ETABS – Structural software for analysis and design

ETABS – Structural software for analysis and design

The most comprehensive integrated software suite for structural analysis and building design is the groundbreaking and ground-breaking new ETABS. This most recent version of ETABS, which draws on 40 years of ongoing research and development, provides users with unmatched 3D object-based modeling and visualization tools, lightning-fast linear and nonlinear analytical power, sophisticated and thorough design capabilities for a variety of materials, and perceptive graphic displays, reports, and schematic drawings that make it simple for them to quickly and easily understand analysis and design results.

Building Analysis and Design Software ETABS have been acknowledged as the industry standard for almost 30 years. Following in the same spirit as before, ETABS has now become a fully integrated environment for building analysis and design. The System is redefining standards of integration, productivity, and technological innovation. It is based on a graphical user interface that is based on physical objects and is powered by targeted new special-purpose algorithms for analysis and design, as well as interfaces for drafting and manufacturing. Well in this article we’ll be answering questions related to ETABS.

ETABS – Structural software for analysis and design

  • What is ETABS?
  • What are the features of ETAB?
  • What is the difference between ETABS and STAAD pro?
  • What is the modeling for software systems?
  • Why Civil engineering must students learn how to use ETABS software?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of ETAB software?

Let’s begin


 What is ETABS?

Engineering software called ETABS is used to analyze and design multi-story buildings. The grid-like geometry specific to this form of construction is taken into account via modeling tools and templates, code-based load prescriptions, analysis techniques, and solution approaches. ETABS can be used to analyze simple or complex systems under static or dynamic conditions. Modal and direct-integration time-history analyses may be coupled with P-Delta and Big Displacement effects for a sophisticated evaluation of seismic performance. Under monotonic or hysteretic behavior, nonlinear connections and concentrated PMM or fiber hinges may capture material nonlinearity. It is possible to develop applications of any complexity thanks to intuitive and integrated features.

ETABS is a coordinated and effective tool for designs ranging from straightforward 2D frames to intricate modern high-rises because of its interoperability with a number of design and documentation platforms. Depending on the kind of structure that needs to be designed, engineers have access to a variety of tools. ETABS is a highly well-liked and practical piece of software that is simple to use. Moreover, complex patterns can be created and simulated using it.

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What are the features of ETAB?

Its features in the user interface

Completely Customizable Graphical User Interface

Modeling, analysis, design, and reporting tasks can all be completed using ETABS’s single-user interface. The number of model windows, model manipulation views, and data views is unrestricted.

Quick Navigation and Data Management

Your capacity to manipulate the data in your model is improved by the ETABS model explorer. Property groups can be created, duplicated, and modified, and properties can be assigned directly to models by dragging and dropping them there. The model explorer makes it simple to put up user-defined displays for easy navigation.

Enhanced DirectX Graphics

Fly-throughs and quick rotations are made possible by DirectX graphics’ hardware-accelerated graphics when navigating models.

Multiple Views

On a single screen, users can view moment diagrams, load assignments, deflected forms, design output, and reports.

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In modeling

In modeling

A wide array of templates for quick model generation.

A variety of templates are available in ETABS to help you launch a new model rapidly. You can provide the grid and grid spacing, the number of stories, the default structural system parts, the default slab and drop panel sections and uniform loads at this step of the model template process (specifically dead and live loads).

Analytical Model

The finite element model of the structure, which is composed of the connectivity of the joints, frames, and shells and defined meshing, is shown in analytical model views. The analytical model is automatically generated from the model and its assignments and settings when the analysis is run.

Physical Model

Objects that reflect the actual structural parts make up the physical model. Insertion points, member orientations, object intersections, and other geometric information collected by the object model are appropriately displayed in physical model views.


The ability to recognize story levels is one of ETABS’s most potent capabilities since it makes it possible to enter building data logically and conveniently. As a designer would when setting up architectural designs, you can define your models on a floor-by-floor, story-by-story basis.

