DraftLogic Electrical Symbol Appearance Modification

General support questions regarding the use of DraftLogic Electrical that don't fit into any of the more specific forums.

DraftLogic Electrical Symbol Appearance Modification

Postby forumadmin » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:09 pm

So you have given the out-of-the-box DraftLogic Electrical symbols (aka blocks) a test drive and have decided that one, some, or all of them don't look how you want.

Good news, changing symbol appearance is low risk, low time, and can be tackled at whatever pace you want...a symbol a day, a symbol a week, or fifty symbols in a day.

What Can Be Modified?

Symbol appearance can be modified by either replacing the DraftLogic Electrical symbol’s geometry or by changing it. The only constraint in this regard is ensuring to add ‘snap points’ at locations similar to where the existing symbols have them, as these snap points are how the branch circuit wiring code is told to connect symbols when it is automatically drawing lines. So you can materially modify the appearance of any of the symbols. Symbol insertion points must also be kept in the same relative positions so that the DraftLogic Electrical automatic snapping and rotating continue to work as designed. The DraftLogic Electrical symbols are all drawn in mm and need to stay that way--when your 'Drawing Unit Represents' project parameter is set to anything other than mm, DraftLogic Electrical automatically scales the symbols as appropriate.

How About Attribute Modifications?

We're keeping things focused on cosmetic changes in this particular forums entry, so changes to attributes in the block definitions should be limited to the relative location of attributes to the block, the text style and justification of the attributes, and finally the visible/invisible status of each individual attribute. All of these can be modified as you wish. Changing attribute names or adding or deleting attributes requires more thought, some database work, and potentially changes to our code...so don't attempt to change, add, or delete attribute names without contacting us. Default values for attributes can be modified by you, but these are maintained in the DraftLogic Electrical database rather than the block definitions, so do not use the 'default value' field for AutoCAD attributes--contact us to discuss.

How About Schedule Blocks?

These are readily modifiable under similar constraints to the other symbols, but not exactly. This forums entry is a good start on tips for modifying schedule blocks but is not exhaustive, give us a call to discuss what you want to achieve so we can provide any additional tips needed.


There are some key things to stay aware of or do whenever you are modifying DraftLogic Electrical symbols. Please stay familiar with these, as following them will prevent most puzzles from ever happening.
A. Draft in mm. Symbols are automatically scaled for the other units options.
B. Review where the snap points (near zero length polylines) are on each symbol before replacing or changing the geometry. Keep the same/similar number and relative location of snap points to ensure that Automated Branch Circuit wiring can nicely connect to the modified symbol. It is likely easiest to move/copy the existing snap points rather than create new ones.
C. All symbols should be kept to same general size for esthetic reasons. Some symbols, like luminaires that are meant to snap into tbar or the single line diagram symbols must be kept to the same size and/or have edge connecting lines in the same location (i.e. single line diagram symbols 'snap' together like LEGO).
D. Keep the insertion point in the same relative location, use the INSBASE command to learn where it is set already or draw a temporary line snapping to 'ins' to mark it. The relative location of the insertion points keep our high volume move & copy tools doing what they are supposed to do.
E. Backup, backup, backup! Keep a backup of the original DraftLogic Electrial symbol for a quick and easy rollback in case you run into trouble. Keep multiple and separate backups of your completed work out of the Program Files\DraftLogic Electrical folder (and another backup on at least one separate machine) just in case you need to remove DraftLogic Electrical from the workstation in question (e.g. for transfer to a new workstation). You don't want to inadvertently delete all your work customizing symbol appearance!


Here's the steps to follow to modify symbol appearances. You can perform the steps block by block or in batches of similar blocks:
1. The blocks are located in the Program Files(x86)\DraftLogic Electrical\Server\blk folder (x86 not present on most 32bit version of Windows), locate the symbol(s) you want to change in this directory and backup the originals to another folder. Refer to the attached spreadsheet for a cross reference between the block file names and the longer, friendlier name that appears at the top of the Attribute Editor or in the Legend of Symbols.
2. Using only DraftLogic Electrical build 671 or newer, open the .DWG block file. In prior versions, the Drawing Validator would remove the near zero length snap points as it thinks they are merely drawing clutter; version 671 or higher suppresses the Drawing Validator auto execute for non-DL project drawings.
3. Modify as desired within the constraints mentioned above in regards to symbol geometry and attributes. You can paste in geometry from your existing symbols library instead of redrawing from scratch, just ensure to scale to mm and have the block insert point set in the same relative position & to move the snap points to the same relative positions. Take care not to delete or change any attribute names, this includes the single letters that show up in the middle of some blocks like the dimmer switch. You can change attributes between visible/invisible as you desire, that will not affect DraftLogic Electrical.
4. Save over the old definition in the blk directory with the same name. Important: do not change block names, the new name will not be recognized by DraftLogic Electrical. Repeat steps 2-4 for as many symbols as you wish, keeping track of those you modified so you know what to test in the following steps.
5. Using the tool palette and/or toolbars, test inserting all changed blocks to ensure inserts go as expected. Use our tutorial drawing that has complete wall/window/door/tbar layers to test the auto snap and rotate feature of DraftLogic Electrical that should work for your modified block as well as it did for the original...if you maintained the insertion base point properly.
6. If the symbol is a device that is circuited, assign circuiting and test the Automated Branch Circuit Wiring.
7. If you didn't add, delete, or rename any attributes, all automation that needs to work with the symbol(s) should not be affected. Test schedules that depend on the modified symbols to ensure this is the case.

Updating Existing Projects With New Geometry

If you want to replace the original appearance of a symbol in an existing drawing, open the drawing and type 'PDLFIXBLOCK' at the command line. It will ask which symbols you want to update (wildcard * supported) or use * to force an update of all. E.g. if I had updated all the low voltage symbols, I would specify 'LV*' when asked what I wanted to update. PDLFIXBLOCK will get the most recent block definition from the blk directory and update all symbols in the drawing except those showing on the Legend of Symbols. After running PDLFIXBLOCK, you will need to delete any Legend of Symbols, purge, and rerun those reports to have them update. Note that PDLFIXBLOCK maintains all attribute and xdata on symbols it updates in addition to location, rotation, and scale...so it is a nondestructive update.
DraftLogic Electrical Symbol File Names and Descriptions
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