12 Best Structural Engineering Software

Model designs are used to generate prototypes and analyze various characteristics using structural engineering software. Various components, such as joists and footings, are employed for design purposes and aid in visualizing them on screen. A well-planned method is used to do calculations and build 2D or 3D models. Typically, such duties are completed in a group setting with the help of architects, engineers, and property owners.

  1. SAP 2000
  2. ETABS
  3. RAPT
  4. Strand 7
  5. RAM Connection
  6. STAAD Pro
  7. AutoCAD
  9. Autodesk Revit
  10. SkyCiv
  11. SketchUp
  12. SAFE

Structure Design Construction Work

All of the software used to create structural models have a user interface that can be customized and offers a variety of options. However, some of them have restricted capabilities. As a result, you must be aware of the greatest ones to prevent your creativity and flow of ideas from being stifled. A list of 12 structural engineering software programs is provided below:

1. SAP 2000

It offers a fully customizable interface for graphical use. Various tasks like modeling, analysis, creation of design, and reporting can be performed on a single interface.


  • Provides DirectX graphics with full 2D and 3D drafting and capability for selection
  • Fly-throughs and fast rotations for navigation of models
  • Offers ability to modify models and have multiple views
  • Comes with a versatile modeling tool and several Windows
  • Uses “Select” and “Assign” menu forms with no need to repeat operations
  • Contains shells, cable element, link element, solid element, etc. for structural themes
  • Makes use of powerful dynamic analysis tools showing linear and non-linear behavior


It brings a great diversity of models and is also named CSI (Computers and Structures Inc). ETABS is perfect for the creation of designs for multi-story buildings.


  • Provides a range of tools and templates, solution methods, etc.
  • Efficiently evaluates basic or advanced systems under varied conditions
  • Brings integrated and intuitive features to solve complex issues
  • Interworking with a series of documentation and design platforms makes it useful for creating diverse designs
  • Designs models for towers, buildings, and commercial skyscrapers
  • Allows speedy navigation and management of huge data
  • Has a range of grid systems like free-form, cylindrical, Cartesian, etc.


RAPT has been developed by structural engineers who were practitioners to utilize it as a design tool for everyday tasks. It has made the modeling process quite smooth and easier.


  • Helps in analyzing post-tensioned and reinforced concrete systems
  • Spreadsheet format used for generating input
  • Interactive execution of a program with detailed display of all designing steps
  • Post-tensioned concrete offers superior characteristics for services regarding crack control and deflection
  • Analyzes and formulates a design containing a sub-frame with above and below columns
  • Uses a series of circular and trapezoidal concrete shapes to define any concrete cross-section and elevation

4. Strand 7

It is developed for native Windows applications comprising all hardware resources. It has vital uses in almost all engineering fields like Civil, Structural, Aeronautical, Geotechnical, Marine, etc.


  • Offers high user-configurability and multiple models processing
  • Modifications for all the physical units available
  • The model can be rotated or scaled in real-time by using a mouse
  • Efficient Undo and Redo operations available
  • Provides mesh verification tools in a great variety
  • Facilitates with mathematical operations and load case combinations
  • Enables you to graphically exchange data and work on multiple models at a time

5. RAM Connection

RAM Connection facilitates a chance to check designs and connections within a matter of a few seconds. It composes an error-free design by performing a smart analysis.


  • Facilitates you to modify/alter single as well as a group of connections
  • Comprehensive with all kinds of steel connection designs including sheer, moment, brace and splice, etc.
  • Easily understandable reports for using in calculation submissions
  • Maintains peer reviews properly with quick response and analysis
  • Helps you access predefined connections for meeting your design needs
  • Integrations like RAM Steel, STAAD, etc. can handle slews, slopes, etc.
  • Can be used as a fully integrated program or stand-alone depending on the need

6. STAAD Pro

STAAD stands for Structural Analysis and Analysis Program and this tool is commonly used in Civil Engineering.


  • Amongst earliest software for structural analysis 3D designing
  • Provides a range of designs for towers, transportation, bridges, etc.
  • Offers a user-friendly package with a graphical user Interface
  • Open STAAD is its final form developed from open architecture
  • Enhances multidisciplinary collaborative efforts by the use of desktop, mobile, and cloud applications
  • No need for any manual calculations
  • Contains all the essential tools needed for the formation of a structure
  • Uses the latest technology for programming that creates desired 3D models

7.  AutoCAD

It is one of the most famous structural software that contains industry-specific toolsets and new automation.


