The shapes available are described in many published standards worldwide, and a number of specialist and proprietary cross sections are also available.
- I-beam (I-shaped cross-section – in Britain these include Universal Beams (UB) and Universal Columns (UC); in Europe it includes the IPE, HE, HL, HD and other sections; in the US it includes Wide Flange (WF) and H sections)
- Z-Shape (half a flange in opposite directions)
- HSS-Shape (Hollow structural section also known as SHS (structural hollow section) and including square, rectangular, circular (pipe) and elliptical cross sections)
- Angle (L-shaped cross-section)
- Structural channel, or C-beam, or C cross-section
- Tee (T-shaped cross-section)
- Rail profile (asymmetrical I-beam)
- Bar, a piece of metal, rectangular cross sectioned (flat) and long, but not so wide so as to be called a sheet.
- Rod, a round or square and long piece of metal, see also rebar and dowel.
- Plate, metal sheets thicker than 6 mm or 1⁄4 in.
- Open web steel joist
While many sections are made by hot or cold rolling, others are made by welding together flat or bent plates (for example, the largest circular hollow sections are made from flat plate bent into a circle and seam-welded).