Archive for the ‘Windows Design Software’ Category

Saving A Library Object

December 7, 2013

Yes, I promised.

I promised a couple of posts ago that I’d follow up on the post about Adding a Border to Your Plan.

Today I’ll show you how to take the border we created and make it into a Library Object that you can use and re-use in any plan you create.

Here’s how.

1. Open the Ez-Architect file where you saved the border.

2. Be sure your border (or other object) is selected. If it’s not already grouped, group it and then select it.

3. If you already have a library file with your own custom objects, that’s good. You can add this new border object to it. If not, go to Options/Library/Create New Library and create a new library file. Depending on the permissions on your computer, you may need to change permissions for the Library directory if you want to add your own file there. This can be done. Otherwise, just put your custom library file in your My Documents directory, or with your other Ez-Architect data files. Your Library file will be an *.aal file. Your Ez-Architect files are *.aad files.

4. Next select the object. (Read 2, above again if you haven’t grouped it).

5. Go to Options/Library/Add Object to Library…

6. The default Library directory will open. If you have placed your new library file there, find it and click. If your *.aal file is somewhere else, then navigate to it and then click the file.

7. To make sure your border is now in your library file, go to Options/Library/Manage Library.

8. When the Manage Library dialog opens, click Open, navigate to your library file via the file dialog and then open it.

9. You’ll see your border as an object in the library. You can use the Rename option to give it a name. Then save.

10. To use your border, click the Library icon Tool and draw a rectangle, the Library file dialog will open where you can select your library file (or navigate to where you saved it). Click to open.

11. Double click the library object. Click done, and it will be placed in your drawing. Drag it so it’s the size you want.

That’s it!

Adding a Border to your Plan

November 11, 2013

In some circumstances, depending on what you are drawing, you might want to add a border. In fact, you might want a standard border for all of your plans, kind of like a logo or a way for your customers/clients/friends to quickly identify that the work they’re looking at is from you. Almost like a trade mark or identifier.

There is no specific border tool in Ez-Architect. But there are plenty of tools included that make creating a border easy enough. You can even create a border and save it as a library object so you can use it over and over. You can create several different borders for different types of projects.

You can easily come up with a way to create your border. I’ll just give a couple of simple examples. (I’ve drawn these smaller than a full page so they’d capture more easily.)

First start with a simple hollow rectangle. See the fill pattern with the dash in it at the upper left. That’s your empty fill “color.”

This is simpler than you'd want for a special saved border. But it's a good place to start.

This is simpler than you’d want for a special saved border. But it’s a good place to start.

Next, change the rectangle’s line thickness by selecting the rectangle and then clicking on the thickest line icon. Then right-click on a color in the color palette. (Be sure the rectangle is still selected before right-clicking on the color.)

Here's the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Here’s the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Note, the fill is still empty, but now your corner color indicator shows up in blue. You’ve made the simplest border of all!

Next I make an arc pie.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

Then I rotate it.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

And next, I duplicate it 3 times.

The duplicated Arc Pie.

Duplicated Arc Pie.

Now the fun begins. First group the new object. (Forget about the old rectangle. No one needs that any more…)

Then duplicate it again. You can experiment with difference offsets to make it interesting. I settled on 60″ to come up with this. It’s just duplicated 3 times.  The first object plus the 3 dupes. Be sure to use the duplicate tool (it’s shown in the icon bar to the left of the border) so that you have perfectly spaced duplicates. If you don’t use the tool, you’ll have to carefully place them individually which is a silly exercise, if you ask me. (You didn’t, I know.)

Duplicated group.

Duplicated group

I experimented with a variety of fills for this pattern. But I like the dynamics of how it looks “empty.”  Fills made it look flat. But you can certainly experiment, and depending on what object shape you begin with, a fill pattern may be just what you need for your own unique border. Fill the pattern if you wish and then continue to group and duplicate it until you have a complete border. You’ll have to rotate it a couple of times, too.

Here’s the complete border. After positioning everything, I did group it. I didn’t want any of the segments to go astray.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

One more thing (as Colombo was wont to say). Be sure to place the border on its own Ez-Architect layer. That way it won’t interfere with other objects in your drawing, nor they with it.

Next time, we’ll look at saving it as a library object that you can bring into any new plan.

What’s this about Version 6.2 (Ez-Architect)?

