Publish drawing annotations to Trimble Connect

Last updated May 11, 2021 by Colin Cheese

Software version: 
Not version-specific
Not environment-specific

Publish drawing annotations to Trimble Connect

Purpose and description

This featurepart of Tekla Structures functionality that is maintained and owned by Trimble Solutions and that is included in the Tekla Structures installation

allows you to extract drawing annotations from Tekla Structures drawings and publish them to Trimble Connect(1) application for information sharing and collaboration for construction projects that is based on the Trimble Connect platform

(1) Reference models are used in Trimble Connect application instead of using import and export.

(1) Trimble Connect application includes web, desktop and mobile clients, and the Sync tool, for example.

(2) Trimble’s platform for microservices in the cloud

(2) Trimble Connect platform’s microservices include services for uploading, storing, processing, and managing or consuming data. These services are meant to provide common solutions required by multiple applications.

web so that you can then view those annotations in the Connect 3D model viewview that is represented in the modeling mode

Model view is available also in the drawing mode and it is represented in its own window.


The feature has two parts:

  • A Tekla Structures extension that is used to extract and publish the drawing annotations to a Trimble Connect project.
  • A Trimble Connect web extension that provides the user interface for controlling the visualisation of the published annotations in the Connect 3D viewview that displays objects three-dimensionally

    3D view is one of the default views.


Tekla Structures extension: Publish drawing annotations to Trimble Connect

This extension is used to extract and publish selected Tekla Structures drawingdrawing that includes the output of the selected information in a model or a part of the model and other information related to the model and the project

Drawings react to modifications in the model and are updated accordingly.

Tekla Structures includes the following types of drawings: single-part drawings, assembly drawings, cast unit drawings, general arrangement drawings, and multidrawings. Tekla Structures creates drawings using the drawing properties defined for each type of a drawing.

Every drawing is made up of a drawing layout and drawing views.

annotations to a Trimble Connect project.

System requirements


  • Download and install the extension in the normal way from Tekla Warehouseservice for collaboration and for storing and sharing Tekla Structures content

    In Tekla Warehouse the content items are stored in collections. Tekla Warehouse includes the Tekla Warehouse Service and the Tekla Warehouse web site.

    Tekla Warehouse is one of the Tekla Online services.

  • After installation the extension is available in Applications & components in the ‘Trimble Connect’ group:

Before publishing drawing annotations to Trimble Connect

  • Sign in to Tekla Structures with your Trimble Identity if you have not already done so.
  • Make sure the Tekla Structures model is associated with a Trimble Connect project. See Trimble Connector for more details.
  • Make sure the current state of the 3D model has been uploaded to Trimble Connect.
    • IMPORTANT: If the drawing annotations are out of sync with the uploaded model the annotations may not be positioned correctly relative to the model objects they are associated with.

Publishing drawing annotations:

  • Use Document managertool that is used for listing and managing drawings and other types of documents

    With the document manager the user can, for example, reorganize, update, freeze, lock, and delete drawings.

    The user can also organize file documents, such as PDF, NC, and DWG files, and drawings, in document categories, and search documents and open drawings.

    Document manager is replacing drawing list from the version 2018i onwards.

    to select the drawings that you wish to publish.
    • Supports Single-part, Assembly, Cast unit and GA drawings.
    • Make sure the drawings are up to date.
  • Launch the extension from Applications & components.
    • Note: You cannot use the extension while a drawing is open in the editor.
  • Click the Publish annotations button to start the publishing process.
  • A progress bar is displayed and there is an option to Cancel the publishing if desired.
  • The selected drawings annotations are first extracted to local temporary annotation only dwg files which are then converted to TrimBIM (trb) files. These trb files are then uploaded to the Connect project. In addition an Annotations_Index.json file is also uploaded that contains additional annotations related data.
  • While publishing is in progress do not:
    • Close Document manager.
    • Change the selected drawings in Document manager.
    • Open a drawing.
  • When publishing is complete you will get a message box stating whether publishing was successful or whether it failed in some way. If it failed check the log for details:
    • On the Advanced tab click the Open log button and review any errors:
    • The log filefile that contains information related to changes, actions, and errors in the model or drawing

      Tekla Structures writes information in log files when the model is saved, numbered or checked for clashes, for example.

      is stored in the <model>\logs\ folder and is called PublishAnnotationsToTrimbleConnect_<user>.log Use the Open Connect 3D View button to open Trimble Connect 3D View for the associated Connect project in your default browser.
    • See here for details of how to install the Connect web extension and view the published annotations.

