Last Updated: July 14, 2003
catenary is a program to generate graphs of catenary curves, which are the curves produced by fixing the two ends of a string, and letting the string hang freely.


Click here to download the Windows executable (184k)

If you get the message "MSVCRTD.dll was not found" when you run the program, then you also need to download MSVCRTD.DLL (392k). Put it in the same folder in which you place catenary.exe.

Note: This program has been tested on and runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows ME.

To read PDF files, you will need a copy of Adobe acroread. ACROBAT READER

Changes in version 3.1

User Interface Overview

Here is an image of the user interface to ccycloid on the left, with a sample of the output on the right:

catenary UI catenary example
Create the curve Quit catenary Use millimeters Use inches Set the length of the catenary Set the depth of the catenary Check to have file name automatically created Name of file where catenary will be saved Status messages appear here Percent of full catenary to use Check here to print caption (e.g., W=80.00, h=8.00) Check here to enable/disable auto-redraw Curve preview Check here for PostScript output Check here for PDF output Check here for DXF output Check here for Letter size paper Check here for Legal paper Check here for A4 paper Check here for A3 paper

Typical use of the program would be to set the length and depth, and click "Create Curve" to create a PDF file for the graph of the catenary. Note that as you change the width, height, and percent, the curve in the curve preview region will change. The curve drawn here is meant as a rough preview for shape, and is automatically redrawn to be of maximal size within the curve preview region. If your machine is slow, unselect the Redraw check box to disable updates.

What follows is a description of the entire user interface:

Hints on Printing

Depending on your printer, etc., you may need to select the print options "Landscape" and "Print as Image". Do not select "fit to page".


catenary was written by Stephen Mann for Tom King, and is based on ccycloid, a program written for Quentin Playfair. The user interface was written with fltk. This program is completely unsuported. A linux version is also available on request.