October 19, 2013

I was born to cause you great confusion I suppose.

Ez-Architect was updated this week to version 6.2. Notice I said updated, not upgraded. There is only one eensy, weensy thing changed. And you can’t even see it. Not really.

But it might affect you.

How can that be? I say, how can it not? We only do the things in Ez-Architect that affect you, even though we might do them for our own convenience (or perhaps for our amusement). And it affords us  this great opportunity to tell you about it.  So that you can read and hope that it never matters to you. It’s one of those kinds of things. I’m going to explain this in as complicated a way as I can so that if it ever does matter to you, you can refer back here and scratch your head again (vigorously)!

How’mi doing so far with saying nothing at all useful?

Okay, here goes.

The change in Ez-Architect 6.2 is only about the server Ez-Architect connects to when you register. If you’re not familiar with servers, they’re just powerful (hopefully) computers that live in a big server farm somewhere with lots of other servers and they serve up websites, store stuff when you register (like your serial number/PIN code), etc. Not going to say more than that here (look it up if you care). Anyway Ez-Architect 6 connected to server A and Ez-Architect 6.2 connects to server B.

Now if you’ve already downloaded version 6 (I don’t know if there was ever a version 6.1) and already registered all of your serial numbers and you never get a new computer, and your hard drive never breaks down, and you have no desire to upgrade to yet another version of Windows, you can ignore this whole post. (Yes. I know that’s kind of like saying …the NSA respects your privacy…)

If, however, you ever need to reinstall Ez-Architect, for whatever reason, you’ll probably want to read on.

First, you might want to check your Help/About menu to see what version you have. What version you already have can matter, just a little, and it’s about how carefully you should read on.

Now a few of you have already gone through this with me:

“I got a new computer/OS/drive and now I can’t register my Ez-Architect serial number. It tells me it’s already in use.”

When this happens We have to contact the “keeper-of-the-keys” and request them to unlock your serial number so you can register again. This has worked for everyone so far with version 6. So far so good.

Now, let’s say you have version 6 and you dutifully saved it to a DVD or CD so you would ALWAYS have a copy of what you purchased (following my excellent instructions in our welcome email). But next week or next month or even next year it’s reinstall time (for whatever reason).

So you reinstall Ez-Architect (ver 6) and try to register again. And we ask the “keeper-of-the-keys” to unlock your key. Wellllllll, that would have worked until last Thursday. And even if the keeper unlocks your key, your version 6 will not connect to the new server.

Sooooo, what you have to do is download version 6.2, install it, try to connect to the new server, whereby you will get a message that your key is already in use, so you’ll have to request that it be unlocked.

This will all work: download and install Version 6.2, request that we unlock your key at the new server if you get an error message (you will) when you try to register, then when we notify you that your key’s unlocked, register again.

So you might want to download version 6.2 right away and never have to think about this again (except if you get a new computer/drive/OS). But then you’ll all be plaguing me to get your keys unlocked so you can register the new version.

But hey, I’m here to serve. Just go ahead on it.

Ez-Architect 9 Has Even More Great New Features!

October 6, 2013

How’s that for an opening title? Here’s what’s been added to the newest version of Ez-Architect:


Version 9 includes two keys so you may use it on a tablet and a computer.

NEW FEATURES for Version 9:

  • Compatible with touch screens.
    Can draw using finger or pen on Windows 8 Tablets, including Microsoft Surface models.
  • New Interface
    New interface with color and pattern palettes. Also can choose to display large palettes when using Windows 8 tablets or high resolution screens. This setting can be selected in the Prefences dialog.
  • Compatible with high resolution screens
    Problems with some dialogs not displaying correctly on high resolution screens fixed.
  • New Library Window
    New larger library window which displays multiple rows.
  • Show Only Selected Objects
    New “Show Only Selected Objects” in the Layout menu. Choosing this hides all objects which are not selected. This is useful for printing or exporting only specified parts of the drawing. Choose “Show all objects” in the Layout menu to display the entire drawing again.
  • Object Alignment function
    Four new items in the Arrange menu (Left Alignment, Right Alignment, Top Alignment and Bottom Alignment) allow arrangement of selected objects. First select the items you wish to arrange and then select the desired alignment option.
  • Edit Pattern and Edit Color dialogs
    These dialogs can now be displayed by double-clicking on items in the Pattern and Color palettes.
  • Key Buttons
    When Large palettes is set in the Preferences dialog, three Key Buttons display at the top right of the screen. These can be used in place of the keyboard keys when using a tablet. Tapping the Shift and Ctrl key buttons is the same as holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys. Tapping these buttons again releases the keys. Tapping the Delete key button deletes any selected objects. These keys do not work when clicked with a mouse. The Assist Key menu can be used in place of the key buttons.
  • Incompatible with Windows XP

