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Tips & Tricks 2019

 Switch off updating of dependent assemblies (December 2019)

The updating of dependent assemblies can now be switched off temporarily or permanently. For this purpose the new options Switch Update off and Switch update off, permanent have been added to the context menu.


  • Switch Update off deactivates the updating only temporarily - after selecting this option an updating of the dependent assembly will be prevented, the corresponding Feature log entry will be renamed to Dependent part (Deactivated) and in the context menu the option Switch Update on will be offered.
  • Switch Update off, permanent also deactivates the updating, but permanently, i.e. this step cannot be undone (except with the UNDO) function. The corresponding Feature log entry will then be renamed to Dependent part (Switched off), and the context menu entries for updating will no longer be displayed.
 Visualisation of direction arrow when cutting ALUCOBOND trays to size (December 2019)

In previous versions the direction symbol for the processing direction was not visible in the DXF export if it was located on the rear side of the sheet development. On facade trays (e.g. ALUCOBOND trays) the direction symbol is often located on the front side of the trays. The development will then be carried out from the rear side in order to display the milling edges. Here, too, the direction symbol would not be visible in the export.

To visualize the direction symbol on the other sheet side (as of HiCAD 2019 SP2), choose Sheet development > Update> Default setting and then, in the opened dialogue window, click on the Extended settings icon. In the next dialogue window, open the Extended representation tab and activate the Always show direction symbol on both sheet sides checkbox to copy the symbol to the other side of the sheet.



 Performance – Threshold values for simplified OpenGL (November 2019)

A higher Threshold value for simplified OpelGL representation, too, can help increase the performance. The setting for threshold values enables the automatic simplification of parts starting from a particular size:

  • Parts that are smaller than 1 pixel are automatically hidden on the screen.
  • Parts that are smaller than 10 pixels are represented as cuboids on the screen.

This setting can be adjusted to the individual requirements of the user. The pixel size for this dynamic changing of the representation can be modified in the Configuration Editor, at System settings > Visualisation > Views. You use the parameters 

  • Threshold value for simplified OpenGL representation (Bounding box) and
  • Threshold value for simplified OpenGL representation (Omit)


Further Tips on performance optimisation can be found in our Whitepaper.

 Improved placing of annotations for standard processings (November 2019)

In previous versions, leader lines frequently ran straight through processings (e.g. bore patterns) when using the automatic placing of annotations for standard processings. This effect has been corrected in HiCAD 2019 SP2; now, leader lines of processings will always end at the nearest standard processing. Furthermore, leader lines can now be placed either on or outside of parts. For this purpose the dialogue window of the Optimise arrangement   function (3-D Dimensioning+Text > Text > Part annotation with free text + leader line) now contains the new Standard processings preferably on part checkbox.


If the checkbox is active, the annotations of standard processings are placed directly next to the processing, i.e. on the part, if there is sufficient space. If there is not enough space, the annotation will be placed a little farther.

If the checkbox is deactivated, the annotations will be placed outside the part, as in previous versions. This is the default setting.

 Railings on curved beams (November 2019)

Curved segments with equal radius and mid point are now (as of HiCAD 2019 SP2, Patch 1) handled like aligned, straight beams. That is, if there are several curved beam segments with equal radius and mid point in succession, the railing elements of these beams will be combined into one segment assembly. In this way, continuous hand rails and knee rails will be created on these beams, too. The updating and modification of existing railings (before Version 2019 SP2 Patch 1) with such areas continues to take place with individual segment assemblies, i.e. non-continuous, "interrupted" hand rails and knee rails.

In the image below a railing along two curved beams (1) and (2) has been created. A shows the result with a version before 2019 SP2, Patch1, B shows the result with Patch 1.

 ICN - Representation of user columns (October 2019)

From HiCAD 2019 SP2 the ICN representation of up to three user columns is supported for the 3-D part structure. The representation can be switched on/off by activating/deactivating the checkbox.

The attributes displayed in the three user columns can be configured individually. For instance, the number of the shipping item, that is, the item number of the uncut installation profiles (attribute %PI), plays an important role in installation planning. However, the item number (attribute %02) is important for substructures. By defining corresponding user columns, you can display both item numbers in different columns.

