User Interface

Completely Customizable Graphical User Interface

SAP2000 offers a single user interface to perform modeling, analysis, design, and reporting. The customizable SAP2000 interface allows users to define window layouts and toolbar layouts.

Enhanced DirectX Graphics

DirectX graphics have been enhanced for quality and speed. Lightning-fast DirectX graphics with full 2D and 3D drafting and selection capability. DirectX graphics with hardware-accelerated graphics allow for navigation of models with fly-throughs and fast rotations.

Manipulate Models with Extreme Flexibility

Engineers have the ability to manipulate models with extreme flexibility with the use of dockable windows, floating forms and multiple views.

Multiple Views

Users can view moment diagrams, load assignments, deflected shapes, design output and reports all in a single screen.

Floating Forms

"Assign" and "Select" menu forms have been enhanced so that they may remain open for repetitive use with a new "Apply" button.

Dockable Windows

Windows can be organized to fit the user's needs. There is no limit on the number of model windows, views for model manipulation and data views.


Intuitive 3D Object-Based Modeling Environment

From its 3D object-based graphical modeling environment, this intuitive interface allows you to create structural models quickly without long learning curve delays. Now you can harness the power of SAP2000 for all of your analysis and design tasks, including small day-to-day problems.

Sophisticated and Efficient Meshing Techniques

Engineers have many options when it comes to mesh generation in SAP2000. Notable meshing features include the ability to merge independently defined meshes among frame, shell and solid objects, coordinate tessellation with object orientation, and observe material boundaries to establish effective aspect ratios.

Versatile Modeling Tools to Create Any Type of Model

Many modeling options are completely integrated across one powerful user interface including Interactive Database Editing, Diaphragm and Edge Constraint Assignment and Section Designer.

Interactive Database Editing

CSI software stores model data and other information in database tables which may be directly edited through interactive database editing. This powerful feature allows models to be developed quickly or edited.

Diaphragm Constraint Definition

Rigid diaphragms have infinite in-plane stiffness properties. They therefore neither exhibit membrane deformation nor report the associated forces, whereas semi-rigid diaphragms simulate actual in-plane stiffness properties and behavior. Rigid diaphragms produce results nearly identical to those of semi-rigid diaphragms, while taking advantage of faster computation.

Meshing Tools

The Automatic Edge Constraint is an internal algorithm addressing the issue of mismatched meshes. For example, if the nodes of a ramp and a wall do not match up, SAP2000 will internally connect all mismatched meshes using the algorithm to act as a zipper between the elements.

Structural Components

Manage Joints and Frame Elements with Ease

SAP2000 automatically create joints at structural object intersections or internal joints when meshing structural objects. Joint coordinates, assignments and displacements may be displayed on screen or in tabular format.


The frame element uses a general, three-dimensional, beam-column formulation which includes the effects of biaxial bending, torsion, axial deformation, and biaxial shear deformations. SAP2000 has a built-in library of standard concrete, steel and composite section properties of both US and International Standard sections.

Non-Prismatic Sections

Even non-prismatic and built-up steel sections can be defined easily. Use our Section Designer for more complex sections.

Section Designer

Section Designer is an integrated utility, built into SAP2000, CSiBridge, and ETABS, that enables the modeling and analysis of custom cross sections. Section Designer is useful for the evaluation of member properties and nonlinear response, including nonlinear hinge and PMM-hinge behavior.

Wide Variety of Structural Components for Analysis and Design

A wide variety of structural components for analysis and design are completely integrated in SAP2000 for practical use.


The shell element is a type of area object that is used to model membrane, plate and shell behavior in planar and three-dimensional structures. The shell material may be homogeneous or layered throughout. Material nonlinearity can also be considered when using the layered shell.

Cable Element

The cable element models slender tension members that carry axial load with a draped shape but do not support bending moment. Higher license levels capture true catenary behavior that adapts to the applied load. Tension stiffening and large-displacement behavior are inherently included in nonlinear static, staged, and direct-integration load cases. Lower license levels without catenary behavior are sufficient for the many structures where the cable shape is known and only tension-stiffening effects are required. See item "Cables - Nonlinear Catenary Behavior" below for the behavior supported by different license levels.

