Chapter 4 Return to the Introduction Visit SmartDraw OnLine Learning - 350 Classes

Chapter 3 – Working with templates and shapes

SmartDraw provides hundreds of templates for you to use as a starting point for a drawing. You will use one of these templates in this chapter. You will open an office layout template, ungroup some objects, delete some, add others, and design an office. (Please note, your screen may differ from the screen captures shown here. This does not interfere with the operation of the program or how you complete the exercises.)

Exercise 3-1: Opening a template

  1. Open SmartDraw if it is not open.
  2. Go to the File menu and choose New.
    If you have not turned off the Welcome dialog, click on Create a new drawing.
  3. Double click on the Floor Plans and Facilities button.
  4. Go to the SmartDraw Explorer Libraries, Templates, and Examples  Standard  Floor Plans  Templates and Examples  Example – Office-3.
  5. Double Click to open the Example file.
  6. Save the file as Exercise3_1 in the folder you created.
  7. Go to the View menu  Define Rulers and Grids….
    Notice the scale is set to 48 inches displays as 1 inch or ¼"=1' 0". This means that a four-foot wide desk would be one inch in the drawing. Each object you drag out from the Library will be sized exactly. This
    is the default setting for the Floor Plans & Facilities templates.
  8. Click OK.
    The ruler will display the scale, not the actual measurements. For example, at the 1-inch tic, it says 48.
  9. Go to the View menu and choose 200%.
    You can examine the parts of the office layout in detail at this magnification.
  10. Go to the Program Toolbar and choose the Scale down button.
  11. Click on the picture.
    You will be moved out a set percentage so you can see more of the drawing.
  12. Go to the View menu Fit to Window.
    You will see the drawing in the upper left corner of the working area. The working area in SmartDraw is quite large because it is used for drawings like building blueprints and landscape designs that are printed on wide format printers and plotters.
  13. Go to the View and choose 100%.
    This moves you close to the actual size of the drawing. The accuracy of this display depends on the quality and size of your monitor and the size of the SmartDraw window.

Exercise 3-2: Working with objects

  1. Click on the arrows at the bottom of the right hand vertical scroll bar until the Table in the corner of the drawing is showing.
  2. Click on the table.
    Notice that the selection indication boxes are on the outside edge of the drawing. This shows the objects in the drawing have been Grouped. They are considered as one object for many effects and purposes such as moving and sizing but as separate objects for things such as editing text and color.
  3. Go to the Edit Menu  Clear.
    You will not need to use the outline or informational table for this exercise. If your work involves creating floor plans or facilities plans, the templates will have these elements already in place for you.
  4. Scroll back up to the top office in the drawing.
  5. Select the cabinet in the corner.
  6. Hold down the Shift key and select the plant and the scanner on cabinet to the right.
    Shift Selection allows you to effect several objects at one time. It is a Windows function and works in most Windows applications.
    Or you can use the Select Multiple Objects tool on the Program Toolbar.
  7. Go to the Edit menu and choose the Clear command.
    Or use the Delete key.

  8. Use the Shift Select to select the chairs and the computers.
    If you accidentally select the wrong object, you can unselect it without losing the rest of the objects. This is a Windows function that works in most Windows programs.
    The Select Multiple Objects tool will also unselect one object from a selection group without unselecting the whole group.
  9. Go to the Arrange menu and choose the Group option.
    Or use Ctrl+G
  10. Hold down the left mouse button and move the Group out of the room onto the page.
    Notice how the cursor icon changes to signify you can move the objects. The cursor icon gives you a cue as to which function of the program you are using. This is very helpful because the change is dynamic, the program does it automatically depending on where you are over an object and which mouse button you are pressing
  11. The Group moves as one piece and the objects within the group remain in the same spatial relationship to each other. You can drag the corner boxes of the group and resize the objects within the group. They will stay in proportion to each other but are still separate objects.
  12. Go to the Edit menu  Clear to delete the group.
    Or go to the Edit menu  Undo Delete. (Ctrl+Z)
    You can reverse any action up to 100 steps using this function. It is also available with the buttons on the Program Toolbar. Left is Undo last done. Right is Redo last Undo.
  13. Go back to the room drawing and use Select Multiple Objects on the rest of the objects in the room.
  14. Go to the Arrange menu and Group the objects.
  15. Move the objects out of the room.
  16. Go to the Arrange menu and choose the Ungroup option.
    Or use Ctrl+Shift+G. The objects are still group selected but not gathered together in a Group. You can still affect them as a group but if you click in the space between them, they will be unselected and attempting to move one will not move them all. To keep them together, you must Group them.
  17. Go to the Edit menu and choose the Clear option or use the Delete key.
    Many functions in most Windows programs will have both a menu option and a Keyboard combination. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong here.
  18. Save the file.

