Computer Software for Steel Professionals

Structural Material Manager Version 11.1 Upgrade

Introduction: This information summarizes the improvements that have been made to the Version 11.1 Structural Material Manager software system.

It is important to note that some Version 11.1 enhancements focus on the optional External Data Interface and thus affect only users that own that module. If you are in doubt as to whether your firm has licensed the External Data Interface, feel free to send an E-mail message to, and we'd be happy to check your customer records.

ASCII-Delimited Import via the External Data Interface: For many years now, Structural Material Manager's optional External Data Interface has had the ability to export bills of material to ASCII-delimited files. That was convenient for importing material lists into Excel and other outside programs. The problem, however, was that once the data was in the outside program, there was no way to send it back to Structural Material Manager. That restriction is gone under Version 11.1, as the new system can not only export ASCII-delimited files, but it can import them as well.

Complete coverage of the new ASCII-delimited import feature from a technical standpoint can be found at For a discussion of the subject presented more in end-user terms, see Chapter 18 of the updated User’s Guide which is available online at

The system can export and import all common types of ASCII-delimited files. Below is a thumbnail image of the new Export dialog showing all of the possibilities; click to enlarge it into the full screen shot:

Decimal Lengths and Widths: The Version 11.1 upgrade allows the Length field for all items and the Width field for Plates, Checkered Plates, Bar Grating and Bars to optionally be entered using a decimal format. If that is done, rounding to the nearest sixteenth of an inch will be done for English / Imperial jobs, and rounding to the nearest millimeter will occur for metric jobs. See Chapter 16: Inches and Metric Dimension Formats for information concerning the different dimension systems that Structural Material Manager supports.

"4/5" rounding is the traditional rounding scheme with which most of us are familiar, and it is used to round decimal Lengths and Widths. It rounds a digit upward if the number to its left is 5 or higher; the digit is left unchanged if the number to its left is 4 or lower.

Rounding is completely straightforward for metric jobs, as the millimeters simply round to nearest whole number. For example, a Length of 35.6756 rounds to 36 mm in a metric job.

A bit of explanation is in order concerning decimal rounding for jobs that express lengths in feet, inches and fractions or just inches and fractions. The important concept to consider for those jobs is that rounding is done after conversion to sixteenths of an inch, and it is done to the nearest sixteenth. Consider a decimal Length of 35.6756 feet. That converts internally to 6849.7152 sixteenths which then rounds to 6850 sixteenths yielding 35'-8 1/8 as the final length.

That same 35.6756 decimal entry should now be examined as a Length in an inches and fractions job. Here 35.6756 inches equates to 570.8096 sixteenths. The rounded value of 571 sixteenths is then used to arrive at a final Length of 35 11/16".

Decimal support is provided merely as an entry convenience for the Length and Width fields. The decimal entry is not actually stored internally by Structural Material Manager. Only the rounded equivalent is maintained, and it is that value - not the original decimal entry - that will appear both at the material entry screen and on material reports.

Decimal support applies only to the modern, Windows-based material entry screen (the Graphical User Interface or "GUI"). This new feature cannot be used in the "classic" entry screen.

Below is a screen shot of a Plate being entered with a decimal Length of 5.6756 feet and a decimal Width of 35.2252 inches:

Support for Digital Plan Measures: Some companies make digital plan measures that make it easy to determine unknown lengths from drawings. These are rolling tools that are used by selecting a scale factor to match the plan and rolling the tool along the distance to be measured. Although an LCD display built right into the device shows the measured length, a far more effective way to work is with an optional PC interface kit that sends that length to the current input area of any Windows application. In terms of using such a tool with Structural Material Manager, you would have the material entry screen ready to input the Length field (i.e., the Length field would be "focused" with the blinking cursor located there) before rolling the digital measure. The measurement sent by the device then appears in Structural Material Manager's Length field.

Digital plan measures typically send their measurements as decimal values. Since Structural Material Manager Versions 11.1 can accept Length and Width dimensions in a decimal format, those versions can support such devices.

Please see for more information on using digital plan measures in conjunction with Structural Material Manager Versions 11.1 and higher.

Upgrade Price Quote and Ordering Info: If you are an existing customer with an older Structural Material Manager version, please e-mail us at to obtain a price quote on the latest upgrade. You can then use the Online Upgrade Order Form to conveniently place the order for the latest Structural Material Manager upgrade.

Other Upgrade Versions: This page specifically covers Version 11.1 upgrade features. For information concerning other upgrade versions, visit our main Structural Material Manager upgrade page which contains links to pages describing improvements in each software release from Version 10.1 (circa 2007) to the present.