The user columns are defined in the HDB files ICN3D_USERn.HDB (for use without HELiOS) or ICN3D_USERn_DB.HDB (for use with HELiOS). n is the number of the user column. The files are located in the HiCAD sys directory.



For further information click here

 Bend zone ends suitable for milling (October 2019)

Some CAM systems (e.g. CobusNCAD) do not support arcs at bend zone ends. To create bend zones suitable for milling, you can now use the Trim Corner function to trim transitions with two or three milling edge zones in your sheet metal drawing. First activate the icon for the number of milling edge zones to be trimmed and then identify the milling edge zones. This creates 2 straight lines as an extension of the flange edges converging in the milling edge zone.


Trim corner, 2 milling edges: (1) Original situation, (2) View of original situation in the bending simulation (top view), (3) Trimmed milling edge zone (top view)


The ALUCOBOND SZ 20 cassettes were edited with the new Trim corner function having bend zone ends suitable for milling.   


For further information click here.

 Dividing handrails (October 2019)

From HiCAD 2019 SP2 onwards, handrails can be divided, e.g. in order to insert plug-in profiles or flat steel joints in long railings. For this purpose, an additional checkbox has been added on the Handrail-Handrail tab.

If the checkbox is active, the variant for handrail division and the division of the handrail can be specified by segments.

(1) Variant: Plug-in profile, (2) Variant: Flat steel joint, (3) Variant: Straight cut


For further information click here.

 Exploded views - Enhancements (September 2019)
  • When changing or deleting mounting tracks of exploded views you can now (as of HiCAD 2019 SP1)  right-click to open a context menu with further selection functions:

  • Exploded views can now be considered as 3D-PDF (*.PDF), Universal 3D (*.U3D) and Product Representation Compact (*.PRC) files for exports. The Configuration Editor and the export dialogue windows have been expanded accordingly for this purpose. In the Configuration Editor at Interfaces, the Consider exploded layout checkbox is available for the above-mentioned formats. The setting specified here will be the pre-setting for the corresponding export dialogue.

  • Concentricity transformations can now be performed not just about an axis, but also about a point. For this purpose, two buttons have been added to the dialogue window:

    • Concentric, about axis Here the transformation takes place by selection of an axis. The moved parts will then be located on a circle the centre point of which lies on the selected axis and runs through the centroids of the selected parts. This means that the parts move within one circle plane, i.e. the transformation is two-dimensional.

    • Concentric, about Point If you choose this option, the parts will move on a straight line running through the selected point and the centroid of the corresponding part, i.e. the transformation is three-dimensional.

The following example illustrates the difference between the transformation types Concentric, about axis and Concentric, about point. The image below shows 8 neighbouring cuboids and one concentricity transformation about a point:

The next image shows the concentricity transformation about an axis:


 Saving/Loading to or from cloud directories (September 2019)

If available, cloud directories such as Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox are displayed when loading or saving drawings via HiCAD Explorer. These can be found in your user folder.


 Define new usage (September 2019)

HiCAD supports part classification according tom freely definable usages. In this way you can, for instance, define beams or profiles in Civil Engineering as columns, girders, mullions, transoms etc. The classification takes place by assigning the Usage attribute to the corresponding part. This classification enables, for example, the creation of Usage-dependent workshop drawings or Bills of Materials.

The usages can be expanded customer-specifically at any time with the help of the Catalogue Editor. The different usages are managed in the Factory standards catalogue.



If the CONFIGKEY column of a usage is left empty, the usage will be assigned to the DEFAULT configuration.

  For further information click here.

 Sheet along sketch (August 2019)

The Sheet along sketch function now also considers non-tangential transitions between a straight line and a an arc. Where the line bends, a bend zone or a milling edge zone will be inserted.

Click here for further Information.

 HCM settings (August 2019)

Automatic updating of Part HCM models after applying changes to the 3-D drawing may take a prolonged time for larger models. 

In such cases you can increase the performance by deactivating the AutoUpdate HCM model Checkbox (3-D Standard > HCM > Tools > Settings ) .