Enhanced Drafting Utilities

By automatically identifying intersections, extensions, parallels, and perpendiculars, intelligent snaps simplify the process of creating models. You may quickly import an architectural DXF/DWG into the modeling window of ETABS and use it as a template to trace over as you build your model. Choose the layer or layers you want to see by turning them on and off. Moreover, you can easily transform a region into an ETABS structural object by right-clicking on an element.

Multiple Grid System Definition

Grids in ETABS can be classified as cylinder, cartesian, or generic free-form grid systems. The number of grid systems that can be included in a model is unlimited, and they can be positioned at any origin or rotated in any direction.

Developed Elevation Feature to Generate Custom Elevations

Each sketched path on a plan view can be elevated by developed elevations. This is especially helpful for enhancing a facade that adopts a very distinctive shape. The generated elevation will be drawn, after which it will be included in the model’s list of elevations.

Comprehensive Interactive Database Editing Tool

Model data and other information are stored by CSI software in database tables that can be directly changed via interactive database editing. The speedy creation or editing of models is made possible by this strong feature.

Wide Array of Meshing Tools

When it comes to mesh generation in ETABS, engineers have a lot of alternatives. Merely choose the region object, then the rules that will be applied to the automatic mesh generation. The option to manually mesh objects into the model is also available. External meshing is the technical term for this. As a result, objects and elements have a one-to-one relationship.

Model Explorer Functionality

Model data and other information are stored by CSI software in database tables that can be directly changed via interactive database editing. The speedy creation or editing of models is made possible by this strong feature.

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In building components

In building components

Section Properties / Section Designer

There is a built-in library of standard concrete, steel, and composite section properties for both US and international standard sections in ETABS. Modeling and analysis of unique cross-sections are made possible by the integrated application known as Section Designer, which is a part of SAP2000, CSiBridge, and ETABS.

Shell Elements

Walls, slabs, ramps, decks, planks, and other thin-walled parts are all modeled using shell elements. The elements required for analysis will automatically be woven together from shell items.

Wall Stacks

By creating multilevel wall configurations with a single click, customizable wall configuration templates make it simple to define the properties of your wall section. All pier and spandrel labeling is automatically applied when you draw walls using the wall stack.

Floor Diaphragms

In ETABS, floor diaphragms can be characterized as rigid, semi-rigid, and flexible. You can assign diaphragms to joint objects or area objects.

Piers / Spandrels

For walls that are modeled using area finite elements, pier and spandrel labels generate integrated shears and moments for design reasons. Results may, for instance, be shown and reported as if a 20X20 meshed shear wall area were a single column.

Powerful Nonlinear Elements to Accurately Represent the Behavior of a Structure

In addition to performing static pushover analysis and staged construction, nonlinear static analysis can also be used to analyze a building for geometric and material nonlinearity, create the P-delta stiffness for subsequent linear analyses, and more.

Nonlinear Layered Shell Element

Any number of layers can be established in the thickness direction using the layered shell, and each layer can have its own position, thickness, behavior, and material. Materials may not behave linearly.

Link Elements

Users of ETABS can choose from a wide variety of connection elements to appropriately depict a structure’s activity. Linear, multi-linear elastic, multi-linear plastic, gaps, hooks, dampers, friction isolators, rubber isolators, T/C isolators, and triple pendulum isolators are some of the several types of link elements.

Nonlinear Hinges

By adding concentrated plastic hinges to frame and tendon objects, users can model post-yield behavior for nonlinear static and nonlinear direct-integration time-history analysis.

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Increase Productivity with the Use of Auto Lateral Loading

Based on a variety of national and international norms, ETABS will automatically create and apply seismic and wind loads.


In ETABS, automatically calculated wind loads may be applied to frames in open structures as well as to walls and diaphragms, including non-structural walls made of cladding employing shell objects.

Seismic Loading

are accessible. After choosing a code, the default values and settings are filled up on the Seismic Load Pattern form, which may then be examined and modified.

