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Centralized distribution of Tekla Structures 18.0 and 18.1

Software version: 18.1 - 18.0

Last updated August 2, 2018 by Tekla Global Support tekla.structures.ghd@trimble.com

Not environment-specific

Centralized distribution of Tekla Structures 18.0 and 18.1


From version 16.0 onwards Tekla Structures consists of the following installations:
  • Tekla Structures software installation
  • Either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version of the software installation, depending on your operating system.
  • Common environmentTekla Structures environment that forms a basis for other environments

    The common environment is included in the software installation and includes the global settings, macros, symbols, items, and fonts, for example. The common environment and global settings form the basis for all other environments.

  • Common environment is needed as a basis for all the other Tekla Structures environments.
  • Tekla Structures environmentregion- or company-specific settings and information that are predefined in Tekla Structures or that are defined by the user

    To be able to use Tekla Structures, the user must install the software and for region-specific settings at least one Tekla Structures environment. The software installation includes the common and blank project environments and the global settings. The common environment and global settings form the basis for all other environments.

    Property files form the largest part of a Tekla Structures environment. A Tekla Structures environment consists of, for example, profile catalogs, part property files, and drawing settings.

  • Localized environments include your country-specific codes and standards.
Installing Tekla Structures software and environments one by one on each user’s computer is a time consuming taskin the task manager, a representation of a piece of work that needs to be carried out in order to complete a project

in large companies, and therefore, Tekla Structures is often installed in a centralized manner across company workstations.

This document clarifies the basic principles of building a centralized installation for the Tekla Structures installation package.

Scope of this document

This document describes two different methods which can be used when Tekla Structures is installed in a centralized manner:
  • Installing Tekla Structures using setup.exe files containing the needed settings, see Method 1.
  • Installing Tekla Structures using an MSI package with a transformation file, see Method 2.
There are other methods available as well, but these methods are not described in this document.

This document is meant for a Tekla Structures main user who prepares installation packages and determines the correct installation settings for the IT department. The company IT department can then distribute Tekla Structures into workstations in the company network.

The basic assumption is that you, or someone in your company, have earlier experience in centralized distribution and that you are familiar with the distribution tools used in your company. The steps to configure the actual distribution depend on the software you are using, and therefore this document or Tekla is not able to give you support on that. This document only explains the steps that can be considered Tekla Structures specific, or relevant to a Tekla Structures main user.

Do not use any self-made batch files for the centralized installation of Tekla Structures. Tekla Structures installation is designed to be run either interactively by double-clicking the installation .exe, or in centralized manner explained in this instruction by using proper distribution tools.


Hardware recommendations

The hardware recommendations need to be fulfilled in the client computers where Tekla Structures is going to be installed. Hardware recommendations for Tekla Structures 18.0 can be found here.

Installation settings in Tekla Structures 18.0

In the interactive installation of Tekla Structures, the user defines the settings in dialog boxes (for example, installation location, default location for the model folderfolder that is used for storing files associated with a model

Tekla Structures stores all files associated with a model in a folder it creates with the same name as the model database (.db1).

In multi-user mode all users access the same model folder.

, and the languages to be installed). In the centralized distribution, the dialog boxes are typically not visible to the user, and therefore the settings need to be defined in some other way.

The installation settings are valid for both installation methods explained in chapters 4 and 5. The settings are the same even they are entered in different ways depending on the installation method used.

Installation settings for Tekla Structures 18.0 Final software

Installation folders

The following options refer to the installation locations:
  • INSTALLDIR – Software installation folder
  • TS_ENVINSTALLDIR – Environment installation folder
  • TSMODELDIR – Default location for Tekla Structures models
The software installation folder and the environment installation folder are dependent on each other:
  • If your software installation folder is C:\Program Files\Tekla Structures\, then your environment installation folder should be C:\ProgramData\Tekla Structures\.
  • In this case you should make sure that all your Tekla Structures workstations are running the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system.
  • If your software installation folder is C:\TeklaStructures\, then your environment installation folder should also be C:\TeklaStructures\.
  • This folder path setup is recommended especially if you have both Windows XP computers and Windows Vista / Windows 7 computers as Tekla Structures workstations.
  • If you want to use any other installation location, then the software installation folder and the environment installation folder must the same.

Additional languages

The English language is installed by default. If you want to install additional languages, use value 1 for the settings starting with L. If you do not want to install them, use value 0. The abbreviations stand for the following additional languages:
  • L_CHS – Chinese (simplified)
  • L_CHT – Chinese (traditional)
  • L_CSY – Czech
  • L_DEU – German
  • L_ESP – Spanish
  • L_FRA – French
  • L_HUN – Hungarian
  • L_ITA – Italian
  • L_JPN – Japanese
  • L_NLD – Dutch
  • L_PLK – Polish
  • L_PTB – Portuguese (Brazil)
  • L_PTG – Portuguese
  • L_RUS – Russian

Installation settings for Tekla Structures 18.0 Service Releases

For the service release installer you need to define:
INSTALLDIR – Software installation folder

Use the same folder as with the main version installer.

