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CADWorx 2011 New Features Video

A video demonstrating the new features for CADWorx Plant Professional, and CADWorx P&ID Professional has been posted on our YouTube site. Check it out below: Also we’ve posted a video of another new feature we are adding, the NOZZLEATTACH command: As always trying to keep you informed on the latest CADWorx news! I’ve included the […]

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NEW Steel Toolkit 3.0 AVAILABLE!

We’ve had lots of downloads, and lots of feedback on our Steel Toolkit, so an update was in order.   We still feel that CADWorx Steel provides a great deal of flexibility in todays workplace, and with the addition of a few simple datafiles,  you can greatly expand on that.  The contents of the Steel Toolkit 3.0 […]

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Sneak Preview-Project Configuration Manager

So I got started on the project configuration manager this week.  A method for switching projects has been on the request list for a long time.  We’ve posted a video of the progress so far on our site.  Do you have ideas?  Tell about them-! and here is the video:

Spools, Additional Info, and what else? Read more

Spools, Additional Info, and what else?

Okay, it’s no surprise to many that I like the English.dic file in CADWorx. I’ve wrote about about it SEVERAL times already, but I’m tackling a bit more this time, kinda.

CADWorx, out of the box, is great software, but just like anything else we do, sometimes it being closer to perfect lacks just one little things here or there. This is the focus of this little article. Recently, on the CADWorx forums at Coade’s website ( there have been a few posts about people needing more. There are those out there that have the technical know-how to write applications to bring functionality to a software, David Wolfe is one of those (, this guy is amazing with what he’s done with CADWorx. On the other hand, there are guys that have limited time and resources and need something quickly, and “factory”. That’s where some of these changes come in.

Let’s look at some examples of where Joe User can take 5 minutes and have a software that can take him 1 step further to getting the info he needs out the door, in an easier manner.

This write up is going to be modifying the English.dic file again, but this time we are going to focus on one field in particular and tweaking it to mean something for us. The TAG field of components. Now, this field is used in a LOT of places, so we really need to think through the change, and verify it’s impact on the software!

***WARNING*** Modifications to the English.dic file changes the appearance of dialog boxes and commands. ALWAYS save a backup of this file. The TAG field is used in many places, so the changes you make MAY NOT be correct for all cases.

The first case, is one of spools. Let’s say that you want to assign spool number to a great deal of fittings, and then want to be able to annotate that information to the drawing, similar to a line number. The software has a provision in the ISOGEN section to give a component a spool number, but that information is only housed and used when using ISOGEN.

Let’s turn to the english.dic file to tweak this. There are 2 lines that need to be changed in the file, open the file in your favorite text editor and search for:


#0072=Short Long Tag||Annotation type [Short/Long/Tag]

I’ve replaced these to read:

T0003=Spool ID (TAG)

#0072=Shot Long Spool||Annotation type [Short/Long/Spool]

This change make my dialog look like this, notice the former Tag Field:

It also changed the annotation routine somewhat. When you go to Plant>Text>Annotate>Component, your prompt will now appear like this:

Makes dropping text onto the screen REAL quick. Additionally, you can use the Global Component Edit tool in CADWorx to “bulk add” spool numbers to entire runs of pipe with just a few clicks.

Let’s look at another example, that of additional data or notes needed for a particular component. This could be anything from the quick callout to a standard note on bolt hole alignment on flanges.

Take the same 2 lines, and change them to this:


#0072=Short Long Tag||Annotation type [Short/Long/Tag]


T0003=Additional Information (TAG)

#0072=Shot Long Additional information||Annotation type [Short/Long/Additional information]

Your dialogs and prompts will now look like:

and note, that your spec editor also updates with this change:

This let’s you put notes in, either on an individual component, or a family of them from the spec. You can also use these on your BOM, like this, note the name of the TAG field in the setup dialog box:

Since the TAG field is exportable to the ISOGEN BOM as well, through Component Attribute 3 in the MLD file, this information can also travel out to your ISOGEN built BOM.

So there is a few examples of “other” things you can do, what ideas have YOU got? Let me know!

