Tecplot 360 is a powerful visualization tool with the capability of line plotting, 2D and 3D surface plots, and 3D volumetric visualization. The data loader for Tecplot can read a variety of different files such as, HDF, HDF5, Excel, FEA files, and a general text loader. This tutorial will go through the process of generating plots using some of the previously mentioned file types and plot types.
For a Windows machine, Tecplot is started my simply running the executable. For a Linux machine, such as the ones at CAVS, Tecplot can be executed with the following commands:
> swsetup tecplot > tec360
Loading a text (.txt) file
For a general text file, the visualization is pretty straight forward. In this example, stress-strain data of a tension simulation was output to a text file (stress-strain.txt). After starting Tec360, the welcome screen shown below appears shown in Figure 1,
To open the text file, go to --> File --> Load Data File, and the data file loader box appears. Next, navigate to the directory of the file, (i.e. /scratch/dhj21/tec360), select *.txt as the files of type, and be sure to check the advanced option. The advanced option allows the specification of the type of spacing for the text file. For this text file, tab spacing was used. This is shown by Figures 2 and 3.
Tec360 automatically plots the first column versus the second column for this case and reads the first two cells as the x-axis and y-axis respectively. This is shown in Figure 4.
Tec360 offers a variety of plot customizations. To increase the thickness of the line, click "Mapping Style..." in the plot toolbar, under the lines tab right-click "0.02%" to change it to the desired value (0.4% for this case). The color, line pattern, and pattern length can all be edited here. Next, to add a border on the top and right sides of the plot area, --> Plot --> Axis --> Line and check show grid border. You can manually edit the grid labels under the "Title Tab". For example, the True Stress y-axis label does not have units. This can be manually changed by, --> Plot --> Axis --> Title --> clicking on the "Y1" axis --> Use text --> "True Stress MPa". Figure 5 shows the current plot.
[[File:screenshot-5.png|center|thumb|500px|Figure 5. Modified stress-strain plot .]
After, the plot is customized to the desired layout, the layout can be saved by --> File --> Save layout. Now, another text file can be appended to the current file by following the earlier steps for importing data. -->File -->Load data file --> Load "stress-strain_2.txt" --> Advanced options. A dialog will pop up asking for cancel, append, or replace. After clicking append, the new data is added, but not displayed. In order to display the new data, -->Plot --> Mapping Style --> Create Map. In the create Mappings dialog box, select X-variable versus Y-variable for all linear zones. Then, deselect the duplicated first curve and change the second curves weight to match the first one as shown in Figure 6.
[[File:screenshot-6.png|center|thumb|500px|Figure 6. Two stress-strain plots .]