Version 9 has all the features of version 8, below, including hundreds of really cool textures to create added realism:

Textures in Ez-Architect

Textures in Ez-Architect


NEW FEATURES for Version 8:

  • Rotation of imported bitmaps
  • All the toolbars can be floated and moved around
  • A new View menu that controls tool bar visibility and floating and unfloating tool bars
  • A new item in the Preferences dialog sets up whether tool bars float on start-up
  • Updated manual
  • Printing in landscape mode on A3 size paper has been improved
  • Textures being added to objects can be rotated after selecting them
  • You can now input text with one click, which will set a text area about 20 characters long and one line in depth; and you can still set a text area by dragging with the mouse as before
  • A Door Tool—this new door tool allows you to cut doors in existing walls
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you rotate textures


NEW FEATURES for Version 7:

  • Ability to add textures to objects
  • Eyedropper Tool
  • Ability to change order in which layers display (9 layers are available)
  • Drag and Drop objects from the library
  • Updated manual
  • Solid dimension arrow option as well as hollow dimension arrow for dimension lines
  • Fractional feet and inches and fractional inches problems fixed
  • Area display fixed
  • File import default fixed
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you change the size of objects by percent
  • A3-size paper printing fixed
  • Drawing size fixed
  • Registration simplified and fixed

NEW FEATURES for Version 6:

  • DXF file import and export (2D only)
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained (any angle) angles; continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous, colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down fine while the continuous wall tool draws continuous, 3-pixel-wide walls AT ANY ANGLE
  • Option to maintain height and width ratio when changing sizes in the Object Info dialog
  • Can import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

FEATURES for Version 5 (originally published in 2009):

  • Four dozen colored patterns
  • Auto-dimension lines for lines and rectangles
  • Drawing method 2 mouse clicks without dragging has been added as an option along with conventional drag-and-click method
  • Printable reports containing all objects, their name, sizes and angles
  • Colors have been added to pattern editing and you may add your own permanently to the palette
  • PDF file export
  • wmf file export
  • Fractional Inches and Fractional Feet and Inches can now be selected as Drawing Units
  • Right click brings up Edit menu display
  • Red lines in rulers that follow cursor
  • Expanded Preferences dialog
  • Preview feature in File Menu allows viewing unopened plans as thumbnails
  • Program opens with all settings the same as last session

Some features of this home design program that make your floor plans easier are the duplicate tool for automatically placing rows or columns of boards, studs, trees, plywood, joists or whatever exactly where you need them—spaced on-center like you need them when you design your own home. And there’s a layering system for keeping upper stories, electrical, and plumbing schematics separate. On the other hand, if you just want to create simple floor plans without any complications or layers or construction detail, this is the home design program for you!

Did you try it yet?

August 24, 2013

Don’t forget to try Ez-Architect 6. You can download the demo here:

Ez-Architect 6 demo download

Try out the new features to see if you can’t live without them.

New features in Ez-Architect 6

If you’re already an Ez-Architect 4 or 5 owner, you can upgrade from here (You’ll need your Ez-Architect 4 or 5 key and your email address to get our super special upgrade price.): <this is not a frown-y face>

Upgrade Page

If you’ve tried the demo and fallen in love and you’re a new buyer, you can purchase from here:

Purchase Page

Questions today:

What features are you fond of in the new version?

What features would you like to see in future versions? (If you don’t tell us, we won’t know what you need…)

Ez-Architect 6 Released 7-27-13

July 28, 2013

Hello All,

We have just released today, July 27, 2013 Ez-Architect 6. (Actually we released it last night. But we’re announcing it today since we had to put a few finishing touches on some web pages.)

