Customize the shape catalog

Tekla Structures
Tekla Structures

Customize the shape catalog

The shape catalog contains information on shapes that are used for defining items. Use the Shape catalog dialog box to view and modify shape properties and metadata, to group and tag shapes, and to import and export shapes.

The shape catalog includes default shapes, for example Default and Concrete_Default, and other shapes that are read from specific shape folders in a set folder search order. The shapes you import, download from Tekla Warehouse, or create using existing geometry in the currently open model are also shown in the shape catalog.

Shape definition files

For each shape in the shape catalog, there are two definition files that contain the shape information:

  • One .xml file for shape attributes, such as name and GUID, stored in the \Shapes folder

  • One .tez or .xml file for geometric properties, such as coordinates, stored in the \ShapeGeometries folder

Tekla Structures searches for these subfolders and definition files in the model, project, firm, and system folders, and in the folder defined by the advanced option XS_DEFAULT_BREP_PATH.

The definition files of the shapes that are used for items in a model are automatically copied to the model folder.

If you have shapes that you would like to have available in the shape catalog for all new models that are created in your project or company, copy the corresponding .xml and .tez files to the correct subfolders (\Shapes and \ShapeGeometries) in the \profil folder under your project or firm folder.


If your project, company, or environment uses a common location for shapes that are used in several Tekla Structures versions including 2017i and older, use .xml format for shape geometry files. The compressed .tez files do not work in Tekla Structures 2017i or older versions.

Group structure and other shape files

The hierarchical group structure of the shape catalog is read from the ShapeCatalog.Groups.xml file in the model folder. Using this file, the group structure can be shared with all users in a project preferably in the beginning of the project.

If you modify the group structure, Tekla Structures saves the changes to the ShapeCatalog.Groups.user.<username>.xml file in the model folder.

The *.shapecatalog and *.ShapeCatalog.Groups.xml files are used for exporting and importing shapes and the group structure between Tekla Structures models.

Was this helpful?