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Draw Floor/Wall Objects

Use the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects command or click one of the
buttons shown in this topic to draw shell objects.

Set the View. Some drawing tools do not function in some views. The views
that can be used with a particular tool are indicated by the parenthetic
information in the command name. That is, the Draw Shells (Plan, Elev, 3D)
command can be used in any viewPlan, Elevation or 3Dwhile the Draw
Rectangular Shells (Plan, Elev) command can be used only in a Plan or
Elevation view. If a particular button does not appear to function, try
changing the View setting.

TIP: When in a Plan view, set the Similar To drop-down list on the right side
of the Status bar to Similar Stories or All Stories to quickly add shell objects,
such as walls, to multiple stories simultaneously. Conversely, to add shell
objects to one story only, be sure to set this drop-down list to One Story.
Note that the Similar Stories feature has no effect on the Draw Wall
Openings option because it functions relative to a Wall object rather than a
Story level.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects command to display the list
of subcommands. Click a subcommand or its associated toolbar button to
display the Properties of Object form for the selected type of shell object in
the lower left-hand corner of the window. Use the options on the Properties
of Object form to specify properties and control placement of shell objects
for efficient integration into the model.

Draw the specified shell object as follows:

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Draw Floor/Wall (Plan,
Elev, 3D) command or button .

Click on a grid intersection, a previously defined joint or any point in the


plane.

Click again on any number of other points either clockwise or


counterclockwise, colinear or not, to draw the area object. Note that the Edit
menu > Edit Shells > Remove Joints from Shells command can be used to
remove joints from the edges of a shell object, and the Edit menu > Edit
Shells > Divide Shells command can be used to add joints to the edges of
shell objects.

Return to the first point and double click on it to complete the shell object.
Click the Select button or the Esc key on the keyboard to exit Draw mode.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Draw Rectangular
Floor/Wall (Plan, Elev) command or button .

Left click once to define the position of one corner point of the shell.

Drag the mouse and left click again to define the diagonally opposite corner
point. Note that as the mouse is dragged, a dashed line is visible indicating
the current extent of the shell object.

When using this command in an elevation view, if a shell object is drawn


such that it crosses story levels, ETABS immediately breaks the object at the
story levels. For example, if a shell object is drawn so that its top is at the
4th story level and its bottom is at the 2nd story level, ETABS immediately
breaks the object into two objects with the break line at the 3rd story level.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Quick Draw Floor/Wall
(Plan, Elev) command or button . This command works in two ways.

Click in any grid line space and a shell object is drawn in that grid line
space.

Depress and hold down the left mouse button. While keeping the left button
depressed, drag the mouse to "rubber band" a window around one or more
grid line spaces. Then release the left mouse button. Shell objects are
automatically placed in each grid line space included in the "rubber band"
window.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Draw Walls (Plan)
command or button. Note the options available in the Properties of Object
form in the lower left-hand corner of the window. Adjust those options to
optimize drawing of the wall.

Left click once at the beginning of the wall.

Drag the mouse to the end of the wall and left click again. Note that as the
mouse is dragged, a dashed line is visible indicating the current extent of
the shell object (wall below).

To draw another wall adjacent to the first, move the mouse away from the
ending point of the first wall and repeat Step b.

To continue in this drawing mode but at a new location in the model, double
left click, or single left click and press the Enter key on the keyboard, at the
end of a wall. Then move the mouse pointer to a new location and start to
draw a new wall by repeating Steps a and b. To exit the drawing mode, press
the Esc key on the keyboard.

Note that shell objects representing walls are broken at story levels. They
also are broken at turns in developed elevations, that is, at locations where
the plane displayed by the developed elevation changes.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/ Wall Objects > Quick Draw Walls (Plan)
command or button . This command works in two ways.

Click on any grid line and a wall is drawn on that grid line between the two
adjacent intersecting grid lines from the same coordinate/grid system.

Depress and hold down the left mouse button. While keeping the left button
depressed, drag the mouse to "rubber band" a window around one or more
grid line segments. Then release the left mouse button. Shell objects (walls
below) are automatically placed at each grid line segment included in the
"rubber band" window. The term grid line segment in this paragraph means
that portion of a grid line that is between the two adjacent intersecting grid
lines from the same coordinate/grid system.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Draw Wall Openings (Plan,
Elev, 3D) command or button to add an opening, such as a window, in a
wall.

Set the View and draw a wall object in the model as described above.

Click the Draw menu > Draw Floor/Wall Objects > Draw Wall Openings
command or button .

