Insert a reference model

Tekla Structures
Tekla Structures

Insert a reference model

You can insert reference models in a Tekla Structures model. You can use the reference models to overlay different discipline models with your own model. These disciplines can be architect, plant engineer, services engineer or other structural disciplines.

Note that all characters below 256 are allowed in a reference model file name: both ASCII (0 - 127) and extended ASCII (128 - 255). If the file name contains unsupported characters, you will get a warning message.

  1. Open a Tekla Structures model where you want to insert a reference model.
  2. To insert the reference model, go to the File menu, and select Import > Insert reference model.

    Selecting this command opens both the Reference Models pane and the Add model dialog box.

    You can also open the Reference Models pane first by clicking the Reference Models button in the side pane , and then click the Add model button.

  3. In the Add model dialog box, if you have any previously created reference model properties files, load the desired file by selecting the file from the properties file list at the top.
  4. In the Add model dialog box, browse for the reference model file by clicking Browse....

    You can also drag reference models from Windows Explorer, and insert several models at a time.

    For a list of compatible formats, see Reference models and compatible formats.

  5. Select a group for the model or enter the name of a new group.

    If you do not enter a name for the group, the reference model is inserted in the Default group.

    You can also drag models to an existing group and create new groups. If you create a new group, and do not add any reference models in the group immediately, the group is saved for future use.

  6. In Location by, select one of the following options:

    Model origin inserts the model relative to 0,0,0.

    Work plane inserts the model relative to the current work plane coordinate system.

    Base point:<name of base point> inserts the model relative to the base point by using coordinate system values East coordinate, North coordinate, Elevation, and Angle to North from the base point definition in Project properties.

  7. Select where you want to place the reference model. You can enter coordinates in the Offset boxes or pick a position for the reference model origin.

    The maximum number of decimals for coordinates is 13.

  8. Set the Scale of the reference model if it is different from the one in the Tekla Structures model.

    Note that you need to set the scale for a DWG or a DXF file already in AutoCAD. When you define the measurement unit for a DWG or a DXF file and save the file in AutoCAD, the unit is recognized in Tekla Structures, and the reference model is scaled correctly.

    The maximum number of decimals for scale is 13.

  9. You can rotate the model around model Z axis by picking a location in the model or entering the desired value in the Rotation box.

    The maximum number of decimals for the rotation value is 7.

  10. Click More to show more details and add the Code, Title, Phase and Description of the reference model.

    By default, the title is the same as the name of the inserted reference model. You may want to use the name of the discipline or the company instead, for example. The code could be a site number, project number, or accounting number. Write the description according to the company conventions. The phase is the design phase of the reference model (not the phase in the Tekla Structures model).

    Below is an example of these details when you inquire the reference model.

    You can also modify all the details after you have inserted the model.

  11. Click Add model.
  12. If the inserted reference model lies outside the work area and is not fully or at all visible in the model view, Tekla Structures displays a warning message. Click Expand to extend the work area to see the reference model in the model view.

    The reference model is inserted in the current phase of the Tekla Structures model.

    Note that for IFC reference models the elevation offset value is not read from the inserted reference model.

    When a reference model is inserted or updated, reference model data is copied to Tekla Structures model internal data storage located in the <current model>\datastorage\ref folder. The reference model is visible even if the original file is removed from its original location. The reference model data in this folder should not be touched.


Do not insert the same reference model to the Tekla Structures model several times. One person only should update the reference model (click Refresh) to avoid duplicate object data.

When you want to update the reference model, do not delete the old reference model from an open Tekla Structures model and replace it with a new one, because then you would lose the work done on reference objects in the old model. Use the change detection functionality instead.


To only clip reference models and point clouds with the clip plane tool, set the advanced option XS_DO_NOT_CLIP_NATIVE_OBJECTS_WITH_CLIP_PLANE to TRUE. If you do this, the native objects are not clipped.

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