FabSuite Workflow – Adding shop drawings to the Drawing Log in Project Management

For this installment, we will work on importing the PDF shop detail drawings for the Project Management job, and will review the following:

  • Verify the Link between the Production Control and Project Management job
  • Making sure the Drawings save to the correct location in your FabSuite database
  • How to verify the Drawing Number Input Type matches between Production Control and Project Management and why this is important
  • How to make only the drawing number show in the drawing log and why we need that
  • How to import the drawings

Though the blog April 11th 2017 blog post covered most of the above list, we have included here a review of all bullet points to save you from having to search backwards for this information.

First, let’s verify the link between the Production Control job and the Project Management job you are about to import drawings into is in place.  For those who had added a Project Management job or selected a matching job at import the link was created then, but it doesn’t hurt to check.





Open the Production Control Select job window, click to highlight the newly imported job, and then click the ‘Edit’ button, opening the Job Edit window.  Verify that the job number entered in the field for Project Management Job is correct.   If the field is blank or incorrect, click the drop down arrow to select, then click Save.









If the number is correct, click the red ‘X’ at the top right of the window to close. You are good to go here.

A common problem is that only the user who uploaded the drawings may see them.  This condition is caused by an incorrect setting in Default Directories. For new users, it is good to check the ‘Default Directories’ selection for ‘Drawings’, making sure that the folder in which the drawings are being saved is the same folder for all system users.  Network systems should be pointing to the ‘Drawings’ folder on the server, and all FabSuite users should be pointing to the same location.

To check, click the ‘File’ drop down at the very top left of the FabSuite screen, and then click to select ‘Default Directories’.  View the selection for ‘Drawing’; check to be sure the save location is pointing to the server folder.  Check to make sure other users are pointing to the same server location.







When the location is not correct, click the blue button to the right of the ‘Drawing’ field, opening the ‘Browse to Folder’ window. Browse to the correct location, click OK.  If already correct, click the red ‘X’ at the top right of the window to close.  Once you are sure all is well, continue with importing drawings.

Open the Project Management job to view the window.  See the ‘Drawing Log’ option at the top center.  There are two tabs, one for ‘Design’ and the other for ‘Detail’.  The selection for ‘Design’ may be used for importing the design drawings or the Architectural and Structural drawings for the job, also the project specifications.  For now, we will be working with the Detail section of the Drawing Log.









It is important to remember two things about importing the shop detail drawings:

  • Drawing numbers must match between Product Management and Production Control , as this match enables the program to open the shop detail drawing when piece marks are clicked in Production Control
  • The ‘Drawing Number Input Type’ selection for Drawing Setup in Project Management needs to match the selection for the same In Production Control, so Remote Link users may also view the shop detail drawings.

When drawing numbers do not match drawings may not be viewed in Production control.  When the Drawing number input types do not match Remote Link users will not be able to view the shop detail drawings.

To see or change the selection for ‘Drawing Number Input Type’, click the ‘Drawing Setups’ button at the top right of the Project Management window:






In the screenshot, the selection for ‘Drawing Number Input Type’ is set to option ’13 – Any Input – Logical Sort’.  This selection means that any drawing number character sequence type may be imported, and the order will be in a logical fashion (putting drawing number 10 after 9, instead of listing 1, 10, 2, etc., as computers tend to do).

To verify that the same selection for Drawing Number Input Type is used for the linked Production Control job, open the Production Control Job Edit window, click the ‘Input Settings’ tab to view.







Our ‘Drawing Number and Input Type’ selections match, so we are good to go for our Remote Link users.

Before we continue with importing the drawings, we should make sure that the drawings to be imported are of the same revision and that each revision group is saved in a folder by themselves.  This isolation of drawings by revision enables extended program functionality and tracking as:

  • These drawings are being saved in the FabSuite Data base in job specific folders; the degree of separation is provided by the individual revision imports
  • FabSuite tracks all drawing imports by date/time stamp and revision for reporting
  • FabSuite stacks revisions, with only the latest version available to Production Control and Remote Link, though previous drawings may still be viewed in Project Management

Not following this drawing import procedure is not fatal.  It just means that users may not be able to view drawings in Production Control or Remote Link.  In the drawing log, you may have more than one entry for the same drawing, as subsequent revisions will import as a new drawing, or you may copy over existing drawings if the revision number is not noted. You will have a long list of drawings, and multiples of revisions of the same drawing to go through when trying to attach drawings to transmittals.  Reporting may not be as accurate as you might like.  The favored benefits of drawing management will be lost, and to some, none of this matters.

When this element of document control – folder isolation of the drawings – is not provided, the program then has no ability to save by division of the imported items.  This need for data separation is a computer thing, driving programming to design functionality to support computer processing, which in turn requires specific user activity to maintain order.  An arduous task to be sure.  All we need to do is to save revised drawings in their own folder.

Please understand the root cause for isolating imports by revision is computer data management.  The extended time saving benefit far outweighs the ‘extra work’ for compartmentalizing revised drawings. One might request that detailing save revised drawings to individual folders to make importing easier.  Naming drawings by the Mark Number is also suggested.  It is all up to you and how you want to manage your shop detail drawings – I’m a huge fan of ‘do it right the first time’ but then, that’s just me.  Thanks for listening J

Return to the Project Management window and review the selection tabs for the Drawing Log.  Note that the tabs for ‘Design:’ and ‘Detail:’ appear with a quantity of ‘0’.







As files are added, the quantity of available documents will show to the right of the entry tab.

When saving the PDF files on your system for import, make a new folder which contains only the drawings to be imported into FabSuite.  Importing drawings is easiest when the drawing number is the name of the drawing.