So what’s new in Ez-A 6? Why would you want it? Why would you want to upgrade? Super upgrade deals are available BTW. You need the email address you originally ordered with and your key. You can upgrade from version 4 to version 6 or from version 5 to version 6 for the same low cost. (10 bucks, US)

We also have special prices now for a second or third “copy.” Buy your first copy at the regular price of 19.99, and get a second copy for just an extra $2 or a second and third copy for $4. What a deal!

The new features are dynamite and powerful. Here’s what’s new:

  • DXF 2D file import and export
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained at any angle;
    • continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down perfectly
    • continuous wall tool draws continuous, 3-pixel-wide walls AT ANY ANGLE
  • Option to maintain height and width ratio when changing sizes in the Object Info dialog
  • Import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

All with new Continuous Wall and Continuous Hollow Wall  icons, too. Can you pick them out?

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

This isn’t a long list, but it’s a powerful one. We will continue to make improvements and welcome your input on features you would like to see in future versions.

You’ll find a complete features list here, which includes Ez-Architect version 5 changes as well, in case you’re still working with version 4.


What features would you like to see in future version?

What’s your favorite feature about Ez-Architect (any version)?

Visit here to purchase the new version of Ez-Architect.

Or go ahead and download the demo to try it out.

The demo provides all the features of the program. You just can’t save or print or export, things like that…

Using Photos to Show Modifications to Ez-Architect Elevation Plan

July 1, 2013

It’s easy to add a photo to your plan. This is especially useful if you’re doing some remodeling and you want to see how the remodel changes the look of your elevation(s).

Here’s how to do it:

Take Some Shots

Take some photos of each side of your house (or just the sides that will be affected by the remodeling). Make those photos as square to the house as you possibly can. You might have to go across the street or into your neighbors’ yards. (Maybe that’s a good excuse to meet your neighbors…)

If you can’t get a square shot, you can use an angle shot, but your plan will be more of a drawing than a true elevation. But that’s okay. There are no laws about this!

Take a bunch of shots so you don’t have to shoot them again. (You don’t want to wear out your welcome at your neighbors!)

Choose Your Photo(s)

When you get back to your computer, look over your photos and decide which one you like best for showing how your elevation(s) will change; not that you’ll modify the photo itself in Ez-Architect. But you’ll be making a sketch of it. Modify the photo, if you feel the need, in any photo editing program (like Irfanview, for example). Save your photo as a jpg, jpeg, tif, tiff, png, gif, or bmp. Be sure to remember the name of the folder where you save it.

Bring Your Photo(s) into Ez-Architect

Start a new Ez-Architect plan. Open a second layer. Call it Photo (or whatever you prefer). Use the Library/Image Tool (lower left corner of the left icon group). Drag an outline and a dialog will open. Use the lower dropdown and select the file type of your photo. Then navigate to the folder where you saved it.

Select your photo file to insert it into your plan. Stretch it appropriately so that it has the same aspect ratio as your original (as your house, that is). That means you want to make it look as much like your real house as possible; don’t stretch it too wide or too tall.

Sketch Your Elevation

Create a new layer. Call it Sketch or whatever you like. Then go back to the photo layer and choose Layout/Layers/Disable Selected. This will change your original photo to gray scale. Add the Sketch layer by clicking on Layer 2. You’ll still see your gray scale photo. But when you start sketching you will only be drawing on Layer 2. Draw as much detail as you like. Draw enough detail so you can (next step) change the sketch adequately to clearly show the changes you’re planning Don’t go into too much detail; do just enough so that you can easily modify the sketch and still have useful “before” and “after” sketches.

Yet Another Layer

Now that you’ve got your photo sketched on its own layer, add another layer. Call it New View or whatever. Select Layer 2 (your first sketch), and now disable that layer. It will turn gray. So when you select Layer 3, you’ll see your gray scale photo and your gray sketch. I suggest that you un-select Layer 1 so that your photo doesn’t show up at this point. You can leave it if you wish, but you might want to keep what you’re seeing as uncluttered as possible. So guess what’s next. You’re looking at Layer 2 which is disabled (gray) and you’re about to draw on Layer 3. Start drawing your modifications by using Layer 2 as a guide and take off point.

Let me know how this works for you. Keeping layers separated can be tricky. So if you don’t see gray when you expect to, just select that layer only and click Disable and it will change to gray once again.

Modifying a Pattern in Ez-Architect

April 14, 2013

Even though Ez-Architect includes a ton of patterns, you can also either modify an existing pattern or make a totally new one.