Left click anywhere on the wall object where the opening is to be drawn.
Note that a thick, different colored line outlines the wall object and that the
coordinates of the mouse pointer display as the mouse is moved within the
wall object.

Move the mouse pointer to locate the top left corner of the opening, using
the coordinate display as a guide. Move the mouse pointer and click the
lower right corner of the wall opening to draw the opening. A window object
can be located anywhere within a wall object. Because wall objects cannot
span from one Story level to another, wall openings cannot span from one
Story level to another.

TIP: Use the Draw menu > Reshape Object command or the Reshape Object
button to enable the reshaping mode and change the size of the window.
Using the Zoom-In button before using the Reshape Object command can
make it much easier to resize the window object.

Note: After drawing a window or door object (i.e., an opening) in a wall, use
the Edit menu > Edit Shells > Divide Walls for Openings command to
appropriately mesh the wall to incorporate the opening.

Exit any of the drawing tools by clicking the Select Pointer button or the
Draw menu > Select Object command.

See Also
Snap Options
Drawing Constraints
Tolerances
Modify/Show Wall Curve Type
Graphics Preferences

Snap Options
Form: Snap Options

The Draw menu > Snap Options command accesses the Snap Options form,
which has the Snap To options as well as snap increments and spacing and
tolerance settings

The ETABS snap options allows drawing and editing operations to "snap to"
various items in the model. The six snap options can be toggled on or off in
any combination using the Draw menu > Snap Options command or by
clicking one of the six snap feature toolbar buttons, or right clicking in the
background (not on an object) of a display window and selecting the Snap
Options command. Use the following procedure with the snap commands:

If the appropriate snap tool is not already activated, select the


corresponding toolbar button or the Draw menu > Snap Options command.
Some options do not work in some views. If a command does not appear to
be working, switch to another view and try again.

Move the mouse pointer in the graphics window. When a snap location is
found close to the mouse pointer, a dot appears at the snap location as well
as a text field describing the snap location (see the Screen Snap To
Tolerance bullet in Settings, below).

When the desired snap location is found, click the left mouse button to
accept it.

Modify the snap options if necessary and continue drawing or editing


objects.

Note: When the options have been selected on the form, click the Apply
button to implement the changes. The Snap Options form will remain open
until the Close button is clicked.

Snap To check boxes. Check an option to turn it on; uncheck it to turn it off.
Any combination of options can be used for simultaneous action. In an
active window, if more than one snap option has been activated and the
mouse pointer is located such that it is within the screen snap to tolerance
of multiple snap features, switch to a different snap by pressing the N key
(N for Next) on the keyboard. Continue to press the N key until the mouse
snaps to the desired item.

Joints - Snaps to joints.

Line Ends and Midpoints - Snaps to the midpoints and ends of existing line
objects and to the midpoints and ends of edges of shell objects. Note that
the end of an edge of a shell object is a corner joint of the shell object.

Grid Intersections - Snaps to grid line intersections.

Lines and Frames - Snaps to lines and frame objects.

Edges - Snaps to edges of shell objects.

Perpendicular Projections - First draw the first point for a frame or shell
object. Then, with this snap feature active, place the mouse pointer over
another frame object or edge of a shell object and left click. A frame object
or edge of a shell object will then be drawn from the first point
perpendicular to the frame object or edge of a shell object that the mouse
pointer was over when the second point was clicked.

Intersections - Snaps to the intersections of frame objects with other frame


objects and with the edges of shell objects. It does not snap to the
intersection of the edge of one shell object with the edge of another shell
object.

Fine Grid - Finds and snaps to the intersections of the fine grids in a Plan
View.

Extensions - Finds and snaps to extensions of frame objects and edges of


shell objects in a plan view.

Parallels - Snaps frames and shells parallel to frame objects and edges of
shell objects in a plan view. The frame object or edge being used as a
parallel guide for the object being drawn is highlighted.

Intelligent Snaps - Features a selective set of snap functions that are


activated automatically when drawing a column or beam. When drawing a
column or beam object, pass the mouse cursor over an existing column and
the program snaps to imaginary lines passing through the column that are
parallel to the X- and Y-axes, and the snaps are displayed at the increments
specified in the Snap Increments area of the form. Move the cursor onto a
beam or shell edge, and the program also will snap to these lines at
displayed increments. This option greatly facilitates the drawing of column
and beam objects because it seeks out the snaps that are deemed most
appropriate (i.e., it is intelligent based on the object type).

Arch Layer - Snaps to geometry in an architectural plan, which is imported


into ETABS using the File menu > Import > .DXF/.DWG File of Architectural
Plan command.

