 1584534270926-937.png  tabmenu. Both constant and variable distribution of axes can be defined in the Axis tool palette.

Definition steps

  1. Set the required horizontal working plane (UCS), where you would like to place axis/axes.
  2. Use the 1584534286532-863.png  Define tool. Define the distribution in the Multiple axes description field. If distance is not defined, you can place one axis object as a line on the UCS working plane.

    Constant spacing:
    (n-1)xd                                       where n means the numbers of axes, x is the multiplication sign and means the distances between the axes.

    Variable spacing:
    (n1-1)xd1,(n2-1)xd2,...              where ni means the numbers of axes per different spacing, x is the multiplication sign and di means the different distances.

    Figure: Axis-system with constant and variable spacing
  3. Label type (Number or Letter), starting character (No/Letter) and Prefix can be defined for the new axis/axis-system in the Axis tool palette.
  4. Display settings of axis symbols, colors and label can be set at 1584537384178-315.png  Default settings.
  5. An axis or the start axis of a system can be easily defined as a line with 2 points in the working plane. The distribution orientation can be changed by clicking 1584534358296-971.png  before the definition of the axis end point. The program places all axes on the Axes object layer.

Optional steps:

  1. The numbering of an axis or one direction of an axis-system can be modified with the 1584534352090-284.png  Renumbering tool. Define new (start) numbering value in No/Letter field, and then select the axis you would like to renumber.
  2. Display settings of the axis symbols can be modified with the 1584534345415-258.png  Properties tool.


Stories (Story objects) have multifunction in the 1584534307330-961.png  3D Frame and 1584534315446-217.png  3D Structure modules. They can be used to define different kind of planes:

  • Working plane
    Figure: Working plane defined on a storey by UCS
  • Project planes (used in the model transfer between the FEM-Design modules)
    1584536585976-493.png Plate module can open storey defined in the 1584536607083-794.png  3D Structure model and imports the slabs, the supports and the loads attached to the loaded storey.

New storey or storey-system can be defined with the 1584536653224-615.png  Storey command of the 1584536659573-171.png  tabmenu. Both constant and variable distribution of stories can be defined manually in the Storey dialog box.


Figure: Storey dialog box

Definition steps

  1. Set the Horizontal size of the building. This rectangular size will be the floor plane size of the storey object.
    warning.pngThe horizontal size and the summa height (see later), which define the whole model size, effect the automatic wind load calculation.
  2. Set the height of the Ground level and Bottommost level.
    warning.pngGround level also effect to the automatic wind load calculation, because the load values depend on the distance from the foundation level.

    Bottommost level
    This is the storey’s origin height, so the storeys are starting from this level.

  3. To define the first storey, set a name for it in the Storey cell of the first row, and then give the Height of the storey. Then, define further required stories in the same way. You can also edit the level of a storey that automatically updates the story height.
  4. Set the display settings (symbol and label size of the level dimensions) at Properties.
  5. Clicking OK generates and displays the storey-system in the project. The program places all stories on the Stories object layer.

Creating a storey-system automatically generates view planes by stories. Fast navigation among those storeys can be done with the keyboard or by using Select view:


Figure: Navigation by Storey

In Settings/Display/Storey dialog you can choose from three options for the appearance of the given storey.


All objects are displayed which are in the plane of the storey or crossing the storey above or below according to the selected setting.

If the Modify structure is enabled the structure follows the storey system modification, otherwise not.

The modifications displayed with three color code, if the Modify structure is active:

  • green: new storey
  • yellow: modified stroey
  • red: deleted storey

When the Apply button is pressed the modifications proceed immediately without closing the dialog. The following pictures shows this feature though a 4-storey building, where the Storey 4 will be deleted, a new storey is added and the Storey 3 height is increased to 4.0 meters.




“Find” can be used for finding structural and analytical elements with a given ID (A.1), some finite elements 1584534397545-769.png  , nodes 1584534403377-203.png ,.blocks 1584534408615-653.png , user defined filters 1584534415549-709.png ., or global unique identifier (GUID) 1584534422816-900.png .

You can scroll down all the members of the current type.


You can scroll down all the members of the current type.

Reference plane

Reference plane is an auxiliary object, which allows User to align elements to it.

Click the Reference plane icon 1584534474482-681.png  in Structure tab.

You can type a Description for the Reference plane in the tool window or in the Default properties.



Reference plane can be drawn in any plane. It is displayed by the region contours with the predefined description.


The Reference plane can be used for align regions to it and also can be used by Correct model tool to fit structural objects to.


Reference planes can be exported into/imported from Autodesk Revit via StruXML format.