Define AutoConnection settings and rules

Added May 4, 2021 by Tekla User Assistance

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Define AutoConnection settings and rules

Define AutoConnection settings and rules

With AutoConnectiontool that creates connections with predefined properties in certain framing conditions

you can define groups of rules which Tekla Structures automatically applies when creating connections in a model. By using a rule group to select connections and connection properties you do not have to select each connection and define its properties separately. For example, you can create separate rules for different standards, projects, manufacturers, and even individual models.

AutoConnection settings

To open the AutoConnection Setup dialog box, on the File menu, click Catalogs > AutoConnection settings.

Icon Setup level Description

Rule group You can use rule groups to organize connections and connection properties according to different standards, projects, manufacturers, and models. You can create, modify and delete rule groups.

Framing condition Framing conditions are predefined connection types that you cannot change. Tekla Structures creates the framing conditions automatically:
  • Beam to beam web
  • Beam to beam flange
  • Beam to column web
  • Beam to column flange
  • Beam splice
  • Column splice

Rule set You can use rule sets to define which connection to use in a certain situation. You can create additional rule sets.

Connection The connection to apply if the rule set criteria are met.

To apply a particular connection, the conditions in the model have to match all the rules in the branch that contains the connection.

Rules.zxt file

When you use AutoConnection, Tekla Structures saves the AutoConnection information in a zipped rules.zxt file in the \attributes folder under the current modelmodel that is active in Tekla Structures

The current model can be a single-user model, a shared model or a working model.


You can copy the rules.zxt file to the project or firm folderfolder that is used for storing Tekla Structures-related files customized for a particular organization

A Tekla Structures user can, for example, customize a company’s cloning templates and save them in a sub-folder located under the firm folder. After this, the customized cloning templates can be used in all projects carried out for the company.

to make it available in other models. Each time you modify the AutoConnection setup you need to recopy this file to the firm and project folders. To use the modified setup in other models, restart Tekla Structures.


You can have a maximum of two secondary parts in the connection (for example, you cannot use complex gussets with several secondary parts). AutoConnection uses the profile height and ID number as the criteria for determining the first secondary and second secondary parts.

Create a rule group for AutoConnection

You can define rule groups for AutoConnection to organize connections and connection properties according to different standards, projects, manufacturers, and models.

  1. On the File menu, click Catalogs > AutoConnection settings.
  2. Right-click an existing rule group and select New Rule Group.
  3. Click the New group and enter a name.

    Give the rule group a name that reflects the group of connections that you want to create. For example, use the fabricator's name, the project name, or any name that clearly identifies the connection rules that you want to use for a specific model.

When you create a new rule group, Tekla Structures automatically adds the existing framing conditions in the group.

Create a rule set for AutoConnection

You can create AutoConnection rule sets under framing conditions to specify which connection properties to use when specific conditions in the model are met.

You only need to create AutoConnection rule sets if you plan to use different connections to connect similar framing conditions. For example, in the model, some beam-to-beam connections require clip angles, others need shear tabs. You need to define rule sets to determine where each connection type should be used.

  1. On the File menu, click Catalogs > AutoConnection settings.
  2. Click the plus icon in front of the rule group to open the tree structure.
  3. Right-click the relevant framing condition and select Create Additional Rule Sets.
  4. Right-click the new rule setmaster drawing that contains model selection filters and where the properties and drawing settings vary based on the selected model objects

    and select Edit Rule Set....
  5. Enter a name for the rule set.
  6. Select a rule from the Available rules list.
  7. Click the right arrow button to move the selected rule into the list of Rules in rule set.
  8. Enter the values used in the rule: either an exact value, or minimum and maximum values.
  9. Click OK.

The order of the rules in the tree structure is important. Tekla Structures uses the first rule that matches the conditions in the model so you should place the most limiting rule highest in the tree, and the most generic rule lowest.

You can change the priority of a rule set by right-clicking the rule set and selecting Move up or Move down.

Change a connection in an AutoConnection rule set

You can change the connection in a rule set by selecting a connection in the Applications & components cataloguser interface for displaying or modifying information in categorized lists

For example, profile catalog and shape catalog are catalogs.


  1. On the File menu, click Catalogs > AutoConnection settings.
  2. Click the plus icon in front of the relevant framing condition and rule set to find the connection that you want to change.
  3. Right-click the connection and select Select Connection Type....
  4. Double-click a connection in the Select component dialog box.
  5. Click OK in the AutoConnection Setup dialog box.

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