This Whitepaper document is giving an overview on how performance can be improved when working with HiCAD.

 Management + BIM - Settings files for drawing derivation (August 2019)

Besides the option to use the predefined settings files supplied with HiCAD, you can also create, depending on the respective usage/part type, your own settings files.

To create or modify such files, select Drawing > Itemisation/Detailing > Derive . Specify the desired settings in the dialogue. To Save the settings in a settings file, or to Load an existing file, use the buttons beneath Settings file.





The area in the red frame is controlled by the corresponding .DAT file, the area in the green frame by the settings in the Configuration Editor.

The presetting files must be given the following names:

  • BIM_WSD_UsageText.DAT or
  • BIM_WSD_UsageKey.DAT

with UsageText standing for the designation in the tables of the Factory Standards catalogue Usage, and UsageKey standing for the CONFIGKEY.


Alternatively, you can also use the part type: BIM_WSD_Teileart.DAT. This file must be created, for instance, if you

  • want to define special settings for standard beams and profiles,
  • have defined part types, e.g. own profiles for profile installation tasks, or
  • renamed part types that had been predefined by the ISD.  

For example, if you require particular settings for I-beams, you need to create a BIM_WSD_I - Profile.DAT file.

 Improved Length optimization function (August 2019)

The Length optimization  has been improved to make its operation easier. You have now the option to add all profiles of one length to the active selection via the context menu function Add profile(s) to selection.

Also, the number of different profile lengths and the total waste will now be indicated in the middle of the dialogue window.

 P+ID - Block symbols (July 2019)

HiCAD P+ID R+I now supports so-called block symbols. These are symbols that represent a P+ID sheet.

In the ISD library ISD_PROCESSFLOW.SZA such a block symbol is already available. Users can create such symbols using the Symbol type 18 = Schema block. After inserting a block symbol, you can call the editing functions for the block symbol with a right-click on the symbol.

Click here for further Information.  

 3-D C-edge constraints - Automatic positional constraints: Also on Part CS (July 2019)

The Automatic positional constraints  function for planar sketches and 3-D sketches now contains, beneath the Parallel option, the additional Also on Parts CS option.


If this option has been activated, line elements running parallel to an axis (or, in 3-D sketches, also parallel to a plane) of the Part CS, will be assigned a Parallel constraint with regard to it. If you deactivate this option, HiCAD will show the same behaviour as previous versions, i.e. no parallelisms with regard to axes or planes of the Part CS will be considered, just parallelisms of lines.

 Plant Engineering - BOM alignment (July 2019)

Bills of materials can be aligned automatically (Left/Right/Top/Bottom) or manually (No default/Position) on the 2-D Drawing elements tab of the Settings dialogue window for isometries or pipe spool drawings .

For manual alignment HiCAD will assume that the BOM has been created with fixed column widths. Accordingly, such a BOM will not obtain any automatic column widths, but the fixed widths determined in the table definition beneath Contents.

If automatic column widths are used for BOM creation, and the manual alignment has been chosen in the settings for isometries or pipe spool drawings, the following message will be displayed:

After confirming with OK, the BOM BOM will be placed on the right by default. Please note that editing the BOM may lead to unwanted results in such cases. Therefore, you should either choose the automatic alignment, or use a table definition without automatic column widths.

 More details on how to configure column layouts can be found in the Configuration of BOM Layouts (PE/Iso) topic.

 Sheet Metal - Development Parametersr (June 2019)

The default setting for the sheet development  and the changing of the Favourites also affects drawing derivations for Sheets  and the the export of developed sheets as DXF files .

 Itemisation - Consideration of Processing Direction (June 2019)

For the Itemisation a further distinctive criterion, the Processing Direction, can be chosen for Identical Part Search (as of HiCAD 2019 SP1).

  • Only direction symbols on top facet of flanges are being considered.
  • Relevant to the comparison of Processing Directions are only your (processed) directions and RTYP entered in the catalogue (1: one-sided, 2: two-sided).
  • Irrelevant to the comparison are thus the position of direction symbols (on which flange, where on the flange) and its geometry in particular.