Installation settings for Tekla Structures 18.0 Environments

Tekla Structures 18.0 Environment MSI installers do not need any additional settings when the Tekla Structures 18.0 software is already installed on the same computer. Environments are installed to the TS_ENVINSTALLDIR set in the software installation.

Method 1: Preparing a centralized distribution of Tekla Structures with Setup.exe files

In Tekla Structures 18.0 it is possible to use the original setup.exe files in the silent installation. You do not need to extract the setup file separately but just run the installer .exe file in the command line using the appropriate parameters. The prerequisites are installed automatically if they do not exist on the client computer.
Enter the settings described in the previous chapter in the command line. Notice that it is essential to enter INSTALLDIR when installing Tekla Structures 18.0 software.

Examples of a command line command for running setup installation silently

  • To install 64-bit Tekla Structures 18.0 to the Program Files folder:
TeklaStructures180x64Software.exe /s /v"/qn
INSTALLDIR=\"C:\Program Files\Tekla Structures\" /lvoicewarmupx
  • Same as above with Spanish and Italian languages:
TeklaStructures180x64Software.exe /s /v"/qn
INSTALLDIR=\"C:\Program Files\Tekla Structures\" L_ESP=1
L_ITA=1 /lvoicewarmupx TS180_logfile.log"
Note that both commands shown above also install the Common environment in the same manner as you would run the installer normally with the user interface. However, always install the latest Common environment separately too, as well as the latest versions of the environments you need.

If you want to, you can copy the environment installers to the same location where you have the Tekla Structures 18.0 software installer. Then, when you run the software installer, it starts the Environment manager which then installs all available environments in that folder. Do not place the environment installer to the same folder with the software installer if you do not want the environments to be installed at the same time.

  • To install 64-bit Tekla Structures 18.0 SR1 to the Program Files folder:
TeklaStructures180SR1x64Software.exe /s /v"/qn
INSTALLDIR=\"C:\Program Files\Tekla Structures\" /lvoicewarmupx
  • To install Tekla Structures Common environment separately:
Env_Common_inst_180.exe /s /v"/qn /lvoicewarmupx
The command above can be used to install any Tekla Structures environment after you have installed the software. You do not need to separately define the installation folder as it is read from the registry values inserted by the Tekla Structures 18.0 software installer.

Notice that setting /v is used in the msiexec. You need to have all of the settings in quotation marks. Also, if for example the INSTALLDIR path includes spaces, you need to enter the path in quotation marks and use a backslash in front of the quotation mark to distinguish these quotation marks from the start and end quotation marks of setting /v.

Method 2: Preparing the centralized distribution of Tekla Structures with MSI-files

Checking Tekla Structures prerequisites

When you install Tekla Structures in a centralized manner running MSI files, it is essential that all the needed prerequisites exist in the client computers before installing Tekla Structures software.

The prerequisites for Tekla Structures 18.0 are:

  • Microsoft .NET 4.0 Extended
  • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2005 x86 Redistributable 8.0.59192
  • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2005 x64 Redistributable 8.0.59193
  • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2010 x86 Redistributable 10.0.40219
  • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2010 x64 Redistributable 10.0.40219
Note: For 64-bit Tekla Structures both the x86 and x64 redistributables are needed but for 32-bit Tekla Structures only x86 redistributables are needed. It is expected that a newer version of the same redistributable will work.

Microsoft .NET 4.0 and the latest Visual Studio redistributable installers can be downloaded from the Microsoft site. You can also extract the installers from the Tekla Structures installation setup.exe.

Extracting Tekla Structures software installation package

1. Save the Tekla Structures software installation package (either 32-bit or 64-bit) on your computer.

2. Run Command Prompt as administrator.

3. Run the installation package with setting /a. If you want to extract prerequisite packages from setup.exe, add a folder path after the /a setting to extract the prerequisites to that folder.

By using setting /a, the installation package is run in the administrator mode. This means that the software is extracted instead of installed, even though the user interface is very installation-like.

4. Select the installation language.

5. The installation initializes, click Next in the InstallShield Wizard dialog box.

6. Select the location where you want the system to extract the software installation.

7. Click Finish.

8. You can now browse into the extraction folder that you defined in step 5. The folder contains the .msi package, program files and GlobalAssemblyCache folders.

When extracting the setup, if you defined a folder after setting /a, the prerequisites are extracted to separate subfolders (Prq folder in the picture above). If the operating systems on the client computers are up-to-date, you do not need to install all extracted prerequisites but only those needed for Tekla Structures if they do not already exist on the client computers. In the extracted folder, the Microsoft .NET 4.0 installer is named “dotNetFx40_Full_x86_x64.exe” and the Visual Studio redistributable installer file names start with “vcredist“. You can also get the latest versions of these from the Microsoft web site.

Extracting Tekla Structures Service Release installation package

It is recommended to install the latest Tekla Structures Service Release. Repeat the same extraction procedure as defined above (steps 1 to 7) for the latest Tekla Structures Service Release except extract the service release to a different folder (for example, to C:\TS-install-temp\extract-SR).

