November, 2020

This document provides basic information about new features and modifications in the 2020 release of the Trimble® AutoBid® SheetMetal software. 

These release notes cover the following topics:


New Features, Enhancements, and Modifications

Essential Release Information

Update Installation Instructions

Product Assistance

Legal Notices


These Release Notes describe features and modifications that are new in version 2020 of the AutoBid SheetMetal software. Be sure to read the “Setting up TID Accounts” section before installing.

Installation procedure

For step-by-step instructions for a new installation of this release or upgrading from AutoBid SheetMetal version 2017 or newer, refer to the Trimble AutoBid SheetMetal Installation Guide

If you are upgrading from a version prior to AutoBid SheetMetal version 2017, you will need to contact MEP Technical support before installing this version.


This version requires Windows 10 or later. It does not support Windows Home Edition, Windows 7, Windows 8.x or Windows 10 S. For a complete listing of system requirements and technical specifications, view our System Specifications. To run AutoBid SheetMetal on 4K monitors, please follow the instructions in this support note.

New Features, Enhancements, and Modifications

New Login And Licensing

This version of AutoBid SheetMetal replaces the old “Quick Link” licensing with a new licensing scheme that uses a “Trimble ID” (TID) and the internet. 

  • This new licensing system allows for a “single sign on”. That is, once you login to AutoBid SheetMetal and close it down, you will not have to login the next time you launch the application within 12 hours. This option can be turned off or on under “Tools”, “My Preferences” using the “Skip TID Login if login has not expired” option.

  • There is no longer a need to “Lend” or “Borrow” or “Return Borrowed” seats. This new system allows you to get a seat when you are working anywhere you have an internet connection.

Setting up TID Accounts

In order to use AutoBid SheetMetal, each user must have had TID accounts set up. Please review the Accessing AutoBid 2020 Guide for more details on how to set up a TID account.   

Enhancement for Calculation Errors

There is now a mechanism to “jump to” a data entry window or TakeOff line that is associated with an error in calculations.

If the calculation error or warning is underlined, clicking on the link will go to the data entry window associated with the error. In some cases, it may not be possible to go to the correct tab or size.

If a message is underlined AND refers to a TakeOff line number, clicking on the link will go to the data entry window. There is a right mouse menu option to go to the line in TakeOff. 

TakeOff On-Screen View: Scaled double lines

There is now an option to show ducts taken off as scaled double lines OR single lines. When this option is toggled on, all new and existing duct runs will display as scaled double lines. When this option is toggled off, all new and existing duct runs will display as single lines (like all earlier versions).

When TakeOff is started, all duct runs will display as scaled double lines or single lines as they did when TakeOff was last closed.

Regardless of the setting, all runs will display the center line as they always have. This allows for more accurate “branch from” runs.

All touch points, find radius, etc. will use the same techniques as they always have, based on centerline. This means that even if runs are displayed with scaled double lines and they have a larger width than the find radius, the system will use the find radius for branching from.

The display of scaled double lines is based on the centerline taken off. This may result in the double lines not matching the background drawing if the centerline was not exactly on center.

The display of scaled double lines may slow down taking off runs. However, this feature can be toggled off while taking off and turned on when done taking off a run.

The copy and move windows do not support scaled double lines. The selected items will appear as single centerlines while moving or copying.

Only duct will be drawn with scaled double lines. Fittings, assemblies, library items, etc. will be drawn just like they are now (even if the assembly, library item or whatever has a “length” or “area” quantity type).

There are several “override” options that can be used to determine how the scaled double lines are drawn. These can be found in On-Screen View, under On-Screen View Customizations in the “Double Line Settings” tab. There are override display settings to use if the run is insulated; lined; double wall; or just single wall.


TakeOff On-Screen View: Visual cues for lined, wrapped, or double wall duct

When the “Scaled Double Line” feature is toggled off, you now have the ability to control how single line runs are displayed if the run is insulated, lined or double wall.

In On-Screen View, under On-Screen View Customizations select the “Line Settings” tab. To set how insulated, lined or double wall runs are displayed, be sure the “Use special line attributes for Insulation; Liner; and DblWall” is checked. You can choose to override the centerline color or not; set the line style; and/or set a line thickness.

The visual cue for double wall will take precedence over the visual for liner which will take precedence over the visual cue for insulation/duct wrap.

The copy and move windows do not support these special settings. The selected items will appear as normal single centerlines while moving or copying. 


TakeOff On-Screen View: Quickly adjust the “find radius” with the mouse

A menu option (under the “OSV Tools” menu) and a new tool button have been added to quickly adjust the “find radius” using the mouse. 

When switching between background drawings with different sizes or resolutions it can be necessary to change the “find radius” to maintain accuracy and speed. Selecting this button allows use of the mouse to quickly increase/decrease the radius with mouse clicks on up and down arrows.

If you have customized the toolbar in On-Screen View, you will need to reset the tools bar to defaults for the option to show on the toolbar itself. The option under the “OSV Tools” menu will always be available.


TakeOff On-Screen View:  Box in with options now has the options to change the scale.

Changing the scale will change the lengths of duct runs in the selected items taken off in On-Screen View.

TakeOff Item Mouse Menu Enhancement:

When customizing the Item Mouse Menu, we have added the ability to customize the column width and row height. This was added per customer requests for users using a touch screen.

TakeOff (ATV): The ability to multi-select symbols.

There is now a new option in the Item Selection list for symbols that allows for the quick selection of multiple symbols at once.

Master Materials: The ability to add a text note per material.

In response to several customer requests, there is a new feature that allows you to add a note to each material type. This was mainly requested so users could see what might have changed or been added to the material settings.

Master Materials: Enhanced Options for Export/Import Prices.

