Advance Steel 2013 has a new tool palette with new graphics, animated buttons and more user friendly functionality, and offers access to commands and options for both CAD and Advance Steel functionalities.

While the tool palette provides some options like minimize, hide or close that are available on the palette itself, the configuration is based on an xml file which can be edited to change its appearance (button size, background color, transparency), handle the button location or even add new categories and new commands to it.

Tool Palette Appearance configuration:
To open the tool palette xml file, access the folder: C:\ProgramData\Graitec\Advance Steel\2013\Steel\Support\Toolbars\2009 and open GrPaletteData.xml with any text or xml editor.

How is new tool palette edited?

⇒ Opacity is changed from multiple lines, depending on what item we need to change.

The general opacity for the tool palette main section is from the line number 7, with the format: x.xx. The value in the middle must be a number between 0 and 1, where 0 is fully transparent and 1 is opaque.

How is new tool palette edited?

In addition, the opacity for the buttons in the main section is modified in the line: <PaletteItemOpacity>0.5</PaletteItemOpacity>

The opacity for the button that switches the tabs in the tool palette is found in the following format:

How is new tool palette edited?

Background appearance is a combination of background color (Seen in the lines that divide various subcategories on each palette category) and a picture.

To change the color, edit the value between <BckColour></BckColour> or <PaletteItemBckColour></ PaletteItemBckColour> (for buttons background) with a new hexadecimal color code (html color code). Those codes can be found in any document containing hex codes. For example, the white code is #FAFAFA, black is #000000, etc.

The background color lines <BckColour> are found at the start (line 6) for the main section of the palette, and at the end of each category (as mentioned above at the Opacity for category buttons part).


The background picture can be changed from the line <Image></Image>, available for both the main section (line 8) and at the end of each category. By default the picture is Glass(x).png, which is the name of a picture stored in one of Advance Steel dll files. To add a new picture:

⇒ Create a picture (or import one from different software) in the png format. The resolution of the picture is not important, as it is automatically scaled by the tool palette to fit its size. Then access the XML folder (C:\ProgramData\Graitec\Advance Steel\2013\Steel\Support\Toolbars\2009) and create a new folder with any name (for example “Pictures”). Place the background picture there.

⇒ Edit the xml <Image> line with the following string, “Folder name”/”Picture name”, so if the folder name is called “Pictures” and the picture name is “background1.png”, the xml should look like: <Image>Pictures/background1.png</Image>

Button sizes are modified from a series of lines, and they represent the size in pixels. A square shaped button is not required. The definition is made through two values: one for the width and the other one for the length.

The values for the width/length have minimum and maximum limitations over which the tool palette cannot pass, and even if values over those limits are entered, they are ignored and Advance Steel uses the closest min/max value).
The lines are: <PaletteItemWidth>50</PaletteItemWidth> and <PaletteItemHeight>50</PaletteItemHeight> for the main button size.
Limits for these values are 60...150.

<PaletteCategoryWidth>35</PaletteCategoryWidth> and <PaletteCategoryHeight>35</PaletteCategoryHeight> for the category button size.
Limits for these values are 30...100.

In addition, the number of columns used to arrange the buttons can be modified from: <PaletteItemColumns>3</PaletteItemColumns>.
The number of columns value must be in the interval 1 - 4.

Commands and functions accessed from the tool palette – the buttons – are configured in Categories. Each category is defined by a name (which has a picture and background/opacity definitions associated to it), and stores the buttons in an order that defines its position in the main section. The position of the button can then be changed by rearranging the whole button definition lines to another place in the category definition. The button lines consist of:

How is new tool palette edited?

To create a new category, define it as follows (for this FAQ we will create a new category called TEST, with a button that accesses the Base Plate connection):

⇒ First is the header, which contains the category name and ID. The name is the one that appears at the interface, and the ID is a unique number.

⇒ The second section of the category configuration is the button definition, which contains the button name, command it calls and associated a picture.
- The command is defined as follows :
First is the string ^C^C followed by the command itself. This can be read on the command line when the function is used in Advance Steel. For the Base Plate connection the command is: AstM4CrConByVb BasePlate
So in the button definition the string is: ^C^C_AstM4CrConByVb BasePlate

- The picture is associated in the <Images><strings> field, similar to the steps described for the background picture category.

The button definition is as follows:
      <Description>Base Plate</Description>
      <Command>^C^C_AstM4CrConByVb BasePlate </Command>

⇒ At the end is the category button definition. This is where the background color and the opacity can be modified, and pictures can be assigned for the button and backgrounds.
      <BkgColor>#FFFF00 </BkgColor>

After the definition is complete and the XML saved, the new category looks as in the following picture:

How is new tool palette edited?

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