  • COUNT Command allows automated counting of geometry and blocks
  • Provides an option to directly add feedback without affecting the previous design
  • Helps you share a controlled copy of the design for editing with other members
  • Quick access to tools for modification of design
  • Helps you compare the past and present versions of the design
  • Windows for drawing are displayed side by side at the same time
  • Reduced chances of errors and generation of secure links
  • Offers customizable installations
  • Action recorder is used for recording input values and commands


This easy-to-learn tool helps you experiment with dimensions and features for producing detailed drawings.


  • An easily accessible user interface for color blind people
  • Enhanced collaboration with all stakeholders for accessing data seamlessly
  • Facilitates with an integrated platform for teamwork
  • Helps in transforming the ideas to reality through a well-designed development process
  • Provides an option for dragging and dropping drawing sections for the creation of models through the Design Clipart tool
  • Cost-effective designs and several formats
  • Enhances productivity due to rapid execution of designing-related tasks
  • Designers can facilitate others with a chance to envision their concepts through visual graphic aids

9. Autodesk Revit

It is a very helpful software for engineers to design structures of buildings, components in 3D and bring innovative strategies.


  • Revit Rendering Engine facilitates in making objects more realistic
  • Offers predefined materials with modifications considering the user’s needs
  • Textures, sizes, shapes, brightness, etc. all can be changed
  • Provides new learning each day due to advanced features
  • Schedules can be made for communicating information better
  • Comes with custom keyboard shortcuts like ribbons, toolbars, etc.
  • Controls the appearance of elements smartly and customizes it using overrides


SkyCiv comes with a flexible range of 3D models including foundation designs, steel connection designs, etc.


  • Comes with automatic updates and works well on Mac
  • Cloud-based and easy to use
  • Provides a mobile application having a variety of design capabilities
  • Annual and monthly packages are flexible
  • Efficient Customer Support system and API technology
  • No need for hidden fees or maintenance
  • Performs various kinds of analysis like catenary cable analysis, buckling analysis, response spectrum analysis, etc.
  • Section Builder analyzes complex database shapes
  • All important tools available at fingertips

11. SketchUp

It is an ideal solution for the creation and editing of 2D and 3D concepts. It has been built for architects, engineers, etc. to create highly customizable designs.


  • Offers diverse animations, textures, lighting effects, etc.
  • Enriched with the latest modeling tools and customizable palettes
  • Beginners can take help from 2D designs along with 3D for visualizing construction projects
  • Users can generate items for use through direct editing push and pull technology
  • Palettes can be added, removed, or adjusted in any way required
  • Three modules of SketchUp are available; SketchUp for school and SketchUp Pro
  • SketchUp integrations being offered lately include SimLab and Trimble

12. SAFE

SAFE offers a smooth and intuitive environment from creating layouts to producing drawings.


  • Perfect for creating models of base mats, footings, and foundations
  • Automatically generates design strips for you or lets you do it
  • Facilitates with a single user interface for analysis, designing, and reporting
  • Provides extensive code-based features for designing like PT beam and reinforced concrete
  • Values can be displayed within instants while analyzing the model
  • Offers active connections between third-party products and several CSI software
  • Tendon editor helps to create tendon profiles with automated layouts
  • SAP Fire Analysis Engine performs both Eigen analysis and Ritz analysis


You may create optimal structures for buildings, towers, and other construction projects by making models through extensive analysis utilizing graphics and visual features. You will have a better sense of which program best meets your needs if you compare the characteristics of each one in-depth. If you are a student, you might be required to write assignment on any topic related to your course for completion of your course. At times students find it difficult to do it themselves so they may need to buy college term paper. Such purchase should be made considering the urgency and various rules & regulations set by the institutions. However such services are similar to the tools discussed above, to successfully execute your ideas and get a productive outcome, you must understand how to use the software and services correctly.

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1 thought on “12 Best Structural Engineering Software”

  1. Jame Van Lente, PMP

    I am trying to identify & contact a structural engineering software co. located in Durango, Co. or any other software that could re-verse engineer a wood frame building with complex geometry to determine the (as built) safety factor, for future embellishment consideration & cost/benefited analyses.

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