Drawing Module

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The Drawing module allows you to put your 3D work on paper. That is, to put views of your models in a 2D window and to insert that window in a drawing, for example a sheet with a border, a title and your logo and finally print that sheet.

Development of the Drawing Module has stopped, and a new TechDraw Module aiming to replace it will be introduced in version 0.17. Both modules will be provided in v0.17, but the Drawing module may be removed in future releases.

GUI Tools

These are tools for creating, configuring and exporting 2D drawing sheets

  • Drawing View.png Insert a view: Inserts a view of the selected object in the active drawing sheet
  • Drawing Annotation.png Annotation: Adds an annotation to the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing Clip.png Clip: Adds a clip group to the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing Openbrowser.png Open Browser: Opens a preview of the current sheet in the browser
  • Drawing Orthoviews.png Ortho Views: Automatically creates orthographic views of an object on the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing Symbol.png Symbol: Adds the contents of a SVG file as a symbol on the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing DraftView.png Draft View: Inserts a special Draft view of the selected object in the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing SpreadsheetView.png Spreadsheet View: Inserts a view of a selected spreadsheet in the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing Save.png Save sheet: Saves the current sheet as a SVG file
  • Project Shape: Creates a projection of the selected object (Source) in the 3D view.

Note The Draft View tool is used mainly to place Draft objects on paper. It has a couple of extra capabilities over the standard Drawing tools, and supports specific objects like Draft dimensions.

Drawing extraction.png

In the picture you see the main concepts of the Drawing module. The document contains a shape object (Schenkel) which we want to extract to a drawing. Therefore a "Page" is created. A page gets instantiated through a template, in this case the "A3_Landscape" template. The template is an SVG document which can hold your usual page frame, your logo or comply to your presentation standards.

In this page we can insert one or more views. Each view has a position on the page (Properties X,Y), a scale factor (Property scale) and additional properties. Every time the page or the view or the referenced object changes the page gets regenerated and the page display updated.


At the moment the end user(GUI) workflow is very limited, so the scripting API is more interesting. Here follow examples on how to use the scripting API of the drawing module.

Here a script that can easily fill the Macro_CartoucheFC leaf FreeCAD A3_Landscape.

Simple example

First of all you need the Part and the Drawing module:

import FreeCAD, Part, Drawing 

Create a small sample part


Direct projection. The G0 means hard edge, the G1 is tangent continuous.

Shape = App.ActiveDocument.Shape.Shape
[visibleG0,visibleG1,hiddenG0,hiddenG1] = Drawing.project(Shape)
print "visible edges:", len(visibleG0.Edges)
print "hidden edges:", len(hiddenG0.Edges) 

Everything was projected on the Z-plane:

print "Bnd Box shape: X=",Shape.BoundBox.XLength," Y=",Shape.BoundBox.YLength," Z=",Shape.BoundBox.ZLength
print "Bnd Box project: X=",visibleG0.BoundBox.XLength," Y=",visibleG0.BoundBox.YLength," Z=",visibleG0.BoundBox.ZLength 

Different projection vector

[visibleG0,visibleG1,hiddenG0,hiddenG1] = Drawing.project(Shape,App.Vector(1,1,1)) 

Project to SVG

resultSVG = Drawing.projectToSVG(Shape,App.Vector(1,1,1))
print resultSVG 

The parametric way

Create the body

import FreeCAD
import Part
import Drawing

# Create three boxes and a cylinder



# Fuse two boxes and the cylinder
App.ActiveDocument.Fusion.Base = App.ActiveDocument.Cylinder
App.ActiveDocument.Fusion.Tool = App.ActiveDocument.Box1

App.ActiveDocument.Fusion1.Base = App.ActiveDocument.Box2
App.ActiveDocument.Fusion1.Tool = App.ActiveDocument.Fusion
# Cut the fused shapes from the first box
App.ActiveDocument.Shape.Base = App.ActiveDocument.Box 
App.ActiveDocument.Shape.Tool = App.ActiveDocument.Fusion1
# Hide all the intermediate shapes 

Insert a Page object and assign a template

App.ActiveDocument.Page.Template = App.getResourceDir()+'Mod/Drawing/Templates/A3_Landscape.svg' 

Create a view on the "Shape" object, define the position and scale and assign it to a Page

App.ActiveDocument.View.Source = App.ActiveDocument.Shape
App.ActiveDocument.View.Direction = (0.0,0.0,1.0)
App.ActiveDocument.View.X = 10.0
App.ActiveDocument.View.Y = 10.0

Create a second view on the same object but this time the view will be rotated by 90 degrees.