We have added the ability to select which materials and price categories to use when exporting a price template to a supplier. We have added similar options when importing material prices.

Automatically Generate Bid IDs for new projects

We have had several requests to automatically generate BID IDs when adding a new project.

In Company Settings, we have added an option to generate Bid IDs for new projects using the year and a count of the number of projects for that year. E.G. The first project added in 2020 using an automatically generated Bid ID would get a Bid ID of “2020-00001”.

If the company is set to use automatically generated Bid IDs, in the “New Project Wizard”, there will be an option to turn off the automatically generated Bid ID for that project allowing the creation of a special Bid ID for that project.

OSV Drawing Repository

Some companies were using the cloud to store their OSV background drawings to avoid exceeding their maximum database size or, in some cases, to provide a minor increase in performance due to the number of background drawings stored in the database. Since cloud storage will no longer be available after December 15, 2020, we have added the ability to store OSV background drawings in a company drawing “repository”.

To address this, we have added a “Repository Manager” to the Project List Tools Menu. This Manager allows ALL drawings from a project to be moved from the repository to the database OR from the database to a repository.

If your company has been using the cloud to store drawings, we recommend that you archive (back-up and then delete) all projects that you don’t usually need access to onto a removable or remote drive. If drawings for those projects were stored in the cloud, these will be backed up as well.

In addition to the Repository Manager, we have added a feature that allows a company to have all new OSV background drawings automatically stored in the repository instead of the database.

  • To take advantage of this feature, a company must set up a single company wide repository on a shared network drive (Under the “Company Settings” options)

  • Storing OSV background drawings is set on a project by project basis. There is a new option in the wizard and in the Project Setup for existing projects to have all new OSV drawings stored in the repository.

Repository Warnings and Notes:

  1. The repository must be on a shared/network drive that all workstations have read/write permissions to AND, the repository must have enough disk space to store the drawings.

  2. Backing up a database whose drawings are stored in the repository will NOT contain OSV background drawings.

  3. When launching OSV for a project whose drawings are stored in the repository, if these drawings do not exist or are not up to date, the drawings will be automatically pulled into TakeOff from the repository IF the workstation has network permissions to do so.

  4. When backing up a project whose drawings are stored in the repository, the background drawings will be pulled from the repository and backed up with the project IF the workstation has network permissions to do so.

  5. When duplicating a Project whose associated OSV background drawings are stored in the repository, the drawings will be MOVED from the repository to the database and then duplicated inside the database.

  6. When duplicating a single drawing scope with an associated OSV background drawing stored in the repository, the drawing will be MOVED from the repository to the database and then duplicated inside the database to the new drawing scope.

  7. When deleting a project or single drawing scope whose associated OSV background drawing(s) are stored in the repository, the drawing(s) will be deleted from the repository as well IF the workstation has network permissions to do so.


Essential Release Information

Windows operating system updates

To successfully install this AutoBid SheetMetal software update, your system must be up-to-date with all Windows updates. If a restart of the operating system is necessary after Windows updates have been installed, you must do this before starting the AutoBid SheetMetal installation procedures outlined in this document.

Compatible versions for this update

Release 2020 of AutoBid SheetMetal can be updated from the following versions:

  • AutoBid SheetMetal 2019v1 & v2

  • AutoBid SheetMetal 2018v1 & v2

  • AutoBid SheetMetal 2017v1

The upgrade will fail if you are running an AutoBid SheetMetal version that is older than 2017.

Update Installation Instructions

The information below outlines the update installation requirements for Trimble® AutoBid®  SheetMetal 2020v1. 

Workstation update installation

If the AutoBid SheetMetal software is installed on a network, you must install the updated software on each workstation after the network service update installation is complete. Until each workstation is updated, access to the AutoBid SheetMetal software is not allowed.

Installation procedure

NOTE – You must complete the procedures outlined below on each Workstation computer. These instructions assume the installation DVD is already in the appropriate drive of the computer and the main installation screen is open.

CAUTION – The update installation in this release includes a procedure that verifies your database. Depending on the size of your database, the installation may take several hours to install. Trimble recommends that you install this update during a non-busy time to avoid work stoppage during the time the update is being installed.

The InstallShield Wizard prepares to install the software. Please be patient. This procedure may take a few minutes.

  1. The Welcome screen appears. Click Next.

  2. The License Agreement displays on the screen. Read the agreement. Choose I accept the terms of the license agreement. Click Next. You must accept the terms of the agreement to proceed with the installation. If you want to print the agreements, click Print.

  3. A recap of your selections displays in the Update AutoBid SheetMetal Installation Screen.  If you are satisfied with the data displayed, click Next.

  4. The After Workstation Install screen appears. Click Next.

  5. Choose Finish to complete the installation. Restart if requested.

  6. Start AutoBid SheetMetal by double-clicking on the Trimble ABSM desktop icon.

The Client to Middle Tier Connection screen appears.

  1. Enter the following information. This information was copied to the clipboard (see Installation/Validation Procedures, step 12). Else you can obtain it directly from the ABSM DataService Manager:

    1. Connection Name

    2. Middle Tier IP Address

    3. Port – Enter 55280 (this is the default and should not be changed)

  2. Click OK. The SQL Server Information screen appears:

  1. In the Name field, select the connection name you just entered into the Client to Middle Tier Connection dialog and click OK.

Product Assistance

Trimble offers several ways to obtain help using the AutoBid SheetMetal software.

Trimble MEP Client Services

You can send a message directly to MEP Client Services by going to Help / Send a message to Technical Support. This feature allows you to describe your issue, as well as attaching a screenshot.

  • Before calling Client Services, we suggest that you consult the online help. Many of the common procedures and questions are covered in this system.

  • Trimble MEP Client Services is available during regular business hours Monday through Friday. We are not available on major holidays.

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