In the next exercise, you will add furniture to the office. You will retain the walls, and doors of the room for these exercises. As you explore the Libraries, you will find all the elements to design offices from a one room, home office to the layout for a cubicle maze with hundreds of stations. In the last exercise of this chapter, you will create an office from scratch.

Exercise 3-2: Adding objects

  1. Go to the SmartDraw Explorer and open the Work Surfaces Library.
  2. Move the selection icon over the various sections to see the type of surfaces available. These are those parts that clip into the walls of cubicles.
  3. Choose the 24/42 corner cut out and drag it to the drawing.
    When you drag the corner unit into the office, it is facing the wrong way.
  4. To rotate the desk by hand, use the spot in the object. Click here to see a video of how to rotate an object by hand.
  5. Add a 24/60 surface to the left side of the corner unit and a 24/42 surface to the right side of the corner unit.
    The 24/42 unit must also be rotated.
  6. Go to the Arrange menu  Rotate  Vertical Down.
    To rotate the 24/42 exactly, use Arrange  Rotate  Set Angle… with a setting of 90
    °. Notice this is much more exact and faster than doing it by hand.
  7. Drag the table back to the wall.
  8. Open the Chair Library.
  9. Drag the Desk chair with Arms to the drawing and place it by the work surface. If needed, rotate the chair.
  10. Drag the chair up to the desk as if it were pushed into the kneehole of the desk.
  11. Go to the Arrange menu and choose Send to the Back.
    The chair now is “under” the desk.
  12. Close the Chair Library and the Work Surfaces Library.

Note: If the Snap function is keeping the objects from being placed exactly where you want them, use the arrow keys to nudge the objects into place or turn off the snap while you are arranging objects. The objects in the drawing will move in the direction of the arrows, for example, the up arrow moves the object toward the top of the screen.

Exercise 3-3: Aligning the parts of the desk

The nudge function works pretty well if you don’t need to be exact. However, few drawings are done with that little precision. The Align function allows you to cause two or more objects to be arranges in a straight line along a point you choose. In this exercise you will select the work surfaces and align them along their tops, or against the wall.

  1. Select the 24/60 work surface unit  the corner work unit.
    You will align the long work surface to the corner cutout. The guide or correctly placed object must be selected last.
  2. Go to the Arrange menu  Align.
  3. Choose top.
    You can choose left side, right side, middle, top, bottom or center. The objects will align to that point using the last object chosen as a guide.
    Click here to see how this works.
  4. To move the surfaces closer together, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge them.

Save the file when you are finished.

Exercise 3-4: Closing a docked Library

To close a docked Library, you must first undock the Library. This can be done one of two ways.

  1. Right click on the Library  Detach toolbar.
  2. Go to the Library menu  Close the Library.


  1. Hold down the mouse cursor over the end of the toolbar  drag to the work area.
  2. Use the Windows close button at the upper right corner of the floating Library window.

In the next exercise you will design an office from scratch. SmartDraw has a Tutorial on its web site on office design. It contains may suggestions on how far apart objects need to be such as room for file drawers to open and traffic spaces. You can see this Tutorial at

 Exercise 3-5: Building an office from scratch

  1. Open a new Floor Plan file.
    You can have more than one file open in SmartDraw.
  2. The Walls, Windows, and Doors Library is docked it above the work area.
    This is the default with the Floor Plan and Facilities basic template. The scale will also be set the same as the previous file, ¼˝ = 1 foot.
  3. Save the file as exercise3_5 in your class folder.
  4. Click on the Wall object and drag it to the drawing area.
    The default wall is 3 inches thick by 120 inches long or 10 feet.
  5. Go to the Arrange menu  Rotate.
  6. Choose Vertical  Up.
    The wall object will be rotated 90°
  7. Go to the Arrange menu  Position and Size….
    Use the setting shown below.

    This places the wall section two inches from the side of the page and two inches from the top. The wall is now 144″ or 12 feet long.
  8. Duplicate the wall using the Ctrl+D.
    An exact copy of the first object is placed down and to the right.
  9. Go to the Arrange menu and Rotate this wall 90° down.
  10. Go to the Position and Size… and place it at 48″ and 21″.
    This will keep the insides of the walls touching.
  11. Place two more 12-foot walls so you have a 12 square room.
    You can drag the walls into position and then fine-tune the positioning with the Position and Size dialog
  12. Go to the docked Library and drag out a 36″ door.
    In an office, you need the wider doors so you can move equipment in and out.
  13. Place the door in the lower right corner of the room.
  14. Go to the Docked Library and add windows to two of the walls.
    If the windows are difficult to place due to the snap, use the Align function under the Arrange menu. Select both the wall object and the window object. Choose the Center for vertical walls or middle option for horizontal walls. The window sections will cover the gray fill used on the wall objects.

