Show part handles and part reference lines in a model view

Added May 4, 2021 by Tekla User Assistance

Software version: 

Show part handles and part reference lines in a model view

Show part handles and part reference lines in a model view

Part handles can be used to move a model objectobject that is represented in a model

A model object is either created in a model or imported into it.

or to modify the model object’s shape or size. Part reference lineline between two reference points

For example, if the user picks two points to position a beam, these points form the reference line, and handles appear at the line ends.

Reference lines can be used in snapping in a snap switch.

is line between two reference points, and the reference line has handles at the line ends.


When you create horizontal parts, such as beams, always pick points in the same direction, for example, from left to right. This ensures that Tekla Structures places and dimensions the parts in the same way in drawings, and that part marks automatically appear at the same part end.

Show part handles

Tekla Structures indicates the direction of a part with handles. When you select a part, Tekla Structures shows the handles. The handle of the first end point is yellow, the rest are magenta.

For information on how to select only the handles of a part, see Select objects.

If direct modification is on, Tekla Structures also displays direct modificationfunction that activates the mode where the model objects can be modified by using handles

Direct modification enables additional handles and modification options.

handles for the reference points, corners, segments, and segment midpoints of the selected part. These handles are blue.

Modify the length of a part using handles

If you do not want to use direct modification, you can use the part handles to modify the length of a part.
  1. Ensure that the Direct modification switch is not active.

  2. Select the part.

    Tekla Structures highlights the handles of the part.

  3. Click one of the handles to select it.

  4. Move the handle like any other object in Tekla Structures.

    For example, right-click and select Move.

    If Drag & drop is active, just drag the handle to a new location.


Do not use cuts or fittings to change the length of a part, for the following reasons:

  • Cuts may cause shop errors, because cuts do not always affect part length when you export information to NC files.

  • Fittings may cause problems with connections and details.

Swap handles

You can change the modeling direction of a part by using the Swap handles macrosaved series of actions that includes instructions for a program

Macros are located in the applications and components catalog. They are recorded or created manually and stored as .cs file in a folder defined with the advanced option XS_MACRO_DIRECTORY.

Macros can, for example, be used for creating drawings or reports.

Macros are sometimes used to run an application.

. This changes the yellow start handle to magenta, and the other way around.

  1. Select the part whose modeling direction you want to change.

    Tekla Structures shows the part handles.

  2. Go to Quick Launch, start typing swap handles, and select the Macro.Swap handles command from the list that appears.

    Tekla Structures changes the modeling direction of the part, and swaps the start and end handles.

Show part reference lines in a model view

When you create a part, you position the part by picking points. These points are the part reference points. If you pick two points to position a part, the points form a part reference line, and handles appear at the line ends. By default, the part reference line is invisible in the model. It may be useful to display it when snapping to the middle points of parts, for example.

  1. Double-click the view to open the View Properties dialog box.
  2. Click Display... to open the Display dialog box.
  3. On the Advanced tab, select the Part reference line check box.
  4. Click Modify.

    The part reference lines are displayed.

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