First review all the patterns on the pattern bar. Use the Left and Right arrows on the right side of the bar to scroll it left and right. The default position of both the pattern and color bar will always be to the left. So if you haven’t looked before, have a look at both bars to see what you might have been missing.

Notice that the patterns and colors on the right tend toward gray, black & white

Notice that the patterns and colors on the right tend toward gray, black & white

The left side of the pattern and color bars are full of a variety of colors.

The left side of the pattern and color bars are full of a variety of colors.

View a few patterns to see which ones you might want to edit. They look very different and simple in the editor, so it’s a good idea to get a full view of any pattern on the screen before you begin editing.

Start by selecting Options/Edit Pattern:

Select Edit Pattern from the Options menu

Select Edit Pattern from the Options menu

You’ll see this working dialog:

Here's where you start to either create a new pattern or edit an existing one.

Here’s where you start to either create a new pattern or edit an existing one.

Select a pattern from the scrolling bar at the bottom. In this shot I have scrolled so that the pattern I’m editing is at the far left. Double-click the pattern to make it appear in the work window. Or select it and click Load. Alternately, you can start from nothing and create a totally new pattern by clicking Add New or Clear.

You can start with any pattern and make simple or complicated changes.

You can start with any pattern and make simple or complicated changes.

You will likely need to test your new pattern several times as you edit. But handily, you can see the full pattern in the editor window (to the right) and determine what your changes will look like. Below, I’ve  added some  light green.

First select Color from the menu on the right.

After clicking Color from the menu, you'll see the color dialog where you can select any color to add to the pattern.

After clicking Color from the menu, you’ll see the color dialog where you can select any color to add to the pattern.

Here’s the pattern with Green added.

You can see the green in the pattern and subtle changes to the full pattern on the right.

You can see the green in the pattern and subtle changes to the full pattern on the right.

Here’s a shot of the changed pattern on the right side of the dialog (not much bigger, sorry).

Subtle, in this case, but now the pattern has green.

Subtle, in this case, but now the pattern has green.

Next, save the new pattern (it will replace the pattern you’re editing) and then you can test it out in your Ez-Architect plan.

If this isn't clear in your browser, be sure to click on it to see the full pattern.

If this isn’t clear in your browser, be sure to click on it to see the full pattern.

Other options in the Pattern Editor allow you to Delete a pattern (select it from the pattern bar, below) or Clear to start over, Add New to create a new pattern, Color to select colors for editing or creating a pattern and Saving to save your work.

Remember, if you’re editing a pattern Saving will replace the old pattern.

What uses can you think of for creating unique patterns?

Next time: Fun with Dimension Lines.

What other functions would you like to see me highlight in this blog?

A Kalidescope of Patterns in Ez-Architect

March 2, 2013

The pattern bar in  Ez-Architect is obvious, underneath the colors. But the variety it offers is pretty much endless. You can easily modify these patterns by cleverly using colors, but you can also edit them and make your own unique variation.

This pattern is the 16th pattern from the left in the color bar. I’ve selected this one because it’s easiest to see that changes since the components are larger than some of the other more subdued patterns.

Here's the default for this pattern. It's the 16th from the left in the pattern bar.

Here’s the default for this pattern. It’s the 16th from the left in the pattern bar.

You can easily modify this pattern by using the Control Key along with mouse clicking.

NOTE: if the following patterns look kind of mushy on your screen, click on them to see the true colors (resolution, browsers, etc. may not show you the true colors I have placed here).

Control+Left Mouse button on yellow changes the pattern like this:

Control+Left Click on yellow changes one color.

Control+Left Click on yellow changes one color.

If we Control+Right Click on the first (Lavender) pattern, we get this:

Same colors, but different juxtaposition.

Same colors, but different juxtaposition.

The difference in these two is that in one we’ve changed the background, in the other we’ve changed the foreground. But they are both lavender and yellow. But look quite different.

Now to have some fun, control+right click to change the line color within the pattern. So here we have lavender, and yellow with red lines.

Another control+right click changes the line colors within the pattern.

Another control+right click changes the line colors within the pattern.

Play with the mouse and the control keys to see what interesting combinations come up.

Next time we’ll experiment with changing the pattern itself. Although many many patterns are already included in Ez-Architect, it has plenty of room for your own special constructions.


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