Let’s walk through the creation of a patent drawing using Rowan drafting's Drawing Tool.

When you open a new Rowan drafting document, you will be presented with the main document window. To open the Drawing Tool:

  • Click the "Add" button in the upper left and select New Empty Drawing

  • or select the Drawings menu and click New Drawing... or Drawing Tool...

This will display the Drawing Tool window which is made up of the Tool Bar, the Sidebar, the Canvas, and the Element Inspector, and the Sheet Sorter.

Your first figure will be automatically labeled with a figure label (e.g., FIG. 1) at the bottom of the sheet. The figure number and lead line will not be automatically populated. To add one, select the figure label and the Part 100 (or similar) option from the Element Inspector.

Select the figure number in the upper right and use the Element Inspector to add a Part Name if desired.

Using Stencils

Rowan drafting comes with over 150 different stencils, including common shapes, flowchart elements, lines and brackets, icons, and more. Additionally, you can use any SVG image as a stencil.

  • Drag a rectangle stencil from the Sidebar on the Canvas to create your first drawing part. Rowan drafting will automatically number the part.

With the part selected, notice that there are several control points on each edge. These control points can be used to resize the part. 

If you drag another stencil to the Canvas, you can connect the two parts using a Link.

  • Using your mouse, select the part you want to link from and drag out a connecting link from the Link Source icon.

  • Drag the link over your target part and you’ll see a green “plus” icon for Mac users, or a plus sign next to the cursor arrow for PC users. Release the mouse, and your two parts will be linked. 

Links may also be added by selecting and dragging a link stencil onto the Canvas from the Side Bar

The link itself can be selected, which will reveal anchor points and control points you can use to modify link behavior.

Blue control points allow you to change which stencils are linked or where a link end terminates when not connected to a stencil. In the image above, you could grab the right-most blue control point and drag it from Part 104 to Part 106 in order to change part 102’s link. You could also drag it away from Part 104 and drop it on the canvas, leaving the arrow end unanchored.

Additional blue control points may be added by clicking the link where a control point is desired. These control points may be added to create corners in a straight or angled link or to customize curvature in a curved link. The new control points can be dragged with the mouse to adjust corners and curvature.

Note that for links anchored to stencils on both ends, moving the anchoring stencils together will preserve the relative attachment of the link. However, if only one stencil is moved, or if a link has one end unanchored, the additional control points will remain fixed to the canvas and will need to be moved manually if desired.

Orange anchor points allow you to fine-tune the start and end-points of the link where it connects to a stencil. When you drop a link end onto a stencil, the link end will anchor to the point on the stencil where you drop it. You may drag this anchor point around within the stencil to adjust the anchor location, or you may double click the anchor point to center it horizontally and vertically within the stencil. Links created with the stencil’s link icon will have a start point that is by default anchored to the center of the originating stencil.

Parts and stencils may be resized using the Width and Height fields in the Element Inspector, and the part’s aspect ratio (the proportions of its width with regard to its height) may be locked or unlocked in the same area. For example, if the part labeled ID below needs to be a circle, regardless of its dimensions, the width and height may be set to the same value, and the lock icon clicked. Then the dimensions of the ID shape may be adjusted using the control points or the Element Inspector, but the shape will remain circular, the width and height both changing with each adjustment.

For your convenience in fitting your stencils to your text, you can find a button that will resize horizontally to fit your text, as well as a button to resize vertically to fit your text, in the element inspector.

In the image above, the stencil to the top left has more text than will fit within its bounding lines. It may be quickly resized horizontally by pressing the button indicated in blue, or may be resized vertically by pressing the button indicated in magenta, with the respective results indicated in those colors.

Many stencils are also editable with regard to vertices and curvature. Once you've added a stencil, double click the stencil on the drawing canvas to enable the editor. Red dots will appear at each editable stencil vertex.

Drag a red dot to reshape the stencil.

On stencils or shapes with arcs, you can adjust the shape of the arc anchored by the red dot. (Coming in the next release: add arcs to straight lines too.)

Double click on any segment to add a red dot (vertex). Double-click a red dot to remove a vertex. Click anywhere else on the canvas to deactivate stencil editing.

