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Drawing Symbol Interface (UI) Improvement functionality list for PTC


Drawing Symbol Interface (UI) Improvement functionality list for PTC

Edited: Someone has opened a Symbol working group. Please follow this link to contribute: 


The finished product of Symbols are powerful and extraordinarily useful.  However the creation of them is horrible, painful, and stuck in 1989-ish coding!  In addition some improvements can be made to the finished product too. 


This is a WIKI type Document so please edit this document in order to add more functionality that you would like to see added to the creation and finished product of Drawing Symbols!   Comments also welcome below.


  1.   Grouping:
    1. Ideally a graphical drag/drop and copy/paste interface with ability to reorder up and down. Similar in some ways to the ribbon interface, though that cannot reuse groupings.
      1. Rename groups
      2. Re-order the groups
      3. Re-use the groups under different group headings (copy and paste while keeping all group content and relations
    2. More functionality than just radio or check boxes.
      1. Radio buttons: Ability to specify the default configuration besides just being the first in the list.
      2. Check boxes: Ability to specify the default configuration (currently none checked is the default and is unchangeable).  For example, what if I want the default to have 3 out of 5 checkboxes checked?  Or even all the checkboxes checked by default? Why can’t I do this?
  2. Ability to edit/tweek the .sym file, such as to manipulate groupings or for other changes (similar to how we can for the for mapkeys and settings).  Currently this file is both nearly impossible to read and as soon as you edit it it breaks the symbol (even when just changing the name of a group!)
  3. Parameters: Undo/Redo ability. Currently NOTHING can be undone within the symbol interface.  This is even less than the little that the rest of Creo can actually do.
    1. Currently you can input a parameter but it is not recognized until after you save and exit. Therefore if you have to put other geometry around it there is no way to do that within the interface.
  4. Consistent UI to the rest of Creo (and doesn’t get saved to and corrupt the new creo_parametric_customization.ui file)
  5. Symbols recognized as text on a drawing and exported as such.
  6. Relative fixed Text during rotation.  This might be challenging to fix.  Currently you can specify text to always remain vertical, but it is locked in the position produces unpredictable and practically useless results as it will often cause overlap with other geometry or end up far away from the object. Ideally it would be fixed in its position with respect to how it is rotated while also remaining vertical.  Perhaps the creator could define this (without having to do a new group for everything.)
  7. Allow grouping within the symbol to keep logical entities from being broken up and allow easier dragging and dropping.
  8. Functioning symbols inside of symbols.  This is mainly to allow for groupings.  This way a symbol with complex grouping could be broken up into several less complicated ones, similar to how it is recommended to break long mapkeys up into several shorter ones.
    1. Also be able to insert symbols within symbols and keep all the options there.
    2. Allow user to create an element library that can be graphically seen and placed while inside the symbol interface.
  9. Reuse Groups from Other symbols: For example, select a symbol from your library and insert the entire symbol and structure inside the symbol.  This is similar to symbols inside of groups (as suggested above), except should have an option to be independent of the parent symbol.  I may want just the grouping structure without the entities and then I will add my own entities to it.
  10. Attributes that update and display while in the symbol interface rather than only updating outside of the symbol.
  11. Set up to sketch: Everything in the symbol sketcher is…well…sketched, therefore it should be well set up to sketch.  I have found that using a mapkey can turn many needed settings on to make it easy to sketch, however not all of them can be set to on consistently (such as chain linking).  This is more for all of Creo but is very important in this module since everything is sketched!
  12. Dimensions in symbols
  13. Symbol export/import to be more seamless while giving the user control of how it overwrites existing drawing symbols with that name (such as iterate or override)
    Drawing Symbols: Override vs Copy
  14. Add and removed entities from groups without a million clicks (approximately)

  15. Stable and controllable Symbol Placements

  16. Toggle through and choose constraints using RMB similar to how it is done in sketcher mode.

    • In sketcher mode if you want to constrain to a horizontal reference, as soon as that constraint shows up you can RMB to lock it in place, or RMB again to not choose that constraint and make sure that it doesn't get in the way.







      Nice to have: 

  1. It would also be nice to be able to force resize in increments.  For example scaling the symbol is done as infinitely variable, but lets say I want to allow scaling based off of incremental values such as 1.25mm at a time (based off of 1.25 mm grid that it was created off of…which is part of the ISO standard for symbol creation)
  2. Connection to libraries of symbols, even if it is just to websites that offer the libraries to Creo users, like your parts reuse section in Creo.
  3. Construction geometry
  4. Ability to create 'snap' or anchor points or entities - such that the user could choose that leader lines would emanate and connect to such points / entities.  Currently, I think you can have the symbol have a type of leader that is attached to a circle within a symbol; expand on this.


      General Product Idea for Improving/updating Symbol UI & Functionality: 

  1. Update define drawing symbol user interface    (1795)
  2. Update the Symbol Sketcher     (5590)
  3. symbol creation - insert image in symbol       (1225)
  4. Symbols creation and editing new User interface.   (1620)

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

Any of these would be great to see in future iterations.