Click here for further information.

 Textures (June 2019)
  • As of HiCAD 2019 SP1 the visibility of textures in the active views or in all views of a model drawing can be switched on or off. Switching off the visibility of textures can be helpful during the processing of large model drawings with many textures.
  • When assigning textures, you have now the option to set parameters for the selected projection method e.g. the cylinder axis or an angle for seam displacement.


(1) Parameters,automatic, (2) Y-axis selected as axis, (3) Axis = Y-axis and additional point selected

  • The Change texture  functionallows multiple part selection.
 Profile Installation - Automatic creation of inserts (June 2019)

You have now the option to automatically place inserts in openings of profile installations (as of HiCAD 2019 SP1). For this purpose, a new side tab called Inserts has been added to the Profile installation dialogue window, allowing you to configure the inserts.


 Customizing the transparent toolbar (May 2019)

The UserInterfaceEditor.exe tool that you can start directly from HiCAD offers the following customization options:

You start the tool by clicking the  symbol to the right of the QuickAccess Toolbar and selecting the Customize QuickAccess Toolbar function.



 New features for textures (May 2019)

As of HiCAD 2019 Textures are not any more assigned via the docking window Visual Effects. The following functions are available instead:




In addition, HiCAD 2019 offers a multitude of textures. These are available in HiCAD Catalogue under Textures and Colours > Textures.

 New part attribute: Item index (March 2019)

Not only item numbers but also itemisation texts which consist of free text and attributes from different HiCAD/HELiOS sources. As of HiCAD 2018 SP2 the new HiCAD part attribute Item index %PIDX can be used in order to create own incrementation in itemisation texts. If the itemisation text contains this attribute, each part with equal item number will be incremented on its own. This means that all n parts with common itemisation number will be numbered consecutively with an index from 1 to n. In practice, this is often used to allocate assemblies or parts with equal item number clearly to each information of the item number flag or BOM. 

Click here for an example 


 New Part Structure Representation in the ICN (March 2019)

In HiCAD 2019 the Part structure representation in the 3-D ICN has been redesigned:

  • Improved performance, notably with complex drawings
  • Tabular, multicolumn representation
  • Sorting by click on the column header
  • Individual configuration of the representation
  • Fast switching of the representation of HiCAD and HELiOS attributes

Click here for further information.


 Discontinuation of Windows 7 ® (February 2019)
Microsoft will cease the support for Windows by January 2020. Due to compability matters HiCAD 2020 SP2 and HELiOS 2020 SP2 will thus be the final versions of our CAD and PDM systems which support Windows ® 7.  The corresponding server operating systems (Windows Server 2008 R2 or older) will then no longer be supported either.
 Discontinuation of “old“ HiCAD itemisation (February 2019)
As of HiCAD 2019 the “old” itemisation, i.e. the itemisation that was used up to HiCAD 2017, will only be available for model drawings that were already itemized with these functions. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, only the “new” itemization will be supported. The itemisation by assemblies (the Within assembly, ... options in the old Itemisation dialogue) will only be supported by the new Standard Itemisation as of HiCAD 2019 SP1. If you want to use these options, you should update to SP1 first.  
 Increase the performance by changing of text fonts (February 2019)

Normally, model drawings contain many texts. These can be “normal” texts, dimensions, annotations and BOMs. Here, too, changing the text font can lead to a significantly increased performance. For instance, changing TrueType Fonts to a HiCAD font during zooming or moving in Sheet areas can increase the performance by a factor of up to 10.

 Collision Check (February 2019)

This Collision Check (Information > 3-D, Further > Coll.)  enables you to check whether the sub-parts of the active part collide. If the active, superordinate part is a solid, HioCAD will also check whether the active part itself collides with one of its sub-parts. Self-intersections of the active part will not be indicated here.


2 parts Indicates the collision of two arbitrary parts. After choosing the function, select the two parts. Collisions of a sub-part of the first identified part and a sub-part of the second identified part will be shown. Collisions of two sub-parts which are both located beneath one of the selected parts will not be indicated.    