As always, if you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. You can email me, IM me, heck, CALL me if you want, I’ll do everything in my power to help!


Working With CADWorx Plant Datafiles Read more

Working With CADWorx Plant Datafiles

As you can probably see, I like to dig into the roots of a software to tweak it for whatever purpose I can. This little post is going to talk for a second about working with Datafiles in the different CADWorx packages.

CADWorx Plant

The Datafiles in CADWorx Plant all follow different structures, so you need to pay close attention to these files. When you do a spec edit, you’ll notice that each component has a specific Program Code. This Program Code tells the software what “kind” of fitting you are about to place. For each program code there is a specific datafile template that goes with it. The structure is very specific for each fitting. There are templates available for all of these. this link from COADE will give you GREAT info including drawings to show how all of these templates are used.

The real power in these files is taking them someplace they were never really intended to go. We’ve made some basic Turbine Meters using the Flanged Pipe component, and even made a tapped bleed ring using a reducing Tee. You can bend these quite a bit, as long as you stay within the structure of the data file.

CADWorx Equipment

Some people aren’t aware that there are datafiles in CADWorx Equipment, well, there are. For the Nozzles there are a couple. We’ve been toying with these, and have even tweaked one to better represent the RTJ nozzles in the software to show the Taper on the back of the face, similar to a standard RFWN. Not difficult, just need to pay attention to a couple of details.

CADWorx Steel

This is the program that I’ve really had fun with. I’ve tweaked quite a few of these files to do some pretty good things for Joe User. Some of these files have been my most requested files. I’ve take the Flat Bar and turned it into a Lumber file. Good for building a deck for your house, or framing a pump foundation. I’ve made some Bar Grate, Checkered Floor Plate, and Plywood files from the Plate files. They don’t show any different, but come BOM time, they can make all the difference in the world. I also did a batch of Sonotube file our of the Pipe files. Again, anytime we did a project, we had to BUY Sonotube, so why in the world would we not want that in a BOM to order from. These were easy to tweak. All we needed was a little front end data to enter in. Again, these files follow a pretty structured format, but in that structure, we still have flexibility. If anybody wants any of these files, just let me know, and I’d be happy to send them out. I’ve emailed them out hundreds of times, and would be happy to keep doing so.

Lastly, in doing a lot of the datafile manipulation, I’ve found that a program called TotalEdit to be a dream come true. As most of you may know, the CADWorx Datafiles are nothing more than .txt files. TotalEdit is a text editor, that is a LOT more powerful than Notepad. It doesn’t cost anything, and can be downloaded here : This little program has saved my life, and offer some great tools like the ability to highlight a column of text, similar to excel, you can open multiple files at once and tab them, or even open them side by side for comparison. If you are going to be modifying data files, you need to take the time to download this and run it.

If you have any questions or comments, or if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.



Using a Database in COADE CADWorx Plant Read more

Using a Database in COADE CADWorx Plant

I wanted to talk today about another underutilized tool in CADWorx Plant (and Pro). The Database. Now, some of us have had run-ins with other software that made the database a less than pleasant experience. This doesn’t have to be one of those times. I’m going to talk about a few places where I’ve used the database, and ask you guys to do let us know how you use it.

Database for a spec

OK, don’t get excited, really! This call came in yesterday, a client has a model that was given to them by a contract designer. He used his specs, and now those specs aren’t available to the end user. The model they have looks great, but as we all know, it’s going to change. These guys are left with the unenviable task of building specs that they don’t have, to match a model that they do. To do this, we’ll use a database. Now this isn’t the 1 button “save all” button to fix our problems, but by doing a 1 time data “dump” to an access database, we can get a headstart on the process. To do the one time dump, we’ll go to Plant>Accessory>Database>Export. Select the database type, and name it. This will give you the information you need to build a spec based off what is already in the model. The information exported to a database not only includes short and long descriptions, it also shows the datafile used to create the component. This is HUGE to determine if it was an out of the box file, or one that was created.

Database to Rebuild a model

This one looks really cool, and has some big implications. Once you export to a database, or the case of plant pro, use a live database, you can import that into a new drawing to rebuild all of the piping. Imagine a drawing corruption, if you have a database of the model, you can pull the pipe into a new clean drawing.