Tendon Elements

Tendons are easily drawn as independent objects, with geometry specified as straight lines, parabolas, circular curves or other arbitrary shapes. Tendon loads, including all losses, are easily defined in SAP2000.


The solid element is an eight-node element for modeling three-dimensional structures and solids. It is based upon an isoparametric formulation that includes nine optional incompatible bending modes and is useful for modeling objects in which loading, boundary conditions, section properties or reactions vary by thickness.

Link Element

A link element may exhibit up to three different types of behavior: linear, nonlinear, and frequency dependent, according to the types of properties assigned to that element and the type of analysis being performed. The following link elements are available in SAP2000: Linear, Multi-linear Elastic, Multi-linear Plastic, Gaps, Hooks, Dampers, Friction Isolators, Rubber Isolators, T/C Isolators, Frequency-dependent Springs, and Frequency-dependent Dampers.


Spring supports are link elements that are used to connect joints elastically to the ground and can be linear or nonlinear in nature. Nonlinear support conditions can be modeled to include gaps (compression only), multi-linear elastic or plastic springs, viscous dampers and base isolators.


Users can create and apply hinge properties to perform pushover analyses in SAP2000. Nonlinear material behavior in frame elements (beam/column/brace) can be modeled using fiber hinges. This approach represents the material in the cross section as discrete points, each following the exact stress-strain curves of the material. Mixed materials, such as reinforced concrete and complex shapes can be represented.

Nonlinear Layered Shells

The nonlinear layered shell element enables users to consider plastic behavior of concrete shear walls, slabs, steel plates, and other area finite elements in the pushover analysis. Force-deformation relations are defined for steel and concrete hinges.


Increase productivity with the use of Auto Lateral Loading

SAP2000 will generate and apply seismic and wind loads automatically based on various domestic and international codes. SAP2000 also has a sophisticated moving load generator that allows users to apply moving loads to lanes on frame and shell elements.


When seismic has been selected as the load type, various auto lateral load codes are available. Upon selection of a code, the Seismic Load Pattern form is populated with default values and settings that may be reviewed and edited by the user.

Open Structure Wind Loading

Open Structure Wind Loading is a unique feature that allows users to apply wind loads to the face of specific frame objects. This feature is available for the following codes ASCE(7-88, 7-95, 7-02, 7-05, 7-10, 7-16).

Moving Loads

The moving load generator will move a vehicle within the lane to determine maximum envelope conditions.


In SAP2000, automatically calculated wind loads may be applied to diaphragms, shells and frames. All wind loads are applied normal to the planes of area objects. To control the applied wind pressure, different Cp coefficients may be specified for each shell object.

Define a wide array of loading conditions with User Loads application

Define specific loads to model a wide array of loading conditions with SAP2000 built-in user loading options.


The Force Load is used to apply concentrated forces and moments at the joints and along the frame elements. This includes distributed and trapezoidal loading. Values may be specified in a fixed coordinate system (global or alternate coordinates) or the joint local coordinate system.


The temperature load creates thermal strain in the frame element. This strain is given by the product of the material coefficient of thermal expansion and the temperature change of the element. All specified temperature loads represent a change in temperature from the unstressed state for a linear analysis, or from the previous temperature in a nonlinear analysis.


Displacement loading represents the effect of support settlement and other externally imposed displacements upon the structure. Displacement loading can act through restraints as well as linear and nonlinear spring supports. Multiple-support dynamic excitation can be considered for structures supported on varying soils conditions or over large spans.


The wave-loading feature automatically generates loading on the structure resulting from waves, current flow, buoyancy and wind. Multi-stepped static linear loading can be generated to simulate the wave moving through the structure. In addition, dynamic (time-history) loading can also be generated to include inertial effects as the wave moves through the structure.


SAP2000 has the flexibility to perform numerous kinds of analyses.

Static Analysis

SAP2000 can perform both linear static and multi-step static analysis. The linear static analysis of a structure involves the solution of the system of linear equations represented by K u = r. Certain types of load patterns are multi-stepped, meaning that they actually represent many separate spatial loading patterns applied in sequence. These include the vehicle, live, and wave types of load patterns.

