You may want to convey several figures as a group. You can accomplish this in the Rowan drafting tool by using sub-numbered figures (e.g. FIG 1A, FIG 1B). Additionally, the Rowan drafting tool's interface helps to ensure compliance with the PTO rules (e.g. maintaining the order of grouped figures).

Creating a Figure Group

Select a figure from the figure navigation in the left panel.

Or, you can select the figure number on the canvas.

In the element description panel, Figure Numbering options are displayed.

Group the current figure with the previous figure


  • Select FIG 8. Then choose Set to FIG. 7B. That changes FIG 8 into FIG 7B, and FIG 7 will automatically change to FIG 7A. FIG 9 will automatically be renumbered to FIG 8.

  • If you now want to add FIG 8 (previously FIG 9) to your group of FIG 7A and 7B, select FIG 8 and choose Set to FIG. 7C.

Add a new figure to a group

You can convert a figure into the first of a sub-numbered figure group -- e.g. FIG 8A. Because figure numbering guidelines require that there be at least one other figure in the group -- e.g. FIG 8B -- you can either add that second figure to a new sheet, the same sheet, or convert the subsequent figure, if there is one.

Ungroup a Figure

The last figure in a group can be removed from the group by setting it to the next in the number sequence. If only two figures exist in a group, then removing the second figure in the group will dissolve the entire group.


  • In the group FIG 8A, 8B, 8C, select FIG 8C. Select Set to FIG. 9. That changes FIG 8C to Fig 9 and any subsequent figures will be renumbered.

  • In the group FIG 8A, 8B, select FIG 8B. Select Set to FIG. 9. That changes FIG 8B to Fig 9 and FIG 8A back to FIG 8. Any subsequent figures will be renumbered.

Figure Groups and Sheet Sorting

The Rowan drafting tool maintains the figure groups to keep them in consecutive order and does not allow them to be separated by another figure or a different figure group.

When multiple sheets contain a group of figures, the sheets will show as grouped in the sheet sorter.

When rearranging sheets, the grouped sheets will move together. Another sheet with figures not in that group cannot be inserted between those two sheets.

Part numbering on grouped figures

The drafting tool keeps track of the part numbers across figures. In the case of a sub-numbered figure group, the part numbers continue to increase across the grouped figures.

For example,

  • Figure 1A has two parts— 102, 104.

  • Figure 1B will then pick up the sequence at 106.

  • If you add another part to Figure 1A, it will be numbered 108.

Figure grouping increases the odds that more than 50 parts will be used across the group. The drafting tool automatically converts the numbering to handle this case. Once you add the 51st part, the numbers will increment by 1 instead of by 2 to allow for the addition of more numbered parts. All tagged references across your application are kept consistent.

Reordering Sub-numbered Figures

If there are no tagged references in the specification, just move the desired figure components wherever necessary by cutting and pasting them in their new location. If the current layout is compact, consider inserting a blank sheet as a holding area as figure elements are being relocated.

If the sub-numbered figures are all on different sheets, the easiest thing to do would be to set them to individual numbering (FIG. 1, 2, 3... instead of FIG. 1A, 1B, 1C...) by going to the last sub-numbered figure in the group, selecting the FIG. # label, and clicking the appropriate option in the Element Inspector. Repeat for each last sub-numbered figure.

Then, just rearrange the figures using the sheet sorter, and link them back with the desired sub-numbering once they're in order.

If these simpler solutions aren't feasible, there are a few additional steps needed to prevent breaking reference links:

  1. Create a blank sheet as a holding area as parts are moved around if extra room is needed.

  2. Move figure elements already populated in the target location to the holding area by copying them and using Paste and Link. (See image below for menu option, or type CTRL+Shift+B on PCs or CMD-Shift-B on Macs.)

  3. Delete the elements in the target location.

  4. Copy the figure elements being moved to the target location, and Paste and Link them into their new spot. Delete the elements in the old location.

  5. Move whatever other elements needing relocation using copy, then Paste and Link them where they belong, remembering to delete the originals once they are no longer needed.

  6. Once finished, delete the holding sheet if one was created.

  7. The figures should now be in the desired order, with no spec references broken. Spec sections will still need to be moved into the correct order. They can simply cut or copied and pasted the desired specification sections, and all tags will be maintained.

Did this answer your question?