PowerCADD 8: Working with Stationery Drawings


What's changed in PCD8 with respect to how I work with stationery pad drawings (template drawings)? I've never used stationery pad drawings before, how do I get started?


  • PowerCADD version 8 (8.0.0 or newer recommended)
  • Mac OS? X (Leopard version 10.5.2 or newer recommended)


In versions of PowerCADD prior to 8, you needed to choose File? menu → Save As and save your drawing as a special Stationery Pad drawing. This model worked very well for over 20 years, but with changes Apple started to make in Mac OS X, it was time for a face lift. That means things have a changed a bit for long time users of PCD, but it's a change for the better Smile Please reference the PCD8 printed or PDF? manual for important information about working with Stationery.

What To Do

This section starts, oddly enough, at the beginning. We cover a few key points which are important for veteran and novice PCD users. We then cover information important to new or novice users, specifically what types of things you can put in your stationery pad drawing and how to save a new one in PCD8. Finally, we'll cover how veteran PCD users can reuse their existing stationery pad drawings in PCD8, and how to work with that content if it's on a network volume. For good measure we wrap things up with steps on how you can use Apple's standard Mac OS X feature set to create stationery files. Let's get started.

Key points to remember when working with Stationery in PCD8 are:

  1. To use a file as Stationery in PCD8 you do not need to perform a File menu → Save AS (which was the case in previous versions)
  2. Any item you'd like to use as Stationery needs to be in the Applications folder → PowerCADD 8 Application folder → Stationery folder
  3. The items you put in the Stationery folder may be any type of file that PCD8 can open. This includes a typical PowerCADD drawing file, a PowerCADD Library, or any other file type it can Import or Open including *.jpg and other file types.
  4. Opening a Stationery drawing always be opening a copy of the file. Your original (master) stationery file is never affected.
  5. Items added to the Stationery folder are available immediately. It is not necessary to Quit and relaunch PCD for the changes to take effect.
  6. If you have only one custom stationery drawing in the Stationery folder, that custom file will open each time you choose File menu → New. If you have more than one custom stationery in the Stationery folder you can choose which one to use from the New Document dialog.
  7. You can adjust the sort order of items in the list by clicking on the column names. For example, to see your items displayed based on file size, click the Size column title.
  8. Alias's are supported for files in the Stationery folder. PowerCADD ignores alias's of the Stationery folder, and alias's or real folders nested inside the Stationery folder

Example of multiple stationery items in the PowerCADD 8 New Document dialog.
Alias's to original files have a file size of zero and have a custom icon.

powercadd 8 new document multiple stationery dialog

Working with PowerCADD 8 Stationery for the first time.

While there are no hard and fast rules as to what type of content should go in your Stationery drawings, here are few suggestions for the types of objects you could include. In this example we'll start from an empty, factory default, drawing, and we'll assume you have not added any items to the PowerCADD 8 Application folder → Stationery folder. A good rule of thumb to remember is: If it's something you use in every drawing on a regular basis, it's a likely candidate to be included in a stationery drawing. There's no limit to how many stationery drawings you can have so you can create them for different types of draw conditions.

To make a custom stationery drawing for the first time:

  1. Choose File menu → New and a standard 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper opens.
  2. Choose File menu → Page Setup to specify your preferred sheet size and orientation.
  3. Choose Layout menu → Drawing Setup and specify your drawing settings including:
    • Units (metric, or imperial)
    • Scale
    • Snap settings including preset snap angles.
    • Any other drawing level settings.
  4. Choose Attr menu → Lines... to specify your standard drawing line weights. Repeat that process for Attr menu → Arrows..., Attr menu → Dashes..., and any other standard attributes you like to use on a regular basis.
  5. Choose Window menu → Layers Window and create any standard drawings layers you normally work with. For example, you may want to setup a Title Block layer to contain your standard drawing title block content.
  6. Use the standard drawing tools to create objects you have in every drawing. For example, you might draw your title block content, including standard place holder text.
  7. Choose Attr menu → Styles → New to create custom styles. Custom Styles are an efficient way to apply multiple object attributes (e.g. pen color, line weight, and dash pattern) using a single menu item. That single menu item may also be a custom key command.
  8. When you've setup your preferred drawing, choose File menu → Save. The standard Save As... dialog opens.
  9. Navigate to your Applications folder → PowerCADD 8 Application folder → Stationery folder and press Save.

Location of the new PowerCADD 8 Stationery folder
powercadd 8 stationery folder location

Using your new custom stationery to begin drawings is easy:

  1. File menu → New, the New Document dialog opens listing all your custom stationery as pictured here:
  2. Double click on the custom stationery you created earlier.
  3. A copy of that file opens and you may begin drawing.

Remember: In order to see the New Document dialog you must have two or more custom stationery drawings in the Stationery folder. If you have only one custom stationery drawing in there, then that file is used every time you choose File menu → New.

You no doubt noticed a special file at the top of the list named Blank. That file is the factory default file that is always available to you and it cannot be removed from the list. If you need to create another custom stationery drawing you could start from that blank file, or start from one of your own custom ones.

