Import shapes

Tekla Structures
Tekla Structures

Import shapes

You can import the following types of shape files: tsc, skp, dxf, dwg, ifc, ifcZIP, ifcXML, igs, iges, dgn, stp, step, and shapecatalog.

When using other modeling software to model shapes that you want to import into Tekla Structures, we recommend that you center parts around the origin and direct the parts along the x axis.

From Tekla Structures models you can also import shape catalog groups either with the shapes as .shapecatalog files or without the shapes as .ShapeCatalog.Groups.xml files.

  1. Open the model to which you want to import shapes and/or shape catalog groups.
  2. On the File menu, click Catalogs > Shape catalog to open the Shape catalog dialog box.
  3. To import shapes without the group structure to a certain group or sub-group in the shape catalog, select the group or sub-group on the left side of the dialog box.

    If you do not select a group, Tekla Structures imports the shapes to the Ungrouped group.

  4. Click Import.
  5. In the Import shape definitions dialog box, browse to the folder that contains the files to be imported, select the files, and then click Open.

    Tekla Structures checks if there are duplicates in the shapes in the import files compared to the existing shape catalog.

    In the Import dialog box, you can see the Status of each imported shape (e.g. New shape definition, Shape name already exists) and, if a shape has already been used in the model, the Instances of the shape.

  6. If shapes with the same name and GUID as the shapes being imported already exist in the shape catalog, you can replace or keep the existing shapes. In the Import dialog box:
    • Select the Overwrite check box for each existing shape that you want to replace with a new, imported shape.

    • Clear the Overwrite check box for each existing shape that you want to keep unchanged.

  7. Click Import in the Import dialog box.

    Importing a large file can take several minutes.

  8. Click OK to complete the import.

    The groups that contain new or modified shapes are marked with on the left side of the Shape catalog dialog box. The new or modified shape rows are highlighted in yellow in the list of shapes.

  9. Click Save to save changes to the shape catalog.

Shape import has three possible results:

  • Tekla Structures imports the shape as a watertight solid shape. All solid operations are available.

  • Tekla Structures imports the shape as a non-solid shape. A non-solid shape means that the object may not be watertight. For example, it has holes, or is missing a face or an edge.

  • Import fails. This can happen, for example, if the shape is very complex or has no volume. There may also be a tolerance difference between Tekla Structures and the original software that was used to create the shape. To find out why the import failed, check the session history log by going to File menu > Logs > Session history log.

The Solidity column in the shape catalog shows if a shape is solid or non-solid.

When you import a shape into the shape catalog, Tekla Structures creates two files: one .xml file for shape attributes, such as the name and GUID, and one .tez file for geometric properties, such as coordinates. The files are saved in the current model folder under the \Shapes and \ShapeGeometries subfolders.

The shape name that is shown in the shape catalog is determined as follows:

  • If you import a .tsc or .shapecatalog file, the shape name is read from the imported file.

  • If you import other file types, the shape name is the name of the imported file.


You can also download shapes from Tekla Warehouse, or create shapes using existing geometry in Tekla Structures models.

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