Create items

Last updated March 10, 2020 by Tekla User Assistance

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Create items

Create items

In Tekla Structures, the term item refers to the parts that have a 3D shape. Shapes are created in an external modeling software, or in Tekla Structures, and they are available in the Tekla Structures shape catalogcatalog that displays information of item shapes

The shapes are downloaded from Tekla Warehouse, are created using existing geometry and parts in the model, or are modeled using software other than Tekla Structures, for example SketchUp.


Items are similar to other parts, such as beams and columns. The main difference between items and other types of parts is that a 3D shape defines the geometry of an item, whereas a part has a 2D profile that is extruded to create the length of the part.

You can use items to model objects that would otherwise be difficult to model using basic Tekla Structures parts and commands, such as cutting. You can also use items to model objects that use shapes modeled in an external software or by a manufacturer.

Every item has properties that define it, such as shape, material, and location. If you want to use item properties in view and selection filters or in drawing and report templates, you need to use the template attributes of parts and profiles. If you want to separate items from parts, use the IS_​ITEM template attributeattribute in a template object that Tekla Structures uses to calculate and display information from a model database

Template attributes represent object properties.


Limitations to items

  • Items have a geometry according to their shape, so items cannot be scaled, stretched, or fitted.
  • Items cannot be mirrored.
  • Items cannot be split or combined. Splitting an imported item creates a duplicate to the splitting position.
  • Items can only be cut or attached to another part if they have a solid shape.
  • The gross weight value of an imported item may be different from that of an identical Tekla Structures part modeled with cuts. This is because the cuts are not taken into account when calculating the gross weight of parts.

Create an item or a concrete item

  1. Ensure that Direct modification is switched on.

    This makes it easier to adjust the location and rotation of the item in the model.

  2. Depending on the material of the item you want to create, do one of the following:
    • On the Steel tab, click Item .

    • On the Concrete tab, click Item .


    Alternatively, you can start the command in the property panecontrol element in Tekla Structures user interface in the form of a side pane window

    The property pane can be used to show and modify the properties of model objects.

    The property pane can be customized by using the property pane editor.


    1. Ensure that you have nothing selected in the model.
    2. In the property pane, click the Object type list button and select Item or Concrete Item from the list.

      Tekla Structures starts the command and shows the properties in the property pane.

      In the property pane, you can modify the item properties and select the shape, for example.

  3. Move the mouse pointer over object faces and edges in the model, and see how the item turns over and adjusts to the object faces.

    If you are adding the item to another object (such as part or pour objectbuilding object that is formed of one or more cast-in-place concrete parts, or parts of cast-in-place concrete parts

    The cast-in-place concrete parts are merged into one pour object if they have the same material grade and pour phase, and if they touch each other. Pour objects are visible in pour view.

    ), Tekla Structures also shows location dimensions to the nearest object edges.

  4. Pick the first point of the item.
  5. To indicate the direction of the item, pick another point.

    Tekla Structures places the item between the points you picked starting from the first point (yellow handle) towards the direction of the second point (magenta handle), using the Item or Concrete Item properties in the property pane.

    Tekla Structures shows the coordinate axes, rotation handles, and location dimensions that you can use to fine-tune the location and rotation of the item. The handles are red, green, and blue, according to the local coordinate systemcoordinate system that reflects the current work plane or drawing view plane

    The local coordinate system is represented in a model by a symbol with three axes (x, y, and z). This symbol indicates the direction of the model. It is located in the lower right corner of the model view.

    In a drawing, the local coordinate system symbol has two axes.

    of the item.

  6. To move the item along any of its coordinate axes, drag the relevant axis handle to a new location.
  7. To rotate the item around any of its coordinate axes, drag the relevant rotation handle to a new location.

    Press Tab to rotate the item in 90-degree steps in the direction of the selected rotation handle.

  8. To move or rotate the item by specifying a distance or angle:
    1. Select an axis handle, a rotation handle, or a dimension arrowhead.
    2. Type the value by which you want the dimension to change.

      When you start typing, Tekla Structures displays the Enter a Numeric Location dialog box.

    3. Click OK to confirm the new dimension.
  9. If you want to add more items to the model, click the middle mouse button and repeat steps 3–8.
  10. To stop adding items, press Esc.
  11. If needed, you can modify the item geometry further in the Geometry editing mode.

Modify item or concrete item properties

  1. If the property pane is not open, double-click the item or the concrete item to open the Item or the Concrete Item properties.
  2. Change the properties as needed.
  3. Click Modify.

Change the shape of an item

When you create or modify an item, you can select the shape from the list that contains all the shapes available in the shape cataloguser interface for displaying or modifying information in categorized lists

For example, profile catalog and shape catalog are catalogs.


