How to Draw a Floor Plan with SmartDraw

This is a simple step-by-step guideline to help you draw a basic floor plan using SmartDraw.

  1. Choose an area or building to design or document.
  2. Take measurements.
  3. Start with a basic floor plan template.
  4. Input your dimensions to scale your walls (meters or feet).
  5. Easily add new walls, doors and windows.
  6. Drag and drop ready-made symbols to customize your space: furniture, kitchen, bathroom and lighting fixtures, cabinets, wiring, and more.

Watch the video and read below for more.

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Step 1. Select a Template

You can find floor plan templates under the New Document section of the Dashboard. Let's start with Residential Floor Plan in the Floor Plans - Residential category.

All of the tools you need to create your floor plan will be docked to the left of your drawing area in what we call the SmartPanel.

The difference between different kinds of floor plan templates will mostly be the type of symbol libraries docked with the template. A residential template will have more home furnishings while a commercial template will have more office symbols and so on.

Choose a floor plan template

Step 2. Draw Walls

Select the Wall tool in the upper left part of the SmartPanel to the left of your drawing area. Click once in your work area to begin drawing a wall segment, drag your mouse, and then click again to complete your wall segment. You can continue adding more walls to create a closed outline. A circle will appear at the end of a wall to help you connect it to close the outline. Click Esc to exit out of wall drawing mode.

Draw walls

Step 3. Adjust Your Outline as Needed

Even after an outline is completed, you can change the dimensions in one of two ways. Either click on a wall and slide it to its desired length, or click on the dimension and type in the measurement you want to resize it to. When you do this, you'll note that the opposite wall will resize to the same dimension automatically.

Add room dimensions

Adjust the Length of Your Walls

You can also adjust the placement of individual walls. Click on a wall and you'll see two types of growth handles appear.

The handle with an up and down or right to left arrow will allow you to move your wall inward or outward vertically or horizontally.

The handle at the corners where walls meet will help you adjust your wall diagonally by letting you move the placement of the corner.

Grab any other part of the walls to move the entire room, including all of the room's contents.

Adjust wall placement

Add a New Wall Segment

You can add a new corner or alcove to a room outline using the right-click menu. Click on the spot on an existing wall where you want to add a new segment and select Add Wall Segment from the menu.

SmartDraw will automatically add two new wall segments at right angles from the spot clicked to create a new corner going outward from the existing outline unless space doesn't permit it, in which case the corner will added going inwards.

The size of the initial "kick out" or "indentation" will be determined by your scale and room in your drawing. On the standard 1:4 scale used in our floor plan templates, the indentation will be one major scale unit or 4 feet.

Once a corner is added, you can fine tune its size and indentation using the wall adjustment tools. Just click on the arrows to drag the walls inward or outward as desired.

Add wall segment

Adjust Wall Angles

You can also adjust the angle of the walls for any room just by typing in a desired degree.

First, make the existing angles visible in your floor plan. You can do this by going to the Design tab, clicking on Dimensions and selecting Line Angles under the Options section.

Turn on line angles

To change any angle, click to select it and type in the new value. Any connected walls will adjust accordingly.

Adjust angles

Step 4. Add Wall Openings

Once you're happy with your outline, you can move onto adding openings, doors, windows, and furnishings.

You can quickly add a standard wall opening using the Add Wall Opening button on the Adjust Wall palette of the SmartPanel. Click the button and place the opening anywhere along your wall. You'll see an anchor symbol and black dot to indicate where the opening will be created. SmartDraw will also show you the distance from the corners to the wall opening for easier placement.

Add wall opening

Adjust the Distance Between Openings and Corners

Sometimes you need to adjust positioning after the fact. When you select an opening, you'll see its distance from the nearest corner. To adjust that distance, select the wall segment in question and type the desired length right into the dimension measurements. It's that simple.