App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.Source = App.ActiveDocument.Shape
App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.Direction = (0.0,0.0,1.0)
App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.X = 290.0
App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.Y = 30.0
App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.Scale = 1.0
App.ActiveDocument.ViewRot.Rotation = 90.0

Create a third view on the same object but with an isometric view direction. The hidden lines are activated too.

App.ActiveDocument.ViewIso.Source = App.ActiveDocument.Shape
App.ActiveDocument.ViewIso.Direction = (1.0,1.0,1.0)
App.ActiveDocument.ViewIso.X = 335.0
App.ActiveDocument.ViewIso.Y = 140.0
App.ActiveDocument.ViewIso.ShowHiddenLines = True

Change something and update. The update process changes the view and the page.

App.ActiveDocument.View.X = 30.0
App.ActiveDocument.View.Y = 30.0
App.ActiveDocument.View.Scale = 1.5

Accessing the bits and pieces

Get the SVG fragment of a single view

ViewSVG = App.ActiveDocument.View.ViewResult
print ViewSVG 

Get the whole result page (it's a file in the document's temporary directory, only read permission)

print "Resulting SVG document: ",App.ActiveDocument.Page.PageResult
file = open(App.ActiveDocument.Page.PageResult,"r")
print "Result page is ",len(file.readlines())," lines long" 

Important: free the file!

del file 

Insert a view with your own content:

App.ActiveDocument.ViewSelf.ViewResult = """<g id="ViewSelf"
  stroke="rgb(0, 0, 0)"

  <ellipse cx="40" cy="40" rx="30" ry="15"/>

del ViewSVG 

That leads to the following result:


General Dimensioning and Tolerancing

Drawing dimensions an tolerances are still under development but you can get some basic functionality with a bit of work.

First you need to get the gdtsvg python module from here (WARNING: This could be broken at any time!):


To get a feature control frame, try out the following:

import gdtsvg as g # Import the module, I like to give it an easy handle
ourFrame = g.ControlFrame("0","0", g.Perpendicularity(), ".5", g.Diameter(), g.ModifyingSymbols("M"), "A",  
           g.ModifyingSymbols("F"), "B", g.ModifyingSymbols("L"), "C", g.ModifyingSymbols("I")) 

Here is a good breakdown of the contents of a feature control frame: http://www.cadblog.net/adding-geometric-tolerances.htm

The parameters to pass to control frame are:

  1. X-coordinate in SVG-coordinate system (type string)
  2. Y-coordinate in SVG-coordinate system (type string)
  3. The desired geometric characteristic symbol (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)
  4. The tolerance (type string)
  5. (optional) The diameter symbol (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)
  6. (optional) The condition modifying material (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)
  7. (optional) The first datum (type string)
  8. (optional) The first datum's modifying condition (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)
  9. (optional) The second datum (type string)
  10. (optional) The second datum's modifying condition (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)
  11. (optional) The third datum (type string)
  12. (optional) The third datum's material condition (tuple, svg string as first, width of symbol as second, height of symbol as third)

The ControlFrame function returns a type containing (svg string, overall width of control frame, overall height of control frame)

To get a dimension, try out the following:

import gdtsvg
ourDimension = linearDimension(point1, point2, textpoint, dimensiontext, linestyle=getStyle("visible"), 
               arrowstyle=getStyle("filled"), textstyle=getStyle("text") 

Inputs for linear dimension are:

  1. point1, an (x,y) tuple with svg-coordinates, this is one of the points you would like to dimension between
  2. point2, an (x,y) tuple with svg-coordinates, this is the second point you would like to dimension between
  3. textpoint, an (x,y) tuple of svg-coordinates, this is where the text of your dimension will be
  4. dimensiontext, a string containing the text you want the dimension to say
  5. linestyle, a string containing svg (i.e. css) styles, using the getStyle function to retrieve a preset string, for styling the how the lines look
  6. arrowstyle, a string containing svg (i.e. css) styles, using the getStyle function to retrieve a preset string, for styling how the arrows look
  7. textstyle, a string containing svg (i.e. css) styles, using the getStyle function to retrieve a preset string, for styling how the text looks

With those two, you can proceed as above for displaying them on the drawing page. This module is very buggy and can be broken at any given moment, bug reports are welcome on the github page for now, or contact jcc242 on the forums if you post a bug somewhere else.


FreeCAD comes bundled with a set of default templates, but you can find more on the Drawing templates page.

Extending the Drawing Module

Some notes on the programming side of the drawing module will be added to the Drawing Documentation page. This is to help quickly understand how the drawing module works, enabling programmers to rapidly start programming for it.


External links