Powerful Dynamic Analysis Tools for both Linear and Nonlinear Behavior

SAP2000 dynamic analysis capabilities include the calculation of vibration modes using Ritz or eigen vectors, response-spectrum analysis, and time-history analysis for both linear and nonlinear behavior.

Response Spectrum

Response-spectrum analysis determines the statistically-likely response of a structure to seismic loading. This linear type of analysis uses response-spectrum ground-acceleration records based on the seismic load and site conditions, rather than time-history ground motion records. This method is extremely efficient and takes into account the dynamical behavior of the structure.

Time History

Time-history analysis captures the step-by-step response of structures to seismic ground motion and other types of loading such as blast, machinery, wind, waves, etc. Analysis can use modal superposition or direct-integration methods, and both can be linear or nonlinear.

Powerful Nonlinear Analysis tools associated with either geometric or material response

Nonlinear analysis methods are best applied when either geometric or material nonlinearity is considered during structural modeling and analysis.

Nonlinear Buckling

During nonlinear-static buckling analysis, the total load is applied incrementally. Stiffness and response are evaluated at each increment. Between each displacement step, stiffness may change due to P-delta, large-displacement and/or nonlinear material behavior effects. Because nonlinear-static buckling analysis considers material nonlinearity while generating buckling response, results are often more realistic than those of linear buckling analysis.

Direct-Integration Time-History

The nonlinear modal method, also called FNA for Fast Nonlinear Analysis, is extremely efficient and accurate for a wide class of problems. The direct-integration method is even more general, and can handle large deformations and other highly nonlinear behavior. Nonlinear time-history analyses can be chained together with other nonlinear cases (including staged construction) addressing a wide range of applications.


P-delta analysis captures the softening effect of compression and the stiffening effect of tension. A single P-delta analysis under gravity and sustained loads can be used to modify the stiffness for linear load cases, which can later be superposed. Alternatively, each combination of loads can be analyzed for full nonlinear P-delta effects. P-delta effects are included for all elements and are seamlessly integrated into analysis and design.

Quickly Define Staged Construction load cases where you can add or remove portions of the structure

Staged construction is a type of nonlinear analysis in SAP2000 that is allows you to define a sequence of stages wherein you can add or remove portions of the structure, selectively apply load to portions of the structure, and to consider time-dependent material behavior such as aging, creep, and shrinkage.

Staged Construction Stages

Staged construction is variously known as incremental construction, sequential construction, or segmental construction which can be used to add, remove or age various portions of a structure.

Creep and Shrinkage

Long-term deflections due to creep and shrinkage can be computed along with staged sequential construction analysis. Time-dependent material properties are based on CEB FIP and ACI 209R codes and user-defined curves are used to compute creep strains.


Utilize Interactive design capabilities in SAP2000 maximize efficiency

Design is fully integrated with the analysis process, enveloping results before automatically sizing steel members and designing reinforced-concrete sections. Automatic steel, concrete, aluminum and cold-formed-framing design code checks ensure that structures meet criteria of American, Canadian, and a variety of international standards.

Steel Frame Design

Steel frame design includes member size optimization and implementation of design codes. SAP2000 allows users to view design results interactively at any frame member, change the parameters or section properties, and display the updated member results.

Concrete Frame Design

Concrete frame design in SAP2000 includes required area of steel calculations, implementation of design codes, interactive design and review, and comprehensive overwrite capabilities.

Aluminum Frame Design

Aluminum frame design can be used for straight or curved girders. Automatic calculation of moment magnification factors, K-factors, axial and biaxial moment and shear design.

Cold-Formed Frame Design

Cold-formed steel frame design can be used for C,Z and Hat Sections which are available in the SAP2000 database of sections. Interactive design review and comprehensive overwrite capabilities are two of many highlights.

Auto-Select Lists

Auto-select section lists are lists of previously defined steel sections. When an auto-select section list is assigned to a frame member, the program can automatically select the most economical, adequate section from the auto-select section list when designing the member. Auto-Select section lists are used in steel frame, aluminum frame, and cold-formed steel frame design. At least two frame sections must be defined before you may define an auto-select section list.

Output and Display

Accessing model output data in SAP2000 is intuitive and practical.