To change a custom stationery drawing:
There may be times when it's necessary to go back and make a change to one of your custom stationery drawings. The process is simple:

  1. Open the custom stationery drawing to be changed. You can do this by choosing File menu → New or by opening the PowerCADD Application folder → Stationery folder and double clicking on the file in the Finder.
  2. Make the desired changes and choose File menu &rarr: Save.
  3. Navigate to the PowerCADD Application folder → Stationery folder
  4. To replace the old stationery with the new one, keep the same file name. Press Replace in the warning dialog to overwrite the old file
  5. To keep the old stationery and add a new variation simply give the file a different name and press Save. The new and old stationery will both appear in the New Document dialog.

Using Stationery drawings from earlier versions of PowerCADD

If you're a veteran PCD users you no doubt have numerous stationery drawings which have saved you time and money over the years. No worries, you can reuse those in PCD8 and it's as easy as opening the file and choosing Save. The key point to remember is your legacy PCD stationery files were saved in a special format and that format is no longer required. That means you have two choices -- we recommend option two below.

Option 1: Move your legacy stationery drawings:

  1. Locate your legacy PCD stationery drawings.
  2. Move (or Copy) them into the Applications folder → PowerCADD 8 Application folder → Stationery folder.
  3. The files will appear in the New Document dialog when choosing File menu → New.

We're not recommending this option simply because it maintains the old stationery pad drawing format. One of the problem is, in Mac OS X, the legacy PCD stationery drawings don't appear with custom icons and it gets confusing to distinguish them from regular documents. Because of that confusion we recommend option 2 below which requires a few extra steps but sets you up for the future. We believe it's more efficient to do this type of housekeeping sooner rather than later!

Option 2: Open your legacy stationery and Save them into the Stationery folder:

  1. Open your legacy PCD stationery drawings in PCD8
  2. Choose File menu → Save. Since this file has never been saved the Save As... process is automatically invoked by Mac OS X.
  3. Navigate to the Applications folder → PowerCADD 8 Application folder → Stationery folder and press Save
  4. Repeat this process for each legacy PCD stationery drawing. Hint: you could open all your legacy stationery files at the same time (provided you have sufficient memory) and simply

Remember that Mac OS X will always default to the folder you last used when performing a Save As... operation. As such we recommend converting all the legacy stationery pads at the same time (or in logical groups) to take advantage of that OS X level feature and make efficient use of your time.

Working with stationery on a network or external volume

Not all PCD users are alike -- thank goodness Smile Some of keep all their files on a single internal hard drive, some use a combination of internal and external hard drives, and still others use a combination of local and networked volumes to store drawings. Stationery drawings are no different and depending on your particular filing needs it may be necessary to use one or all of the above choices to keep things organized. Fortunately there is a simple technique that works for all of those conditions - alias's.

If you want to keep the original stationery drawings in a location other than the PowerCADD Stationery folder, do this:

  1. Open the folder containing the PCD file to be used as stationery. This folder might be on an external hard drive, on a network server volume, or simply in a folder someplace on your local internal hard drive.
  2. Open the Applications folder → PowerCADD Application folder → Stationery folder and adjust the window positions so you can see them both on the screen (this makes life easier but isn't essential).
  3. Press Command + Option as you drag the files from the folder noted in (1) to the folder noted in (2). This will automatically create an alias.
  4. You can perform that operation for each file or you may select multiple files at the same time. The results are an alias to the file with same name as the original but the icon contains a small arrow. Here's an example of what an alias icon might look like:
  5. powercadd 8 alias to stationery files icon

Caution: For files stored on a network volume, remember that multiple users might have the ability to replace a file. If the original stationery file stored on the server is replaced with a new file of the same name, everyone will see the new file the next time it's chosen from the New Document dialog. Network administrators who want to have tight control over that content may want to consider modifying the read/write access privileges to either the specific stationery file, or to the entire volume users are connected to when making their alias's to the stationery file.

Mac OS X System support for stationery

We'll wrap up this article with a discussion on a standard Mac OS X feature that exists for handling stationery. While the internal model that PCD uses for stationery makes a whole of sense, we're including this discussion primarily for completeness as there might be a case where it helps you work around a particular situation in your office for managing stationery for any of your applications.

To create use any type of drawing as a stationery drawing, do this:

  1. Save a file from your application of choice.
  2. Select that file in the Finder and choose File menu → Get Info.
  3. Check the box that reads Stationery Pad and close the Get Info window. We've shown an example in the screen shot below.
  4. Every time you open the file modified in (3) you get a copy of that file to begin working on.

Mac OS X Get Info Stationery Pad check box

While most applications these days provide some internal method of creating stationery or template files, you might come across one that doesn't and the above trick is the work around.

So there you have it. Working with stationery in PowerCADD v8 has changed a little bit but overall it's a well integrated system that supports your new or legacy stationery drawings.

We hope that helps

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak, Co-founder and Managing Editor, caddpower.com - powercadduser.com

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