AECOsim Building Designer - Keynote Tools

This often overlooked feature allows specification keynotes to be placed from a predefined list. The basic functioning is described in AECOsim Building Designer help, search for "Keynotes, Legends and Borders".

Relevant topics are:

  • Place Keynote
  • Place Keynote Settings dialog box
  • Delete Keynote
  • List Keynotes
  • Place Keynote Legend
  • Place Legend Settings dialog box
  • Change Keynote File

The others can be ignored, the Place Module tools have been superseded by sheet models (they weren’t around when the Keynote tools were designed).

However the help does not obviously tell you how to make your national/local/company keynotes available so we’ll start there.

Create your Keynotes

  • Out of the box in each country dataset is the keynote folder.
  • Project datasets do not contain a keynotes folder in …\support\dataset\, I’ll come back to that.

In the country dataset keynote folder are:

.spc files

These contain text listings of the keynotes

.tab files

Used by the obsolete Place Module tools

.cel files

Used by the obsolete Place Module tools

.rsc files

Keynote.rsc contains the Keynote placement settings, if it not
  present initially it will be created on first use.

In a well managed workspace the folders in the country datasets will be read-only to users. They should only be writeable to administrators. This allows the keynote list and placement settings to be standardised. Changes users make to settings will not be stored thus maintaining the company standards.

If a project requires a different set of keynotes this can be enabled by adding:


to the project configuration.

This redirects AECOsim Building Designer to dataset’s …\support\dataset\data folder.

The standard Keynote.rsc should be copied here along with the project .spc file that contains the project keynotes.

At this point you will want to know how to write a project keynotes file.

If you are an NBS Building user see how to Export an SPC file in this NBS video.

There is asmple NBS format file in the GB Dataset:

C:\ProgramData\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\WorkSpace\Projects\BuildingExamples\BuildingTemplate_GB\support\dataset\data\NBS_Keynotes_GBR.spc

To create manually the syntax is simple:

There are three types of entry, keynotes, section headings and division headingss. The latter two being used when a legend is placed such as this example, divisions are red, section headings blue:

The division has the drawback that it always starts with DIV, this does not fit well with UK specification terminology.



e.g.:  in the UK:

F10*Brick/Block Walling

F10/110*Clay facing brickwork

F10/250*Facing blockwork

F10/290*Reconstructed stonework

F10/380*Engineering brickwork



e.g.:  in the UK:

F10-Brick/ block walling

H43 Metal composite panel cladding/ covering


F Masonry



I think this one is less useful as the DIV part always appears

e.g.:  in the UK:

DIV F Masonry

Two NBS based examples are available for download:

  • A short selection
  • A much more detailed set (probably too detailed for most situations but a useful resource for mining the keynotes you actually need).

So at this point we have NBS based SPC files and RSC settings files either centrally or in project locations.

Before going any further look at the settings for keynotes and legends. To old hands this will take you back to the days before text styles when all text had to be controlled with dialogs like this!

This tool pre-dates annotation scale as well, so at first sight you may think that text sizes will constantly need changing. Fortunately if you are using sheet models at 1:1 paper size, you just need to set the text sizes once (all your keynotes are going to be the same size aren’t they?).

Keynote Settings:

These are accessed from the Place Keynote Tool Settings:

Click Settings. The example set below is a good starting point for the UK.

The levels used below are from GB Dataset Architectural.

All text heights are in working units here. My working units are mm, just move the decimal point three to the right if your master working unit is m.

Text and lines areset to be black and weight 0.

The terminator can either be a cell, the KEYTRM is the default sown here or an arrow like other dimensions, the plotted height and width are also in working units.

I’ve chosen an ISO 3.5mm size for the keynotes.

There are another set of settings for the legend, accessed from the Place Legend Tool Settings, a fence must be active before selecting this tool. Again click Settings.

The level, colour and weight for all the text can be set. The three text levels of the legend can be sized individually as can the spacing between them. This set works quite well with working units set to mm, again move the decimal point three to the right for m.

An RSC file containing these settings can be downloaded.

Place the Keynote

So now that is done start the Place Keynote tool from the Annotation Task.

Pick the terminator type you want, I haven’t found a way to save the setting for this choice yet. The best thing to do is to create the terminator you want as a cell in one of your standard cell libraries.

[The default terminator cell is KEYTRM from the CondocTitleBlocks.cel in the dataset keynotes folder. You can set any terminator cell you like as long as it is in a library included by the ATFDIR_CELL variable, the same location as your other company standarsd cell libraries would be a good place.]

Click once to place the text

Twice to place the leader

Multiple arrows can be placed from one note. Reset to finish.

To Place a legend put a fence round the keynotes that you wish to include, generally this is going to be the whole drawing, repeated keynotes will only be listed once so don’t worry about duplicates, follow the Status bar prompt and place the legend by its upper corner. E.g.:

Repeat the process to update the legend, the previous copy will be replaced.

Making Changes

The legend is a Graphic Group so can be moved as a single entity with Graphic Group lock On.

Each keynote consists of four separate elements once placed so the need to be grouped with Graphic Group or Named Groups for selection or moved using a fence.

Finally, please note that this is a very old tool so its behaviour is not always consistent with current tools.