Creating a Bill of Materials

This Tech Tip explains how to create symbols with attributes, placing the attributes into a drawing and then creating the Bill of Materials file which assists in creating a Bill of Materials.

Creating a symbol file with attributes
Note: This tip only explains the steps of adding the attributes to the symbol, not creating the symbol.

Objects Menu › Make Symbol

You will then be prompted: Enter name for new symbol (blank to stop making symbols).

Give the symbol a name e.g. PLANK


You will then be prompted: Enter Symbol hook point. Click anywhere on the symbol where you want the hook point placed

AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter lower left corner of snip box (for snipping out lines). Click on the symbol where you want the lower left corner of the snip box placed. The snip box snips the surrounding drawing entities when the symbol is placed

AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter upper right corner of snip box (for snipping out lines). Click on the symbol where you want the upper right corner of the snip box placed.

Cross hairs will then appear and AllyCAD will then prompt: Enclose everything that you want included in symbol. Click on a point outside of the object so that it will be selected into the symbol.

AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter next point of polygon (Hit Space Bar for a box). Finish enclosing all the drawing entities that you want included in the symbol.

AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter prompt for symbol attribute 1 (Blank for no attributes). Enter the attribute prompt you want displayed when the symbol is placed, e.g. Enter material quantity.


AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter attribute default value. Enter this with the following format : description=default_value. This entry must be formatted without any spaces, use underscores if you wish to separate the words in the attribute description, e.g. 38x114_V5


AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter attribute position. Click the position on the symbol where you would like the attribute placed. Multiple attributes can be added to a symbol, in this example only one attribute is added.


When you have finished adding attributes press the spacebar and press Enter, i.e. add a blank to indicate that you have finished.

Then save the file under a suitable name e.g. Plank.drg

Placing symbols with attributes
Load the symbol file you wish to use. File Menu › Load Symbol File or right click on the Symbol icon in the main menu as shown below


Browse to the file name you wish to open in the Open File Dialog. In this example we will open the Plank.drg file created earlier.


AllyCAD will then prompt: Do you want symbols to be absolute (else to scale). Click on Yes if you want the symbols unscaled and select No if you want the symbols scaled.

AllyCAD will prompt: Convert attributes to text during load? You MUST select NO here otherwise the attributes will be converted from data items to text and the Bill of Materials will not pick up the attributes.

Once the symbol file has been loaded you can add symbols to your drawing either by clicking on the Symbol Icon on the Main toolbar or going to the Draw Menu › Symbol


AllyCAD will then prompt: Enter position for symbol. Click on the drawing where you want the symbol to be positioned. AllyCAD will then start using the attribute prompts you gave the symbol e.g. Enter material quantity.


Either edit the attribute default value (the value shown after the equal sign) e.g. 3 in 38x114_V5=3 and then click the green tick or press enter to accept the change or click on the red cross to bypass all the attribute prompts.

Creating a Bill of Materials template (btm file)
Create a Bill of Materials file with a *.btm file extension. The file format is shown below.


First column : Attribute description (no spaces) with exactly the same formatting as the symbol attributes.

Second column : N or C indicating whether the default value is a number or text respectively.

Third column : Attribute width in characters

Fourth column : Indicates the decimal precision (zero in case of text)

There are 2 sample BTM files included with AllyCAD, these are installed into the AllyCAD installation folder (\AllyCAD34). These files can be edited to create new files for specific project. Please note that the names in the first column need to exactly the same used when assigning attributes to the symbol.

Additional information is available in the AllyCAD online help.

Creating a Bill of Materials for a drawing
Tools Menu › Bill of Materials

A file open dialog will appear. Browse for the Bill of Materials (BOM) template file (file extension *.btm) and click on the Open button.


Another file open dialog will appear. Browse to a folder where this file must be created. Click on the Save button to create the new file.


Once the file has been created, another dialog will appear asking you to specify the format of the BOM file. Select either comma delimited, tab delimited or fixed width columns filed separator. Check the Field names on First Line if you want the attribute description to appear on the first line of the BOM file.


Click OK to continue.

Once the Bill of Materials file has been created, AllyCAD will inform the user how many symbols have been included in the file.




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