Customizing a CAD Block

Reference Number: KB-00500
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

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 category, 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?


The CAD Blocks library category contains generic drawings 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.

To customize a CAD block

  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. 

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

    • A new CAD Detail window opens, ready for you to place and edit a drawing.

  2. Select View> Library Browser  to open the Library Browser.

    In Chief Architect X5 and prior, the Library Browser can be found by going to the Library Menu button and choosing Library Browser. 

    • Click the plus  sign beside CAD Blocks to expand the category.

    • Browse to find a drawing that is similar to what you need.

    • Click on the name of the drawing or its image in either library preview pane to select it.

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

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

  5. Click the Explode CAD Block  edit button so the CAD detail will no longer be a single, unmodifiable unit.

    Instead, you will see that it is composed of multiple individual CAD lines. Each of these can be modified and again blocked together as necessary. 

  6. It is possible to embed a CAD block within another CAD block. If, after clicking Explode CAD Block, 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. 

  7. When your drawing is edited to suit your needs, you can turn it into a CAD block:

    • Click the Select Objects  edit button to select it.

    • Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and draw a rectangular selection marquee around the entire drawing.

    • When you release your mouse button, everything within the marquee will be selected.

    • Click the Make CAD Block  edit button.

  8. Your new CAD block can be added to your library, as well:

    • Click on the CAD block to select it.

    • Click the Add to Library  edit button to add the block directly to the Library Browser. You can then Rename the block and move it to the appropriate folder that you have created for it.