Data Exchanger

Last updated November 10, 2016 by Tekla Structures Extensions USA

Software version: 
Not version-specific
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Data Exchanger

Purpose and description

This function allows users with to read and write User Defined Attributes (UDA’s) of any object directly to and from the Tekla Model. It is intended for use by model checkers, concrete or steel fabrication shop managers or site erection or installation superintendents in order to track and verify objects back to the Tekla Structures Model.
This tool works within any configuration or license of Tekla Structures and there is also a Data Exchanger Lite available which has similar functionality but is launched externally or without a model.
The saved file can be saved locally and transferred electronically via email or can be saved using a cloud based file sharing service.

System requirements

Environments: Default
Languages: English

Installing Data Exchanger

To install the applicationpart of Tekla Structures functionality that is developed in order to extend the capability of Tekla Structures but that is not included in the Tekla Structures installation


  1. Download from Tekla Warehouse
  2. Make sure Tekla Structures is closed.
  3. Install the extension.
  4. Reopen Tekla Structures once installation is complete and you will see:
(Up to v21.1) A new toolbar icon which will launch the tool should now be visible. 

(v2016) A new thumbnail under Ungrouped items in the Applications and components side pane will appear.

Using Data Exchanger

To use the application:

  1. Open any Tekla Structures Model
  2. Launch the Tool by clicking the toolbar icon, or double-clicking the thumbnail in the Applications & components side pane.
NOTE: Hover the mouse pointer over the icons for a tooltip
  1. Select the objects in the model that are to have their UDA’s exported
  2. Click the ‘Get Selected Objects From Model’ Icon
  1. The list will then populate with the objects selected and the contents of the attributes chosen.
  1. After the dialog is populated it is possible to edit the cells by selecting the cell and typing the value required.
  1. The changes will apply to the model as soon as another cell is clicked or you hit enter.

Usage: Preparation for External Editing

  1. Clicking the Save button will record all of the selected objects and their corresponding attributes to an XML file that can be located locally, shared over a network or posted to the cloud for access by other users with the Data Exchanger Lite version.

Usage: Accepting Changes from Data Exchanger Lite

  1. Once further edits are received from the external Data Exchanger Lite application, the file can be opened for the corresponding edits to apply to the objects in the model.
  1. When the selected file is opened, a validation screen will appear, allowing checking of the attributes that will be changed before committing those to the model
  1. Colorize the model by clicking the ‘Object Representation’ icon to see how the changes received will affect the model.
  1. Check the changes and if everything is correct then click the Commit Changes icon to commit the changes to the model.

Usage: Other Functionality

  1. To keep the dialog box on top of all other windows, click the ‘Stay on Top’ icon. When activated it will show a border around the graphic.
  1. To automatically highlight objects in the model when an item on the list is selected, click the ‘Automatically select objects in the model’ icon. When activated it will show a border around the graphic.
  1. To access options for settings and customization click the ‘Settings’ Icon. More information regarding customization is shown below.
  1. The list can be filtered using text strings entered in the search box.
  1. Changes made to the model while the dialog remains open can be applied to the dialog can be applied to the dialog by clicking the ‘Refresh’ icon



1. Clicking the options icon launches a dialog that allows access to various configuration settings for the tool.

2. Highlighting ‘Object’ in the left column and clicking the ‘Set’ button allows configuration of all the different Tekla Model objectobject that is represented in a model

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

types; e.g Part, Beam, Plate(1) part that represents a flat structure

(1) In some contexts, for example in analysis, the term plate object may be used to refer to plates.

(2) plate that represents a steel structure

(2) Plate is mainly used as a connection piece or as a floor plate.

, 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.

, Weld, etc. Reducing the number of default objects checked on this list will improve initial export efficiency. Only check the object types that will be required.


3. Selecting ‘Properties’ then clicking the ‘Set’ button allows configuration of the various properties and User Defined Attributes that will be available to view on the row along the top of the data grid.
4. Check or uncheck the properties to make them visible or invisible respectively in the data grid header row.
5. Properties or User Defined Attributes can be added by clicking the Add icon

6. Type any name for the property then use the Report Property (from the contentattributes.lst file) or the UDAobject property created by the user in order to widen the range of predefined object properties

User-defined attributes are used when the predefined object properties are not sufficient but more properties are needed. For example, comment, locked, and erection status are user-defined attributes.

Name (from the objects.inp file)

7. Set the data type (string, double, date, time etc) and any other required parameters
8. Save the file
9. If attributes or properties have been added to the model prior to adjusting these settings and will be required in the data grid, then the data exchanger cache will have to be deleted and re-made. A dialog will offer this upon closing.

Representationthe way that the information included in a model is represented visually

10. The default colorization of the model upon initially opening the Data Exchanger can be set on the ‘Representation’ option.

Additional information

The Data Exchanger saves 3 files in 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.

in order to operate:

  • The DataExchangerObjectTypes.xml file saves the default object types settings
  • The DataExchangerProperties.xml file save the default and user created Properties to be stored and used.
  • DataExchangerPropertiesAll.xml is a list of all the available Properties and User Defined Attributes.

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