Basic Guide

RoboDK is software for Simulation and Offline Programming. Offline Programming means that robot programs can be created, simulated and generated offline for a specific robot arm and robot controller. RoboDK can help you with manufacturing operations involving industrial robots.

This document is a basic guide to the RoboDK documentation. The RoboDK documentation is based on the Windows version of RoboDK. Mac, Linux and Android versions are also available.

You should see the RoboDK shortcut on your desktop when RoboDK is installed from our website. Double click the shortcut to start RoboDK. Basic Guide - Image 1

The RoboDK window contains a Main Menu, a Toolbar, a Status Bar and the Main Screen. The Station Tree in the Main Screen contains all the items available in the station, such as robots, reference frames, tools, programs, etc. More information available in the Interface Section.

Select FileBasic Guide - Image 2 Open to load one of the RoboDK station examples provided by default (RDK files). Alternatively, drag & drop a file to the RoboDK main screen to load it.

A library of industrial robots is available online or directly from the RoboDK application.

Basic Guide - Image 3

Throughout all RoboDK documentation, clicks on the screen are represented by the following icons:

Basic Guide - Image 4

Basic Guide - Image 5

Basic Guide - Image 6

Left click

Right click

Double click

3D Navigation

It is recommended to use a 3-button mouse to navigate in 3D. Alternatively, you can use a combination of Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys with a simple mouse left click perform Pan, Rotate or Zoom motions.





Basic Guide - Image 7

Basic Guide - Image 8

Basic Guide - Image 9

Basic Guide - Image 10

Basic Guide - Image 11

Basic Guide - Image 12

Basic Guide - Image 13

Basic Guide - Image 14

Left click

Hold mid button

Hold right click

Move mouse wheel

Hold Ctrl to select more than
one object

Hold Ctrl + Alt

Hold Ctrl + Shift

Hold Shift


Right click on the main screen to see the same 3D navigation commands.

Basic Guide - Image 15

Basic Guide - Image 16

Getting Started

The Getting Started section shows how to build a simple project offline for a robot painting application in RoboDK using a UR10 robot. The example provides a general overview of some of the key features of RoboDK for Simulation and Offline Programming.

The getting started section includes:

   How to Load a Robot from the Basic Guide - Image 17 Online Library

   How to Basic Guide - Image 18 Add Reference Frames

   How to Basic Guide - Image 19 Load Objects

   How to Basic Guide - Image 20 Add Tools

   How to Basic Guide - Image 21 Add Targets

   How to Basic Guide - Image 22 Create Programs offline and simulate them

   How to Basic Guide - Image 23 Generate a program for the robot controller and select a post processor

   How to Basic Guide - Image 24 Export a simulation to share them as in 3D HTML or 3D PDF

This example is available in the RoboDK library by default as Tutorial-UR-Painting.rdk (located by default in C:/RoboDK/Library/).

Basic Guide - Image 25

Toolbar Menu

The RoboDK Toolbar contains graphical icons that allow quick access to frequently used actions in the menu.

The following commands are available in the toolbar by default.

Basic Guide - Image 26

Load a new file (RoboDK RDK Station) or a supported file type (robot, tool, STEP, IGES, STL, …)

Basic Guide - Image 27

Open online library
Show the online library (robots, tools and sample objects)

Basic Guide - Image 28

Save Station
Save the RoboDK station (RDK file)

Basic Guide - Image 29

Undo the last command (Ctrl+Z)

Basic Guide - Image 30

Redo the last command (Ctrl+Y)

Basic Guide - Image 31

Add a reference frame
Reference frames allow placing objects with respect to each other

Basic Guide - Image 32

Add a new target
Robot targets record robot positions with respect to a reference frame or in joint coordinates

Basic Guide - Image 33

Fit All
Update the 3D view to display all items

Basic Guide - Image 34

Isometric View

Display the default 3D isometric view

Basic Guide - Image 35

Move reference Frames
Move a reference frame by dragging it on the screen (hold Alt)

