Understanding the files generated by creating and analyzing a model

When you start a session and begin defining your model, Abaqus/CAE generates the following file:

The replay file (abaqus.rpy)

The replay file contains Abaqus/CAE commands that record almost every modeling operation you perform during a session. For more information, see Replaying an Abaqus/CAE session.

When you select FileSave from the main menu bar and save the model database, Abaqus/CAE saves the following files:

The model database file (model_database_ name.cae)

The model database file contains models and analysis jobs. For more information, see What is an Abaqus/CAE model database?.

The journal file (model_database_ name.jnl)

The journal file contains the Abaqus/CAE commands that will replicate the model database that was saved to disk. For more information, see Recreating a saved model database.

When you continue to work on your model, Abaqus/CAE continues to record your actions in the replay file. In addition, Abaqus/CAE saves the following file:

The recover file (model_database_ name.rec)

The recover file contains the Abaqus/CAE commands that will replicate the version of the model database in memory. The model database recovery file contains only the commands that changed the model database since you last saved it. For more information, see Recreating an unsaved model database.

When you submit a job for analysis, Abaqus/Standard and Abaqus/Explicit create a set of files; for a complete list of these files, see File Extension Definitions. The following list describes some of the files that Abaqus/Standard and Abaqus/Explicit create and their relationship to Abaqus/CAE:

Input files (job_name.inp)

Abaqus/CAE generates an input file that is read by Abaqus/Standard or Abaqus/Explicit when you submit a job for analysis. For more information, see Basic steps for analyzing a model.

Output database files (job_name.odb)

Output database files contain the results from your analysis. You use the Step module's output request managers to choose which variables are written to the output database during the analysis and at what rate. An output database is associated with the job you submit from the Job module; for example, if you named your job FrictionLoad, the analysis creates an output database called FrictionLoad.odb.

When you open an output database, Abaqus/CAE loads the Visualization module and allows you to view a graphical representation of the contents. You can also import a part from an output database as a mesh. You can save X–Y data objects to an output database file if you open the file with write permission; otherwise, you cannot modify the contents of the output database once it has been created.

The output database lock file (job_name.lck)

The lock file (job_name.lck) is written whenever an output database file is opened with write access, including when an analysis is running and writing output to an output database file. The lock file prevents you from having simultaneous write permission to the output database from multiple sources. It is deleted automatically when the output database file is closed or when the analysis that creates it ends.

The restart file (job_name.res)

The restart file is used to continue an analysis that stopped before it was complete. You use the Step module to specify which analysis steps should write restart information and how often. If you are using Abaqus/Explicit, the restart information you supply in the Step module controls the data written to the state file (job_name.abq). For more information, see Configuring restart output requests.

The data file (job_name.dat)

The data file contains printed output from the analysis input file processor, as well as printed output of selected results written during the analysis. Abaqus/CAE automatically requests that the default printed output for the current analysis procedure be generated at the end of each step; you cannot use Abaqus/CAE to exert any additional control over the contents of the data file.

The message file (job_name.msg)

The message file contains diagnostic or informative messages about the progress of the solution. You can control the diagnostic information that is output to the message file using the Step module. For more information, see Diagnostic printing.

The status file (job_name.sta)

The status file (job_name.sta) contains information about the progress of the analysis. In addition, you use the Step module to request that the value of a single degree of freedom at a single node be output to the status file. For more information, see Degree of freedom monitor requests.

The results file (job_name.fil)

The results file contains selected results from the analysis in a format that can be read by other applications, such as postprocessing programs. A submodel analysis can read the global model results from either an output database or a results file. By default, an analysis from Abaqus/CAE does not create a results file. For more information, see Submodeling, and Submodeling.”


The errors and warnings that Abaqus/Standard and Abaqus/Explicit write to the data, message, and status files while analyzing a job can be monitored by the Job module; for more information, see Monitoring the progress of an analysis job.

When you open an output database file in the Visualization module and create new field output variables (see Creating and saving new field output, for more information), Abaqus/CAE generates the following file:

The scratch output database file (job_name.ods)

The scratch output database file (job_name.ods) contains a “session step” in which field output variables that you create (by operating on either fields or frames) are saved. This file is deleted automatically when the original output database file (from which the field output originates) is closed or when the Abaqus/CAE session ends.

In most cases the files generated by Abaqus/CAE are written to the work directory. The work directory is the directory from which you started the Abaqus/CAE session unless you changed the directory by selecting FileSet Work Directory from the main menu bar. For more information, see Setting the work directory.