Importing drawings which have other nomenclature in the drawing name may be accommodated as follows:

  • Notify the steel detailer to resend the drawings with the drawing number as the drawing name
  • Manually change the drawing names to be the drawing number
  • Use the options for ‘Prefix’ and ‘Suffix’ in the ‘File Insert’ window

File ‘Prefix’ and ‘Suffix’ are designed to be used when the drawing number is flanked by characters other than the drawing number.  All character entries in the boxes for Prefix and Suffix will ‘cancel out’ the extra characters.  How this is accomplished is explained in detail as we continue.

Returning our attention to the Project Management window, click the tab for ‘Detail’ to open the Detail Drawing Log folder.  When the Detail Drawing Log opens, a new drop down for ‘Drawing Log’ appears at the top of the FabSuite window.  Click the Drawing Log drop down, and then click to select ‘Batch Insert – From Files, opening the ‘File Insert’ window.







In the ‘File Insert’ window, click the ‘Directory’ button to open the ‘Browse to Folder’ window.











Browse to the folder in which the shop detail drawings have been saved, click ‘OK’.  Note – you will not be able to go inside the folder, the selection stops at the folder level.  FabSuite imports all files inside the folder, eliminating the added step for users to select specific drawings.

Returning to the ‘File Insert’ window, the directory from which the drawings are being imported shows at the top.  First drawing imports do not need to use the ‘Add Revision’ selection.  For all subsequent imports, click the button for ‘Add Revision’ and enter the revision number of the drawings.  Revision numbers are important, as FabSuite does ‘Stack’ the latest drawing import on top of existing versions.

This stacking process does three things:

  • Enables users to view and use previoius drawing revisions in Project Management
  • Prevents duplicate drawing entries in the Drawing Log
  • Preserves the ability of opening drawings in Production Control and Remote Link. Only the most recently imported drawings will be available for viewing in Production Control and Remote Link.











Click to checkmark ‘Copy files into Drawing Directory’.  This selection is what puts those PDF’s in the Drawing folder on the server, allowing everyone on the system to view the drawings.  The ‘File Prefix’ and ‘File Suffix’ will auto-populate from the ‘Drawing Setup’ window if entered there – or enter yourself now if needed.

FaSuite will cancel all digits entered in the ‘Prefix’ and ‘Suffix’ boxes, but they must match exactly for all drawings being imported.  When entered incorrectly the import will fail.  Note that drawing names with more than 25 characters will not import at all.

For this example, we are using the asterisk (*) and then the dash as the cancel digits, as the drawing names are ‘Shop-101-Rev0’, all carrying the same prefix and suffix, with only the drawing number changing.  Fabsuite sees the ‘*’ to cancel all characters BEFORE and AFTER the dash, and then the dash cancels itself out.  The drawing will import as only the drawing number, no prefix, no suffix, no dash. This method does not require me to make an exact match character entry in the boxes for ‘Prefix’ and ‘Suffix’ before and after the drawing number.  With the dash as a separater in my drawing name, entering  the *- and -*, for ‘Prefix’ and ‘Suffix’ is easy.

Steel detailer methods and situations vary widely, and the ability to cancel out flanking digits in the drawing name using the Prefix and Suffix system was designed to accomdate as many conditions as possible.  When asked early, the steel detail may not be opposed to changing their procedures to fit your import needs.  Many detailers are already familiar with and use FabSuite, so starting the conversation about normenclature and folder saving might be helpful.

It is easiest is to use the drawing numbers as the drawing name, then make the folder name indicate the revision of those drawings.  Once Imported, FabSuite keep track of the drawings, which makes the import so worthwhile.

When filled out, all entries for Revised By, Date Revised, Date Received, Checked By, Revision Number will be entered the same for all drawings being imported.   Leave boxes blank (Description, for example) which may be different for a select group or individual drawings.

Click to checkmark the box for ‘Update Approval Status’ and click to selection the Approval Status.  Click ‘Add’ to import those drawings!  See the screenshot for a drawing log example:







This list may be edited as needed. Add the drawing ‘Descriptions’ either individually or by global edit for select groups.  In the right center of the Detail Drawing Log, notice the blank area by ‘Transmittal #, Issued To, Date Issued, Due By and Date Returned.  This area will auto-populate as drawings are attached to outgoing transmittals, and is very helpful for tracking activity.  Watch for it in the next installment for Transmittals.

We covered a lot of detail for importing drawings, as we wanted to provide a bit of background on how the program works while explaining the working steps.   There are only four steps to the import process:

  • In the Project Management window, click the ‘Detail’ tab
  • Click the Drawing Log Drop Down; select ‘Batch Insert – From Files’
  • Click the ‘Directory’ button, browse to Folder
  • Enter the Import data; click the ‘Add’ button

And that’s it! Though this segment is titled ‘FabSuite Workflow – adding shop drawings to the Project Management Drawing Log’, we included some trouble shooting skills for help with resolving some common new user issues.

We have shown you how to:

  • Make sure the Drawings save to the correct location in FabSuite
  • Verify the Drawing Number Input Type matches between Production Control and Project Management and why this is important
  • Make only the drawing numbers show in the drawing log, and explained why that is important
  • How to import the drawings

Close out of the Drawing Log window to see how the Project Management window looks now that we have some data in there.  You can see how many drawing there are in the log now.  We will discuss adding revised drawings after we have sent this batch out for approval in the next segment for Transmittals!









Congratulations on working your way through all of this.  Seemingly complicated at first, after you’ve worked it a few times you will become more familiar and comfortable with the import process.  Next time we will work on sending out and receiving returned approval drawings in Transmittals, and we will begin to see some activity on our Project Schedule when sending approved drawings to the shop!  Take Care till then!

Written by Kerri Olsen

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