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Saving your Plot: Stylesheets and Layouts (STY, LAY, LPK)


In this video, we describe the uses and differences between Tecplot 360’s three different methods for saving the style and settings of your plot. These include stylesheets (STY files) linked data layouts (LAY files) and packaged data layouts (LPK files).

The Tecplot 360 stylesheet file type represents the style of your dataset in an individual Tecplot frame and has no link to any data. Stylesheets are useful if you want to apply a specific style to very similar data sets.

Whereas, a Tecplot linked layout file represents the style of ALL frames and ALL pages, including instructions and paths to retrieve and load the data. Use these when the layouts will always be near your data.

Finally, a Tecplot packaged layout file saves the same style settings except that a complete copy of the data is embedded in the file. This is good for sharing, but produces a larger file size as you are saving the data separately from the original data files.

To demonstrate how to use the style file and the two layout file options, we will be using two different data sets.

  1. Open the first data set file, zoom in on the area of interest, and do some quick style changes to the plot with the right click context menu. Once satisfied with the changes, Select Frame > Save frame style to save the style of this frame.
  2. Select the create frame tool to create a new frame and load in a new data set. Apply the stylesheet saved earlier to this new frame. Do this by going into Frame > Load frame style and selecting the STY file. Tile the frames so they can be seen together in a non-overlapping view. Notice how the angle and length of the contour differs by a slight amount in each frame.
  3. Comparing two data sets using the same stylesheet allows you to see subtle differences in your results.
  4. Now that there are two separate frames, a stylesheet will no longer capture the style of the entire workspace. For this, you’ll need to use a Layout file. Select File > Save Layout As. You will see the option to save as a Linked Data (*.lay) layout, or a Packaged Data (*.lpk) layout.
  5. For now, save as a Linked LAY file and open it in a text editor. For the Linked Data LAY file type, notice how the original data sets are referenced at the beginning of the file, and the commands to set up the Plots and Layout follow. This is different than the Packaged Data LPK file type, which contains copies of the original data sets as binary data, preceded by the Layout commands.

Thanks for watching!