Select All and Deselect All buttons. Use these buttons to quickly activate all
options or deactivate all of them.

Snap buttons

Snap To Grid Intersections & Points button . Snaps to joints and grid line
intersection of two grid lines in the same grid system. This button works in
plan, elevation and three dimensional views.

Snap To Line Ends & Midpoints button . Snaps to the midpoints and ends of
frame objects and to the midpoints and ends of edges of shell objects. This
button works in plan, elevation and three dimensional views.

Snaps To Lines and Edges button . Snaps to grid lines, frame objects and
edges of shell objects. This feature works in plan, elevation and three
dimensional views.

Snap To Intersections button . Snaps to the intersections of frame objects


with other frame objects and with the edges of shell objects. It does not
snap to the intersection of the edge of one shell object with the edge of
another shell object. This button works in plan view only. It does not work in
elevation or three dimensional views.

Snap To Perpendicular Projections button . First draw the first point for a
frame or shell object. Then, with this snap feature active, place the mouse
pointer over another frame object or edge of a shell object and left click. A
frame object or edge of a shell object is drawn from the first point
perpendicular to the frame object or edge of a shell object that the mouse
pointer was over when the second point was clicked. This feature works in
plan view only. It does not work in elevation or three dimensional views.

Snap To Fine Grid button . Snaps to an invisible grid of points. The spacing
of the points is controlled by the Plan Fine Grid Spacing item (see Settings,
below). This feature works in plan view only. It does not work in elevation or
three dimensional views.

Snap Increments - Choose an option to have the program snap to specific


lengths when drawing any object using lines (beams, shell edges, walls,
dimension lines).

(Imperial in Inches) Snap at length increments of - Enter the increments in


inch units separated by a semi-colon; any number of increments may be
specified. When drawing the object, the cursor will snap to any length
dimension that is divisible by one of the specified increments. The length is
displayed while drawing.

(Metric in mm) Snap at length increments of - Enter the increments in mm


units separated by a semi-colon; any number of increments may be
specified. When drawing the object, the cursor will snap to any length
dimension that is divisible by one of the specified increments. The length is
displayed while drawing.

(Degree) Snap at angle increments of - Enter the angle in degrees; only one
angle increment may be specified. When drawing the object, the cursor will
snap to any angle that is divisible by the specified increment. The angle is
displayed while drawing.

Settings

Plan Fine Grid Spacing edit box. This is the spacing of invisible grid points
that are used by the Fine Grid option. This item is entered in length units.
The ETABS default for this item is 12 inches in English units or 0.3048 meter
in metric units.

Plan Nudge Value edit box. This is the distance that a nudged object moves
after you have pressed the appropriate key on the keyboard. This item is
entered in length units. The ETABS default for this item is 12 inches in
English units or 0.3048 meter in metric units.

Screen Selection Tolerance edit box. When clicking on an object to select it,
your mouse pointer must be within this distance of the object to select it.
This item is entered in pixels. The screen selection tolerance has no effect
on selection by windowing. The default for this item is 3 pixels.

Screen Snap To Tolerance edit box. The Screen Snap to Tolerance item
controls the distance within which the pointer must come to the target snap
location before the "snaps to" can occur. The value is entered in length

units. The default is 0.1 inch in English units and 1 mm in metric units. When
a joint object is drawn or generated within this distance of another joint
object, the drawn joint object is merged into the original joint object. If a
joint object is within this distance of a frame object, the joint object is
assumed to be supported by the frame object. When the analysis is run, the
frame object is broken up at the joint object and connected to the joint
object. Note that this might put a small kink in the frame object if the joint
object is not exactly on the frame object. If a joint object is within this
distance of being in a plane, it is assumed to be in the plane.

If more than one snap option is active and the mouse pointer is located
within the screen snap to tolerance of two different model elements (i.e.,
grid intersections and points; frame ends and midpoints; intersections;
perpendicular projections; lines and edges; and fine grid), ETABS will
execute the snap to options in the sequence shown in the list of snap to
options. Example. This is true even if the item associated with the other
snap option is closer to the mouse pointer as long as both items are still
within the screen snap to tolerance. When two model elements are within
the screen snap to tolerance of the mouse pointer, the snap occurs to the
first drawn item, which may or may not be the closest item.

As an example, suppose Snap to Intersections and Snap to Fine Grid are


both active. Assume that the mouse pointer is located within the screen
snap to tolerance of both an intersection of two line objects and one of the
invisible grid points. The snap will be to the intersection of the two line
objects because Snap to Intersections occurs in the list of snap features
before Snap to Fine Grid.