Force / Moment

When it comes to assigned loads, ETABS is reliable. Surface loads can be imposed in any direction, not merely gravity, whether they are uniform or not. On lines in any direction, uniform or trapezoidal loads can be defined. At the joints and along the frame elements, the Force Load is employed to deliver focused forces and moments.


Thermal strain is produced in the Frame element by the Temperature Load. This strain is determined by multiplying the element’s temperature change by the material’s coefficient of thermal expansion. Temperature loads may be based on a uniform temperature change supplied by the user for the object, previously set joint object temperature changes at the joint objects at the ends of the frame object, or a mix of the two.


For loading purposes, automatically add analytical cladding to the entire structure. The “cladding” is made up of shell objects that are added to the structure’s outermost perimeter and have a None section property. This command’s goal is to make it easier to apply wind load.

Live Load Reduction

A member-by-member basis may be used to assign live-load-reduction factors. Once the design is complete, this can be done by right-clicking on a member within the graphical user interface or by using interactive database editing.

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in analysis

in analysis

Perform Several Kinds of Analyses Using ETABS

For more than 45 years, the industry has used and tested CSI Solvers. Either eigenanalysis or Ritz analysis can be carried out via the SAPFire® Analysis Engine, which supports several 64-bit solvers for analysis optimization. There are options for parallelization that can make use of several CPUs.

Static Analysis

It is possible to perform static analyses for user-specified vertical and lateral floor or story loads. Vertical stresses on the floor are transferred to the beams and columns through the bending of the floor elements if floors with out-of-plane bending capacity are modeled. Without explicit modeling of the secondary framing, vertical loads on the floor are automatically converted to span loads on neighboring beams or point loads on nearby columns, automating the laborious process of transferring floor tributary loads to the floor beams.


The softening and stiffening effects of compression and tension are both captured by P-delta analysis. The stiffness for linear load scenarios can be changed using a single P-delta analysis under gravity and sustained loads, which can then be superimposed. Instead, entire nonlinear P-delta effects can be examined for each combination of loads. All aspects have P-delta effects, which are effortlessly incorporated into the analysis and design.

Wide Array of Dynamic Analysis Tools Available for Both Linear and Nonlinear

The dynamic analysis features of ETABS include time-history analysis for both linear and nonlinear behavior, response-spectrum analysis, and vibration mode calculation using Ritz or eigenvectors.

Response Spectrum Analysis

The statistically likely response of a structure to seismic loads is determined via response-spectrum analysis. Instead of time-history ground motion recordings, this linear form of analysis uses response-spectrum ground acceleration records based on the seismic load and site parameters. This approach takes into account the structure’s dynamic nature and is quite effective.

Time History Analysis

The sequential reaction of structures to seismic ground motion and other types of stress, such as explosion, machinery, wind, waves, etc., is captured by time history analysis. Both linear and nonlinear direct-integration methods as well as modal superposition methods can be used in the analysis. For a large class of problems, the nonlinear modal method—also known as Rapid Nonlinear Analysis—is incredibly effective and accurate. Even more versatile, the direct-integration approach can deal with significant deformations and other highly nonlinear behavior. In order to handle a variety of applications, nonlinear time-history studies can be chained together with other nonlinear situations (including staged construction).

Eigen Vector Analysis

The structure’s natural vibration modes are discovered by eigenvector modal analysis, and these modes can be used to interpret the structure’s behavior. Additionally, it establishes the system’s undamped free-vibration mode shapes and frequencies, which offer a wealth of information about the behavior of the structure.

Ritz Vector Analysis

The spatial distribution of the dynamic loading is taken into account when generating modes, which produces more accurate results than using the same amount of natural mode shapes. Ritz vector modes do not accurately capture the fundamental properties of the structure like natural (eigenvector) modes do.

Robust Nonlinear Analysis Tools Available

When considering either geometric or material nonlinearity during structural modeling and analysis, nonlinear analysis techniques work well.