Database to change Descriptions

This one has happened to us all. We “finish” up a model, and start turning in drawings and someone doesn’t like the descriptions that we used. An easy way to clean up an entire model in a hurry is with a live database. In the database, use the filter tools in access to align up the descriptions, then use find/replace to bulk change descriptions. Save and close the database, then sync your drawing back up to it.

These are just some of the things we’ve toyed around with. We’ve also done semi-realtime material drags from the database to see where things stand during various stages of the project. With the amount of data that is available, the possibilities are HUGE!

Let me know how you are using database, and as always, if you have any questions, please let me know!


Your Title Blocks in COADE CADWorx Plant (and P&ID) Read more

Your Title Blocks in COADE CADWorx Plant (and P&ID)

Today, I’m going to stay in CADWorx Plant, this little trick also applies to CADWorx P&ID. In the setup dialog box, there is a button labeled Border. Now, most of us don’t use this, frankly, because we are using our own border, not one that is already shipped, and selecting the User Border option, just takes us out to browse, no different than an insert command would. So wouldn’t it be nice, if our borders were listed in the predefined, just like all those cool borders from COADE? It’s easier than you think.

The first step is to go into your support directory, on a factory install, this is C:/CADWorx Plant 2008/Support, yours might differ. Once you are in the folder, look for a file named:


This file can be opened in your favorite text editor, mine is TotalEdit, but NotePad works just as well.

Once opened, the section that we are interested in looks like this:

36×24 (ANSI-D) ECAD,_Ecadbdr1.dwg,in
11×8.5 (ANSI-A),_ansi_a.dwg,in
8.5×11 (ANSI-V),_ansi_v.dwg,in
11×17 (ANSI-B),_ansi_b.dwg,in
11×17 (ANSI-B) Iso,_ansi_bi.dwg,in
17×22 (ANSI-C),_ansi_c.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D),_ansi_d.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D) Vessel,_ansi_dv.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D) Tank,_ansi_dt.dwg,in
44×34 (ANSI-E),_ansi_e.dwg,in
;36×24 Generic,_gen_d.dwg,in
;36×24 Generic no att.,_genna_d.dwg,in
;210×297 (ISO-A4),_iso_a4.dwg,mm
;420×297 (ISO-A3),_iso_a3.dwg,mm
;420×297 (ISO-A3) Iso,_iso_a3i.dwg,mm
;594×420 (ISO-A2),_iso_a2.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1),_iso_a1.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1) Vessel,_iso_a1v.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1) Tank,_iso_a1t.dwg,mm
;1189×841 (ISO-A0),_iso_a0.dwg,mm

You can see here that I’ve already gone ahead and made a few changes to mine, to give you an idea. Each line item is broke out into 3 sections, each separated by a comma.

The first section is the name as you want it to appear in the dialog box, ie:

36×24 ECAD Vessel Fab Border

The second section is the drawing name itself, ie:


The third section is the units that it inserts as, IN or MM.

These, again, are separated by commas, withOUT a space after them. You can also comment out borders, by adding a semicolon in front of the description, the border is still there, but is just not visible.

The last step you will need to do, is to copy your border into the SUPPORT directory. This is important, for CADWorx to find the file.

You now get to have the borders you want and NEED available to you, right there from within the software.

Hope this helps, and as always, let me know if there are any questions.

CADWorx Plant and Steel Center of Gravity Read more

CADWorx Plant and Steel Center of Gravity

CADWorx Plant has a great way to find the Center of Gravity (COG) of a spool, and CADWorx Steel has a great way to find the COG for steel and steel assemblies, but you can’t REALLY run a combined COG for both. There is a way around this though, and it’s not that hard.

The way that I go about this is to run a SCG (Steel Center of Gravity). Be sure to insert in the marker, and save the report out. Now, take a look at your model, and locate the COG Marker that was placed. Once you’ve found it, do a generic attach to that marker. Plug in the weight from the report and description of the skid. then do a Plant COG (Center of Gravity) on the rest of the model, including the SCOG marker. Now, on things like equipment and pumps, you will need to locate their COG and place a node there, and again, generic attach with the weight. This will give a COG report for the entire assembly.

