Tips & Tricks 2021
In HiCAD version 2601.1, the use of Nvidia graphics cards can result in shortened axonometric views being displayed incorrectly. This is due to the fact that the graphics card driver is outdated. This effect does not occur with an up-to-date graphics card driver.
We recommend updating to a current graphics card driver, even if the old graphics card driver supports the required OpenGL version 4.3!
If you encounter any kind of display problems, please check if your graphics card driver is up-to-date first. If it is not, update to the current driver.
Divide along direction (3-D Standard > Process > Trim > Divide along direction)
Divide along direction (Steel Engineering > Lengthen > Divide > ...)
have been revised. As of HiCAD 2021 SP1 dividing can now also be done by selecting points. The division points do not have to be on the part.
The Update import, via 3-D interface function has been extended in SP1:
After the update, an evaluation of the update is displayed with the following information:
- parts in the previous import,
newly imported parts and
- unambiguously assigned parts among them.
This dialogue is used to illustrate to what extent it was possible to transfer the attributes from the old parts to the new ones and whether there were changes in the number of parts.
In the following cases, a warning message is issued before the update:
- In HiCAD, parts of the old import have been changed or deleted.
- In HiCAD, new parts have been inserted into the assembly of the old import.
All corresponding parts are listed in the dialogue window. Only parts that are visible in the ICN are taken into account.
The icons on the left of the dialogue window can be used to vary the display. The log can also be exported as a CSV file via the icon at the top of the window.
If the dialogue window is closed with OK, the update is started. Thereby the parts and changes in the list will be lost
As with Sheet Metal parts, the calculation of the length and width of Steel Engineering beams now also takes into account whether a processing direction is assigned to the plate.
The processing direction also affects the position of the plate in the workshop drawing.
2-D data is generally not exported via the 3-D PDF interface. To output 2-D data in PDF format, you must use the Print function. For this, you need an appropriate printer driver, e.g. Microsoft Print to PDF, Adobe PDF or similar.
If you have the ISD Fileprinter PS, you can also use Ghostscript, for example. In this case, you must activate the Postprocessing checkbox in the ISD Fileprinter PS dialogue window and enter the corresponding command for the conversion in the comment line, e.g. for Ghostscript 9.54
C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.54.0\bin\gswin64 -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dPDFA -sDEVICE="pdfwrite" -sOutputFile="<FilePath><FileName>.pdf" <CurrentFile>
New in the Drawing attributes dialogue window is the checkbox Itemised source model. This checkbox (Attribute #PMOD) determines whether a model drawing is an itemised source model or not. An itemised source model is a model drawing in which itemisation is allowed. The ISD default setting is that new model drawings are always itemised source models, i.e. the checkbox is active by default.
Model drawings that are not itemised source models cannot be edited with the Automatic itemisation functions. This also applies to deleting any existing item numbers. If an Automatic itemisation function is called, the following message appears:
Deactivating the checkbox is useful, for example, if you want to disable itemisation in model drawings when passing them on to third parties.
If a model drawing with item numbers subsequently becomes an itemised source model by activating the checkbox, all existing item numbers become invalid.
When working with the Drawing Management, the checkbox Itemised source model is not available. Use the ITEMISATIONMODEL attribute there for this purpose.
When sketching lines, additional options are available for 3-D sketches when determining points via the Autopilot:
is displayed if the X-coordinate of the current cursor position is identical with the X-coordinate of another point in the active 3-D sketch.
is displayed if the Y-coordinate of the current cursor position is identical with the Y-coordinate of another point of the active 3-D sketch.
is displayed if both the X- and Y-coordinates of the current cursor position are identical to the X- or Y -oordinate of another point in the active 3-D sketch.
Together with the display of the point option, a dashed auxiliary line is also displayed on the point with identical X- or Y-coordinate. All points of the active sketch as well as the origin (zero point) of the sketch are taken into account.
However, the options X, Y and XY are only available on the Autopilot if these points are in the current drawing plane.
The 3-D sketch shown at the top left is to be created - consisting of 3 polylines. For the first two polylines, the point options X and Y can be used for the dashed lines (A). This is not immediately possible with the third polyline (B). Here the drawing plane must first be changed (C).
3-D parts/assemblies that you insert into the current model drawing using the function 3-D Import will be marked in the ICN with the symbol.
With the new function Update import you can replace these parts/assemblies with other imported files. You can access the function by right-clicking on the marking, or via the context menu for parts.