Advanced settings

  • On the Advanced tab you have the following:
    • The Upload annotations to Trimble Connect option is checked by default.
      • This is used for troubleshooting and should not be changed.
    • Open log opens the extenson’s log file so you can check for any errors.
    • Install extension into Connect project installs the Connect web extension into the associated Connect project. See how to use this here.
    • Open local annotations folder opens the local model subfolder where the temporary annotations files are generated. This is intended for troubleshooting purposes.
  • The root location of the published annotations files in the Trimble Connect project is controlled by XS_CONNECT_UPLOAD_MODEL_FOLDER. If this advanced option is not set then \Structural\Tekla models\ is used.
    • Annotations files are uploaded to XS_CONNECT_UPLOAD_MODEL_FOLDER\<ModelName>\Annotations\
    • IMPORTANT: You should not change XS_CONNECT_UPLOAD_MODEL_FOLDER after publishing annotations because if you do you will need to manually delete those previously published annotations using the Trimble Connect web Explorer.

Controlling the published drawing annotations content and colors

  • The extension uses the ‘Export drawings to DWG/DXF’ feature and because of this you can control the color of the annotations and which type of annotations are published by editing a suitable settings file.
  • The layer rules are used to specify the color as well as which annotations you might wish to exclude from publishing. See here for more details.
  • IMPORTANT: Settings must be saved to a file called ‘PublishAnnotations’ as only a file with this name will be used by the extension.
  • Open the ‘Export drawings to DWG/DXF’ dialog and configure the Layer rules as appropriate (all other dialog settings will be ignored by the Publish annotations to Trimble Connect extension) and then save the settings to a settings file called ‘PublishAnnotations’ e.g.
  • The settings file is saved to the <model>\attributes\ folder and has the file extension ‘.dwgsetting’
  • To disable the use of this settings file either delete ‘PublishAnnotations.dwgsetting’ or rename the file.


  • Please use this forum topic to review the latest information and ask any questions or raise any issues.

Trimble Connect web extension: Annotations for Trimble Connect web

This Connect web extension is used to control the visualisation of the published annotations in the Connect 3D view.

System Requirements

  • A Trimble Identity and Trimble Connect account.
  • It is recommended to have a Business or higher Connect license.
  • Supported Trimble Connect platforms: Trimble Connect for Browser.
  • Trimble Connect 3D Viewer for Browser does not support Internet Explorer browser. Please use a more modern browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari.


  • The Connect web extension needs to be installed into each Connect project that you wish to publish annotations to.
  • Use the Tekla Structures extension to start the installation:
    • From a Tekla Structures model that is linked to a Connect project, start the Tekla Structures extension.
    • Note: If the model is not linked to a Connect project you will not be able to start the installation process.
    • Select the Advanced tab and then click the Install extension into Connect project button:
    • This opens the Connect 3D view ( in your default browser.
      • Internet Explorer is not supported. Please use a more modern browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari.
      • If prompted to login please login with your Trimble Identityuser account to sign in to both Trimble and Tekla products and online services

        For a Tekla Structures user, Trimble Identity is a single sign-on account which enables the user’s online identity management. Trimble Identity is needed, for example, for Tekla Warehouse, Tekla User Assistance, and Tekla Campus.

      • If prompted to allow access please allow access else the extension will not install.
    • Open this menu:
    • Expand the Extensions section of the Settings:
    • Click the blue Add button to complete the installation.
    • Refresh the browser page to ensure the extension is properly loaded.
    • Check that the Connect web extension is correctly installed by clicking the Open Connect 3D View button on the Tekla Structures extension which will open the Connect 3D view and on the left side you should see this icon:

Using the Annotations for Trimble Connect Web extension

  • Display a 3D model (.tekla or .ifcfile format commonly used in BIM that facilitates software interoperability

    IFC is an open specification developed by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability).