Drawing Scale check box. If this check box is checked, select a drawing
scale from the drop down list. The drawing scale selected affects line widths
and the coarseness of the background horizon grid, reflecting how objects
would look if they were actually drawn at the chosen scale. The drawing
scale is also used as the default scale setting when using the File menu >
Print Graphics command. Click thebutton to add a drawing scale.

Move Draft Helper Controls with Mouse check box. If this check box is
checked, the drafting control box will move with the mouse cursor. For
example, if you are drawing a line, the L,theta edit box will move with the
cursor rather than being anchored in the lower left-hand corner of the view.

Drawing Constraints
Drawing constraints provide the capability to constrain one of the axes when
drawing or reshaping an object. For example, using a constraint, the user
can quickly draw a frame object parallel to one of the global axes. The

keyboard key/drawing controls and their associated actions include the


following:

Option on the Properties of Object form


Keyboard Command
Action

Plan View

Parallel to X
X
Locks the Y component of the next point so that it is the same as the
previous point.

Parallel to Y
Y
Locks the X component of the next point so that it is the same as the
previous point.

Fixed dX and dY
D
Locks the change in the horizontal and vertical components of the next
point to that of the previous one.

Elevation View

Parallel to Baseline
B
Locks the X component of the next point so that it is parallel to the
baseline.

Parallel to Z
Z
Locks the XY components of the next point so that they are the same as the
previous point.

Fixed dB and dZ
D
Locks the change in the horizontal and vertical components of the next
point to that of the previous one.

All Views

Parallel to Angle A
A
Drawing is constrained (a) by default to a 45 degree angle, or (b) to be
parallel to a specified line object. To specify the line object, put the mouse
pointer on top of the line object when the A key is depressed.

Fixed Length
L
Locks the length component of the next segment to that of the previous
segment.

Fixed Length and Angle


S
Locks the length and angle components of the next point to that of the
previous point.

None
Space bar
Removes the drawing control option.

Use the constraint tools as follows:

Locate the first point.

Depress one of the constraint keys on the keyboard (X, Y, Z or A).

Locate the next point. ETABS picks up only the unconstrained component of
the next point. Drawing constraints are always removed as soon as the next
point is drawn.

Note that snaps can be used in conjunction with constraints. In that case
only the unconstrained component of the selected snap point is used when
a constraint is selected.

Tolerances
Form: Set Tolerances

Use the Options menu > Tolerances command to display the Set Tolerances
form and set basic tolerance checks in the model for merging and for the
maximum vertical inclination for columns or horizontal inclination for beams
and floors.

Auto Merge Tolerance for Joints option. The merge tolerance value is entered
in length units. The default is 0.1 inch in English units and 1 mm in metric
units. When a joint object is drawn or generated within this distance of
another joint object, the drawn joint object is merged into the original joint
object. If a joint object is within this distance of a frame object, the joint
object is assumed to be supported by the frame object. When the analysis
is run, the frame object is broken up at the joint object and connected to the
joint object. Note that this might put a small kink in the frame object if the
joint object is not exactly on the frame object. If a joint object is within this
distance of being in a plane, it is assumed to be in the plane.

Maximum Inclination from Vertical for Columns option. This tolerance is


entered in degrees from vertical. This angle is used by the program,
together with the following angle, to determine if a frame object is a
column, beam or brace.

Maximum Inclination from Horizontal for Beams and Floors option. This
tolerance is entered in degrees from horizontal. This angle is used by the
program, together with the proceeding angle, to determine if the frame
object is a column, beam or brace. The angle is also used to determine if a
shell object is a floor or a wall.

Set to Default Values button. Click this button to restore the default settings
for the form.

Modify/Show Wall Curve Type


Form: Wall Shell Object Curve Type Options

Use the Edit menu > Edit Shells > Modify/Show Wall Curve Type command
to review or modify the shape of selected wall type shell objects.

Note: This command works only with shell objects that were drawn as walls
and if only one wall object is selected.

Select a wall object or edge and use the Edit menu > Edit Shells >
Modify/Show Wall Curve Type command to access the Wall Shell Object
Curve Type Options form.

Shell Object Information:

Story; Label: The story/label of the wall object selected is listed.

Line Type: Select Straight, Circular Curve, Multilinear Curve, Bezier Curve, or
Spline Curve from the drop-down list for the line type as viewed in plan. The
selection here will affect which items are displayed in the Curve Definition
area.

Start Joint Object (Bottom of Wall): The coordinates and name of the starting
joint for the line are listed.

End Joint Object (Bottom of Wall): The coordinates and name of the ending
point for the line are listed.

