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AutoCAD Plant 3D Isometrics

Customizing AutoCAD® Plant 3D Isometrics

In this tutorial, you will learn how to customize the isometrics produced by AutoCAD Plant 3D so that they will meet your CAD and engineering standards as well as the standards of your client. This class will walk you through all the steps that are necessary to perform this task and give guidance based on practical experience for best practices for piping isometrics.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this class, you will be able to:

Understand the Different Customization Options in AutoCAD Plant 3D

Create and Customize a New Isometric Style

Add a Custom Title Block

Modify Isometric Symbols

About the Speaker

Joel was technical support/training/application specialist for an AutoCAD® third-party developer called Synthesis. He was also an AutoCAD reseller whose clients included the U.S. Navy, technical colleges, architects, and engineering firms. He is currently a piping technology specialist for Anvil Corporation in Bellingham, Washington, and manages plant design software installations for piping designers, engineers and corporate clients. Joel is a process plant drafting instructor at Bellingham Technical College. He is also a contributor to and a member of the “Krusty Krew”. Joel studied engineering at the California Institute of Technology.


Joel Harris:

Ian Matthew:

Isometric DWG Settings

(Ribbon Tab: Home → Project → Project Manager Flyout → Project Setup)


The command above opens the dialog where current project settings can be viewed and modified. Almost all of this class will be spent in the Isometric DWG Settings section of this dialog, which contains 5 sub-sections of customization.

As with all of the 5 isometric customization screens, it is important to always first make sure that you are set to the iso style that you want to modify. This flyout will be located in the top right corner of the dialogs.

An “iso style” is a named container for all of the various settings which determine the content of the isometric drawing. Everything from the title block to the dimensioning and annotation styles are contained within the iso style.

For each isometric style that you create in a project there are separate folders which contain the PCF files, the Quick Isos and the Production Isos. The latter of these documents being the ones published to the project.

Let’s look at the 5 different customization screens:

Iso Style Setup

The Iso Style Setup customization screen contains commands for:

Iso Style Setup – Create or Set Iso Styles

New styles are based upon existing ones

Iso Style Information – General Settings for the Current Style

Isometric or Spool drawing

File Naming – Alphabetic or Numeric

Field Fit Weld Settings

Table Overflow Settings

Spools – Determines Spool Sizing

By Size, By Weight or from Model Settings

Iso Style Paths – Configures Drawing Output Paths


The Annotations customization screen contains controls for:

  • BOM Annotations
  • Weld Numbering
  • Cut Piece Labeling
  • Spool Labeling

(All of the above have controls for numbering, enclosures and leaders)

Valve Tag Numbers (Both Control and Manual)

Continuation and End Connection text

Can use model properties (ex:)

Coordinate and Elevation Prefixes


The Dimensions screen controls:

Which of the three dimension types are active in the drawing;

Overall/End-to-end Dimensions

String Dimensions

Locating Dimensions

Individual Component Dimensioning Behavior

Valve Dimensioning Behavior

General Dimension Options

Over constraining dimension chains

Gasket Dimension “ticks”

Dimension offset and stacking distances

Sloped and Offset Piping

The Sloped and Offset Piping customization screen is dedicated to defining:

The Breakpoint for Sloped vs. Angled Piping

Sloped Pipe Annotation

Offset Piping Hatching and Angle Annotation

Dimensioning and Annotation for the Three Types of Offsets

Simple 2D Offsets (Vertical or Horizontal)

Tip: Use the dynamic image panes along the right margin to get a preview of the offset style selected.


Sloped 2D Offsets

Rolling 3D Offsets

Title Block and Display

This last customization screen is for:

Editing the Title Block via a context-sensitive ribbon menu

Setting the Drawing Template Location

Editing Isometric Symbols

Managing display of




Existing Piping

Establishing the Breakpoint for Small Bore Piping as it applies to the Iso Themes

On this screen there are two areas worthy of special focus: Setup Title Block and Edit Isometric Symbols. Each of these will launch a special “guided” AutoCAD editing session to perform specific customization tasks. As always, use care and the proper commands when editing these two areas.

Setup Title Block

When selecting this command, the ISO.DWT drawing template is opened and a ribbon named Title Block Setup is activated.

This ribbon contains the following panels and commands:

Isometric Drawing Area

Draw Area (where the iso will be drawn)

No-Draw Area (reserved areas)

Area Visibility (Toggle)

Table Placement & Setup

Bill of Materials

Cut Piece

Weld List

Spool List

Table Setup

North Arrow – Place North Arrow (block name must be North Arrow)

Attributes – Title Block Attributes (opens the block editor modifying Title Block)

Themes – Iso Themes


Dimension and Annotation Styles


Edit Isometric Symbols

This command modifies the block symbol library in IsoSymbolStyles.dwg.

Isometric Customization Sequence

As with any customization, it is a good idea to have a clear objective as far as what the end result is supposed to look like. It is also wise to have a clear “punch list” of steps to complete a customization. Consider the steps below when endeavoring to setup a custom isometric style in AutoCAD Plant 3D.

AutoCAD Plant 3D Isometric Customization Sequence

Customization Screens

Iso Style Setup



Sloped and Offset Piping

Title Block and Display

Template Drawing: ISO.DWT

Title Block: Title Block (required name)