Pushover Analysis

FEMA 356 implementation and the hinge and fiber hinge option based on stress-strain are two pushover analysis elements in ETABS. Users can take into account the plastic behavior of concrete shear walls, slabs, steel plates, and other finite area elements in the pushover analysis thanks to the nonlinear layered shell element. For steel and concrete hinges, force-deformation relations are defined.

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in the performance-based design

in the performance-based design

Complete Automation of Performance-Based Design

PBD, which is a significant departure from conventional structural design principles, is what earthquake engineering will look like in the future. These new practices contribute to ensuring that the design will consistently achieve the specified degree of performance during a certain earthquake.

Steel and Concrete Material Models with Performance Levels (Confined and Unconfined)

For the practical and effective use of these processes, ETABS presents new special-purpose options and algorithms.

Steel and Concrete Fiber Models for Shear Walls and Columns

The nonlinear material relationship of each fiber automatically takes into consideration interactions, variations in the moment-rotation curve, and plastic axial strain, making the fiber hinge model more realistic. As fiber hinges may capture nonlinear hysteretic effects, they are perfect for dynamic behavior.

Stable and Fast Nonlinear Analysis (FNA) Implemented for PBD

Nonlinear dynamic analysis, which attempts to explicitly predict and evaluate post-yield ductility and energy dissipation when the structure is subjected to seismic ground motions, is the essential element of PBD.

Piers and Spandrels

Piers and spandrels that quantify forces or stress as a ratio of the square root of the concrete’s compressive strength can be given acceptance criteria.

Options for Hysteretic Stiffness and Strength Degradation

As fiber hinges may capture nonlinear hysteretic effects, they are perfect for dynamic behavior.

Performance Check: Greater Control of Entire Model

The demand-capacity ratio (D/C ratio) computation can now be adjusted more precisely for the entire model as well as for each individual object using the Performance Check tool. Along with the previously available frame and wall hinges, a performance check can now also include acceptance criteria from links, strain gauges, pier and spandrel forces, and panel zones. To have more control over the Performance Check findings, multiple demand sets and combination methods can be provided.

Customizable Results Display

The user has total discretion over how they access all output thanks to improved plots, output tables, and graphical displays.

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in design

in design

Utilize Interactive Design Capabilities to Maximize Efficiency

A range of US and international design codes can be used to execute the design of steel frames, concrete frames, concrete slabs, concrete shear walls, composite beams, composite columns, and steel joists.

Steel Frame Design

The optimization of member sizes and application of design standards are both parts of a fully integrated steel frame design. Users of ETABS are able to adjust the section’s parameters or member results while viewing design results interactively at any frame member.

Auto-Select Lists

Determining specific preliminary member sizes for analysis is not required when developing an ETABS model that contains steel or concrete frame objects (frames, composite beams, and joists). Instead, give any or all of the frame objects the auto-select section property. Instead of being a single size, an auto-select property is a list of section sizes. Several lists can be established, and each list contains all of the section sizes that should be taken into account as potential candidates for the physical member.

Concrete Frame Design

In addition to the needed area of steel calculations, auto-selection lists for new member sizing, implementation of design codes, interactive design and review, and extensive override capabilities, concrete frame design in ETABS also contains these features.

Composite Beam/Column Design

The incorporation of US and many foreign design regulations, member sizing using auto-select lists, camber and stud needs calculations, and thorough overwrite capabilities are all parts of comprehensive composite beam design.

Shear Wall Design

Shear wall design contains the demand/capacity calculations of defined reinforcement, US and international design rules, and comprehensive override capabilities. It also includes calculations of the reinforcement requirements for both overturning and shear.

Concrete Slab Design

The minimum reinforcing needs in terms of area, intensity, or number of bars will be determined using ETABS. There will be several stations where design work is done. Design strips may not be orthogonal and may be of different widths.

