Not only is VisualAnalysis a powerful, specialized tool for structural engineering, but it is also a standard Windows application that follows most of the Microsoft User Interface guidelines. If you know how to use Microsoft Office, you will find your way around VisualAnalysis very nicely. At the same time, there are some important issues of terminology that will help you understand the documentation and spending a few minutes browsing this section of the User's Guide will save you hours down the road as you get to know VisualAnalysis.
Getting Around in VisualAnalysis
- Directing: Terminology, Windows, Menus & Mouse commands you need to know!
- Viewing: Window Types and Graphical control items.
- Editing: Selection, Undo/Redo, Units, Math expressions in edit controls
- Filing: Saving, Backup, History Files, Import/Export, DXF Files
- Printing: Print or export graphics, print reports, setup and troubleshooting
- Named Views: Save favorite views of your project with names like "2nd Floor Results"
- Preferences: Customize how VisualAnalysis operates, make it your own.
Learn VisualAnalysis in 5-Minutes!
The following steps will get you up and running very quickly. You might want to take a quick look at the Directing topic first to get your bearings.
- Sketch members in the Model View by dragging the mouse. The nodes are created automatically at grid points. You can edit the Grid tab in the Project Manager to change the locations of "future" nodes.
- Select items graphically with a mouse-click to edit them in the Modify tab of Project Manager. Use the Ctrl key to "add" items to the selection set. Select "nothing" (click on the white-space in the Model View) to Modify the Project Settings.
- Use the right-click context-menu for quick relevant commands pertaining to the view (Model View, Result View, Design View) and what is currently selected. For a list of mouse commands that are available in the Model View, right-click in the Model View, and choose Model View Help.
- Use the Filter tab of Project Manager to toggle the display of all kinds of graphical information, such as the names of members and nodes. But you don't have to clutter your view, hovering over an item provides information in the lower-left corner "Help Pane".
- Loading nodes or elements is easy. Use the 2nd toolbar's drop-down list to select a Service Load Case, such as D (Dead Loads), L (Live Loads), etc. Then select one or more objects, right-click and use the Apply Nodal Load or Apply Member Load command.
- Use the Load Case Manager to view or manage load combinations.
- In the Result View you can Filter on the display of all kinds of results such as member force colors or diagrams, the displaced shape, nodal reactions, etc. Double-click on an item to get a report about what you are seeing.
- Reports are easily generated from selected items (right-click) or predefined report templates, or by visiting the Report View and using the Modify tab to add/remove tables from the report and define whether the report should show all or selected objects of various types.