One other perk to this, is on the BOM, you will get the skid and any other generic attached items, like pumps, vessels etc. as a line item, but they won’t interfere or try and pull into an ISO IN/OUT or ISOGEN pull.

If you have any questions, please do NOT hesitate to get in touch with us!

Flag Field in your CADWorx Plant BOM Read more

Flag Field in your CADWorx Plant BOM

Back into CADWorx Plant today. It may seem that I talk a lot about the BOM in your models, but let’s be honest, the BOM is one of the most important things that is going to go out. Who all uses the BOM? Well, the designer themselves BETTER be looking over the BOM, checkers, maybe an engineer or two, purchasing, the shop will need those to fabricate. The BOM is a VITAL part of the drawing, and anything we can do to better convey the information needed, we should jump on it.

What I want to talk about today is a VERY underutilized column in the BOM called Flag. The Flag uses the BOM Item Type shown below in the bottom right of the CEdit dialog.

Now, I know we’ve all seen those, and wondered, what can I use them for? For those of us that have dug into ISOGEN, we can use these extensively. For the large majority of users however, these are tools that just AREN’T used. The Flag field will append the first 2 letters of whatever is in there to the Flag column of the BOM.

Let’s talk about how else we can use these. This came up during an ISOGEN demo, where the end user used the Erection column to change fittings into Revision items. Not a bad little trick. They had modified ISOGEN to take this to a separate part of the BOM, but the user had to know that Erection=Revision

Enter that English.dic file again. The text shown in this dialog box is contained in that file. I’ve listed below the lines that contain these. These can be dug out using the find command on the English.dic file.


Changes to this will directly relate to the dialog box. I’m going to change the first 3 to show items that are shop assembled, items that are shipped loose, and items that are client supplied.

F0051=SA Shop Assembled
E0224=SL Ship Loose
O0044=CS Client Supplied

After you make these changes, save the .dic file and restart CADWorx Plant.

You’re dialog will now look like this:

Since the flag field pulls the first two letters, by putting the letters that I want first, I get exactly what I want in the Flag Field now. You can also sort the BOM based off the flag field to get Client Supplied items at the bottom of the Bill for example.

Once again, it’s the little things that can mean the difference between a design that conveys exactly what we want, and something that leaves it open to speculation. This is one of those things.

Again, if anything looks confusing, PLEASE don’t hesitate to let me know and as always, I hope this can help you out in your day to day.


BOM Changes in CADWorx Plant Read more

BOM Changes in CADWorx Plant

Most of what I do is focused around the COADE product line. A lot of what I post is going to be based on the CADWorx line of products.

This little change is a fun one. It’s not exactly for the faint of heart I guess, but it’s not THAT painful either. In CADWorx Plant, you can add weight to your BOM. The great thing about this is that you also get a TOTAL BOM Weight. The downside to this, and anyone who’s put out a Weight on a BOM will understand this, the weight that is figured off of a drawing is WRONG. Nothing against the way we do weight, but there are a lot of variables that aren’t taken into account, coating, weld (in some cases), shipping flanges, etc… It’s a universal habit to take the weight we come up with and add 10%. In CADWorx Plant, although we can’t do this, we can append what the BOM says to indicate that the end user should add 10%. Think of it as covering your tail. The steps are easy, but you have to modify a file that COADE prb doesn’t want you too, but that’s okay 🙂

In the support directory, under your install of CADWorx Plant (or Plant Professional) You’ll find a file called English.dic. Open this file up with Notepad and do a FIND on T0097 . This will take you to a line of text that looks like this:

T0097=TOTAL WEIGHT: %.2f

This is the line of text that get’s appended to bottom of a BOM when you add weight as one of the columns. The %.2f tells the software to append the total weight, to 2 decimal places. Let’s change that line to read:


Now, save the file, restart CADWorx Plant and run a Bill of Materials with the weight column in there. You’ll notice that right there in the BOM is your text.