Blockpad drawings are made for crisp, clear sketches and diagrams. Plus, drawings can have text and calculations that connect with the rest of your document.
The in-depth drawing video is a great place to start for learning the drawing tools and what you can do with them.
In a top level drawing, you can zoom in and out using the mouse scroll, so detail work is easier. It's often easiest to sketch first in a top level drawing, and then copy to a report drawing.
Exit the canvas with the esc key or by double clicking outside the frame. To enter a canvas for drawing, double click it.
Drawings can also be in a multiline cell, just follow the steps above.
To move around in a top-level drawing, use the mouse scroll to zoom in and out, and use the middle click to drag the page in different directions.
When you open or enter a canvas frame, the drawing tools appear in the toolbar.
Lines and shapes make up the backbone of Blockpad drawings. All of the objects below can be inserted using tools in the toolbar.
|Points||Select the point to place it. Press esc key to end.|
|Lines||Select the start point and end point, then continue to select end points. Press esc key to end.|
|Arrow lines||Select the start point and end point, then continue to select end points. Press esc key to end.
The arrow will appear at the end of last segment.
|Freehand line||Click and drag to draw the line. Press esc key to end.|
|Rectangle||Select one corner, and then select the opposite corner.|
|Circle||Select the center and a point on the perimeter.|
|Arc||Select the center, the start point, and the end point.
For 180 deg, the end point must be counter-clockwise of the start.
Text labels are like floating spreadsheet cells in a drawing.
Use them for a line of text in the drawing, or use them as a formula for calculations or referencing values. Just like a spreadsheet cell, start with an equals sign for a formula.
To edit a text label value, double click it.
Linear dimensions are text labels with lines and arrows to illustrate the length of something.
They also act similar to spreadsheet cells, and can be text, numbers, or a formula.
Linear dimensions have a default value that corresponds to the measurement length of the dimension. To reset a linear dimension to show the measurement length, change the Use Measured Value property to Yes.
Note: the measurement length depends on the drawing scales.
Click outside of the textbox to exit, and click inside the box to edit.
For images, copy the image and then paste it into the drawing. Functionally, the image acts like a rectangle whose fill is the image.
To select a single object, just click on it. Click on empty space or another objects to deselect.
Hold ctrl and click to select and deselect multiple objects.
Click and drag to select multiple objects at a time.
Objects can be positioned behind or in front of other objects.
Select the object, right click, and select Bring to Front or Send to Back.
Point snapping makes Blockpad drawings great for engineering sketches and diagrams. It is similar to existing 2D CAD tools like Autocad.
When inserting or moving a drawing object (e.g. a line), the point you're selecting will snap to different points on existing geometry.
For example, if you start a line and place the point near the end of an existing line, the point will snap to the end.
Below are the different snap points for different kinds of objects.
In addition to these snap points, you can snap to any line while selecting a point. Line intersections also act as snap points.
|Drawing Object||Snap Points|
|Lines and arrow lines||The ends and midpoint|
|Rectangles, textboxes, and polygons||The corners and midpoints|
|Arcs||The start and end points|
|Text labels||The corners and midpoints|
|Linear dimensions||The start and end points, and the label center|
If you hover over a snap point, the point will temporarily function as a reference point and appear in light blue. Now you can snap along the horizontal or vertical lines going from the point.
Lines can be made parallel to other lines:
Lines can also be made perpendicular:
If the perpendicular line isn't exactly where you want it, use the move tools or parallel line snapping to adjust.
You can turn different point snapping features on and off using Draw>Point Snap Options in the toolbar. You can also turn point snapping off entirely.
To resize an object, click on one of the points that appear when you hover over it, and then drag the point to a new location.
While resizing, point snapping is still available, including the original geometry of the object you're changing.
For example, click on the end of a line and drag it to a new endpoint. (Note that you can use the parallel snapping on the original line to keep the same direction.)
To do a quick move for an object, click on it (not on a resizing point) and drag to the new location.
You can also select a group of objects and move them this way.
For more precision when moving objects, use the move object tool. This makes the most of point snapping.
The rotate objects tool makes it possible to rotate groups of objects in a controlled way.
*These points don't have to be on the geometry, but they often are.
To copy objects, first select them, then copy and paste, either through the right click dropdown or keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+c, ctrl+v). The reference point for pasting will be automatically determined.
For more precision, use the ctrl+shift+c shortcut to copy the objects.
Select the objects, press ctrl+shift+c, and select a reference point. Then press ctrl+v to paste the objects using the reference point.
For drawings inside a report, the width is autosized to match the margins. To change the height follow the steps below.
For top-level drawings, you can change the drawing size to whatever you'd like.
The basic properties for objects are line color, line thickness, fill color, and line pattern.
The line properties apply to any lines and any shape that has lines for an edge (e.g. rectangles or circles). You can change these properties in the toolbar or access them in the properties window.
There are a few more useful properties for different kinds of objects. These are covered below.
In general you can select an object and open the properties window to see what you can change.
You can change point size and point color in the properties window.
For arrow lines and linear dimensions, you can change the arrow size (length and width). For arrow lines, you can also set it so that the arrow shows at the beginning, end, or both. Do this in the properties window.
Shapes like rectangles and circles have the option to show only the edge, only the fill, or both.
The default is to show both. To change this, use the Shape Type property in the properties window.
Text formatting is available for text labels and linear dimensions.
The "box" for a textbox acts like a rectangle shape: it can have edges, fill color, and things like that.
Style rules give you the power to change the default property settings for objects. In general they can be used for any kind of content in Blockpad - text, equations, cells, etc.
For drawing objects, you can set the formatting you want for lines and shapes just once. Then if you need to make a formatting change, it applies to everything under the rule.
Now any objects that you create will have these properties. Also, any existing object with default properties will be updated.
You can override the style rules by changing an object's properties like normal.
You can use the keyboard to input point coordinates or to specify the distance a point is from a reference point.
For points specified by typed-in coordinates, the canvas works as a coordinate plane with the origin at the bottom left.
The units of the coordinate plane are determined by the base unit property of the canvas.
Also, changing the canvas scale or measurement scale affect how this coordinate plane works.
You can also specify the length of a line or the distance of a point from another reference point.
Like typing in a point, the number you type in corresponds to the base unit, canvas scale, and measurement scale.
When the distance is specified, you use the mouse to give the orientation that determines the final point.
To understand the scales in Blockpad drawings, an analogy to paper is helpful.
Practically, changing the canvas size, canvas scale, and the measurement scale have different affects on the drawing and the tools.
Changing the canvas size is used to change the size of the "paper" you're working on. It's covered under formatting.
Changing the measurement scale affects the measurement length used for linear dimensions.
For example, say there is 1 inch linear dimension. If the measurement scale is changed to 10, then the linear dimension will show as 10 in.
Also, changing the measurement scale will affect the location and length of points inserted using the keyboard. (This can be turned off by changing ruler mode from scale to ruler in the toolbar).
For example, say the measurement scale is 10. If you type in 15 while setting the length of a line, the line will be 1.5 inches when compared to the page size.
The canvas scale controls how big objects appear relative to the canvas size. If you increase the canvas scale, the objects get larger, and if you decrease it the objects get smaller.
Note that this also affects the size and location of keyboard inputs.
In general it's best to use the canvas scale for resizing geometry when the on-paper scale isn't very important. So, typically Canvas Scale and Measurement Scale aren't used together.