VisualAnalysis icon
Upgrade to VisualAnalysis 17.0 today. Here's why.

VisualAnalysis 12.0 Help


Selecting Items Graphically

You can select items normally just by clicking on them with your mouse in a Model, Result or Design view. A single click selects the item and unselects everything else. A single click on the 'background' will also unselect everything.

To select multiple items, hold the Ctrl key while clicking.  (The Ctrl key lets you toggle the selection state of items without unselecting anything.)

To select a group of items in an area, you can drag a Selection Box by holding the mouse (primary button) and dragging the mouse.

Depending on the direction the Selection Box is drawn, two different selection behaviors result.

If you cannot see an object to select it, you can use the Edit | Find (Ctrl+F) feature to locate a model element by name. Clicking on an element listed in the Find Tool window (for a Model View) will also select the element so you can edit it and will zoom the Model View so you can see it.  Double-clicking in the Find Tool will zoom the graphics to show that element.

Inspect Selected Objects

Use the Modify tab in Project Manager to view the properties of one or more selected objects. If you have multiple types of objects selected, you can use the type selector near the top to choose which type of object to inspect. Objects have precedence as follows: nodes, members, plates, nodal loads, member loads, plate loads, areas, design groups, design meshes, and service load cases. The first type of selected object determines what is shown by default.

Make Changes in Project Manager

Once you are inspecting an object or group of objects with the Modify tab of Project Manager, you are in a position to make changes. The tool supports distinct types of editing as shown in the table. In each case, you should click the mouse once on a control to make it active—it will display a darkened border to indicate that it is active.

Control Type Description
Drop Down List Click or use the spacebar to expose the choices, then click on a choice to select it. Click away from the list to leave it unchanged.
Check Box Click or use the spacebar to toggle the option on or off.


3-State Check Box Yes, No, and Varies! A gray box means that some of the selected objects have this setting on while others have it off. Grey means "don't change anything" or "some objects have one setting, some have the other". Setting or clearing the box will insure that all the objects have the same setting.
Text or Number Click or use the spacebar to start editing. Type your value, expression or text into the box. This is a standard edit control, so you can use the clipboard, normal editing keys (Backspace, Delete, Shift+Arrows, etc.). It also has a context menu.
[…] The three dots following a menu item indicates that selecting this item will open a dialog for more options.

Sometimes you will make a change and you will get an error message indicating why the change failed. Often this is due to something simple, like forgetting to add units to a numerical value.

Making Group Changes

The Modify tab of Project Manager and most Edit dialogs support changes to a group of objects simultaneously. If multiple objects of the same type are selected, this is the behavior you will get.

On the Modify tab you will see some properties with the word "varies" to indicate that different objects have different values. You can replace this with a valid setting to change all the objects.

In Dialog boxes, you might see a control that is blank to indicate that different objects have different settings. If you enter a value or make a choice, it will be applied to the selected objects when you click the OK button.

Delete Objects

To delete objects, you first need to select them. This can be done graphically or with the Find tool. Use the Edit | Delete command or its keyboard shortcut (the Del key by default).

The default behavior will present a warning message to confirm the operation before the item is deleted.  This warning message can be turned off through the Edit | Preferences dialog under the Desktop item. Be aware that when you delete items, it may affect other items that you have created. The following sketch shows some, but not all of such "cascading" effects:

Undo & Redo

VisualAnalysis keeps an unlimited record of changes to your model  and loadings. You do not need to be afraid of making a mistake. Use the Edit | Undo command to trace back through these operations to undo the additions, deletions, or modifications. An Edit | Redo command is also available in case you undo too much. 

Some operations are not undoable, notably editing design group parameters or deleting design groups. Please use more caution with these items, until we get these into the undo system.

Be aware that certain operations will reset the undo history making it unavailable. Explicitly saving your project file and other complex or import operations will empty the undo and redo lists.

Use Unit Expressions

Most VisualAnalysis edit controls accept both a value and an optional associated physical unit. If you leave off the unit, the unit that was displayed previously is assumed. The unit displayed is controlled by the Edit | Project Units command and the type of value displayed. You may enter data using any of the built-in units. Here are the basic units supported in VisualAnalysis.

Quantity Type Units
Length feet (ft), inches (in), millimeters (mm), centimeters (cm), meters (m), mixed feet, inches. (',")
Force pounds (lb), kips (K), Newtons (N), kilonewtons (kN), kilogram force (kgf), and tons (t)
Temperature degrees Fahrenheit (F), degrees Celsius (C)
Time seconds (s), 1/seconds (Hz)

Other physical quantities are based on these units and will use some practical combination. For example a moment may be expressed in K-ft or K-in, but not in K-mm.

Feet, Inches, and Fractions of an Inch

For length units you may also enter mixed feet, inches, and fractions if you use the tick or quotation mark characters. VisualAnalysis will recognize the following expressions:

Use Math Expressions

Just about every place where you enter a number in VisualAnalysis you may also enter a mathematical expression. These boxes will accept expressions including arithmetic operators. Type in expressions as you would any value. Use parentheses () to control order of evaluation. If the value is a physical quantity, place the unit last.

Math Available
Operators +, -, *, /, ^, (, )
Constant PI
Exponential Functions LOG, EXP
Trigonometric Functions SIN, COS, TAN, ASIN, ACOS, ATAN

VisualAnalysis evaluates the expression and stores only the result. In Project Manager, expressions are evaluated immediately after you click away from the control. In a Dialog box, the expression stays around until you dismiss the dialog or press the F2 key to cause the expression to evaluate immediately.