Before you start, ensure that you have the required shape available in the shape catalog.

  1. Double-click an item to open the item properties in the property pane.
  2. Click the ... button next to the Shape box to open the Shape Catalog dialog box.
  3. If needed, use the Filter box to search for a shape.
  4. Select a shape from the list.
  5. Click OK to close the Shape Catalog dialog box.
  6. Click Modify to apply the changes.

Convert a part to an item

You can change existing parts in the model to items and at the same time add corresponding shapes to the shape catalog.

When you change a part to an item, Tekla Structures deletes the original part and replaces it with the newly created item in the model. The name, material, finish, classpart property that groups parts according to identifiers given by the user

The identifiers of classes are usually numbers. Classes can be used for defining the color of parts in the model, for example. Class does not influence the numbering of model objects.

, pour phasepart property that defines which cast-in-place concrete parts form a pour object

Pour phase can be used to prevent cast-in-place concrete parts from merging into one pour object.

, and the numberingprocess of assigning position numbers to parts, cast units, assemblies, or reinforcement

In Tekla Structures, the position numbers assigned in the numbering are shown in marks and templates, for example.

properties of the original part are saved as the corresponding item properties. Other part type specific properties and user-defined attributes are not saved. The objects that are attached to the original part, such as reinforcement and surfaces, are deleted.

Curved beams, spiral beams, bent plates, lofted plates, and lofted slabs cannot be changed to items.

  1. Create the parts that you want to change to an item.
  2. If you want to include more than one part in the item, attach the parts to each other.
  3. Select the part.
  4. Right-click and select Convert part to item.

    Alternatively, you can go to Quick Launch, search for and select the Convert part to item command, and then select the part.

Tekla Structures changes the part to an item and adds a new shape to the shape catalog. The shape name is generated using the part name and part location in the format <gridmodeling aid that represents a three-dimensional complex of intersecting grid planes or intersecting grid planes and curved grid surfaces

The grid is defined by coordinates in 3D space. It is shown two-dimensionally on the view plane by dash-and-dot lines. A grid can be rectangular or radial.

It is possible to have more than one grid in a model. For example, a large-scale grid for the entire structure, and smaller grids for some detailed sections.

It is also possible to show grids and grid line labels in drawings, and to modify how they are shown in the drawings.

location>_<elevation>_<part name>. For example:

  • 1/D_+0_FOOTING

  • 3/C_+0-+3600_COLUMN

  • 1-2/A-B_+3600_SLABplate that represents a concrete structure

    In Tekla Structures, a slab is created by picking three or more points.

    Slab may be part of a floor, for example.

If there is already a shape with the same name in the shape catalog, Tekla Structures adds two underscore characters and a running number at the end of the new shape name. For example, 1/D_+0_FOOTING__1.

Item and concrete item properties

Use the Item and the Concrete Item properties in the property pane to define, view, and modify the properties of an item. To open the properties, double-click the item or the concrete item.

The file name extension of an item property fileobject type specific file that contains values of properties or settings used in the property pane or a dialog box

Property files are saved in the current model folder. The user can create and modify property files and copy them to the project or firm folders for future use.

User-defined attributes related to a specific object type are stored in a separate property file.

is *.ips.

The file name extension of a concrete item property file is *.ipc.

If you have customized the property pane layout, the list of properties may be different.





User-definable name of an item.

Tekla Structures uses part names in reports and in Document manager, and to identify parts of the same type.


Shape of an item.

To select a shape from the shape catalog, click the ... button next to the Shape box.

To show the item shape in reports and drawing tables, use the PROFILE template attribute.


Material of the item.


Type of finish.

Finish is user definable. It describes how the part surface has been treated, e.g. with anti-corrosive paint, hot galvanized, fire retardant coating, etc.


Use to group items.

For example, you can display parts of different classes in different colors.

Numbering series (available for items)

Part numbering

Part prefix and start number for the part position number.

Assembly numbering

Assembly prefix and start number for the assembly position number.


On plane

Item's position on the work plane, relative to the item's reference line.


Rotation of the item around its axis on the work plane.

At depth

Position depth of the item. The position is always perpendicular to the work plane.

End offset


Move the item along its reference line.


Move the item perpendicular to its reference line.


Move the item in the z direction of the work plane.

Cast unit (available for concrete items)

Cast unit numbering

Part prefix and start number for the part position number.

Cast unit

Indicate whether the item is precast or cast-in-place.

Pour phase

Pour phase of the cast-in-place parts. Use to separate pour objects from one another.



Click the User-defined attributes button to open the user-defined attributes (UDAs) of the part. UDAs provide additional information about the part.

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