Editing 2D CAD Blocks Assigned to 3D Symbols

Reference Number: KB-00805
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

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 outlet 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, particularly with electrical symbols, you may want to change something about the 2D display of a symbol.


To edit the display in 2D of an electrical symbol

  1. Select View> Library Browser , and browse to the appropriate electrical 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> Wall Mounted> Garbage Disposal.

  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.

    Chief Architect X4 and prior, this CAD block was titled Food Waste Disposal.

    • 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 at that location.

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

      In this case, instead of being red like the outlet is in the plan, the CAD block will place with black lines. 

  3. For the purposes of this example, we will modify the text associated with the block and make it larger.  

    • To increase the size of the CAD block, select it to highlight it and drag a diamond shaped move handle away from the center of the block until you achieve the desired size.  

    • To edit 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 to display the Text Specification dialog.  

    • 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 Text Specification dialog.

    • Resize and move the text box to where you want it.  

    • Press the Spacebar on your keyboard to activate the Select Objects  tool then, while holding down the Shift key, left-click and drag a marquee around the objects.  

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

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

  4. In the CAD Block Specification dialog, type a short, descriptive name for the CAD block appropriate for the block you created.  

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

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

  6. 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.  

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

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

  8. You can also add the symbol with its customized 2D block to your User Catalog folder in the Library Browser for future use by selecting the symbol and clicking the Add to Library  edit tool.