While working on a long long repetitive work about a year ago, I wished if someone has developed a tool that can record mouse and keyboard activities and can repeat it not just like a recording but in real-time. And then I found the one eventually, called MACRO RECORDER.
It looks like this:
You can download it from here: http://www.jitbit.com/macro-recorder/
It will record the mouse and/or keyboard buttons, you can insert logical commands too, like IF, THEN, ELSE etc…you have the power to modify the sequence, export to text file or even add custom delays. After testing for few times, you can do wonders.
As a Structural Engineer, I use it to:-
1. Rename the default load combinations in ETABS from UDCON to ULT or SRV.
2. I use it to add load combinations to ENEVELOPE.
3. I even use it for reviewing models.
Isn’t it relaxing to sit back on your chair and watch ETABS model , showing you different settings, beam reinforcement settings, material properties etc?
A few days ago, I picked up another idea to automate the process of making pdfs from ETABS showing 3d view, reinforcement values, loading etc. It saves each pdf in following sequence and then combines the pdf into one. You can put inserters between different sections later on.
Line & Area sections of each floor starting from the upper most story
3D view of individual floors with loading applied in load case SDL
Slab SDL & LL load cases loading
Column line sections
Column rebar percentage
Walls longitudinal reinforcement ratios
Beams reinforcement for each story; longitudinal, shear and torsion
I use 2 excel sheets for this macro, one is called XX where I have stored number for example
The routine will save each pdf with these numbers as their file names. It will make sure, they are ordered in sequence.
The second sheet is called STORIES where you have to put some number manually. For example if you have 4 stories you need to put 4, 3, 2, 1 from cell D2 and onward. Make sure, you clear the unnecessary data.
Another thing you have to make sure is, there is no disturbance during the process, for example popping out of windows and notifications from task bar etc.
Summarizing again all the steps:
1) Run macro recorder and open ETABS calculations text file you will download from below.
2) Open 2 excel files XX & Stories and enter required data. Make sure the current cell selected is A1 in XX sheet. It’s not a robot, it’s all about making logics and using them.
3) Open ETABS, run, make sure the design is okay, set the fonts, colors etc. Design concrete frame and shear walls and other elements.
4) Make sample pdf print from ETABS and store it on your desktop in a folder called “Temp”.
5) Make sure the default printer is set to pdf printer in Printer Settings.
Another software I make use of while making calculations is SNAGIT. It is basically a picture editor with impressive screen capturing features.
For example, If I want to make pdf of soil pressure in SAFE I just press CTRL + L and select the SAFE window, it makes pdf in the desired directory which I can attach in my calculations.
You can even take a snapshot of long lists, SNAGIT will scroll down automatically and will capture it as one image. You can download this software from: