Insert a reference model

Last updated March 12, 2019 by Tekla User Assistance

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Insert a reference model

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.

  1. Open a Tekla Structures model where you want to insert the reference modelmodel which the designer can use as an aid when building another model

    A reference model is created in Tekla Structures or in other software and can be inserted to Tekla Structures. The reference model appears together with the model but it is not modified by Tekla Structures. The user can snap to reference model points.

    For example, an architectural model, a plant design model, or a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) model can be a reference model.

  2. Open the Reference Models list by clicking the Reference Models button in the side pane.
  3. In the Reference Models list, click the Add model button.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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 or create a new group later on.

  7. 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 planeplane that the user has chosen in a model and that is currently active for working on in a model view

    Newly created, copied, or moved model objects comply with the work plane. For example, shifting the work plane to follow a sloped plane makes it easier to model sloped structures.

    coordinate system.

    Base point : <name of base pointpoint in a model that is used to define a starting point in surveying and that is used as an anchor point in coordinate and height transformations

    A Tekla Structures project can have several base points but only one of them can be the project base point.

    Base points allow the use of another coordinate system needed for interoperability and collaboration. Base points can also be used in drawings, and in reports and templates. Model origin is the default base point in Tekla Structures.

    Base points are also called control points.

    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.

  8. 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 originglobal coordinate system point of origin used for the model

    Model origin is the default project base point.


    The maximum number of decimals for coordinates is 13.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Click Add model.
  13. If the inserted reference model lies outside the work areacertain portion of the model that is currently active for working on in a view

    Tekla Structures indicates the work area using dashed lines. Since objects outside the work area exist but are not visible the user can set a certain sized work area so that the views of the model are simpler and quickly updated, for example.

    and is not fully or at all visible in the model viewview that is represented in the modeling mode

    Model view is available also in the drawing mode and it is represented in its own window.

    , 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 IFCfile format commonly used in BIM that facilitates software interoperability

    IFC is an open specification developed by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability).

    Model can be exported into an IFC file.

    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. If there are duplicate reference models, there are also duplicate GUIDs.

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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