The prerequisite for the update is that the top assembly of the first import still exists and the part on which the update is called is below this assembly or is itself this assembly. The assembly of the old import is completely exchanged for the newly imported one. This means in particular that parts that were added to the assembly after the import are lost during the update.
You can access the function
by right-clicking on the marking of an imported part in the ICN or
by right-clicking on an imported part in the ICN or in the drawing. In this case the context menu for 3D parts is activated. There you will find the function in the Others sub-menu.
For further information click here.
It occasionally happens in parameterized model drawings that the value of a variable must be selected from a list depending on the value of another variable.
An example of this is an element for a facade, for which an attic with the lengths
- medium or
can be chosen. The selected variant is stored in the variable type - 1 stands for "short", 2 for "medium", 3 for "long". If now the value of the variable length is to be set dependent on type, you can set the variable length with the following formula:
If type=1, length has the value 100; type=2 leads to length=250 and type=3 results in length=600. Of course, you are not restricted to 3 different variables, but can use any number.
Note on the keyword LAYER of the conversion file HCADACAD.DAT:
The Layer assignment based on part structure option can only be applied to 2-D parts whose name does not exceed 8 characters.
Purchased/factory standard parts and moulding tools are also placed in the model drawing via the Fitting CS of the corresponding KRA file or via three isolated and named points defined in the KRA file (Point 1 for the origin, Point 2 for the X-direction, Point 3 for the Y-direction). If neither these points nor a Fitting CS are defined, the following message appears from HiCAD 2021 onwards:
HiCAD relies on the operating system of the workstation for file access. Thus UNC paths or mapped drive letters in the filegrup.dat should work exactly when these can also be accessed via the file explorer without authentication questions being asked. Special log specifications (as prefix or path specifications) are not supported.
If directories are accessed from more than one workstation, no local path should be entered in the filegrup.dat at C (for the "Szenen" directory), but the full UNC path as shown below:
For detailed information about filegrup.dat click here.
As of HiCAD 2021 the active view is now represented in the model drawing by a coloured, wider view frame.
The frame display of the active view - colour, line width and transparency of the frame - can be preset in the Configuration Editor at System settings > Visualisation > Views > Frame of active view. You determine the colour by specifying the RGB values. There you can also set whether the active view should be marked or not. The image below shows the ISD default settings.
In practice, model drawings often contain beams, e.g. purchased parts, which are ordered for the production with a fixed length. These beams should not appear in the bar list or must be shown separately.
In HiCAD 2021 this can now be regulated via the attribute Fixed length (%FIXLEN), which must be assigned to the corresponding beams. If this attribute has the value 0 or is not set at all, the fixed length is not taken into account in the bar list. If the value is 1, then these beams are listed separately in the bar list.
By default, the attribute is not set, i.e. it is not included in the attribute masks. If you want to use this attribute, you must manually extend the attribute mask for beams by adding the files
- BRW_3DTeil_Profil.HDX (part attributes for beams) or
- BRW_3DTeil_Profil_H.HDX (part attributes for beams that are assembly main parts)
accordingly. You can find an example here.
HiCAD offers a very extensive range of functions. Therefore, it can happen that one is looking for a certain function but does not know exactly on which Ribbon the function can be found. In such cases, the new Function search docking window can help (as of HiCAD 2021).
If you enter a search term in the docking window, HiCAD lists all functions whose name contains the specified search term. The search is carried out in all ribbon bars as well as in the functions of the docking window Civil Engineering functions.
If you right-click on a function, the function can either be called up directly (Execute), or you can open the Help for this function, or Copy the function path.
You use the program CatalogueUpdate.exe in the HiCAD EXE directory to update catalogues. This program is normally started automatically, e.g. when HiCAD is updated. It can also be started manually.
For automatic updates the source is preset.
If the program is started manually, then the source is to be selected as follows:
- for a HiCAD Update:
on the DVD or in the ISO file of the update.
- in case of a HiCAD Patch:
on the DVD or in the ISO file of the patch.
For foreign language installations, replace en-us with the corresponding language abbreviations, i.e. de-de (German) fr-fr (French), it-it (Italian), pl-pl (Polish
In the Internal/external thread function , thread runouts are now also possible (as of HiCAD 2020 SP2). The following options are available for runout length determination :
- Value, as part of thread length
The runout has the length specified in the Value field. The specified thread length is shortened accordingly.
- Value, in addition to thread length
This is only possible with the length options Fixed length and To point. The specified value determines the length of the runout, the thread length does not change. If the sum of thread length and runout length is greater than the possible full thread length, the runout is automatically shortened.
