6 Reasons Why MiTek Sapphire is Superior to eFrame

Throughout the history of truss design software, there have been several advances in how we have design and produce a quality truss drawing and layout. Back in “the day”, it was a ruler and a calculator. The truss designs were very basic shapes. A scissor truss was considered difficult. My how far we have come!

These days, truss design software can handle the most complicated designs. From a Gambrel to a Tail-Bearing Coffer truss and everything in between. The most recent advancement is MiTek Sapphire. Sapphire replaced eFrame and with it, brought a brand new world to truss design. Here are 6 reasons Sapphire is far superior to eFrame.

1. Sapphire synchronizes quantities and labels with engineering simultaneously.

This feature of Sapphire is a fantastic tool. After the entire job or selected trusses have been sent to engineering you are able to change truss labels and quantities in layout and they will change accordingly in engineering without touching another button. This also gives a little more assurance that you have the correct quantities that a certain job requires.

2.      Sapphire comes with the ability to create customize layout sheets for each and every customer.

The ability to create customized layouts is huge. You can make the layouts say anything you want. From the title block that you can put all the info from a job in, such as; job name, address, company name, phone numbers and plan dates. You can put disclaimers and your company logo on them. More importantly, it allows for an entire design staff to use the same layout template, making for a uniformly professional look no matter which team member designed which job.

3.      Sapphire allows you to zoom in and out on the fly with the scroll wheel on your mouse.

“Zooming” is a very important addition that is extremely useful. With eFrame, you have to click the magnifying glass then go to the area you want to zoom into and box around it. But be careful not to make it too small or too big because you will have to try it all over again as it has a one-time usage. With Sapphire you can zoom in and out with the flick of your center scroll wheel on your mouse. You can do this as many times as you need to get to that right spot without having to go and click another button.

4.      Sapphire’s temporary dimensions are “permanent”.

While this may not seem like a big deal, I have found it to be rather useful. In eFrame if you take temporary dimensions and happen to move to a different point on the layout or zoom out, it wipes out the dimension you just took. With Sapphire, it leaves those dimensions until you delete them. This makes it easier to ensure a little more accuracy as you’re double checking your work or trying to find work points.

5.      Sapphire makes cutting in roof planes much easier and quicker.

Cutting in roof planes, especially on a very big job, can be time consuming. With eFrame, you specify a wall or a reference line that you want a plane to be based on. While this is the same with Sapphire, in eFrame once you specify the wall there aren’t any markers to let you know where exactly you put it. This isn’t a big problem until you have a wall that is broken because half of it is 2×4 and the other half is 2×6. So now that you have found the wall that contains the specified plane, the wall must be clicked to activate the plane. This same motion of clicking walls is required to fully cut in a given plane. With Sapphire, you spec your planes and put them where you want. Sapphire then puts plane tags at each location you specified, taking out all the guess work and making it a lot easier. Plus, after you have cut in a few planes, you can then begin to click on the existing planes to cut against instead of finding a wall or tag to cut against. Let’s face it, projects are becoming more and more complex and having to search for planes and make sure you clicked exactly on a walls just isn’t ideal.


6.      Sapphire lets you create a cut section of the project in 3D.

This is a very powerful tool that Sapphire has to offer. If a customer wants to see what the inverted hip and coffers on the inside of a project is going to look like in 3D, a design technician can use this tool to give them an accurate representation. This section can then be easily exported to the finished layout and alleviate potential field issues.


By now you may be saying, “Do I really need all these extras? eFrame gets the job done and I am used to the program.” I am familiar and comfortable with eFrame and familiar with it.

To that I say this, with these features that I have listed plus many more that Sapphire has to offer, why wouldn’t you want to take full advantage of more powerful software? Why not give a much more presentable product to the customer while ensuring a little more accuracy and being a little quicker in design?

The bottom line is this: If we keep doing things the same way, we will always get the same results. What takes 10 clicks in eFrame, takes 3 or 4 in Sapphire. How many more jobs could you design in a month is you were clicking 50% (or more) less on each and every command?

Design Administration

Gould Design, Inc.