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Stencils and symbols

Understanding stencils and symbols

A symbol is a shape saved as a reusable template, while a stencil is a collection of symbols. Drag and drop a shape into an opened stencil to save it as a symbol. You can find stencils on the left bar of your editor, under the Stencils tab.

There are 2 types of stencils, differentiated by their permission level. Symbols inherit their stencil's permission.

  • Personal stencils. Stencils under this category belong to the creator, and is created in a non-team drawing. No one but the owner is able to access these stencils, unless the owner shares the stencils to another team.
  • Team stencils. Stencils created in a team drawing belongs to the team. All members with Owner or Edit and share access are able to edit, delete and share these stencil. However, these stencils are only available in said team's drawing, and is never shown in a personal drawing.

Stencils in Dashboard

You can view stencils you own in your Dashboard. Stencils shown at Home are yours, whereas stencils shown in Team belongs to the team. You can move, edit or delete stencils here directly.

The stencil menu

All stencils accessible by you in the drawing can be found in the stencil menu. Look for a line menu next to the Find symbol text area and click on it to reveal the stencil menu. Public stencils are at the top of the list while other stencils are added to the bottom of the list. Options in this menu can be clicked on or hovered to reveal another menu with more stencils. Here, in the sub-menu, you can choose to open all stencils through Open all stencils or click on only one stencil to open it.

Create, edit and delete stencil

Create an empty, new stencil by selecting New in stencil menu. Stencils created in a non-team drawing belongs to you, whereas stencils created in a team drawing belongs to the team.

To edit a stencil, click on the dot menu next to the stencil's name and choose Edit stencil. You can rename a stencil, add categories or stencil description. Adding categories allow you to group similar stencils in the stencil menu.

Rename, add categories or change stencil description here
Rename, add categories or change stencil description here

Delete a stencil by selecting the Delete stencil option in the stencil's dot menu. Once deleted, the change is permanent.

Close stencil

You can remove the stencil from the left bar in the editor by closing the stencil. Click on the dot menu next to the stencil name and select Close. Once closed, you can select it again in the stencil menu.

Move stencil

You can switch out the ownership of the stencil by moving it from one team to another, or into Home. Moving stencils can only be done on Dashboard. To move a stencil, hover over the stencil and click Move. A dialog will viable destination will appear. Select a team, or choose Home and click Move to confirm. Only owners can move a stencil out of the team.

Hover over a stencil to show the Move button
Hover over a stencil to show the Move button

Share stencils

Share a stencil you own to another team. Click on the dot menu next to the stencil name, and choose Share stencil. Check the box next to the team names to share the stencil to said team. You can easily remove these teams' access to the stencil by unchecking them. You can share a stencil to another team only if you have Owner or Edit and share access in both teams.

Drag and drop symbols

Drag and drop a symbol from it's stencil to use it in your drawing.

Drag into drawing to use as a shape
Drag into drawing to use as a shape

Likewise, drag a shape into a stencil to save it as a symbol.

Drag into the stencil to save as a symbol
Drag into the stencil to save as a symbol

Arrange, edit and delete symbol

Symbols can be rearranged in their respective stencils. Simply drag and move the symbol within the stencil. An indicator will appear to indicate where you are about to drop it. Once dropped, the symbol will be repositioned in the stencil.

Drag and drop symbols in the stencil to arrange them
Drag and drop symbols in the stencil to arrange them

Edit a symbol by right clicking on one and selecting the Edit symbol option in the dropdown. A dialog will then appear, and you can rename a symbol, add tags and description to the symbol there. Populating these fields will make it easier to search for the symbol through the Find symbols feature.

Edit symbol dialog
Edit symbol dialog

Delete a symbol by right clicking on the symbol and select Delete from the dropdown. Once deleted, the symbol will be removed permanently.

Find symbols

You can search for symbols through the search bar next to the stencil menu. Enter a keyword and a search stencil will be created in the left bar. The search results will be shown in the newly created search stencil.

Results are shown in a search stencil
Results are shown in a search stencil

This feature looks into the symbol's every possible field for a matching keyword such as name, description, tags and even the symbol itself. Where you search affects the result shown to you:

  • Search in a team drawing, and the results will include symbols from said team, as well as symbols you own.
  • Search in a non-team drawing, and you will find only your own symbols in the results.

Vecta's public symbols will always be included in the mix regardless of where you search. You can use Find symbols feature in our symbol listing page as well.

In the search stencil, you can select See more to view more results. A search stencil differs in many ways compared to the usual stencil:

  • Search stencils persists only in the drawing it is created, and while the browser tab is still opened. If the drawing is refreshed, you will need to search again to create a new search stencil.
  • Symbols in a search stencil are not editable.
  • You cannot add symbols into the search stencil.

In order to peruse all available stencil features, you will need to save the search stencil. Click on the download icon next to the search stencil name to save the search stencil as yours. Save the stencil in a team drawing, and it belongs to the team. Otherwise, the stencil belongs to you.

Other symbol actions

  • Newly created symbols will use the saved shape as it's icon by default. You can change the icon by right clicking on the symbol, and choosing Edit icon in the dropdown. Edit icon opens an icon editor in a new browser tab. Modify the icon there and click Update once satisfied.

  • Use Refresh to update your symbol in the stencil. Right click on a symbol and choose Refresh. A refreshed symbol will pull in the latest updates for the selected symbol without needing to refresh the drawing.

Last updated September 20, 2018