 All parts Indicates collisions of all parts of a drawing.  
 Selected parts Indicates collisions of all parts of the current part list, i.e. all currently marked parts. Before calling this function, select the required parts, either in the drawing or in the ICN. In contrast to the 2 parts option, the collisions of all sub-parts of the superordinate parts contained in the part list will be indicated individually here.  

If a collision is detected, it will be highlighted if desired, and you can decide whether you want to continue the check.


For each collision, a collision part called Collision is generated, containing two dummy parts with the names of the parts causing the collision. This is used for faster clarification of the cause of the collision, as the collision body can be very small and optically barely visible. All collision bodies are again summarised beneath a structure item called Collision group.

 Handling of collinear edges (Februar 2019)

As of HiCAD 2019 Collinear sheet edges can no longer be shown in the HiddenLine representation. Therefore, the following setting options have been removed:

  • in HiCAD at Views > Properties > Show/Hide elements > Show collinear sheet edges and
  • in the Configuration Editor at Drawing >Views > Hiding and overlapping of edges > Hide collinear sheet edges.

For model drawings from 2018 and older you can no longer show collinear sheet edges in the HiddenLine representation. For these legacy drawings, the settings valid at the time of their saving apply. However, you have still the option to update the handling of collinear sheet edges in these legacy drawings to the new mechanism. To do this, use the Update sheet edges function. After applying the function you can hide collinear-tangential sheet edges in the HiddenLine representation if desired. Collinear bent edges will always be shown, while collinear mergeable edges will be hidden. 

 Converting "old" itemisations (Februar 2019)

For converting Itemisations to the Standard Itemisation as of HiCAD 2018, the function  Convert to standard itemisation is available (as of HiCAD 2019).

With this function the itemisation of drawings using the mode Itemisation up to HiCAD 2017 can be converted into the mode Standard Itemisation (as of HiCAD 2018).This is possible for drawings created with a version before HiCAD 2019 and which have been -at least partially- itemised with the old mode. Otherwise, this function is greyed out.

After calling the function the conversion starts immediately. This will proceed as follows:

  • HiCAD tries to obtain the existing item numbers including the settings of the itemisation as far as possible.
  • Invalid item numbers remain invalid.
  • Not existing item numbers are not generated automatically. 

If settings or item numbers cannot be taken over unmodified, an according notification will be displayed.

 Did you know that...? -The D key (April 2020)

Views can be moved directly with the mouse using Drag&Drop. This behaviour can be changed by pressing the D key. After pressing the key, views are locked against Drag&Drop movements during the current HiCAD session. In this state, left-clicking the view frame with the mouse button held down causes a rectangular zoom window to be drawn. Pressing the D key again changes this behaviour back again.

 Management + BIM - Loose Parts (April 2020)
You often distinguish between production processes where parts are welded in a workshop and production processes where parts are sent to a construction site after processing for mounting tasks.

Such "mounting parts" can be beams, profiles, plates, sheets, and general parts, and are called "loose parts" in HiCAD. Such "loose parts" are parts that do not belong to a BOM-relevant assembly in which an assembly main part has been defined (welding assembly).

Use the settings at Management + BIM > Individual part type in the Configuration Editor to achieve that these parts will be automatically recognized by HiCAD during detail drawing creation and marked correspondingly in the title block of the drawing.

Please note:

If you set the Distinguish loose parts and assembly parts switch to Yes, you must also ensure during itemisation that geometrically identical parts that are both available as loose parts and also belong to an assembly are recognized as different. To do this, you must create a corresponding group for loose parts on the Part groups tab of the Itemisation settings dialogue window and save these changed settings in a new Favourites file. To ensure that the settings of this file are taken into account during automatic itemisation, either change the setting in the Configuration Editor at System settings > Itemisation > Default settings or select the new Favourites file in the itemisation options.

As an example, take a look at the image below, which contains the same I-beam three times. Two of these beams are installed as loose parts, the third belongs to an assembly.

In the Configuration Editor, the switch is set to Yes and a Favourites file with a new part group for loose parts has been created, e.g.

If the model drawing is now itemised with these settings, the assemblies are numbered first, then the loose parts, then the Steel/Metal Engineering parts, etc.




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