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System Design

D-Tools System Integrator allows you to create detailed designs by leveraging the industry standards for drawing tools: Microsoft Visio and AutoDesk AutoCAD. Because everything in System Integrator is data-driven, you can quickly and easily generate detailed Line, Plan, Elevation, and Schematic drawings by simply dragging and dropping products from your catalog or project file to your drawing surface to create your drawings. Any items added to a drawing are updated in the SI project file. D-Tools provides a two-integration with drawings – meaning that drawings can be created from products within an existing SI project equipment list, or as items are added to a drawing from the catalog, they are automatically added to the equipment list, keeping the project in-sync and up-to-date.

It is very easy to create drawings using Microsoft Visio or AutoCAD (purchased separately), both of which are fully integrated and available as part of the drawing-enabled version of SI. D-Tools generates 4 types of engineering drawings: Line Diagrams (in Visio only), Plan Views, Elevations, and Schematics.

The different drawing page types visualize the data in a different way. Line diagrams will utilize the associated jpg image, while Elevations leverage D-Tools’ extensive library of manufacturer shapes and stencils and the associated dimensions to draw a to-scale front or side view of the equipment. A Plan view page will utilize industry-standard engineering icons so you can place the equipment on a floor plan, and you can connect the entire system within a Schematic page, which shows point-to-point connections and enables you to then generate installation reports such as Wire Schedules, Wire Checklists, even generate wire labels for the entire project. Detailed input/output information can be captured in the catalog and visualized on a schematic drawing for detailed documentation before and after the installation.

SI 2017 continues to add upgrades to D-Tools’ legendary design capabilities. Changes to the D-Tools Visio and AutoCAD interfaces provide users with unparalleled power and automation tools that will help better generate industry-specific drawings with data-driven Visio Shapes and AutoCAD blocks – streamlining the design process and significantly improving communication across teams.

PDF Cloud Converter – D-Tools has developed the new PDF Cloud Converter in order to improve your PDF insert process. The PDF Cloud Converter enables SI users to completely bypass the DWG portion and allow them to quickly and easily import a PDF file created from AutoCAD directly into Visio, while maintaining the drawing scale and the high quality vectors of the original DWG file, as well as a high quality output when printing or saving it as a PDF. Learn More

Off-page Reference Shape in Visio – This new shape enables Schematic drawings to reference connections that span locations and/or pages. An off-page reference provides visual information on connection points and provides information such as Component ID, connected page name, or connected shape Port.


Auto Save in Visio and AutoCAD – automatically saves changes in project when creating/editing drawings in AutoCAD, and saves changes to project and drawings in Visio.

New Plan View Shapes w/Coverage – New plan view shapes show area coverage for motion detectors, dome cameras, and wireless access points. These new shapes have options to show colors, degrees of coverage (from 10 to 360 degrees) in order to visually communicate signal coverage.


Product Tree – SI 2016 improved the ability to choose products to add to drawings from within either the Visio or AutoCAD interface. The Product Tree displays a user’s catalog items and gives the option to display either by manufacturer or category, making it easy to find the right product to add to a drawing.


AutoConnect on Visio Line Views – AutoConnect enables faster connections when doing Line drawings. Directional arrows appear and when clicked will automatically connect to the next shape and the default connector will be replaced with our Line Connector to designate signal flow.

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Add Blank Port to Schematic Shapes – Blank ports enable the separation of input and output groups in schematic drawings for better organization and visual communication.

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Plan Shape Improvements – Plan shapes in SI have unique capabilities, enabling users to assign shapes to specific categories or sub-categories, as well as offer control for specific variations by utilizing the Shape Data UI. The Plan Icon shape automatically configures itself based on the shape choices selected by the user. Variables such as mount type, color, text are configurable and offer the user complete control over look and feel.

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System Design – Line Diagram (Visio only)

A Line diagram is a simple drawing that designates signal flow. Many products that are available via D-Tools’ manufacturer data library have jpg images associated with them that can be used for line diagrams. These jpgs are also available for use in estimates and proposals. You can also add your own .jpg images to the products in your catalog. To create the Line Diagram simply drag and drop products from your project file onto the drawing surface. Lines can be added to illustrate signal flow and all of the images on the page can be moved and re-sized to create the drawing.


System Design – Plan View

A Plan view drawing will communicate to installers where the equipment will be placed in a room or building. Whether working natively in AutoCAD or importing a .dwg file into Visio, you can place equipment from the D-Tools project file onto the drawing surface. You can import AutoCAD files into Visio and layer your equipment over the plan view, or you can create your Plan drawing natively in either Visio or AutoCAD. 

D-Tools System Integrator comes with multiple libraries of industry-specific plan view shapes that will help make it both easier to create drawings using universally accepted industry standards and clearly communicate with trade professionals. These plan view shapes are tied to specific product categories in the D-Tools library, and you can assign any shape to a specific category. D-Tools provides AV libraries based on the J-STD-710 symbols created by a joint committee from CEDIA, CEA and InfoComm, Security shapes based on the SIA standard, and a number of other shape categories.




System Design – Elevation View

The Elevation view allows you to show your customers what the finished system will look like from a point of view perspective. It is particularly useful for rack drawings and showcasing higher-end systems with custom cabinetry, or communicating how the system will fit into a particular room.


The Elevation view is a visual tool that can be used as a virtual showroom, and in particular, can be a very effective closing tool for a highly competitive bid. To create the Elevation view, you will simply drag the products from the project file and drop them onto the drawing surface in either Visio or AutoCAD. You will notice that the shapes are represented differently than the Plan or Line diagrams. The data is the same but the shape is generated from the dimensions in the product catalog. This will show the customer from a front view what the system will look like. The Elevation view also helps you as a designer ensure that you have the correct rack and component sizes and helps you eliminate any potential problems pre-installation. You will see that rack mounted products snap right into the equipment rack, allowing you to see remaining available spaces in case you need to add additional components.







System Design – Schematic View

The Schematic drawing will show the connections between the components. The schematic is a visual representation of the engineered system, and allows you to virtually “connect” the system before you even order any actual product. This is the drawing that the installers will use to ensure that all the components are correctly connected, and gives the customer confidence that the system will work as promised. From this drawing detailed installation reports are generated – Wire Schedules, Wire Checklists, and Wire Labels can be created for the entire project. D-Tools integrates directly with Brother P-Touch labelers and reports can be exported into .csv files to support Rhino and other handheld labelers.


To create the Schematic view, you will simply drag the products from the project file and drop them onto the drawing surface in either Visio or AutoCAD. You will notice that now the products are represented as schematic shapes with inputs and outputs. As you drag other components such as speakers and wires over to the drawing, you can now begin to make connections. Once you connect a wire from a component and to another component, this creates a connection in SI, which will be used for the installation reports. Once the connections are made, the project scheduling, resource management, and reporting features in SI can be utilized to help deliver the job.