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in the output and display

in the output and display

Analysis Results

A few of the visualizations made available once the analysis is complete include the finalized member design, deformed geometry, moment, shear, and axial force diagrams, section-cut response displays, and animation of time-dependent displacements.

Tabular Output

For all input data, analysis results, and design outputs, ETABS offers the capability to show and dock tables. Drag and drop the tables to any area within the ETABS environment to arrange them any way you want. Tables enable sorting, cutting, copying, and pasting for use in other applications. Tabular data can be printed or saved to Access, Excel, Word, HTML, or TXT.

Shell Force and Stress Contours

Depending on the load case, load combination, or modal scenario, the shell forces and stress contours are displayed. On any component in any direction, users can display the corresponding forces and shell stresses. By displaying unextruded, deformed, or extruded objects with or without loading values, you can control how the stress contour looks.

Deformed Shape

Users can show animated modes and distorted geometry based on any load or combination of loads.

Reaction Diagrams

Support reactions can be graphically represented on the model as either vectors or tabular displays for particular reaction components.

Report Generation

An index table of contents, information on the model definition, and tabulated analysis and design findings are all aspects of the report generator.

Customized User-Defined Reports

Reports can be seen within ETABS and directly exported to Microsoft Word using active document navigation related to Model Explorer.

Design Output Reports

Detailed information for steel frames, concrete frames, concrete slabs, concrete shear walls, composite beams, composite columns, and steel joists is included in professional-quality design reports that are automatically generated.

in the import and export

ETABS supports many industry standards for importing and exporting data.

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What is the difference between ETABS and STAAD pro?

Below shows the difference between the ETABS and STND PRO

  • ETAB works best when you need to design reinforced concrete structures while STAAD pro is used for creating general designs.
  • The ETAB is the best software for generating a simulation of a multi-story R.C.C. building. while the STAAD pro is not recommended for structuring a multi-story building.
  • The ETAB has a simple interface while the STAAD pro requires lots of practice in order to master the user interface.
  • The ETAB is not suitable when working on steel specimens, while the STAAD pro shows better performance when handling steel specimens.
  • Data from the ETAB is relatively affordable while the STAAD PRO data are not.

What is the modeling for software systems?

Software modeling is a crucial component of the software development process in model-based software design and development. Prior to the system’s implementation, models are created, examined, and used to guide the actual implementation.

Since ancient civilizations like Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece employed modeling to create small-scale blueprints for their art and building, it has been applied in a variety of fields. In order to offer abstractions of a system with a certain level of accuracy and depth, modeling is frequently employed in science and engineering. The model is then examined in order to comprehend the system being produced better. The Object Modeling Group (OMG) defines modeling as the process of creating software applications prior to coding.

Consideration of a system from several angles, or multiple views, such as requirements models, static software system models, and dynamic software system models, might help one comprehend it better (Gomaa 2006; Gomaa and Shin 2004). A graphical modeling language like UML facilitates the creation, comprehension, and communication of many views.

Why Civil engineering must students learn how to use ETABS software?

The following shows the reason why civil engineering students must learn ETAB.

  • It is a piece of construction software. It evaluates seismic performance and tests the ability to build structures to support loads.
  • This software enables precise viewing and manipulation of the analytical model. For every grid line, plans, and elevation views are automatically generated.
  • Concrete moment frames and shear walls are analyzed using ETABS software. The static and dynamic analysis of multi-story frame and shear wall structures has won widespread praise.
  • It boosts structural engineers’ productivity and is one of the most widely utilized civil designing tools in the construction sector. Also, it avoids wasting time and money on general-purpose programs.
  • The input, output, and numerical solution methods used by ETABS are specifically created to outperform the special physical and numerical properties related to building-type structures. This analysis and design tool expedites the preparation of data, interpretation of output, and overall execution as a result.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ETAB software?

