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VisualAnalysis 12.0 Help

Common Solutions

Check for Updates

One of the very first things to do if you think there is a problem with the software or something does not seem to be behaving correctly is make sure you have the latest versions of the software. This can usually be checked by going to Help | | Update VisualAnalysis. If no updates are available, then you are probably up to date, though the mechanism could be blocked due to security settings on your machine or network.

For a manual approach to checking for updates you can use the Help | About VisualAnalysis menu command. This will bring up a window that will indicate the version you are running. IES products are available 24/7 on our Downloads Page: and you will find detailed Release Notes there that describe exactly when and why a product was updated.

Dealing with Crashes

For the best service, try to include as much information about the problem, when it happens, what messages you received, etc.


Software crashes are unfortunate and all-too-common on Windows. IES believes that our software should never crash and works hard to make this a reality, but we are unsuccessful due to layers of software and hardware and many unknown quantities in our complex systems.

First Get Updates

If you are not running the latest releases of IES products, that is the first step. We are regularly updating our products based on crash reports from customers and through automated systems. Also make sure your video-card drivers and your printer-drivers are up-to-date. 

Reporting the Problem

When IES products do crash you can help us fix them by trying these steps:

  1. Reproduce the problem. Send us the steps to cause the problem to happen again, if you cannot duplicate it, we probably cannot 'fix' it, though you can still tell us.
  2. Experiment with different ways of using the software to see if you can by-pass the problem. You may learn something to help you get your work done and you may also discover the key to our eventual understanding and solution.
  3. Send Detailed Information about the crash behavior (when, where, why) and a project-file to demonstrate will help us find and fix any problems. Take two minutes and email IES Technical Support any details you think may help us correct the problem! Note: we get automatic crash reports from most products, but your report can provide key insight or information that will actually allow us to fix the problem.


If you experience problems when using File | Print or File | Print Preview, you may need to update your system. Out-of-date printer drivers can cause many problems. You can usually download the latest driver for your printer from the printer manufacturer's web site.

Other settings that can affect printing include the port "Bi-directional" option, or dpi (quality) settings. Larger dpi settings may consume significantly more memory. Printer drivers may exist on a network print server machine and may need updating there, not just on your local machine.

Display (Video Card)

If you see screen garbage, things get scrambled, portions turn black, buttons disappear, or windows remnants appear, you may need to update windows and/or your video card drivers. Video problems may also cause strange "selection" behavior. VisualAnalysis offers a number of graphics preference settings (under Appearance, Graphics) that you can adjust to improve the quality and/or performance of your Graphic Windows. There are also a couple of settings ("High Quality Graphics, Wireframe" in the Filter tab of Project Manager that control the current window. (Note that preference settings will not affect any currently open windows, nor windows that are saved in your existing project files. You may need to adjust each window's filter setting.)

Display Settings

You may find that you have "advanced settings" available for your video card. You should also look in the specific display settings for the card to set the 3D or OpenGL graphics to "Highest Quality" rather than "Best Peformance". Fuzzy text can often be corrected by locating and turning on "Anti-Aliasing" in the video card's 3D Graphics or OpenGL settings--usually under the 'Advanced' button in the display settings box.

To get to the Windows display properties, go to Start | Settings | Control Panel, Display, and then to the Settings tab. You find that increasing the color-depth, or resolution settings on your display will improve the behavior of the software.

Video Card Drivers

Updating your video card driver software will usually solve most graphics problems. Most manufacturers update drivers regularly! To find the name & manufacturer of your video card, go to Help | About VisualAnalysis.


If you have a laptop with an Nvidia card, you can obtain updated drivers through:

Accuracy and Validation

If you are having trouble getting results, or getting accurate results for an analysis, please read Understanding Analysis.

Project Files

If you get error messages when opening a project (.vap) file, it may be that the file is corrupt, or program or data files are missing or modified. You may send any corrupt data file to IES for immediate analysis--we take data corruption very seriously! 

Files can become corrupt for a variety of reasons including hardware failure or operating system failures. If you are unable to open your file, you may try using File | Open and un-checking some of the options at the bottom to ignore some portion of the project data. These options tell VisualAnalysis what information to read from the project file. Things like results can easily be recreated if necessary.

VisualAnalysis offers a History File (versioned backup) system in the Preference settings. If you have lost a data file due to some problem, you may be able to recover a previous version file that has been saved by this system.

Data Files

Some of these files are customizable. The most likely cause of the problem is that you customized one of the files and made some changes that violated its format requirements. One common problem we have seen is modifying a file and then saving it in a word processing format, which adds formatting symbols that VisualAnalysis does not understand. Open the file again in your word processor and save it as ASCII text. Otherwise, text-based files may be sensitive to extra lines, tabs vs. spaces, or plain old "typos". If you edit these files outside of VisualAnalysis, please use care. You may safely delete any customizable file and VisualAnalysis will replace it with the default version next time you run.

See: Data Files for locating and understanding these files.