Tutorial 5 – Duplicate-Modify workflow

Systems have patterns and repetitions in their designs, and there’s nothing more annoying than drawing the same thing over and over with only minor changes. Instead of annoying you, connectCAD lets you use repeating patterns to speed up drawing. In this tutorial we’ll introduce what is probably the most important workflow in connectCAD: Duplicate and Modify.

Adding some input devices to our previous example


To show you what we mean, I’ve just begun creating some input devices for the matrix in our previous example. Here I have a Satellite Receiver and its Antenna connection feeding into a Frame Synchroniser. The idea is to create 8 of these input chains for each of the 8 inputs of the Matrix.

Of course we could draw the same thing 8 times… but that would be boring. Let’s see how to do this really fast.

Select the entire input chain


Now go to the Edit menu and select Duplicate Array…

Create 7 duplicates


Set the number of duplicates to 7, the Y offset to -20, and check the Retain box. Click OK and…

All 8 input chains done – almost..


Now we have all 8 input chains. But we’re not done yet.

All these devices have the same names which is an error. So the first thing we have to do is add a numeric suffix after each name e.g. SAT RX01, SAT RX02 etc. Well you guessed it, we have a command to help with that. Select all the SAT RX in a column and

use Renumber Devices


You can find Renumber Devices in the connectCAD / Drawing menu and in the right-click menu. Do this command now and type 01 in the dialog as the ‘starting from’ value.

devices renumbered


That’s better ! Now each receiver has a unique name. Your turn now – do the same with the HD FSYNC devices and the DISH externals.

Now let’s connect to the Matrix


Remember how to do that? (hint: look at Tutorial 4)

Add Jackfields to Matrix input

Here’s a really nice feature of connectCAD that I can’t resist showing you. Say we need to put some patch panel ( aka jackfields) on ther input side of the Matrix. All you need to do is:

  1. Take the Jackfield tool.
  2. Click on the circuit
  3. Make any settings in the dialog
  4. click OK
  5. click on the next circuit…

Each time you place a jack the dialog increments the jack number automatically. So here we’ve placed 8 jacks with 8 clicks, That’s time-saving.


Duplicate-Modify is probably the most important workflow in connectCAD.

You can use it on devices and circuits too. It lets you make use of patterns and repetitions to speed up the design process instead of slowing you down. Think of it as a kind of Judo of systems design. You exploit the weight of a heavier opponent to beat him.

Duplicate-Modify helps you think of design in terms of factoring out patterns and modularising your system. All these are beneficial not just to your drawing but also to the integrity of the system itself. That sounded a bit mystical, but it’s true. Things fall into place easily when you are on the right track – when you meet resistance it’s time to re-think.