Customizing a CAD Block or Detail

Reference Number: KB-00500
Last Modified: April 6, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I have been looking at the CAD details in the Chief Architect CAD Blocks library folder, and these are not exactly what I need. Is there a way to edit one of these drawings to make it meet my particular needs?

Exposed Rafters CAD detail containing text, lines, and polylines


The CAD Blocks library folder contains generic details that are intended to be a starting point for you to create the exact detail drawing that you need.

When you find one that is similar to what you need but requires some changes, use the procedure below to explode the block and edit it as needed.

Additional CAD details can also be located in the CAD Blocks and Details bonus catalog found in the 3D Library. For more information on obtaining additional catalogs, please refer to KB-00090: Obtaining Library Content.

To customize a CAD block or detail

  1. You can place CAD drawings in any of several view types; however, CAD Detail windows are intended specifically to help you organize the CAD drawings in use in your plan.

    • Select CAD> CAD Detail Management from the menu.   

    • In the CAD Detail Management dialog, click the New button.

      Create a New CAD Detail in the CAD Detail Management dialog box.

    • In the Create New CAD Detail dialog, type a descriptive name for your new drawing, then click OK.

      Name your new CAD Detail

    • A new CAD Detail window will open, ready for you to place and edit blocks and details.

  2. If the Library Browser side window is not already open, navigate to View> Library Browser .

    • Navigate to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> CAD Blocks. If you downloaded the bonus catalog mentioned at the top of this article, you can also browse to Chief Architect Bonus Catalogs> CAD Blocks and Details.

    • Browse to find a block or detail that is similar to what you need, then click on it to select it.

  3. When you move your cursor into your drawing area, your cursor will display the CAD Block icon. Click to place the selected CAD block at that location.

  4. Using the Select Objects tool, click on the newly placed CAD block to select it.

  5. In X13 and newer versions, select the Edit CAD Block edit button to open a separate window. Notice that the CAD block is no longer a single, non-editable unit. Instead, you will be able to select and modify each individual CAD line, polyline, and text object.

    In X12 and prior versions, click the Explode CAD Block edit button instead. Do note that a separate window will not open when selecting this tool.

    It is possible to nest a CAD block within another CAD block. If, after clicking Edit CAD Block or Explode CAD Block tool, you find an object that you cannot edit as expected, click on it to select and then check the Edit toolbar for the Explode CAD Block edit button. If you find this button, click on it and continue editing.

  6. When your CAD detail is edited to suit your needs, select Tools> Active View> Save Active View in X13 and newer versions. You may be prompted with a Question dialog asking if you'd like to replace all instances of the block with the copy you have modified. Choose your desired option to proceed.

    In X12 and prior versions, create a selection marquee using the Select Objects tool, then use the Make CAD Block edit button to block it back together.

  7. Your modified CAD detail can also be added to your library for future use; click on the CAD block to select it, then click the Add to Library edit button to add the block to the User Catalog section located in the Library Browser.