The best way to learn is by doing (in our opinion at least), so in a moment we'll get you started on a step-by-step tutorial that'll guide you through the creation of your first model in Designer. Before that, though, let's have a very quick look at the Designer interface.
You've got two options here:
- You can watch our series of short YouTube videos which, in just half an hour, will talk you through everything from creating a new project to running parametric sweeps.
- Short on time? Then you can read through the material below, which – while not as detailed as the videos – will at least introduce you to the most important parts of the interface.
Of course, there's also a secret third option: you could do both! However you want to be introduced to the interface, in the next article in this section we'll get you started creating an actual model.
The Designer Interface
The Designer interface will probably be familiar to you from other applications, such as Microsoft Office.
At the top you have:
- The OnScale button, which you can click to show a menu that lets you create new projects, open projects, save projects and so on.
- The quick access toolbar, from which you can quickly save, export, print and open projects.
- The ribbon, which consists of five tabs: Home, Model Graphics, Tools, Workspace and Help.
- Buttons to download updates (where available), to switch to Post Processor and to edit settings.
Most of the application area is your workspace (5).
The Designer Workspace
The workspace consists of a view of your model and several windows.
As you create your model, you'll be able to explore it by rotating it, zooming in and out, and panning across it.
You don't actually edit the model in the visual representation of it, however. To create and edit the model, you use the Model Tree and Properties windows.
Creating a model in Designer is easy: it basically involves going through the Model Tree from top to bottom, from adding the materials that you want to use through to defining the outputs that you want from the simulation.
Once you've added things such as materials, primitives and loads, you can edit the properties of these in the Properties window.
The Properties window shows the properties of whatever you've selected in the Model Tree. For example, to edit the size or position of a primitive, click the primitive in the Model Tree to select it and then edit its Begin and/or End properties in the Properties window.
Note: You can also select a primitive by clicking it in the model view.
You don't need to set the property of a primitive to a specific size. Instead you can set it to a parameter. This has a few advantages. For a start, you can enter a calculation as the value of a parameter.
You can also set a parameter to be Varying. This lets you specify a range of values to be swept during the simulation. This makes it easy to study the impact of that part of your model changing in size or position.
You manage parameters in the Parameter Table.
Customizing the Workspace
You can customize the layout of the workspace to suit you (which is why some of the screenshots and videos throughout our Help Center may look a bit different to what you see on your screen!).
Hiding a Window
From the Workspace tab of the ribbon, click Model Tree, Model Properties or Parameter Table to show or hide these windows.
Moving a Window
You can move the Model Tree, Properties and Parameter Table windows around the workspace.
To move a window, click and drag its title bar. When you hover over somewhere in the interface that the window can be docked, you'll see a preview of the window's new position in blue. Release the window to move it to this position.
You can also drag a window onto another window to make a tabbed window.
Undocking a Window
To undock a window, click in the title bar. This turns the window into a floating window.
You can also undock a window by dragging its title bar to somewhere that the window can't be docked.
Expanding/Shrinking a Window
To resize a docked window, hover over the area between two windows so that your cursor changes to or . Next click and drag to resize the window.
All right, now that we've had a very quick look at the interface, let's you get started by creating a new project.