{Straight Line Data, Curve Definition}: Enter additional geometric


parameters to define the line curves selected in the Line Type drop-down list
in the Shell Object Information area.

If the line type is Straight, no additional information is required.

If the line type is Circular Curve, specify either the Radius or the coordinates
of the Third Point on Curve. When using the radius option, Line refers to
the imaginary straight line defined by the start and end joints of the edge.

If the line type is Multilinear Curve, enter the number of internal points (IP)
needed to define the line in the edit box and then the coordinates of each IP
in the spreadsheet cells.

If the line type is Bezier Curve, enter the number of internal control points
(ICP) needed to define the line in the edit box and then the coordinates of
each ICP in the spreadsheet cells.

If the line type is Spline Curve, enter the number of internal control points
(ICP) and the spline curve tension needed to define the line into the edit
boxes, and then the coordinates of each ICP in the spreadsheet cells. The
higher the spline curve tension, the more taut the curve will be through the
control points; this value should not exceed 1.

Area Edge Midpoint Coordinates display boxes. These display boxes identify
the location of the X and Y coordinates of the midpoint of the area edge
relative to the global coordinate system.

Refresh Window: The Refresh Window button updates the display with any
changes made to the wall geometry without leaving the Wall Shell Object
Curve Type Options form.

Graphics Preferences
Form: Graphics Preferences

Click the Options menu > Graphics Preferences command to access the
Graphics Preferences form.

Note: A pixel is the smallest graphic unit (dot) that can be displayed on the
screen. A typical screen resolution is 1024 pixels by 768 pixels.

Font

Arial Change button. Arial is the default font used by the program to display
data on the model (e.g., point IDs, grid labels, frame assignments). Click
the Change button to display the Font form and select a different Font, Font
Style, Size, Effects and Script (i.e., Western, Hebrew, Arabic, and so on).

Maximum Graphic Font Size edit box. The default text font size used in the
program is determined based on the average story height of the model.
When the View menu > Zoom In One Step command is used, the font size
becomes proportionately larger. However, the font size is never made larger
than the specified maximum graphic font size. The maximum graphic font
size is entered in points. The default for this item is 8 points. This font size
does not apply to the grid line identification labels, whose size is determined
by the specified size of the bubble (see Grid System Data form ).

Note: In printing a point is a unit of type equal to 0.01384 inch or


approximately 1/72 inch.

Minimum Graphic Font Size edit box. The default text font size used in the
program is determined based on the average story height of the model.
When the View menu > Zoom Out One Step command or its associated
button is used, the font size becomes proportionately smaller. However, the
font size is never made smaller than the specified minimum graphic font
size. The minimum graphic font size is entered in points. The default is 3
points. In some cases, it may be necessary to increase the minimum font
size to be able to read what is on the screen. This font size does not apply to
the grid line identification labels, whose size is determined by the specified
size of the bubble.

Quality

Minimum Screen Line Thickness edit box. This parameter controls the
minimum thickness of lines on the screen. All lines are affected except for
the bounding plane line. The thickness is entered in pixels. This item has no
effect on text fonts. The ETABS default for this item is 1 pixel.

Minimum Printer Line Thickness edit box. This parameter controls the
minimum thickness of lines and fonts that are output to the printer. All lines
are affected. The thickness is entered in pixels. The default is 4 pixels.

Anti-Aliasing check box. When this check box is checked anti-aliasing is


applied to minimize distortion artifacts when high-resolution images are
displayed or printed using a lower resolution device.

Constant Line Thickness check box. When this check box is checked, the
thickness of lines used to display the model are of consistent thicknesses.

Shading within Element check box. When this check box is checked and the
Object Fill check box is checked on the Set View Options form, a shading
effect is added to the fill.

Size

Auto Zoom Step edit box. This is the size of the step applied when the View
menu > Zoom In One Step and the View menu > Zoom Out One Step
command or their associated toolbar buttons are used. This parameter is
entered in percentage. The magnification of all objects in a view is increased
or decreased by this percentage. The default is 10%.

Shrink Factor for Line Objects edit box. When the Object Shrink Toggle
button, , is used, all line objects are reduced by this specified percentage.
The default is 70%. Note that the View menu > Set Display Options
command, or its associated button, can be used to access the Set View
Options form; then check the Object Shrink check box in the Special Effects
area to shrink objects in the model. Typically area objects are not reduced
by this percentage. Instead they are reduced by a set number of pixels that
is built into the program. In the unusual case where shrinking the area
object by the set number of pixels causes it to become an illegal object
(because an edge has zero length), the area object reverts to using the
percentage specified here.