Output and display options are intuitive and practical. Finalized member design, deformed geometry per load combination or mode shape, moment, shear, and axial-force diagrams, section-cut response displays, and animation of time-dependent displacements outline a few of the graphics available upon conclusion of analysis. SAP2000 automatically generates reports for the presentation of images and data. Built-in and customizable templates are available to users for specialized formatting.

Deformed Shapes

Users can display deformed geometry based on any load or combination of loads, as well as animations of modes.

Force Diagrams

Shear and moment diagrams display internal shear forces, moments, and displacements at all locations along the length of a frame element for any load case or load combination. SAP2000 gives the option to scroll along the length to display values or scroll directly to the maximum value location.

Tabular Output

SAP2000 has the ability to display tables for all input data, analysis results, and design results. Tables support sort, cut, copy and paste for use in other programs. Print or save tabular data to Access, Excel, Word, HTML or TEXT.

Video Animations

SAP2000 has the ability to generate video (.avi) files to visually display a set of analysis results that vary over a particular time period, such as in a time history analysis.

Color Displacement Contours

Contour plots are now available for frame deflections and axial stresses.

Section Cuts

The resultant (free-body) forces and moments across any cut in the structure can be defined using section cuts. A section cut can have any shape and can be used to compute story shears, connecting forces, and design forces in shear walls, as well as for many other purposes. Section cut results may be obtained for all types of load cases and combinations.

Import and Export

SAP2000 supports many industry standards for importing and exporting data.

Autodesk® Revit®, Tekla® Structures, AutoCAD® (DXF/DWG), BricsCAD®, CIS/2, IFC, IGES, and SDNF are all supported. SAP2000 also supports exporting of a model to a Microsoft Access database. If users are using other analysis packages, SAP2000 can import files from FrameWorks Plus, STAAD, and STRUDL®.

Learn how CSI products work with other BIM software to provide efficient, integrated and open design workflows.

With CSI software, collaboration between different AEC teams is handled efficiently through compatibility with other BIM software.

AutoCAD® and BricsCAD®

CSiXCAD, a CSI-developed plug-in for AutoCAD® and BricsCAD®, streamlines drawing production by interacting with SAP2000 and ETABS directly. CSiXCAD provides a live link between structural models defined and maintained in SAP2000 and ETABS and the drawings documenting them in the CAD software. CSiXCAD generates a full 3D model and generates an initial set of drawings automatically that can then be refined within the CAD software.


CSiXRevit, a CSI-developed plug-in for Revit®, provides a bi-directional link between SAP2000, ETABS, and/or SAFE and Revit. Structural modeling can be done in one program and later synced with another with full control over what model information is transferred between the CSI software model and the Revit model.


The link between Tekla® Structures and SAP2000 or ETABS allows models to be started in either product, then transferred to the other. Round-tripping of models is possible, including accepting of changes when transferring from SAP2000 or ETABS to Tekla Structures. It is also possible to merge changes to a Tekla Structures model to an existing SAP2000 or ETABS model.

Learn More


Support of IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) data models provides compatibility with other BIM-enabled applications. SAP2000, CSiBridge, and ETABS all support import and export of IFC 2x3 and IFC 4 formats.

CSI's Application Programming Interface (API) allows engineers and developers to exploit the power and productivity of CSI software programmatically.

Build custom solutions on top of the CSI Platform to automate your workflows and increase your efficiency.

Multiple Language Support

The API is compatible with most major programming languages, including Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), VB.NET, C#, C++, Visual Fortran, Python, and Matlab.

Smart Spreadsheets

Employ the API from within an Excel spreadsheet to create, modify, and run a model, then extract the results back to the spreadsheet for further processing.

Build Custom Plugins

Plugins created with the API can be accessed directly from within CSI software, allowing users to utilize custom commands in conjunction with the regular software features.

Cross-Product Development

The CSI API is currently available for ETABS, SAP2000, and CSiBridge. To maximize your development efforts, the CSI API has been made as consistent as possible between the products to allow tools and applications created using the CSI API to be adapted easily for all CSI products. Starting with ETABS v18, SAP2000 v21 and CSiBridge v21, it is now possible to develop cross-product API tools that work with all three products. This allows you to write the code once and use it in all three products. These versions of the API are also forward-compatible to future major versions of these products without the need for recompiling.