    Model can be exported into an IFC file.

    file) in the 3D view in the normal way. See here for details. This model file must be one that matches the published annotations i.e. the model data is not older or newer than the drawing annotations else the annotations may not be positioned correctly relative to their associated model objects.
  • Display the Annotations feature from the left hand side.
  • If you have not yet published any annotations the following message will be displayed:
    • After publishing some annotations to the project, refresh the browser page.
  • If annotations are available you will have the following message:
    • Move the switch to the right to enable the feature. 
    • After a short delay the features controls will appear.
  • The easiest way to start viewing annotations is by selecting model objects that have associated annotations.
    • 1. First turn on all drawing types in the Show in Model View filter.
    • 2. Next click Hide non-annotation objects so that any model objects without annotations are hidden.
    • 3. Now select any remaining model objects/s in the 3D view and their associated annotations will be displayed.
    • Annotations are linked to the related model objects so selecting the object/s will display the related annotations, where they exist, in the 3D view. Associated objects include bolts, rebars, parts and assemblies.
    • For Single-part, Assembly and Cast unit drawings all instances of the position numberidentifier that is assigned to all similar parts, assemblies, cast units, or reinforcement

      Position number consists of a prefix, separator, and running number. The prefix is part of the position number, identifying a numbering series. The running number is part of the position number, and is the assigned number in the numbering series, based on the start number. The separator is an optional character, such as a slash, that separates the prefix and the running number.

      In Tekla Structures, the position numbers assigned in the numbering are shown in marks and templates, for example.

      In the US, the term piece mark or ship mark is used to refer to a position number.

      are linked to the associated drawing annotations so that selecting any model objectobject that is represented in a model

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

      ‘instance’ will display the related annotations translated to that instance’s location in the model.
    • You can select one or more model objects. If using Assembly selection mode then this will select all the child model objects in the selected assembly.
  • The feature provides the following controls:

  • Reset resets the controls to their default state, undisplaying any currently displayed annotations in the process.
  • The Show in Model View filter determines which types of drawing annotations are available for display.
    • For example, if you are only interested in GA drawingdrawing that is created from one or more model views and that shows information needed to understand the general arrangement of structural elements on a project

      General arrangement drawings show how parts, assemblies, cast units, or pour objects are located in a building.

      annotations, select GA and deselect the other drawing types. Now only GA drawing annotations will be available for display.
    • The visibility of the drawing annotations files listed in the Annotation Source section are also controlled by these settings.
  • Visibility Settings control the visibility of the model objects in the 3D view.
    • Annotated objects transparency controls the visibility of the model objects that currently have associated annotations displayed in the 3D view.
      • Clicking the eye toggles between opaque, semi-transparent and hidden.
      • Semi-transparent is useful for cast units so that you can see through the concrete to the rebars.
    • Non-annotated objects transparency controls the visibility of the model objects that currently do not have associated annotations displayed in the 3D view.
      • Clicking the eye toggles between opaque, semi-transparent and hidden.
      • If this is set to hidden and annotations are then undisplayed such that no annotations are displayed in the 3D view this setting is automatically reset to opaque to prevent the whole model becoming hidden.
      • Use this setting to help isolate the annotated model object/s from the rest of the model.
    • Hide non-annotation objects hides any model objects that do not currently have any associated annotations (whether displayed or not) based on the Show in Model View settings and the available annotations data.
    • Make model monochrome turns all model objects monochrome but not any displayed annotations.
  • The Selection section lists the drawing annotations that are currently displayed in the 3D view.
    • Initially this will be empty.
    • If a drawing’s annotations are displayed because the associated model object/s have been selected (rather than being set to display from the Annotation Source tree) then the drawing name will have  as a suffix to indicate this.
  • The Annotation Source tree section gives access to all the published drawing annotation files.
    • The Show in Model View settings control what is visible in this tree.
      • The tree shows the drawings under their drawing type folders and the drawing views under the drawing:
    • The drawing filefile that contains a drawing

      Drawing files have the file name extension .dg.

