Flexible Part Numbering and New Parts Management

We're significantly expanding the flexibility of part numbering in Rowan. Learn more here.

Laura Berwick avatar
Written by Laura Berwick
Updated over a week ago

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Parts Panel Overview

Here’s a quick look at the new features you’ll find in the left-hand sidebar of the Drawing Tool.

Instructions for using these features to perform your basic drawing tasks are provided at the end of this article.

What’s New

  • There’s a new Parts Panel in the Drawing Tool, where you can create parts, then drag them onto the canvas to populate them in a figure.

  • Parts can be numbered much more flexibly while still remaining synchronized across your application figures and text:

    • Autonumbering mode: Parts can be numbered in increments other than x2 and still provide all of our renumbering automation, e.g. drag to reorder parts within a figure, numbers updated when figure number changes, etc.

    • Manual numbering mode: Parts take on any number and suffix you type for them. It's that simple.

  • Parts from one figure list in the Parts Panel can be dragged onto the canvas for any figure without change. E.g., part 202 can appear in FIG. 1 without becoming part 114.

  • Any part can be used in multiple figures, and all instances will be kept consistent with any edits you make in the Parts Panel. (This replaces part “linking”.)

  • Parts can be dragged from one Parts Panel figure listing into another and will assume the numbering mode and attributes of the destination figure.

  • Many existing part operations (e.g., convert to term, edit plural, deletion, subnumbering, reordering, creating a Figure Part) are now available in the Parts panel.

  • You can now double-click a stencil to bring up on-canvas fields for entering or modifying part data and labeling associated with that stencil.

  • The default copy and paste behavior (Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V for PCs, Cmd-C/Cmd-V for Macs) will now paste copied stencils with identical part data, i.e., the same part numbers and names, replacing the previous "Paste and Link" functionality.

  • A "Paste with New Number" operation is now available under the Drawing menu or using the Ctrl+Shift+B (Cmd-Shift-B for Macs) shortcut. This action pastes copied stencils with new part numbers.

What Hasn’t Changed

  • You can continue to create your Figures exactly how you’ve always done, and only visit the Parts panel for parts operations that have been relocated there.

  • We still use the x2 numbering as the autonumbering default.

  • Parts are still associated with figures; a figure must exist to create a part within its list.

  • We still create a part when a stencil is placed on the canvas, and we still allow you to remove part numbering from a stencil.

  • We still support deleting, editing plurals for, and subnumbering individual parts, as well as converting part names to terms in the Element info panel to the right of the drawing canvas when an element is selected (now also provided through a menu in the Parts panel).

  • We still support giving a stencil a label other than its part name in the right-hand Element info panel.

What to Watch out For

  • One of the major changes we made to give you this new flexibility is that there is no longer a direct 1:1 link between parts and stencils on the canvas. For this reason, you might end up with more parts than you need, and there may be visual gaps in your on-canvas numbering for autonumbered parts.

    Don’t worry. We make it easy for you to filter, multi-select, and delete parts not found on the canvas. (See the basic task instructions below.)

  • Manual part numbering and recognition of parts from existing imported text open up an issue we previously prevented, namely, the existence of duplicate parts.

    Again, don’t worry. We will flag duplicate parts with warnings, and allow you to filter them and address them at your convenience.

More on Autonumbering and Manual Numbering

The primary goal (and major challenge) of this redesign is providing the greater control over part numbering that many users have requested to meet their needs while maintaining the functionality (automations, syncing, enforced compliance, etc.) that users have told us they value. To meet these sometimes conflicting objectives, we came up with two numbering modes: Autonumbering and Manual numbering.

Autonumbering Mode

Autonumbering mode maintains all of the functionality of the previous numbering scheme but with a greater level of flexibility. Numbers still default to a “by 2” (x2) increment, but now you can change that to other increments: x1, x4, x5, and x10. When reordering parts, part numbers will maintain their assigned multiples. For instance, you can set a number to increment x10, and its part number will end in 0 even when it is moved around to different locations in the parts list.

We believe this mode will address a majority of the workflows that users have described to us. However, if not, that’s why we added a Manual numbering mode.

Manual Numbering Mode

Manual numbering mode allows an even greater level of flexibility to match an even broader set of workflows and numbering preferences. Users can simply enter whatever number (and subnumbering suffix) they want. Part references in the specification will still be synced and will automatically update when changes are made in the drawing tool.

However, this mode does not benefit from some of the other automations, such as maintaining an order when renumbering or reordering figures. This mode also allows multiple parts to have the same number, at which point the system will provide a warning.

How to Perform Some Basic Tasks

Switch between Autonumbering and Manual Numbering Modes

  1. Click the Part Numbering Mode control in the upper-right corner of the figure parts list.

    Note that parts are collected into lists for each figure and that the numbering mode will be applied to the entire figure list.

  2. Select between the Autonumber parts and the Manually number parts options for the figure list.

    Figure lists that are autonumbered will display an “A#” at this control, and manually numbered lists will display an “M#”.

