Drawing Symbol Manager

Last updated November 10, 2016 by Tekla Structures Extensions USA solutions.us@tekla.com

Software version: 
Not version-specific
United States (Imperial)
United States (Metric)

Drawing Symbol Manager

Purpose and description

This tool allows you to easily select lines, free placed text, text with leader lines, polylines, rectangles, clouds, polygons, circles, free placed symbols, arcs, dwg/dxf, drawing objects, and bolts and save them away into a *.ddf (Drawing Detail File) so you can insert standard 2D details drawn on one sheet to many other drawings on the project or in other models.

System requirements

Environments:   All
Languages:   English, Translatable

Installing Drawing Symbol Manager

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. Make sure Tekla Structures is closed
  2. Install the extension downloaded from Tekla Warehouse
  3. Open Tekla Structures, a model, and then a drawing.
  4. Before version 2016:A new toolbar icon which will launch the tool should now be visible when a drawing is opened. 2016 version and newer: a new thumbnail under Ungrouped items in the Applications and components side pane will appear.

Using Drawing Symbol Manager

To use the application:

  1. Select the 2D drawing objects in the drawing you want to store as a Drawing Detail.
  2. Type in a name in the Name field, then optionally type in a description about the detail.
  3. Press the Save button and you will then be prompted to pick a point in the drawing which will represent the origin reference pointpoint that Tekla Structures creates when the user creates a model object, the point being visualized as a handle

    The reference points follow the model object if it is moved. They are only deleted if the related model object is deleted.

    Reference points can be selected as snap points in a snap switch.

    for inserting the detail later on.
  4. To create a preview image after the detail is saved simply single click inside the preview box window and a small transparent camera dialog box will appear. You can move the camera, resize the window, and when ready to take the picture simply double click in the middle of the camera.
  5. To insert that detail simply select or type the name of any saved detail that appears in the list, then press the Insert button. You will be prompted to pick an insertion point to place the detail. The detail will automatically scale itself to whatever view you are adding it into.
  6. Under the file menu you can Change the directory and browse to any folder path that contains *.ddf files. You do not have to store the files in your 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.

    but they are stored there by default in a sub folder called “Drawing Details”.

Customizing Drawing Symbol Manager

There is an underlying toolkit this extension uses called SymbolManagerLogic.dll that is installed to Windows GAC for .NET assemblies during the installation process. This assembly can be referenced in your own Tekla Open APIapplication programming interface that lets third-party applications integrate to and communicate with Tekla Structures

Tekla Open API enables, for example, customizing Tekla Structures.

extension applications to automatically insert drawing details or save them away if you would like to create a custom interface for your own version of Drawing Symbol Manager.

Additional information

  • There are limitations on some of the arrowhead types and line types used.

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