Controlling a Symbol's Bounding Box

Reference Number: KB-01048
Last Modified: July 20, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


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

Bathroom with two sinks, bathtub and a toilet


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 select-able 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.

To view an object's bounding box

  1. Select View> Library Browser , and browse to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Fixtures> Toilets, and select the Standard Toilet symbol.  

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

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

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

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

    Bounding box for a toilet can be seen in 2D and 3D.   

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

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

To adjust a symbol's bounding box

  1. With the toilet still selected, click on the Open Symbol  edit button.

  2. On the Sizingpanel of the Symbol Specification dialog that opens, under Bound Box Dimenions:

    Sizing panel of the Symbol Specification dialog where bounding box properties can be adjusted

    • Specify the Width (X) of the bounding box. This is always centered on the symbol’s origin point.

    • Specify the Depth (Y) of the bounding box. This is measured from the symbol's origin point towards its front.

    • Specify the Height (Z) of the bounding box. This 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, as shown here with this toilet.   

    Note: A symbol’s actual size cannot be changed in the Symbol Specification dialog. Bounding box dimensions are measured from the symbol's origin with 1/16" accuracy. These options are not available when multiple symbols are selected.

  3. Once all desired changes have been made, click OK to apply them and close the dialog.

Now you can add the modified symbol to the User Catalog in the 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.

  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 enough 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.