MiTek Sapphire Tips That Assist In Increasing Design Output

Over the course of my truss design career (7 yrs – MiTek), I have discovered a few things that have made me a more efficient designer. Some of these tips require just the touch of a couple of buttons. When I design I usually have both hands going, one operating the mouse and the other on the key board.

hand-on-keyboard-mouse

Sapphire and engineering have hot keys that you can press in place of using your mouse to either right-click and scroll through the menu or searching the tools bars. Some things work as one hot key and other are multiple keys at once. What I have done is acquire a mouse that has many buttons on it. Then I apply these hot keys to a multi-button mouse. I had backspace set up on a button so I didn’t have to move my hands from there set spot and was ready to go punching in more keys.

The idea is to set up each button up for a command you use all the time, such as:

  • Backspace
  • Analyze Truss
  • Redesign in engineering
  • Save
  • Fill in the _______ here!

Hot keys are extremely useful, you can program just about anything you do in Sapphire to work under a stroke of a few keys. Even more, you can program them yourself. Sapphire comes with some of these preset but if you don’t like them, change them to suit you. Below is a sample of some of them. Contact your MiTek rep for the complete list.

sapphire_keyboard_shortcuts

Some that I use a countless number of times per job would be:

  • Alt-X: This command is the trim/cut to a line for beams, walls, and reference lines. This command saves a lot of time as you do not have to select the object, right-click and then scroll down to the command itself. You just use the hot key, trim the object and boom task complete.
  • Crtl-E: This hot key is for adjusting ends of trusses. This may not speed up things a whole lot, but it can make a difference when doing options and a lot of trimming is needed.
  • Crtl-Z: Undo
  • Crtl-Y: Redo

The “M” key is another that I use more times than I can count. This key is the move command. With the ability to program hot keys to your liking, you can make any of these any keys you want, even cut them all down to single key punches. You can make things like the radius wall command a hot key or the X,Y command a hot key. Any number of these things can speed up design substantially. Another command that I had set up on my mouse was the analyze redesign command and the save command. These two button working together was a tremendous time saver. No longer did I have to go up to my tool bar and find the buttons, all I had to do was push a button on my mouse and done.

You might think, man this guy is sounding really lazy, but I will tell you anything that can shave seconds off one step that I will use dozens a times per job, I am going to do it. This will only make me more efficient and valuable to the team.

Hopefully I have shared some useful tips to help speed you or another designer up! As I know that these things have helped me a lot over the years. Time is money and the only way to capitalize on the absolute value is to maximize your time and energy as efficiently as possible.

Design Team Member

Gould Design, Inc.