10 More Reasons Why Using MiTek’s eFrame Instead of Sapphire is Costing the Truss Company Money

10 More Reasons Why Using MiTek’s eFrame Instead of Sapphire is Costing the Truss Company Money

If you’re using eFrame right now, you’ve probably had people telling you that Sapphire is better and trying to persuade you to switch.  I’m sure you have your reasons for sticking with eFrame.  It works; I won’t argue.  The fact is, a typewriter works too, but it has been replaced by something better.  Can you imagine how much time and money you would waste if you were still using typewriters instead of Microsoft Word?  Today I want to share with you 10 more ways that eFrame is costing you time and money.


  1. You can’t import a PDF into eFrame.  Therefore, you can’t overlay to look for errors.  You can minimize repair costs if you draw over your PDF.
  2. eFrame lacks sufficient keystrokes.  You have what you have, and not always what you need.  You can’t customize your own keystrokes like you can in Sapphire.
  3. 3.       eFrame’s piggyback tool is cumbersome. Stay on your toes when using it, as it is prone to error.
  4. California hips are very hard to make work properly in eFrame.  The tops don’t drop right, and you have to drop them manually in engineering.  This takes a lot of time.
  5. eFrame is not integrated with Engineering.  If you change quantities in layout, it does not update quantities in Engineering.  This can result in huge production errors, or at the least, customer dissatisfaction.  There is also time lost in double checking quantities, especially without Sapphire’s “Truss Synchronization” feature.
  6. It’s too easy to define bottom or top chord planes wrong in eFrame.  If you do cut the planes wrong, the only way you can tell is through the 3D view, but sometimes you can’t pick up little errors.  A plane is either wrong, or it’s right. There is no gray area, and if a plane is off by even an inch, it has the potential to cost thousands of dollars in repairs.  In Sapphire, if you have a truss sticking through a plane, there is an interference notice.
  7. eFrame does not show you where you defined your roof and ceiling planes from.  If you design a job and have to go back to it six months later, you have to take time to figure this out.  In Sapphire, it has plane tags that you can easily see.
  8. eFrame has no ability to calculate a heel height for you.  You have to calculate the heights manually or use a default offset, which will give you a standard heel height.  In Sapphire, you have a lot of options for defining heel height, such as to match to stick framing in other areas of the house.


  1. You have to use PrimeCAD to create customer layouts.  This external software is hard to use, and slow to use.  Worst of all, it is not linked to eFrame, so if you update your layout, you have to re-do your layout in PrimeCAD as well.  Sapphire has its own layout sheets that sync with your layout.
  2. You can’t design EWP beams in eFrame.  You have to use external software and manually calculate and input your loads.  Sapphire can do all that for you.

So, you may be reading this and thinking that none of these things takes that much time.  True.  But, if you waste even one extra hour per job, and you do ten jobs in a week, you’ve wasted ten hours.  How much designing can you do in ten hours?  Enough to increase your paycheck or company profit?  I think so.

A lot of people don’t want to upgrade from eFrame because of retraining costs.  I want you to know that Sapphire is virtually an upgrade of eFrame.  It is not a totally new program.  If you remember painstakingly adjusting to eFrame from Layout 4.2, you may think that this transition will be another nightmare.  It won’t.  If you’ve made it through a Windows upgrade, you can make it through this one.

If you’re interested in upgrading to Sapphire, but you’re worried that your truss plant might not be able to handle the switch, GDI can help.  We can help you set up your software, and we can also provide you with design services to compensate for designers’ lost productivity during the learning curve.  Please, take the jump and make the switch.  Your profits will thank you.

View “4 Reasons Why Using MiTek’s eFrame Instead of Sapphire is Costing the Truss Company Money” here.

View “6 Reasons Why MiTek Sapphire is Superior to eFrame” here.

Tyler Martinez – Project Manager

Gould Design, Inc.