Icons/Symbols - Adding device block definitions to a database file


Every part defined in the database that will be placed directly in a drawing must have an associated block definition to represent it visually. The block definition is then used to create the device when it is placed on the drawing. The blocks are stored in the parts database and can be updated. You can also add your own existing block definitions as needed.

Adding Block Definitions

To add new block definitions to the project or master database, you can use the corresponding command in the FireCAD application. To add blocks to the FireCAD project .atp file, you can use the FireCAD Tools Ribbon -> Edit -> Project Block Definitions menu item. To add blocks to a local master database file or server, you can use the FireCAD Tools Ribbon -> Edit (pull-down)-> Master Block Definitions menu item.

First, open a drawing that contains block definitions you would like to import, or open a new drawing and create blocks you would like to use.

Here are some tips on making blocks that work best with FireCAD-

  • All blocks should be relatively the same size.
  • Don't embed other block definitions within the new block.
  • Use attributes for as much fixed as required. For example the 'S' inside a smoke detection block will work better with FireCAD if it is defined as an attribute definition with a default value of 'S', instead of text or mtext.
  • Other text or mtext outside the shape boundary of the block should also be converted to attribute definitions with default values if necessary.
  • Reserve the lower right corner of the block definition for the FireCAD device attribute. It will be added automatically on import.
  • Dynamic rotation actions are supported as well as some other parameters. If the coverage pattern needs to align with entities that are linked to a rotation action, name the parameter 'Rotation' and the coverage pattern will recognize it.
  • No special characters (",/,%,etc...) in the block names. Letters, numbers, and spaces are all ok.

With the block drawing open and active, use the FireCAD Tools Ribbon -> Edit -> Project Block Definitions to add blocks into your current FireCAD project database. This also will require that you have a project open.


This will open the Project Database Block Editor. You will see all blocks defined in the active drawing in the top list.

  1. Select or multi-select the block(s) you would like to import into the database.
  2. Next, click the 'Add or Update Selected Block(s)' button. This will add them to the list below, which shows all blocks currently in the database. Any blocks with the same name will be updated with the new block definition.
  3. Finally, click 'Apply' to save the changes and close the dialog.


To add blocks to a local master database file or server, you can use the FireCAD Tools Ribbon -> Edit (pull-down)-> Master Block Definitions menu item. This will open a similar dialog with a button to connect to a database server, instead of your FireCAD project file.

The Database Utility & Updating Devices

The Cadgen Database Management Utility, or the Project Database Editor, allow you to see the block definitions stored in the database, rename or delete unnecessary blocks. It is also where you must go to update a specific device's associated block definition.

The Block Definitions tab

The 'Block Definitions' tab shows all block definitions stored in the database. You can rename or delete blocks as well. Adding blocks has to be done from the FireCAD application, as described above.


The Device tab

The 'Device' tab shows all devices and the first column can be used to select the associated block definition. Just double click this column to select a different block which will be used to represent the device.


Close and save the database editor when you are done making changes. 




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