Greeting Lawrence,

This would be a swell idea. I hope the next version of Creo has this!

5-Regular Member

Hi Lawrence,

please define your suggestions as a product idea!

I vote for this if it is possible.

I'm missing rename of groups at any time.

Thanks for the comments gentleman.

The way current product ideas is done it is really hard to create all these and not have them all lost and voted low.  I just don't want to give a false impression of the value of these if the idea doesn't get many votes.

I think it is safe to say that there are few symbol creators at a company, but MANY people who benefit from the symbols that they create and thus have significant benefits to all users.  But this highlights why it may not see much visibility on the forums, because only the creators will recognize the problems with creating these symbols while everyone else (the end users) will not understand why there are not more useful symbols.  If you create any product ideas, post the link in the article above and we will vote for them.

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

Also, I noticed this document doesn't have many likes so go ahead and like it (and hope that is a metric for more people on the forum to see it).

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

The problem with grouping in symbols is that it seems to be handled by using layers, with exclusion, et al. I noticed this back in rev 15 or 17 and found that managing groups from the layer menu was much easier. That functionality was hidden in the next version I used. This is why the PTC weld symbols (among others) have so much duplication of entities - the combinations of exclusion and inclusion aren't suitable for a more focused approach. I think they end up as tree structures.

It is also possible to 'copy drawing' to import items so that sketching in the tool is not entirely required, but there was a long standing problem that each time there was an import, the import origin shifted. Try drawing a line and then create a symbol. Import the line as the geometry and finalize the symbol. Then edit the symbol and import the same line again. In pre-Creo 2 versions the second imported line would be offset from the first import.

*** I did a minor document edit to correct misspellings and correct a missed <CR>. Use the compare to see what changed.

Thanks for updating the document to make those corrections and additions!

That is interesting how it used to be...just to be clear it layer access is no longer allowed in the Symbols, right?  I just want to make sure if there is a secret way of doing these manipulations I want to know about it!

Another problem with drawing elsewhere and then importing is that you cannot reuse groups from other symbols or layers or anything.  You just get individual sketch entities, and then must recreate groups.  That is why after my initial creation I do everything inside symbols so I don't lose already defined groups (same with copy paste).  Hmm maybe I will add this to the list comes another edit

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

Paul Sobejko‌,

Thanks for leaving the extra functionality, however I am not sure I understand your second point above about the snapping points.  Are you wanting snapping points while you are creating and working with the geometry while editing the symbol?  Or do you want snapping points when you are placing the symbol on the drawing?  In the way that I understand either of these points we currently have that functionality, however I think I do not understand what you want correctly.  Could you explain further?

Also, we currently have construction geometry and points, however it does not stay when you finish the symbol.  It would be very nice if construction geometry (including points) remained after completing edits in a symbol and behaved as they do in a model feature sketch (invisible outside the feature/symbol, but remains present inside the symbol for future edits).

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

Yeah, thanks for attempting to clear it up.

You captured the essence of the key problem with the existing construction geometry...

Now to the "snap" idea:

First of all, I am not an expert at defining symbols.  I'll give you an example - say I need to make a square into a rectangle.  I try to do this by "dragging":

1) I click on the side line, 2 drag handles show up.  These handles are pretty useless for anything other snapping to the grid.

2) so usually, I use move special to "snap" to a vertex of another entity.

And using that "move special" command, is just so tedious.  If entities and entire symbols just had little "handles" and you could snap to them...

Essentially, I think the idea is best described as imitating the type of connections you can make when creating a diagram in visio or even simple stuff like ms office powerpoint - you put in a shape, and then if you are then drawing a line, the little red handles pop up on this shape and you can connect your line to them.

And so when you are defining a symbol, it would be useful if you could put in special "anchor points".  Subsequently in the drawing, other entities could "snap to them".


The previous statement that only admins care about this topic is accurate.  It is also why improvements in other areas remain on the back burner (like enhancing ModelCHECK).

There are many other symbol improvements that could also be considered.  Things like defining the default placement type within the attributes.  Having the ability to update symbols, combine duplicate instances, etc.

It would be nice if PTC took this on as a major project.  The current functionality is based upon 20 year old coding.  Symbols are not going away even if 2D drawings are eventually eliminated.  They will still be needed indefinitely for 3D annotations.

Paul Sobejko‌, thanks for the suggestions.  I tried to get some of your suggestions in point 16, although using the approach that PTC already implemented in the model sketcher.

Please feel free to edit this document and add the other one about MS office and the grab handles.  I think a request like that is more of an overhall of drawing sketches in general.  Do you agree? 

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

Roger Mast‌, great points.  Yes, Model Check could be so much more powerful if they updated it, similar to these symbols.  And agree that these symbols are not going anywhere.

I added your suggestions with a link.  Go ahead and add more to the document if you have more.

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"

This is a great outline. Well though out!

Hello everyone,


Someone has opened a Symbol working group. Please follow this link to contribute: 

Except the link doesn't work.

@Dale_Rosema You probably need to request permission to be part of this group.

"When you reward an activity, you get more of it!"