Daily workflow and general usability



Little things really do matter while identifying the time spent in each step of your design process and often-repeting actions might slow it down. Bearing this in mind, we have identified some of the critical issues focused the development on reducing the wasted time.

The visualization of the model in the 3D window and especially insertion of pictures into the Engineering Report have been optimised. Also the navigation in the main tree is faster thanks to one-click approach (instead of double-click). Other "accelerators" include short cuts for the most frequent actions, copying properties using the match-property button (analogous to MS Word Format painter) and export of Table Input or Table Results with one-click to MS Excel.

Enhancement in overall readability in 3D environment

Navigation in the main tree with one-click

Export of Table Input and Table Result to Microsoft Excel ( or similar tools) using one-click
Match property (Format painter) to quickly copy properties from one entity to another.
Greater number of keyboard short-cuts ( i.e. F5: refresh results; CTRL+A: select all; ....)

Overall readability in 3D environment

Soon after the preview release, a survey has been carried out among our customers to find the most wanted improvements in the software. The most voted for item was "improve the readability of texts into the 3D environment". As a result, a new option in the "Advanced" graphic setup has been added: "Hardware multisapling".

The option will is set as the default one in new projects. For existing projects the user should activate it in the "Advance graphic setup dialogue".

One-click main tree

Enjoy the smooth navigation in the main tree. The single-click option allows you to open items (i.e. services and dialogues) with a single left click, and to select items by hovering the cursor over the item. The left click opens directly the function, while the right click highlights the item in tree and enables you to use functionalities like filtering options.

The option can be activated or deactivated in the Option dialogue > Other > classic GUI.

Match properties (Format painter)

Use the Match properties to quickly copy properties from one entity to another. Just select the source entity, click Match properties, and then click the target entity (or selection of them). The Match property function picks all the properties from the source, whether it’s a beam, support, load, or slab, and applies them to the target. The properties to be copied vary slightly depending on which element type your are using.

User work-flow

  1. Select the entity that has the properties that you want to copy.

  2. Activate Match properties toll from "Properties" dialogue or via short cut (CTRL+SHIFT+F)
  3. Select objects (one or more) to apply the properties to.

  4. To stop the action, press ESC.


  • Match properties works only for entities located in the "Structure" service.
  • Match properties can be used not only for entities of the same type, but also across the types; only the properties available in both types are copied in such a case.

Export to MS Excel with one click

Table Input functionality simplifies both modelling and editing, and provides a versatile overview of the previously defined input in a model. Table Results help users to deal with the results of calculations and checks in the numerical form using several interactive tools.

SCIA Engineer 17 allow the user to export the whole content from these tables (Table Input and Table Results) with a single click directly to MS Excel. The option can be started using button "Export to Excel". SCIA Engineer automatically detects whether Microsoft Excel (or a similar tool) is installed and, if so, opens it.

You can:

  • export the tab currently visualized;
  • export all categories (in Table Input);
  • export all tabs within the category that is visualized;
  • export a user-selection of active tabs.

Moreover a small extension has been introduces into Table Input enabling the input of openings on load panels.

Keyboard short-cuts

It is generally acknowledged by computer professionals that you can increase your productivity using the keyboard instead of a mouse. In other words, it is easier and to get the job done faster while using keyboard.

Take for example the task of selecting all members of the model. You can do that by simply pressing Ctrl+A while doing that with the mouse requires pressing the left mouse button and dragging it across the whole model. Another example might be the task of refreshing results. You can do that by simply pressing F5.

The table below provides an over view to all accessible short-cuts in SCIA Engineer:

Navigation into the Main tree

F2 Opens structure service
F3 Opens load service
F4 Opens results service
CTRL+G Opens line grid and storeys service
CTRL+SHIFT+G Line grid manager
CTRL+K Combinations
CTRL+L Load cases
CTRL+N New project
CTRL+SHIFT+F5 Calculation



CTRL+SHIFT+H Create wall
CTRL+B Create 1d member
CTRL+SHIFT+B Create column
CTRL+J Cross-sections
CTRL+M Materials
CTRL+T Create plate
CTRL+R Rotate
CTRL+X Move entity
CTRL+C Copy entity
F7 On/Off tracking
F8 Ortho
CTRL+SHIFT+F Format painter tool


F5 Refresh results


F6 Cursor snap setting dialog
F9 Move LCS
F10 LCS according to entitiy
CTR+F6 Next view port
CTRL+SHIFT+F6 Previous view port
F11 Switches workplane (XY,XZ, YZ)
CTRL+F12 Sets view to AXO
CTRL+SHIFT+F12 On/Off perspective
CTRL+Q Activity On/Off
CTRL+W Activity by layers
CTRL+E Activity by selection (Selected members On)
CTRL+D Activity by selection (Selected members Off)

Selection of objects

F6 Cursor snap setting dialog
F9 Move LCS
F10 LCS according to entitiy
CTRL+A Selects all


Other actions

F1 Opens help page
CTRL+O Opens new project
CTRL+P Print picture
CTRL+TAB Next opened ESA project
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB Previous opened ESA project


Most of the short-cuts can be easily edit by the user (read more: User interface improvements 16.1 - Customizable toolbar and keyboard short-cuts)