Extracting Tekla Structures Environments installation packages

Repeat the extraction procedure (steps 1 to 8) for the Common environment installation package and for the other environment installation packages you need. Environments can be extracted to the same folder as the final software. If you are going to install a service release, use the environment installers released at the same time.

At the end of the extraction process your folder should look for example as follows:

The software installation is available as an extracted MSI package on the Tekla Structures DVD. Note that you still need to extract the Common environment and other environments.

Setting the installation settings

This chapter describes the settings used in Tekla Structures installation and one method of defining the settings, that is, a transformation file.

Transformation file

Transformation files (.mst) can be used in defining the settings that are normally selected interactively in the installation dialog box: software installation folder, environment installation folder, languages, and cold rolled applications.

Transformation files can be created and viewed with a variety of installation or .mst editing software. The software is third-party software and it is not included in the Tekla Structures installation package. A free viewer for transformation files is available at: http://www.instedit.com/.

As the steps to create the .mst file depend on the .mst editor you use, Tekla cannot provide you with more detailed instructions on the creation method. The following chapter describes the valid settings that can and need to be defined by using the .mst file.

The installation settings in a transformation file for Tekla Structures 18.0 Final software

The following image presents an example of a transformation file. The parts highlighted in green refer to the installation settings that can and should be defined by the person preparing the centralized distribution.

The needed properties should be added in the .mst file if they do not exist. You can do this by inserting a row in the Property tableview in object browser that shows the values of selected model object properties

The property table is created based on a selected property template.

and saving the transformation file. It is not recommended to modify the original msi file.

Installation settings in a transformation file for Tekla Structures Service Releases

Define a separate .mst file for the Service Release installer. You need to define only INSTALLDIR. Use the same folder as with the main version installer.

Installation settings in a transformation file for Tekla Structures Environments

Tekla Structures 18.0 Environment MSI installers do not need any transformation file when Tekla Structures 18.0 software is already installed on the same computer. Environments are installed to the TS_ENVINSTALLDIR set in the software installation.

Example of a command line command for running MSI installation silently

You can use for example the following kind of command to run the MSI installation silently:
msiexec /i "Tekla Structures 18.0 x64 Software.msi" TRANSFORMS=TS180x64_installation.mst /qn /lvoicewarmupx TS180_logfile.log

The example is for the Tekla Structures 18.0 software package so you need to have similar commands for the service release and all environment installers.

Configuring the distribution

The rest of the steps in the centralized distribution vary depending on the distribution software that is used in your company. Therefore, Tekla cannot give you any detailed instructions.
However, some general hints and tips about the centralized distribution can be given:
  • Tekla Structures needs to be installed with administrative rights. Make sure that proper rights are given.
  • Typically, the installations that are run in a centralized manner are set to run in a silent mode. This means that Tekla Structures users will not see any installation dialogs. Due to this silent mode it is recommended to set any additional information messages as invisible and to record them into a separate log file instead, if this is supported in the distribution tools used in your company.

Validating the installation result

If you want to make sure that the result of the centralized installation is correct, you can check the following items to validate the installation result.

Checking Tekla Structures shortcut

The Target and Start in fields show the Start menu and/or desktop shortcuts according to your settings for INSTALLDIR in the transformation file (.mst).

Checking the installation paths in the Control Panel

The installation location displayed in the Control Panel should match your settings for INSTALLDIR and TS_ENVINSTALLDIR in the transformation file (.mst).

Checking the content of teklastructures.ini

The content of teklastructures.ini should match your settings in the transformation (.mst) file.
To check this:
  1. Browse to your software installation folder (defined in INSTALLDIR in the .mst file).
  2. Browse to the sub folders nt\bin\.
  3. Open teklastructures.ini in a text editor.

The .mst file values should match the teklastructures.ini values in the following way:


If there is a problem that seems to be related to the Tekla Structures installer, but not to the distribution software, contact Tekla Structures support and provide the following information:
  • How the installation was executed; msiexec or setup commands used
  • Which MSI installers and mst files were used (send the mst files)
  • Installer log files
  • Description of the problem

Some tips on using InstEd

Creating a new mst file

If you want to create a new mst file, first open the extracted msi in InstEd with the File > Open command. Create the mst file with the Transforms > New transform command.
Then make your changes (add, delete, modify) in the tables. The changes are saved in the mst file when you save the tables (File > Save).

Opening the existing mst file

If you want to see what an mst file contains, first open the corresponding MSI in InstEd and then open the mst file with the Transforms > Apply transform command. The changed table names and rows are shown with colors.

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by Katri Junna

This is a great article. Can you please update it to version 19.0 (at least the prerequisites and the common environment part)?

by Chris White

Hello whenever i try to do the whole thing using MSI files when i come to install SR2 for tekla 18.1 i get an error message along the lines of "You do not have tekla structures 18.1 installed" but i do as i can see the shortcut on my desktop and can launch the program. Any advice?

by Chris White

works fine if i install structures and sr2 using setup.exe /s/v"/qb" and then do msi installs for the environments.