Shapes can also be freely rotated across 360°. Click on the rotate icon next to the shape and drag to rotate.

You can also use the Rotate options in the Element Description panel, either to enter the degree of rotation you want, or to rotate the stencil or shape in 90° increments left or right using the rotation arrows.

The label and part number will remain upright to the page orientation.

Stencils can be dragged and dropped around the canvas using your mouse. To lock stencil motion along a single axis, press Shift as you drag the stencil. As you move the stencil vertically across the canvas with Shift pressed, the stencil will move vertically, but remain locked horizontally, and vice versa, with the permitted axis of motion determined by the primary direction you are moving the stencil in when Shift is pressed.

Stencils can also be selected and moved up, down, left, and right using the arrow keys. Each press of an arrow key will move the stencil one grid increment, based on the size you have selected for your grid. If your grid is turned off, each arrow key press will move your selected stencil one minimum increment.

When using a large grid, pressing shift while tapping the arrow key will limit the motion of the selected stencil to the minimum increment, rather than one grid increment.

Using the Element Inspector

When you select any element on the Canvas, the Element Inspector will display the element’s metadata. 

Using the various fields, buttons, and checkboxes in the Element Inspector, you can add a part name, change the alignment of the part name, change the number position, and more.

With two parts selected, you can change the alignment and back-to-front order.

Links also can be modified in the Element Inspector. Click on the link between two parts and modify link style, routing style, arrows, and more.

Add a label to a link or a line by selecting the link and typing the label name into the label field of the Element Inspector. Be sure that the Show Label checkbox is checked. 

If you need to create another instance of the same numbered part used in a previous figure, just select the part on the subsequent figure and click the "Link to Element…" checkbox in the right side Element Inspector. A dropdown menu will appear that allows you to choose the part from the previous figure. This will link the two parts and they will share the same part number and part name. 

Adding Figures

From the drawing toolbar, select ADD NEW DRAWING.  You can select ADD EMPTY DRAWING or ADD FROM MARKDOWN.


You can quickly reorder figures as well as individual parts within a figure.

To reorder figures, click the Sheet Sorter tab at the lower left-hand corner of the Drawing Tool. Drag and drop the sheets into the desired order in the Sheet Sorter view. Once a figure is renumbered, all part numbering will change to reflect the new figure number.

To reorder individual parts, use the Numbering tab on the Element Inspector. Again, just drag and drop and your parts will automatically be reordered and renumbered—not just in the Drawing Tool window, but throughout your document.

Note that flowchart stencils cannot be reordered in this manner, as their numbering is automatically generated based on location and connection to other steps, to maintain consistency in step number as you edit.

You can also use this tab to rename parts.

Importing & Using Your Own Images

While Rowan drafting is not a CAD drawing tool, you can import CAD (or any other) PNG, JPEG, or SVG images into your drawing by using the Import Image button in the Tool Bar.

Once imported, you can resize and reposition your image, number it, label it, and even add individual part numbers (by dragging the part number stencil onto your imported image through Rapid Numbering, described below).

You can also import your own SVG stencils or icons by dragging them onto the Canvas. 

SVG stencils are treated the same way as Rowan drafting’s built-in drawing elements, so you can drag a link out using the blue arrow icon and use all of the normal stencil style, part name, link, and numbering metadata.

Rapid Numbering Mode

You can quickly add numbered parts to an imported image using the Rapid Numbering mode (by clicking the Rapid Number button in the tool bar).

When you are in Rapid Numbering mode, every time you click on the Canvas, Rowan drafting will automatically create a numbered lead line at the location you clicked. While in the Rapid Numbering mode you can also adjust the lead line's points, length, name, and other metadata in the Element Inspector.

To exit the Rapid Numbering mode, click the Rapid Number button again.

Exporting Your Drawings

Finally, Rowan drafting drawings can be exported as either PDF or SVG files using the File > Export menu item. If you export as SVG, Rowan drafting will create a zip file containing each figure as a separate SVG. This feature is useful if you want to create a library of reusable figures.

Drawings also appear automatically in Rowan drafting's Review window (View > Review) where they can be commented upon by reviewers. 

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