    ALL figures may be set to the same numbering mode in one operation using options found in the Multi-Part Operation menu at the upper-right of the Parts panel.

Create New Parts

As always, new parts will be created as numbered stencils are placed on the canvas. However, parts can now be created in the Parts Panel without having to place stencils.

When a Word document is imported or opened, the text will be examined for figure and part information and blank figures will be created and their parts lists populated in the Parts Panel based on detected figures and parts.

Finally, to create individual parts or a parts list in the Parts Panel:

  1. Confirm or select the desired part numbering mode for your figure list (see above).

    This can be changed later if you wish.

  2. Click the Add Part control, either at the top of the Parts Panel or as provided for empty figure lists


    Place your cursor at the end of a part name and press Enter on your keyboard.

  3. For manually numbered figure lists, type the desired part number in the field provided.


    For autonumbered lists, click the part number control to adjust the numbering increment for that part, or to set the part to a Figure Part (#00 numbered part), if desired.

    Autonumbered parts can now be numbers by 1s, by 2s, by 4s, by 5s, or by 10s. This interval can be applied individually to provide for more complex numbering logic while maintaining some of the benefits of autonumbering.

    Note that an increment can be applied to multi-selected parts (see instructions below) using the Set Increment option under the Multi-Part Operations menu to the upper-right of the Parts panel.

  4. Type the part name in the field provided.

    Stencils can be labeled with text other than the part name in the element description panel to the right of the canvas.

  5. Hit enter after typing the part name to quickly create another part in your current figure list and repeat this process.

    For autonumbered figure lists, changes made to the increment will be “sticky” when new parts are created, but can be quickly modified as desired by clicking the part number control and making a new selection.

Use a Part in a Figure Drawing

  1. Select the part(s) you wish to place on the drawing canvas (see instructions for multiple part selection below).

  2. Click the move icon to the left of the selected part(s).

  3. Drag your selected part(s) onto the drawing canvas for the desired figure.

    Note that a part from any figure list in the Parts Panel can be used both in that figure and any other figure, any number of times.

  4. Your parts will be populated using the default part number with lead line stencil. This can be changed as desired using the Default stencil for parts control at the top of the Parts Panel.

Reorder Parts/Move Parts to Different Figure List

  1. Click the move icon to the left of the part number for the part you wish to reorder.


    Select multiple parts as described below, and click the move icon next to any one of the selected parts.

  2. Mouse to drag the selected part(s) to another location within their figure list, or to a location in a different figure list.

    A gray Move to bar will indicate available drop locations as you mouse over them.

  3. Click or drop your parts at your desired new location.

    Note that parts moved to a different figure list will take on the numbering mode for that list. However, autonumbering increments will be preserved when moving between autonumbered lists.

Delete a Single Part

  1. Click the menu icon to the right of the part name and select the Delete Part option.

  2. If your part is referenced in your application and/or appears in your figures, confirm your deletion in the dialog provided.

    Note that deleting a part will remove the part data from the on-canvas stencil associated with the part, but will not remove the stencil. The stencil may be deleted separately if desired.

Delete Multiple Parts

  1. Select all of the parts you wish to delete following the instructions for multiple part selection below.

  2. Click the menu icon for Multi-Part Operations at the upper-right of the Parts panel and select the Delete Selected Parts

  3. If your parts are referenced in your application and/or appear in your figures, confirm your deletion in the dialog provided.

    Note that deleting parts will remove the part data from the on-canvas stencils associated with the part, but will not remove the stencils. The stencils may be deleted separately if desired.

Filter Your Parts List

Click the Filters dropdown at the top of the Parts Panel for selections to show:

  • All Parts

  • Unplaced parts (parts that have no associated stencil on any figure canvas)

  • Unplaced referenced parts (parts in the above list that are referenced in the specification or claims)

  • Duplicate parts (parts with the same number as other parts - only occurs when at least one figure list is manually numbered)

These filters can be combined with multiple part selection (described below) to rapidly complete operations for multiple parts.

Select Multiple Parts

Select multiple parts to perform these operations on all parts selected:

  • Dragging parts to a figure on the canvas

  • Reordering parts in a figure list

  • Dragging parts to different figure lists

  • Setting part number increments

  • Deleting parts

  • Sub-numbering parts

  • Converting part names to terms

To select multiple parts:

  1. Click the Parts panel listing for the first part you wish to select.

  2. Ctrl+Click additional part listings (Cmd+Click for Macs) to add one additional part at a time to your selection.

  3. Shift+Click a part listing at the end of a desired set of listings to select the entire range of parts in the set.

    Note that parts from multiple figures can be selected at the same time in the Part Panel, as a single range or set.

    With multiple parts selected, Multi-Part Operations available in the menu to the upper-right of the Parts panel may be performed all at once, including deletion, conversion to terms, subnumbering, and setting the numbering increment.

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