I am using a section in my model that I cannot find in the STAAD.Pro section database. What should I do ?
If the shape is a standard one like Wide flange, Channel, Angle, Double Angle, Tee, Pipe etc. you can define it using the user table option. To do that go to Tools > Create User Table > New Table and choose the appropriate section type to create the table. Choose Add New Property and you will get a parametric form where you can key in the section dimensions. Click on the Calculate button to let the software calculate the properties based on the input dimensions. Sections defined as above can be assigned through the User Table option available within the Properties- Whole Structure dialog box
Alternately you can add the section directly to the STAAD.Pro section database following the steps below
From within the Specification ribbon menu choose Section Database
Open the section database table to which you want to add the section to by double clicking on the appropriate table (for example W Shape in the picture below) and click on the lock icon to unlock the table
Click on the Append Row icon as shown in the next picture to add the new section at the very end of the table. Alternately, you may choose Add Above or Add Below if you would want to add the new section to a specific location in the table as opposed to the end. Add the section names and all the properties. Make sure that the section name follows the same nomenclature as used for the existing sections in that table. For example when adding a new W shape, make sure that the section name for the new section starts with W followed by the section dimensions. Once the properties are added click on the Commit option.
Close out of the Section Database. The section is now added as part of the standard section database and you would be able to select and assign it like any other standard sections.
The advantage of the former method is that the software calculates the properties for you whereas in the second method, one needs to enter the properties like Cross Section Area, Moment of Inertia etc. manually. The advantage of the second method is that the section becomes a part of the standard section database and can be used for other models/projects. If the section needs to be used frequently across projects, using the second method may make more sense.