- Pitch factor, as part of thread length
The specified factor is multiplied by the thread pitch. The result is the runout length. The specified thread length is shortened accordingly.
- Pitch factor, in addition to thread length
This is only possible with the length options Fixed length and To point. The specified factor is multiplied by the thread pitch. The result is the runout length, the thread length does not change. If the sum of thread length and runout length is greater than the possible full thread length, the runout is automatically shortened.
(1) Thread DIN 13 -M50x1.5, (2) Runout length 20, (3) Runout factor 8, (4) Internal thread DIN 40x1.5 with runout
HiCAD 2020 features a new movement type called AutoDirection on the Exploded view Ribbon tab.
This function allows you to define displacements with automatic direction in the Exploded view mode. As with the displacement, several parts are linearly displaced simultaneously. In contrast, these parts are not moved with the same distance, but are distributed along the selected direction relative to a certain part (the so-called fixed part). This makes it possible to move several parts simultaneously in positive and negative direction in one step - depending on the position of the parts in relation to the selected fixed part.
In the image below, take a look at the initial drawing shown on the left. We want to achieve that the selected parts (1) - highlighted blue in the figure - are moved on both sides of the fixed part (2) in one step, depending on their position relative to part (2). The desired result is shown in the figure below. This can be achieved with the AutoDirection function.
Tips & Tricks 2020
The previous functions Detail view Cuboid and Detail view Sphere have been combined to form the new function Detail view Cuboid/Sphere . You can switch between both modes in the Detail view dialogue window..
The new dialogue is much more user-friendly. For example, the cuboid and sphere are now visualized in the preview and can be drawn dynamically with the cursor.
From SP2 on it is also possible to change a Detail view Cuboid / Sphere subsequently. To do this, select the Change detail view function in the Views Ribbon or in the context menu for views. Afterwards the corresponding dialogue window is displayed.
The settings for the 3-D Import function can now be saved as favourites. To do this, click on the symbol in the dialogue window. You can find more information on favourites management in the in the Manage Favourites topic of the HiCAD Basics Help. You can specify which favourite is used as the default in the import dialogue in the Configuration Editor at Interfaces > Import.
To preset a favourite for a file format, just click on the symbol and choose the desired favourite.
When starting the import dialogue, please note that the last selected settings for the respective file format are used as default. If you have not made any changes to the settings of the favourite defined in the configuration management, the favourite settings will be used.
With the Design Variant Cross-bracing (2602) it is also possible from SP2 onwards to connect two perpendicular beams to each other with a diagonal using a cross-bracing.
The contents of various docking windows can be enlarged or downsized dynamically by zooming (as of HiCAD 2020 SP2). This is possible for the following docking windows:
- 2-D/3-D Part structure,
- HCM (2-D) und HCM (3-D),
- Part variables,
- Exploded view.
- To enlarge or downsize the contents of a single docking window, point the mouse cursor inside the window and turn the mouse wheel while holding down the CTRL key.
- To enlarge or downsize the contents of all docking windows, turn the mouse wheel while holding down the CTRL and the SHIFT key.
- The zoom of the active window can be reset by pressing the CTRL and middle mouse button simultaneously.
- To reset the zoom of all windows, press CTRL, SHIFT and the middle mouse button accordingly.
The Design Checker offers a new check for sheet metal parts called Sheet must contain exactly 1 direction symbol. This check finds all sheet metal parts with no or more than one direction symbol (as of HiCAD 2020 SP2).
The scope of delivery of the As-Built Modeler from FARO® includes a SendTo App. This can be coupled with HiCAD, so that points determined with the As-Built Modeler can be used directly in HiCAD. These points are treated as points with absolute coordinates, i.e. they have no reference to HiCAD objects.
To use points from the As-Built Modeler in HiCAD, proceed as follows:
- In addition to HiCAD you start the HiCAD Connector. To do this, execute the file HiCADPoint3DConnector.exe in the EXE directory of the HiCAD installation.
- Start the SendTo App in the As-Built Modeler by clicking on the symbol.
- Connect the SendTo App with the HiCAD Connector. For this purpose drag and drop the symbol from the SendTo toolbar onto the HiCAD Connector. If the connection was successful, the symbol changes to .
- If you now start a point selection in HiCAD and then click on Point selection in the SendTo App, the coordinates of the point selected in the AS-Built Modeler will be transmitted to HiCAD as absolute coordinates.
New Autopilot settings toolbar
Using the new toolbar, you can now control directly in the status bar which points the Autopilot offers as snap points. Switching is possible at any time - even during the execution of a function.
