Although computer analysis has created invaluable benefits in structural design, several structural experts have expressed concern about the impact of computers on younger engineers. Computers clearly helpdevelop insight into global-displacement patterns, but they may hinder development of insight into global-force patterns. The emergence of inexpensive computing time and automatic code checking makes itpossible to arrive at a design without assuming or investigating global-force patterns, focusing instead on member-level behaviour. In the precomputer era, a designer was forced to think in terms of global-forcedistributions. However, this important design perspective will gradually disappear with the retirement of the last generation of designers educated in the precomputer era. To support this perspective in themodern design environment, the present paper introduces a computer-based tool to visualize global-force distributions in large structural systems. The tool is called the global force interpreter (GFI). This paperoutlines the approach to calculating and displaying force distributions and illustrates the tool on two example structures.