Basic Guide - Image 36

Move TCP (robot tool)
Move a robot TCP by dragging it on the screen (hold Alt+Shift)

Basic Guide - Image 37

Check collisions
Activate or deactivate collision checking. More information available regarding collision checking in the Collisions section

Basic Guide - Image 38

Fast simulation
Accelerate the simulation speed (hold the space bar)

Basic Guide - Image 39

Pause simulation
The simulation can be resumed by pressing the space bar

Basic Guide - Image 40

Add Program
Add a new robot program for simulation and program generation

Basic Guide - Image 41

Add Python Program
Add a new Python macro

Basic Guide - Image 42

Move Joint Instruction
Add a new joint movement instruction

Basic Guide - Image 43

Move Linear Instruction
Add a new linear movement instruction

Basic Guide - Image 44

Export Simulation
Export a program or simulation as a 3D PDF or 3D HTML file. Example.


This section provides useful shortcuts and their equivalent buttons in the toolbar.



Basic Guide - Image 45

Move a reference frame



Basic Guide - Image 46

Move a TCP (tool)


Basic Guide - Image 47

Show this help guide



Rename item


Basic Guide - Image 48

Generate selected program(s)



Show/hide selected item(s)


Basic Guide - Image 49

Fit to selected item(s)



Load last file or RoboDK station



Show/hide text on screen



Make Reference frames bigger


Make Reference frames smaller



Show/hide robot workspace

Reference Frames

A Reference Frame defines the location of an item with respect to another item with a given position and orientation. An item can be an object, a robot or another reference frame. All Offline Programming applications require defining a reference frame to locate the object with respect to a robot to update the simulation accordingly.

Drag & drop any reference frame or object within the Station Tree to define a specific relationship, such as the nested reference frame shown in the following image.

It is common to define the location of one or more reference frames with respect to the robot by touching 3 points. This allows placing objects in the virtual space. The procedure can be accomplished using the robot teach pendant or RoboDK (more information available in the Calibrate Reference Frame section).

With RoboDK it is possible to manually enter the translation and rotation values, including different rotation orders of the Euler angles.

Basic Guide - Image 51

By default, RoboDK displays the relationship as the XYZ position and the Euler angles in the XYZ format. This means the rotation is made in the following order:

1.First: a rotation is made around the X axis (light blue case)

2.Second: a rotation is made around the static Y axis (pink case)

3.Third: a rotation is made around the static Z axis (yellow case).

Fanuc and Motoman controllers use the previously described format, however, other robot manufacturers handle the rotation order in a different way.

It is possible to select among different orientation formats from the dropdown list of the reference frame details window (double click a reference frame).

Basic Guide - Image 52

For example, Stäubli robots use the XY’Z’’ order, or KUKA and Nachi robots use ZY’X’’. On the other hand, ABB controllers use Quaternion values, which require 4 values to define the rotation:

Basic Guide - Image 53

It is also possible to manually enter a customized format. For example, the following command is displayed when the Script (Custom Pose) option is selected:

Basic Guide - Image 54

Basic Guide - Image 55

Set Default Settings

Select Set Default Settings in the Tools-Options menu to set the default RoboDK settings. More information available in the Options Menu Section.

Select ToolsLanguage and select English to change the language to English.

Select ToolsToolbar LayoutSet Default Toolbar to set up the default toolbar.

Select ToolsOptionsPythonSet default Python Settings to set up the default Python settings. More information in the RoboDK API section.

Troubleshoot Issues

RoboDK may not start when using a Remote Desktop connection or if you are running RoboDK on a Virtual Machine. To solve this problem, you can start RoboDK by double clicking the file RoboDK-Safe-Start.bat located in the C:/RoboDK/ folder.

Starting RoboDK with this command solves any problems when running RoboDK using a Remote Desktop connection or a Virtual Machine.

Visit the robot connection troubleshoot section to fix issues related to the communication between your PC and the robot.