PeDAL FAQ

PeDAL has been available for some time now and we have received a considerable amount of interest in the product.  Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions that we receive. If you do not see your specific question, please feel free to contact PADT and we will be happy to answer it directly.

PeDAL won't install because it says it can't find an ANSYS Version 12.0/14.0/nn.n installation. What do I do?

PeDAL requires version 12.0 or later of ANSYS Mechanical APDL in order to integrate with the help system and to determine what are valid ANSYS commands. By default, PeDAL looks for an environment variable named ANSYSnnn_DIR (where nnn is the version number) to locate the ANSYS installation. If this environment variable doesn't exist on your machine, but ANSYS version 12.0 or greater is installed, then you can create this environment variable to point PeDAL to the ANSYS installation. For example, if ANSYS is installed to C:\Program Files\Ansys, Inc\v120, then the ANSYS120_DIR environment variable should be set to C:\Program Files\Ansys, Inc\v120\ANSYS

I use ANSYS Workbench, so why would I want PeDAL?

PeDAL is designed to help the user write APDL scripts. Snippets in Workbench are simply APDL scripts with a different name. PeDAL can help you write your snippets. PeDAL also understands ANSYS APDL block commands like EBLOCK, NBLOCK, etc... and can hide those commands so you're not distracted by them. Furthermore, PeDAL can help you quickly learn what Workbench is doing behind the scenes by allowing you to search the ANSYS help for given commands while you view the Workbench generated input file. The side-by-side layout makes perusing the help and the input file a snap.

How do I find help on an ANSYS command?

To quickly find help on a documented ANSYS command, move the cursor so that it is located somewhere on the line containing the command you are interested in and press F1. This will load the help for the command in the HTML viewer. You can also search for the command by typing it into the search field in the HTML viewer pane and pressing return.

How do I search the ANSYS help on a given topic?

There are two ways you can search the ANSYS help system on a given topic. First, you can type the phrase you wish to search for in the search field above the HTML viewer and press return. Second, you can move your cursor so that it is inside a word you would like to search for and then press F2. For example, assume for the moment you have the command et,1,solid185 in your APDL script and you would like to search for help on solid185. Simply move your cursor so that it is located inside the phrase solid185 and press F2. PeDAL will extract the word underneath the cursor and use that word as a search phrase in the ANSYS help.

Searching the help returns lots of stuff I'm not interested in, how do I narrow down the results?

When PeDAL runs for the first time, it creates individual search indices for all of the major sections of the ANSYS documentation. By default, the final step PeDAL takes is to merge all of these individual indices into one master index for all the ANSYS documentation. However, component indices remain on your hard disk and can quickly be merged into indices that cover only a subset of the ANSYS documentation. You can then use this new index to limit your search to a smaller portion of the ANSYS help system. To create a new search index, use the Application Settings Dialog. Once you have created the new search index, it will appear as an item in the dropdown next to the search field. Select the index from the drop down to confine your searches to the portion of ANSYS help covered by the index. As an example, one might create an index named Elements that just contains the element reference and perhaps the theory manual. There is no practical limit to the number of indices you can create

I want to open a web page in the help browser, how do I do that?

Type the URL of the web page you wish to visit, for example www.padtinc.com, into the search field and press Shift+Return. That is, hold down the Shift key while pressing return. Simply pressing return will search for the phrase www.padtinc.com in the ANSYS help system.

I don't like the way PeDAL color codes APDL comments, how can I change that?

The style of all text elements can be changed with the Application Settings Dialog. Foreground, background and font styles can be changed for each class of text element.

I like to use the command FINI instead of FINISH, but it doesn't look like PeDAL recognizes that command, what can I do?

PeDAL supports the concept of command aliases. Aliases are shorter forms of an APDL command that ANSYS recognizes as a valid command. The general rule of thumb with ANSYS commands is that the first 4 characters are significant. You can create command aliases using the Application Settings Dialog. PeDAL does not check or enforce the validity of the command alias; it is up to you to only create aliases that ANSYS recognizes as valid commands. Once an alias is created, PeDAL internally links it to its parent command so that the F1 hot key works for aliases as well.

What is the working directory in PeDAL for?

Setting the working directory allows PeDAL to search for other macros that may exist on disk in the same directory. As you write a macro, you may call other macros that exist in your working directory. If the working directory is set, PeDAL will find these macros and highlight them as you reference them. Not only are they highlighted, but PeDAL also hyperlinks to them so you can quickly open them up for editing. You can control whether PeDAL performs the hyperlinking using the Application Settings Dialog.

I don't like all of those tool tips and autocomplete boxes constantly popping up, how do I turn them off?

You can control whether PeDAL displays autocomplete boxes for commands, hover tool tips for commands and tool tips while typing using the Application Settings Dialog.

License & Legal information?

PeDAL is licensed on a per user basis.  You can install PeDAL on multiple machines, but the license agreement restricts the use of PeDAL to one active user at a time.  Purchasing a license of PeDAL entitles the licensee to receive free upgrades for all minor releases of PeDAL.  Major releases of PeDAL include planned features that add substantial capabilities to the code, beyond minor bug fixes and small feature enhancements.

Is a sight license available for PeDAL?

Yes, but we do not have a standard agreement for that.  If you are interested, simply contact PADT and let us know that you are interested in a sight license.  We can work something out.

Is PeDAL Licenced for sale outside the US?

PeDAL, as a simple text editor, is not listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL) by the US Department of Commerce and is therefore designated as an EAR99 item. We do not sell it to embargoed or sanctioned countries, a party of concern, or in support of prohibited end-use. You can learn more about the USDC ECCN system here.

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