The currently selected autopilot settings apply to the active HiCAD session. You can define which settings should be active when restarting HiCAD in the Configuration Editor at System settings > Identification with the parameter List of point snap options.
If you click on the in the Autopilot Settings toolbar, the settings from the Configuration Editor are restored to defaults.
New Visualisation toolbar
The previous toolbar "CS display" has been extended with additional functions for fast fading in and out of objects and renamed Visualisation. With the functions of this toolbar you can switch on or off the visibility of coordinate systems, isolated points, dimensions, HCM constraints etc. with one click. In certain situations - especially with large model drawings - this can make editing easier. For example, you can hide all dimensions of a model drawing without having to call a function in the context menu or ribbon first.
When selecting attributes for annotations, you now have the option to mark frequently used attributes as favourites for a faster access. Simply click on the symbol next to the attribute name. The symbol then changes its colour to yellow . Attributes marked in this way are listed in the selection window under Favourites.
To remove an attribute from the Favourites list, simply click on the corresponding symbol - either directly in the Favourites list or in the attributes list.
Output associated assemblies
In the Configuration Editor at PDM > Management+BIM, you can (as of HiCAD 2020 SP1) define whether the associated assemblies, e.g. welded assemblies, should be determined for individual parts (beams, profiles, plates, sheets and general parts). The parameter Output associated assemblies is available for this purpose. If this parameter is set to Yes, the association is determined and assigned to the HELiOS article attribute COMPONENT_REFASSEBMLY. This can be useful for the BOM output, for example.
The COMPONENT_REFASSEMBLY attribute is assigned the item number of the first parent assembly of the part. If a part exists in several assemblies, the item numbers of the parts are separated by semicolons.
Starting with SP2, the total number of the parts in the assemblies is also determined and assigned to the COMPONENT_REFASSEMBLY attribute.
Further information on the COMPONENT_REFASSEMBLY attribute can be found here.
Please also note the new Output construction section list in drawing function introduced with SP2. This function is used to insert a construction section list into the drawings of the individual parts. This BOM shows how often a part is present in the different construction sections.
Within the Create Clipping Box or Edit Clipping Box function, you can right-click to open a context menu with further functions.
With this functions, the current clipping box can be rotated or moved. If you choose Rotate, the clipping box can be rotated around an axis by selecting the rotation circle of the respective axis with the cursor and then rotating it dynamically with the cursor.
(1) Current clipping box, (2) Selection of Z-axis as rotation axis, (3) Rotated clipping box, (4) Cropped point cloud
When generating the DXF export files for Sheet Metal blanks, the orientation of the polylines in the created DXF file will now always be always the same (i.e. always clockwise or always anticlockwise), since CAM programs require these for determining the outer/inner side when generating the milling tool paths.
As of HiCAD 2020 the orientation of closed lines can be set when exporting sheet metal developments. In the Configuration Editor at Sheet Metal > Sheet development you can set a clockwise (activate checkbox) or anticlockwise orientation (deactivate checkbox) for the inner and outer contours.
With the 3-D Import function, parts inserted into the model drawing can also be searched with the Find function in the transparent toolbar. The part filter dialogue has been extended accordingly.
All parts that you insert into the model drawing using the 3-D Import function are marked with the symbol in the ICN. If you place the cursor over the symbol, you will obtain further information on the relevant part, such as the imported file format and the HiCAD version with which the part was imported.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a collection of definitions that allow a computer program to communicate with another program or part of a program (usually in the form of libraries).
HiCAD also provides an API based on .NET technology. This means that functions which are available in HiCAD/HELiOS can be accessed via a universal programming language. These functions are accessed via libraries. Via this programming interface HiCAD can also be controlled, extended and analyzed from other Windows applications. The API can be addressed by any modern programming language, for example C#, VB, C++, Java and others. On the basis of the API it is also possible, for example, for the Consulting department, for external employees or for partner companies to carry out HiCAD developments.
- Working with the API does not require an additional module, but requires the participation in a training course.
- After the installation of HiCAD, the online help of the API can be found in the HiCAD sub-directory docu\api.
For the import, display and editing of point clouds a license for the HiCAD Point Cloud module is required. HiCAD model drawings containing point clouds can be opened without such a license, but the point clouds will then not be displayed.
If you want to reset the HiCAD user interface, for example because ICN windows are no longer displayed or because incorrect icons or texts are displayed in the HiCAD toolbars or ribbons, use the contains the tool
tool in the HiCAD EXE directory. This tool resets the entire HiCAD user interface, i.e. all corresponding settings in the Windows Registry and in the %APPDATA% directory, to the state after a new HiCAD installation.
