Editing 2D CAD Blocks Assigned to 3D Symbols

Reference Number: KB-00805
Last Modified: January 14, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I want to change the 2D display of a symbol from the library such as an electrical switch or built-in appliance. How can I do this?


Architectural objects in the library are represented in floor plan view by 2D CAD blocks. In some cases, you may want to change something about the 2D display of a symbol.


To edit the 2D display of a symbol

  1. Select View> Library Browser , and browse to the appropriate symbol you would like to use, and place it in your plan.

    For the purposes of this example, we will browse to Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing> Electrical> Switches> Garbage Disposal Switch.

    Garbage Disposal placed onto a wall

  2. Select CAD> CAD Block Management  from the menu, and in the list of CAD blocks, find the Garage Disposal CAD block and select it.

    Garbage Disposal CAD block selected in the CAD Block Management dialog

    • Click the Insert button to close the CAD Block Management dialog. Notice that your cursor displays the CAD Block  icon.  

    • Click somewhere in the drawing area to place a copy of the selected CAD block.

      As the CAD block will be placed on the Default CAD layer, its line color may be different than it appears when it is applied to a library symbol.

  3. For the purposes of this example, we will enlarge the CAD Block and change the color of the "GD" text.

    • To increase the size of the CAD Block, select it to highlight it and drag one of the corner edit handles away from the center of the block until you achieve the desired size.  

      Using the corner edit handle to increase the size of the CAD Block

    • To edit the content of the CAD Block, begin by selecting it and clicking the Explode CAD Block  edit button.  

    • To modify the text in the CAD Block, select the textbox, and click on the Open Object edit button.  

    • In the Text Specification dialog, you can modify the text you would like to see, as well as adjust its Font, Color, and other attributes on the Text Style panel.

      For the purposes of this example, we will uncheck By Layer for the Text Color, and specify a red color. Also, make sure that Rotate with Plan is not selected, then click OK to close the dialog.

      Text color changed to red

    • Click on the Select Objects  tool, then left-click and drag a marquee around the objects.

      Selection marquee created around CAD and text

    • With all of the objects selected, click the Make CAD Block  edit button to block the objects back together.

  4. Select the block and click the Open Object edit button.

  5. On the General panel of the CAD Block Specification dialog that displays, type a short, descriptive name for the CAD block appropriate for the block you created.  

    Specify the Block Name on the General panel of the CAD Block Specification dialog

    In this example, we will name the CAD Block "Custom Garbage Disposal" then click OK.  

  6. To use this newly created CAD block for the electrical symbol, select the Garbage Disposal Switch symbol you placed in your plan in Step 1, and click the Open Symbol  button on the edit toolbar.

  7. On the 2D Block panel of the Symbol Specification dialog, select the block created in the previous step from the list of Available CAD Blocks, then click OK.

    Selecting the Custom Garbage Disposal CAD Block on the 2D Block panel of the Symbol Specification

    CAD blocks that have nested blocks within them cannot be assigned to 3D objects or to images. 

  8. The symbol will now display the CAD block you created as its 2D symbol. 

    Custom 2D CAD Block specified for an electrical symbol

  9. You can now add the symbol with its customized 2D block to your User Catalog folder in the Library Browser by selecting the symbol and clicking the Add to Library  edit tool.