Controling a Symbol's Bounding Box

Reference Number: KB-01048 Last Updated: 05-12-2014 08:01 AM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I would like to modify the bounding box around an object.  How can I accomplish this?


An object’s bounding box determines the amount of space it requires in 3D and thus how close it can be moved to other objects before it bumps into them. When a symbol is selected, its edit handles display around the perimeter of its bounding box.

When a symbol is first created, its bounding box is the same size as the actual 3D object, and in most cases this is appropriate. Some symbols in Chief Architect, however, such as toilets, have a larger bounding box to allow for extra space to their sides.

The bounding box also defines the selectable area around a symbol: when you click within an object’s bounding box, it will become selected. Similarly, the bounding box affects whether an object is included in a selection marquee.

In this article, we will walk you through increasing the size of the bounding box on a standard toilet.

First, let's take a look at the bounding box of a standard toilet in Chief Architect.

To view an object's bounding box

  1. First, launch Chief Architect and select File> New Plan  to start a new, blank plan.

  2. Select Library> Library Browser , browse to Architectural> Fixtures> Toilets, and select a toilet symbol.

    • In this example, we use the Standard toilet. 

  3. Click in the drawing area to place the selected toilet at that location.

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow towards the symbol.

  5. Using the Select Objects  tool, click on the toilet to select it.  

  6. Note that the edit handles clearly extend out to the sides of the actual toilet itself in both the 3D and 2D views.


  7. To tile the two views side-by-side, select Window> Tile Vertically  from the menu.

Now that we have observed the size of the toilet's bounding box, we are ready to make modifications to it. 

To create setback space for a symbol

  1. With the toilet still selected, click on the Open Symbol  edit button to display the Symbol Specification dialog.

  2. Select the Sizing tab.  The settings on this tab allow you to specify the size of a symbol's bounding box and how the symbol behaves when it is resized.


    Note: A symbol’s actual size cannot be changed in the Symbol Specification dialog.

  3. Under Bounding Box Dimensions, you can specify the Width, Depth and Height of the selected symbol’s bounding box.

    • The bounding box Width is always centered on the symbol’s origin point.

    • The Depth is measured from the sym­bol’s origin point towards its front.

    • The Height is measured from the sym­bol’s origin point towards its top.

    • For many symbol categories, including furnishings and fixtures, the origin is located at the bottom, back, center point of the symbol.  

      These values are measured from the symbol’s origin with 1/16" (1 mm) accuracy and these options are not available when multiple symbols are selected.

  4. For the purposes of this example, we increase the Width (X) value to 40", which will allow for 20" from the center of the toilet on either side.

  5. Next, return to the 3D tab of the Symbol Specification dialog.

  6. Under Symbol Name, let's update this information to reflect the changes that we have made to the symbol.

    • For the purposes of this example, we changed the symbol's name to Standard Toilet - 20" setback.

  7. Click OK to apply these changes.

Now we can add our modified symbol to the User Catalog in our Library Browser.

To add the modified toilet to the Library Browser

  1. With our newly edited symbol still selected, click on the Add to Library  edit button to add this modified object to the User Catalog.

    • IN X3, clicking the Add to Library edit tool will add the object to the My Library category.

    • In X2, clicking the Add to Library edit tool will add the object to the Import category.

    • You can now move the object into an unlocked subfolder.

  2. The edited toilet symbol is now ready to be added to future plans, and if you try to place it into a location where there is not the space for it, you will receive the warning message, "Area too constricted, could not position fixture or furniture item here."

You can now use the information that you learned in this tutorial to apply to other objects that you might want to edit the setback on.