General guide


At a glance: This describes the files.

Go to the head of the General volume.

The XSF file

The application reads and writes one kind of file; referred to as XSF files. Each XSF describes one cross-section.

These XSF files are compatible with the xsec application on all the devices.

TXT files

The application also writes various text files that present various reports, not intended to be read by the application. These can be viewed and manipulated by many of the commonly available text editor application.

File structure

The XSF files and the TXT files are text files. The file name extension is “xsf” and “txt” respectfully.

The XSF files are intended to be read only by this application, although being text files they can be inspected, and possibly changed in a text editor application. There is one item of information on each line and lines are separated by characters 13 and 10.

A fuller description of the XSF is available as a pdf download:

New File

Procedures to create and name a XSF are set out in the User Guide volumes specific to the various devices.

A click on a button with a caption that mentions a text file will create a TXT file.

Each TXT file is automatically assigned a name. It is the XSF file name followed by the underline character, a letter and one or more numerical digits. The letter indicates which part of the application wrote the file and the numerical digits ensure each file has a unique name. The letters are:

  • M = a material description.
  • S = a shape component description.
  • P = a point component description.
  • L = a load case description, usually including a computation result
  • T = a time affect set.
  • G = errors found in a geometry check.
  • R = the transformed section properties.

Other files

There are facilities that allow individual materials and components to be copied into the open XSF from another XSF. Generally these facilities are not with the main files facilities but are associated with the Materials edit facilities and with the Components edit facilities.

A material can be written over an existing material of the same name.

With a written-over material any existing associations with components are maintained.

Other materials can be imported only if there is room for them. The number of materials is limited to ten.

A component can not be overwritten.

A component can be imported only if:

  • There is not already a component of the same name.
  • There is room for that component. The number of components is limited to ten.

If a component to be imported has an associated material then:

  • If that material has the same name as a existing material then that imported component is associated with that existing material.
  • If, on the other hand, there is no existing material of the same name that material is also imported. The number of materials is limited to ten. If there is no room for that material then the components is not imported.

Note that the ‘stage’ distortion and ‘other’ distortion data of a component is included with the imported information.

Also note that with the entity naming facilities there is an automatic check that there are no leading or trailing space characters and that any spaces within the name are single space characters. It should be apparent on the various displays whether or not two entity names are the same.