      Drawing files cannot be used without a model.

      name is defined by the XS_​DRAWING_​PLOT_​FILE_​NAME_​A etc… variables.
      • Each view is named as follows:
        • If the view has label/s then these are concatenated and used.
        • Else if the view’s internal name is defined then that is used with the suffix ‘ (N)’ appended.
        • Else ‘No name (ID:<ViewID>)’ is used.
    • Use the  icon to display the annotations of specific drawing/s.
    • Each drawing that is set for display will also be available in the Selection section.
    • For Single-part, Assembly and Cast unit drawings the annotations will be displayed for the single master part, assembly and cast unit model object position number instance respectively, based on the numberingprocess of assigning position numbers to parts, cast units, assemblies, or reinforcement

      In Tekla Structures, the position numbers assigned in the numbering are shown in marks and templates, for example.

      , and not for every position number instance.
    • The master modelmulti-user model from and to which information is fetched and saved in multi-user mode, and into which Tekla Structures merges changes that individual users make in the working models

      It is not possible to work on the master model.

      object/s instance is briefly highlighted when the drawing is set for display to aid locating the annotations in the model.
    • Search can be used to find specific drawing annotation files.
      • Wildcard characters are not currently supported.
  • Drawing annotation file and view controls:
    • The drawing viewview that includes selected model objects or an area in the model, that is represented in a drawing

      A drawing view is a container for model and drawing objects.

      A drawing can include several drawing views, which usually are two-dimensional views, plane views, to the model.

      Examples of drawing views in Tekla Structures include main views, section views, single-part views, and 3D views.

      eye icons are used to show or hide individual drawing view annotations.
    • The scissor icon turns a drawing view’s clip box on or off.
      • Six clip planes are created for the six sides of the drawing view’s restriction box.
      • Only one clip box can be shown at a time.
    • The camera icon orientates the 3D view to match the drawing view and zooms to fit the drawing view.
      • IMPORTANT: In Orthogonal mode the camera currently fails to zoom to fit. 


  • Please use this forum topic to review the latest information and ask any questions or raise any issues.


  • The Connect web extension icon is not visible on the left side of the Connect 3D view.
    • Check you are using the latest version of one of the recommended browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari).
    • Check if the web extension has been installed into the Connect project by checking the Connect 3D view Settings Extensions section.
    • Also check the installation instruction in this topic.
  • The Connect web extension does not work after installation.
    • Check you are using the latest version of one of the recommended browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari).
    • Check the extension is fully installed.
    • In the Connect 3D view for the project check that the Settings Extensions section has the following entry:
    • Also check the installation instruction in this topic.
    • Try deleting the extension from the project and re-installing it.
    • If it is still not working reset the browser permissions for the Connect 3D view site:
    • Refresh the Connect 3D View page and if necessary delete and reinstall the web extension.
  • After working previously the Connect web extension is found to no longer work as expected or as documented.
    • Check you are using the latest version of one of the recommended browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari).
    • First refresh the browser page and if that does not work close all browser instances and then open the Connect 3D web view again.
    • If still not working correctly clear the local browser site cache.
      • For Chrome "Clear data" from Site settings (on the Chrome address bar):
      • Note: You may need to wait for the Usage data to populate.
      • After clearing the data, refresh the Connect 3D view web page.


  • Multidrawings are not supported.
  • Weld model objects, if they have been included in any published IFC file, are not currently associated with weld annotations.
  • The first time a drawing annotation file’s data is displayed e.g. after selecting a model object, it can take several seconds to appear. The next time it should be much quicker for the same trb file.
  • Connect 3D view specific limitations:
    • When the drawing view clip box is displayed the six clip planetool that hides a portion of the model in a model view

      Clip plane can be created in model views that show model object faces. The clip plane is aligned with the selected model object face.

      handles are visible and can obstruct the view.
    • Created Connect views that capture drawing annotations in the view thumbnail do not restore the annotations when you return to the view through opening the previously created view.
    • When in orthogonalview projection that displays objects in right-angles projection

      In orthogonal model view the size of the objects is the same despite of their distance to the viewing point and the zoom remains on part faces.

      • When zooming in and out with the mouse wheel, model objects are sometimes clipped so that they partly disappear or disappear completely.

End of document

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