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ACT Now to Customize and Automate Your Simulations

Have you ever worked on a model, doing something you have done many times before, and thought, “If only I could automate this step, I’d save a lot of time!” Well the good news is: You probably can! Say hello to ANSYS ACT.


ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) allows users to both automate and customize many flagship applications like ANSYS Workbench, ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS AIM and others. ACT can be used similarly to the Microsoft® Office Add-ins platform, to extend the functionality of existing applications. This allows for greater flexibility and customization so ANSYS products meet all your unique needs.

You don’t need to be a software developer to develop ACT apps, and you also have the option of accessing apps that have been developed by ANSYS, third parties or internally — by your colleagues. Start by checking out the ANSYS App Store, where many apps are available. Many of these are FREE, and some even contain the full source code.


Let’s look at two apps that are new to the App Store and contain all the source code for you to use as an example/template, or build on top of to integrate more of your preferences.

  • Hotkeys Customizer: Assign your own scripted actions to hotkeys in Mechanical.
  • Mechanical Custom Interface: Access scripts for actions you can use with the graphical user interface (GUI) or for extended functionality (outside the GUI) that makes it faster and easier to work in Mechanical.

It's probably easiest to understand what these are about by looking at a simple example. Say you want to quickly add a typical constraint to your model, e.g., a fixed support on a hole pattern.  See how you can easily get what you need in just two keystrokes. When working with big or complex models, this seemingly little time savings really adds up!

First, select two faces on the part for the hole pattern. Next, hit Ctrl+C to find similar geometry and select it. Finally, press Ctrl+X to add a fixed support to the selection.

Three-step process for adding a fixed support on a hole pattern

HotKeys Customizer organizerNow let's say you don’t want to add a fixed support, but you wish to apply a constraint in a particular direction. Well why not look at the source code and create your own hotkey for just that?

These apps are intended to work together. It is like the Mechanical Custom Interface is the brain and the HotKeys Customizer is the body responsible for execution. The HotKeys Customizer also has a custom graphical interface that keeps all your user-selected hotkeys organized.

I’ve provided a list of some of the pre-programmed functions that are linked to hotkeys, but consider this just the beginning: You can create and add your own. You may tackle a simple action like adding a force load with a specific value or an extremely complex one, like programming your own geometry-recognition code to apply your loading. Whatever you can come up with, you can link it to a keyboard keystroke.

Hotkeys Customizer default hotkeys listMy suggestion? Go to the ANSYS App Store and see what looks interesting.  Did I mention it’s FREE? There is a lot of content, so I recommend that you search for these apps by name. If you can't find what you want, but don’t want to create something from scratch, I recommend you search for “source” and see all the apps that contain source code. These apps will have “[Contains Source Code]” at the end of the description.