Reference models and compatible formats

Tekla Structures
Tekla Structures

Reference models and compatible formats

A reference model is a file that helps you to build a Tekla Structures model. A reference model may be created in Tekla Structures or another software or modeling tool and then inserted to Tekla Structures.

For example, an architectural model, a plant design model, or a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) model can be used as a reference model. Reference models can also be simple 2D drawings that are inserted and then used as a layout to directly build the model on. You can snap to reference model geometry.

Reference models of different formats, such as IFC, IFC4, IFCzip, IFCxml, tcZIP, 3DD, DXF, DWG, DGN, XML, LandXML, STP, IGS, SKP and PDF, are converted by the TrimBimConverter to the TrimBIM (.trb) format at reference model insert. The .trb file is saved in the current model folder. The reference cache is created in the cache folder based on the advanced option XS_​REFERENCE_​CACHE when the reference model is set visible, which happens automatically at insert and update.

Examples of supported file types:

  • AutoCAD files .dxf

  • AutoCAD files .dwg (supported version ACAD2018 and earlier)

  • IFC files .ifc, .ifczip, .ifcxml

  • IGES files .igs, .iges

  • LandXML files .xml

  • MicroStation files .dgn, .prp

  • PDF files .pdf

  • Tekla Collaboration files .tczip

  • SketchUp files .skp (supported version SketchUp 2021 and earlier)

  • STEP files .stp, .STEP

  • Filmbox files .fbx

  • COLLADA files .dae

  • Autodesk 3DS Max format files .3ds

  • 3D image files .obj

  • Blender files .blend

  • GL Transmission Format files .glft

  • Polygon File Format files .ply

  • Tekla files .tekla

    TrimBIM files .trb

The Add model dialog box lists the extensions of all formats that are currently supported by Tekla Structures.

Some reference models are automatically subdivided or split into reference model objects.


You can disable the roll-over highlight, which can speed up zooming.

Reference model plug-ins in Tekla Warehouse

Reference model plug-ins are available as .tsep plug-ins in Tekla Warehouse. Tekla Structures installation contains the plug-ins, but you can get newer ones from Tekla Warehouse. First download the needed package from Tekla Warehouse, and then import it to the Applications & components catalog.

For more information about .tsep packages, see Import a .tsep extension to the Applications & components catalog.

Reference models in drawings

You can show reference models in drawings and adjust their visibility settings: Reference models in drawings.

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