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Introduction to the drawing.tool interface
Introduction to the drawing.tool interface

The basics of the drawing.tool

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

The drawing.tool is a 3D modeling application that provides a user-friendly platform for engineers to model their buildings in cove.tool. You can also import your models into drawing.tool and make edits to that geometry using the cove.tool plugins. It is also possible to import images to trace over or import DXF files.


The drawing.tool includes a toolset for creating primitive shapes and modeling building elements. The main drawing tool interface includes:

  1. Application Menu (left, vertical toolbar)

  2. Design Toolbar (Top center, horizontal toolbar)

  3. Navigation bar (Right, vertical toolbar)

  4. 2D/3D viewpoint (Top Left)

  5. Snap Controls (bottom left toolbar)

drawing.tool Bar

  • 3D/2D: To switch back and forth between 2D and 3D mode

  • Curves: This command allows users to draw lines and polylines.

  • Extrusion: Push and pull planes created by curves to model primitive masses. To convert these masses, select "make building" button under transform tools.

  • Building Elements: Drawing building elements such as walls and air walls, doors, openings, windows, roofs, spandrels and skylights by selecting the respective icon.

  • Transform Tools Select a room, existing roof, or plane and convert into a roof or outdoor floor element. Select "make building" to convert a mass to a building.

  • Camera: Saves a PNG file of the scene

  • Saving Views: By clicking on the camera icon, you can save your preferred 3D views and select it from the camera list when you want to open it. Select the icon to the right to export that view as an image.

Application Menu:

Navigate to the application menu on the left to change default settings, select, view or edit default building elements. The menu includes:

  • Settings

  • Building Elements

  • Assembly Builder

  • Catalog

  • Saving Project

  • Import, Upload, Export


Settings Panel:

Under the Settings Panel edit Floors, Object Visibility, and Default Settings.

  • Floors: In this panel, select/add/remove floors, change the height of each floor, and change the opacity of each floor in the 2D mode. Click the copy icon on one level and paste items to the selected floor in blue. Click the plus icon to add floors. Click Trash icon to delete floors.

  • Default Settings: here the default floor-to-floor height and wall thickness can be adjusted. In addition the Project Orientation can be set. This value can be verified via the North Arrow in the upper left of the screen and is used by both loadmodeling.tool and 3d Analysis.

  • Object Visibility Settings

Building Element Visibility: Toggle visibility for each building element in the 2D or 3D view.

Building Elements

  • Rooms: In this menu you can see a list of rooms in your geometry along with their name, number and template.

  • Selected Room (Properties): Drawing enclosed walls automatically creates individual rooms with default properties. The default values are based on the use type assigned to each room and reference location-specific energy codes. In this section, users can see and change information associated with each selected room. These room properties include room name, number, template, roof R-value, ground floor U-value, color, and texture. The room template assigned to each room provides a straightforward way to define thermal zones and prepare a detailed energy model for compliance level energy simulation in OpenStudio and for calculating cooling and heating load with loadmodeling.tool.

  • Element Properties: Selecting each of the elements on the 3D scene would pull up the properties associated with that particular element in the properties box. The following images illustrate the properties for each of the elements:

Note. Under the wall and room properties sections, you can assign textures to the walls and floor objects in your geometry. If multiple items are selected, this will change the properties of all selected objects.

Assembly Builder

Select, customize, design, and share building assemblies. Assemblies can be assigned to elements within the drawing.tool. Learn more about Assembly Builder here.


To select specific object types to use. The catalog contains all the 3D objects such as doors, windows, furniture, etc. that users can use to model.


To combine primitive shapes, navigate to the booleans menu.

This needs a lot more explanation, what booleans work on, why use them instead of elements

Save Project:

To save changes, select the icon on the bottom left. Please note: drawing.tool will save changes every 5 minutes by default. Also, a small colored dot along with a text description show the status of your save. A red circle means "unsaved changes detected", a yellow circle shows the " saving" process and a blue circle means that the "changes saved". There should be at least 10 seconds interval between each save unless you get the message "Please wait until saving again".

Import, Upload, Export

  • Export: Export the model to the loadmodeling.tool.

  • Download a 3D model: To download an "OBJ" file format of your model. OBJ is a common 3D format and can be opened in most of 3D modeling platforms such as Rhino, Revit, etc.

  • Upload: Import an image to trace over or import a dxf file

Navigation Bar:

To assist with navigation, select icons on the navigation panel in the upper right-hand corner. The panel includes Zoom in/out, Compass, Move, Rotate, Scale. Note that you can reset the orientation toward the North by clicking on the compass button.

Functionality Tips

Snap Controls: Snap controls are located on the bottom of the 2D mode and include the following options:

When drawing a line, there will be multiple points to snap to on-screen at any given time. You can snap onto endpoints, lines, grid points, projection snapping (ortho) objects (Osnaps), and along a constrained axis (angles). To read more about how snap controls work, see this article

Drag Selection: In 2D view, hold shift, then click and drag to select multiple objects. Note: If two or more similar building elements are selected, changing one property will update all.

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