Most of the frequently-used data about your optical system is entered via a spreadsheet-style editor. Editors allow you to keep all of the data needed in one place, and most importantly, allow you to establish relationships between system parameters. For example, an equi-vex lens requires the radius of curvature of the two sides to be equal, but opposite in sign. By using a pick-up solve in the editor, we can enforce this condition easily.
The lens will always be equi-vex. This reduces the amount of keyboarding needed to enter lens data and reduces the possibility of error. Here is a more complex example:
The left-hand side of this image shows a lens in a mount. The mount is designed entirely inside Zemax (no external CAD package is necessary, though one can be used if desired). The mount is formed by performing a series of Boolean operations on a number of rectangular and cylindrical primitive objects, as shown on the right-hand side of the image. The defining parameters of the mount are 'picked up' from the lens — as the diameter and thickness of the lens changes, the mount automatically adjusts the diameter of the inner hole and the position of the locking screw threaded hole. No other program allows such a comprehensive treatment of the optics and mechanics of an optical system.
Less-frequently used data is stored in properties dialogs, like this one:
In general, the 'dynamic' properties of a component are stored in the editors, for easy access and for cross-referencing. 'Static' properties, like the colors used when drawing on-screen and opacity used, as entered via the properties dialogs.
Related Knowledge Base articles:
How to Create a User-Defined Solve