Exercise 3-6: Putting objects into the office

In this exercise, you will transfer some of the objects from the first office plan to the new office plan. Remember that this office is smaller than the first one so not all the objects will fit.

  1. Go to the Window menu and choose Tile Windows.
    You may want to close the SmartDraw Explorer so you have a lot of working area.
  2. Go to the first office and select objects you want to have in the new office.
  3. Use Copy and Paste to move that object to the new office.
  4. Remember to use the Multiple Object Select tool to bring groups of objects from one drawing to the second.
  5. Save both files and close them.
    You will use these files in later chapters.

Changing Shapes

In some cases, the symbol in the Library will be close to what you need but not exactly. For example, in the office you are designing, they have all flat screen monitors. There is no symbol for this recently developed device. You will now edit the Monitor symbol in the Office Furniture Library so it resembles a flat screen monitor and add it to your Library.

Exercise 3-6: Editing a shape

  1. Open a new file.
  2. Open the Symbols SmartDraw Explorer  Libraries, Templates, and Examples  Floor Plans & Facilities  Libraries  Office.
  3. Choose the Monitor object and drag it to the work area.
  4. Zoom into the object with the Scale up tool.
  5. Go to the Arrange menu and Ungroup the object.
  6. Delete the back shape and the two circles.
  7. Select the rectangular object that is left and make it shorter from top to bottom.
  8. Use the arrow keys to move the bowed piece down to the now shorter piece.
  9. Go to the Edit menu  Select All.
    Or use the Ctrl+A, a standard Windows function. Because the monitor is the only object on your drawing area, you can use this function.
  10. Group the three objects together.
  11. Select the object and drag it to the open Library section dialog.
  12. SmartDraw asks if you want to add this object to your Library.
  13. Click OK.
    The Edit symbol dialog is displayed. You can now add the name of the object and change its properties. Use the settings show above.
  14. Click OK.

The object is now a part of your Office Library section. Note that this Library section was not full. If the Library section has 40 objects in it, SmartDraw will not allow you to drag the object to the Library section dialog. The Symbol name will display on the section dialog according to what you have typed.

Exercise 3-8: Changing the shape of a work surface to complete the office layout

  1. Open the file Exercise 3_1 that you created in the first exercise of this chapter.
  2. Open the Work Surfaces Library in the Standards  Floor Plans  Work Surfaces.
  3. Find the surface called Extended Radius-End Table.
  4. Drag it into the office and place it in the upper left corner so the work surface extends the width of the wall. The surface does not fix exactly.
  5. Align the three parts of the work surface by their tops.
    (Hint: Align menu  tops. Be sure the corner unit is the last one selected. The other two units will be aligned to the corner unit.)
  6. Zoom into the object with the Scale up tool.
  7. Use the lower right selection indicator box and make the surface smaller until it fits in the corner of the room.
    Drag up and to the left.
    Now it fits, but the edges of the table don’t match!
  8. Go to the Arrange menu and Ungroup the object.
    You know it is grouped because you can see several objects and there are only four selection boxes showing.
  9. Select the surface outline.
    Click directly on the outline of the surface.
  10. Go to the Shapes menu  Edit Shape Outline.
    The selection indicator boxes change to Adjustment handles and shows the lines you can change.
  11. Move the Adjustment handle (circled in the screen capture above) down to the edge of the surface beside it.
    The curve will adjust so it curves in instead of out.
  12. Place your cursor over the Adjustment Handle (marked 2) and drag it so the curve is smooth. 
  13. Use the Adjustment Handles on the end curve to extend the surface towards the door but be sure you don’t interfere with the door opening. 
  14. Select the surface size indicator text, the small box at the upper left corner, and the circle.
  15. Group them together.
    Your office is ready!

Of course, in real life, such a custom work surface might not be available unless you were doing several hundred offices but here in class, we can pretend.


  1. What is a template and where do you find them?
  2. What keeps objects together so they can be sized or moved and stay in relation to each other?
  3. How can you eliminate objects from a drawing?
  4. You only need to move an object a bit to have it in the right position and the mouse is moving it too far. What do you use?
  5. You only want part of an object to show. How do you move one object under another object?
  6. What are ways to quickly make a copy of an object?
  7. You delete something by mistake. How do you get it back?
  8. What happens if you drag a new symbol to a Library that has 39 objects already in it?
Chapter 4 Return to the Introduction Visit SmartDraw OnLine Learning - 350 Classes

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