The following shows the advantages and disadvantages of ETAB;


  • It shows a 3D axonometric view of the model along with a plan, elevation, elevation development, and any custom views that the user has created.
  • It provides graphic input of any geometry and material’s cross-sections (Section Designer).
  • The model geometry may be exported. dxf files with ease.
  • With regard to the study and design of steel connections, it is integrated with EC – Praxis 3J.
  • A model contains an endless number of grid systems. They can be positioned at any origin inside the model and rotated in any direction.
  • To improve engineers’ modeling abilities, ETABS includes built-in drawing and drafting tools. In actuality, the software also includes a number of commonly used industry controls and shortcuts.
  • With the use of ETABS software, it is now simple to find answers to several challenging issues including Panel Zone Deformations, Diaphragm Shear Stresses, and Building Sequence Loads.
  • The most powerful SAP Fire 64-bit solver allows for quick analysis of large models with intricate designs and enables non-linear modeling strategies like construction sequencing.
  • All analysis and design outputs are available with comprehensive reports that can be altered to suit the demands. For both concrete and steel constructions, schematic construction drawings of framing plans, schedules, minute detailing, and cross-sections can be produced.
  • Together with automated optimization for the design of steel and concrete frames, capacity checks for base plates and steel connectors are also included.


  • One cannot directly change the input file when using ETABS.
  • Since this software lacks documentation, it is more difficult to print and read input files than STAAD software.
  • Large models may overlook some loads. They are actually challenging to check.
  • The analysis approach occasionally takes up more disk space and is slower.
  • Results for shear designs were previously expressed as ASV/SV.

ETABS structural Software FAQs

What is structural analysis & design using ETABS?

CsiAmerica created the structural analysis and design program ETABS. Almost any type of civil engineering structure can be designed using this extremely capable program. Only the design of beams and columns is done using ETABS. However, this course also covers slab and footing design.

What is ETABS software used for?

Engineering software called ETABS is used to analyze and design multi-story buildings. The grid-like geometry specific to this form of construction is taken into account via modeling tools and templates, code-based load prescriptions, analysis techniques, and solution approaches.

How much is ETABS software?

For Engineers & Architects, Etabs Academic Software offers a Free Trial & Download for Rs 295000 in New Delhi.

Is ETABS software free for students?

The ETAB consortium provides ETAB products to individual staff/faculty and student at no cost

Are ETABS and AutoCAD the same?

Are AutoCAD and CSI Etabs the same thing? No, the features and functionalities of AutoCAD and CSI Etabs differ from one another. While AutoCAD can be tailored to the user’s requirements, CSI Etabs caters to a wide audience.

Why is ETABS better than STAAD pro?

Over the world, these two unique techniques are frequently utilized for structural analysis and design. There are many notable differences between ETABS and STAAD.Pro. ETABS is primarily used for building design, but STAAD  Pro is a general-purpose design tool. Any structure can be designed with STAAD.Pro.

How do you design a building using ETABS?

For this, choose Concrete Design > Design Combo from the Design menu. After doing this once more, select Concrete Frame Design from the design menu and click Start Design Check of Structure. ETABS will then design each structural component. IV. Software called AUTOCAD is made for Beams, Columns, Footings, Staircases, and Slabs.

What is ETABS in civil engineering?

Building analysis and design software are called ETABS. It is a comprehensive set of tools that are frequently used for building structural analysis and design. For steel frames, concrete frames, cold-formed steel frames, and aluminum frames, ETABS provides a variety of code-based design options.

What are the disadvantages of ETABS?

  • The input file cannot be directly edited.
  • not as simple to print and read input files as STAAD (no manual available)
  • Large models make it difficult to verify missing loads, etc.
  • The analysis took longer and used up more storage space (when I tried it out a couple of years ago, not sure now).

That’s all for the article where the answers to these questions were answered;

  • What is ETABS?
  • What are the features of ETAB?
  • What is the difference between ETABS and STAAD pro?
  • What is the modeling for software systems?
  • Why Civil engineering must students learn how to use ETABS software?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of ETAB software?

I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share. Thanks for reading.