After starting the tool, the following dialogue window is displayed.
HiCAD should be closed before calling the tool.
You start the reset by clicking the Restore GUI delivery state button. With the functions and the current settings can be saved and reloaded at any time. The file format is hicadgui. This is also useful if you use HiCAD at different workstations, e.g. on a laptop and on a computer with two monitors. You can simply save the settings of both workstations and then load the respective settings file you need.
For further information click here.
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 2021 onwards, only the “new” itemization will be supported.
As of HiCAD 2020 SP1, you can use the Configuration Editor to define the procedure for starting the itemization in a model drawing that still uses the itemization up to HiCAD 2017. To do this, open the Configuration Editor and choose System settings > Itemisation > Switch to 'Standard itemisation used since HiCAD 2018'.
The following options are available here:
No message or query will be displayed. This means that the itemisation up to HiCAD 2017 will still be used.
A message will be displayed, informing you that the itemisation up to HiCAD 2017 will still be used. You then have the option of determining whether or not the itemization should be converted to the standard itemization. To Cancel the itemization function, use the same named option.
Here, too, the message will be displayed, informing you that the itemisation up to HiCAD 2017 will still be used. Here, however, you only have the possibility to switch to the standard itemisation with OK or to Cancel the itemization function.
The default setting is Optional.
For further information click here.
The detail drawings created with the Management+BIM module are always stored on Sheet 2 of the drawing. When printing via the HELiOS/HiCAD Spooler, all sheets are printed - depending on the setting - i.e. also sheet areas without production drawings such as Sheet 1.
By setting (Configuration editor) the Delete unused sheet areas parameter to Yes you can now specify that sheet areas without production drawings are deleted. The default setting is No.
As of HiCAD 2020 the Design Checker offers additional tests for HCM models.
When installing elements - especially for complex facades - it is often the case in practice that certain installation elements have the same options. To make it easier to select the areas to be occupied (rectangular or polygonal sketch areas) and to edit installation elements with the same parameters, HiCAD offers the possibility to work with so-called selection groups. The advantage is that you can group installation elements with the same parameters and then select or deselect all elements of this group with one click. The Selection groups area is available in the Installation elements dialogue window.
Selection groups can also be applied to Sub-structures.
In the Configuration Editor at System settings > Catalogue > Track catalogue changes you can now determine how to proceed in case of catalogue changes in HiCAD. The default setting is Do not track, that is, the catalogue data will be loaded only once when you start HiCAD. After this, HiCAD will no longer check whether newer data exist. The reason for this is that a check for up-to-dateness of catalogues in HiCAD can significantly deteriorate the performance in some situations.
As of HiCAD 2020, the new Reload function offers the option to update catalogues after applying changes to them without having to close HiCAD, and without having to put up with drops in performance due to repeated checks for up-to-dateness.
You find the new function at Settings > Catalogue.
In previous versions, dimensions were always assigned to the active part during their creation. From HiCAD 2020 onwards, you can assign the dimensions either to the active part or to the part to which the 1st dimension base point belongs. This behaviour can be determined via the Set parameters for new general dimensions function, on the System tab of the dialogue window.
The parameters of this tab can be preset via the Configuration Editor, at System settings > Annotations > Dimensioning, 3-D > Interactive dimensions > Dimension assignment. The default setting is Active part.
As of HiCAD 2020, the active pipeline is determined via the active part.
This means: If the active part belongs to a pipeline, then this pipeline is considered the active pipeline. Otherwise, no pipeline is active.
The previous functions for activating pipelines are therefore no longer available from HiCAD 2020 onwards.
Checkup and Release can now take place directly in the production drawing. In previous versions these options were greyed out if a production drawing had been loaded.
In the Sketch HCM the constraints will now (as of HiCAD 2019 SP2) take into account whether the use of external references has been activated or deactivated. An external reference exists if a HCM constraint refers to a part that does not belong to this sketch.
In existing sketches the use of external references is active by default, in order to keep the existing behaviour of these sketches. Created new sketches behave according top the settings specified in the Configuration Editor: The value chosen at System settings > Sketch HCM > Use external references determines your default value. After new installations, external references are not used by default.
If you right-click on the empty area of the HCM window of the ICN, a context menu with the options External reference: Use or ... do not use, respectively, will be displayed, which shows you the current setting for external references. After choosing this option, a dialogue window will be displayed, allowing you to choose between the settings Use and Do not use.