Adjust the placement of your wall opening

Step 5. Add Doors and Windows

Add doors and windows by simply dragging and dropping them. When you see your cursor change from a stamp to an anchor, you'll know it will attach to the wall at that spot. Once attached, you can resize the opening and move it around on the wall until it's positioned where you want. The distance guides will help you position things accurately.

Drag and drop doors and windows

Step 6. Search for Symbols and Add Them to Your Floor Plan

To search for additional symbols, just type any words in the Search for symbols box. The search results will be grouped by the libraries they were found in. Click on the plus sign next to any group of results and you can either choose Add result or Add library for future use. Add result only adds the symbols that matched your query. Add library will add the entire library the symbols were found in.

Search for symbols

Guides help you place items on your floor plan more precisely. As you drag a symbol to your floor plan, you'll see exactly where your object will be in relation to the walls and other objects in your plan. The blue guidelines will show the distance to the nearest wall or nearest object to help you position it.

Using guides

You can resize, rotate or move objects around as you need to.

You can easily resize any object just by typing in its dimensions or dragging on the black growth handles to make the object bigger or smaller as needed.

You can also rotate objects by clicking and holding the rotate button and then moving your mouse around in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. When you get it into the proper orientation, release the button.

If you move the room around, everything within it stays in place and moves with the room.

Rotate and resize symbols

Step 7. Change the Scale

You don't have to pick and stick to a scale with SmartDraw. You can change the scale for your entire drawing at any time.

In the Document Setup palette section of the SmartPanel, click on Units & Scale. You can choose from several standard Architectural, Metric and Engineering options. You can also specify your own custom scale.
Set a floor plan scale

Step 8. Add an Annotation Layer

You can also add a scale-independent Annotation Layer using the Document Setup palette in the SmartPanel. Add the scale, author and other information about the diagram just like you would in the "page view"" in a traditional CAD program. This annotation layer automatically adjusts its size and position as the drawing area or paper size changes. Just click Remove Annotation Layer to get rid of it.

Add an annotation layer

Step 9. Working with Dimensions

The dimensions of your objects and walls are shown by default. You can hide these by clicking off the Show Dimensions option in the Dimensions & Area palette of the SmartPanel.

The Measure Distance and Measure Area tools let you make measurements simply by clicking and dragging. As you make these measurements, the outlines stay there for you to use as a reference in your layout. Just select them and hit delete if you want to remove them.

Measure dimensions

Step 10. Add Shape Data

Any floor plan symbol can have shape data associated with it. Data is basically a set of fields and associated values. These show in the data panel and in a tool tip on the shape itself.

To add data to your floor plan, you'll first want to switch the SmartPanel to display data information instead of the Tool palettes. You can do this by clicking the database icon in the Left Bar.

Open the Data tab

Under Actions, you can choose to add a table by either creating a new data table or importing already existing data.

Add a data table

You can associate imported data with any shape. Select the shape first then in the Table tab, select the line of data you want to associate with the shape and click Attach Shape Data. Once the data is associated with a shape, there will be a green checkmark next to it.

You can edit the data in the Data tab.

Associate the data with a shape

See the Data Associated with Any Shape

To see the data associated with any shape, you can select the shape and then open the Data tab. This view also allows you modify these values. If you just want to see the values associated with the shape, you can hover your mouse over the blue information icon on the shape to see a modal of data information.

See data

Step 11. Working with Layers

You can use layers in SmartDraw to group and separate items, so you can show and hide details as you need to.

Think of each layer as a page in a set of blueprints. You might want one for plumbing, another for electrical wiring, HVAC, et cetera. You might even want one for design where you can add furniture and room decor.

Layers build off of your primary, or default, floor plan. For this example, we'll create a layer for our electric plan.

Working with layers

Add a layer to your visual by choosing New Layer from the Layers menu at the bottom of your work area. Alternatively, you can also access layers from the Page tab.

Name your layer and select or deselect Visible and Clickable from the dialog box.

Selecting Visible allows that layer to be seen when you are viewing a different layer in your visual.

Selecting Clickable  allows that layer to be edited (ex: moving items around) when you are viewing a different layer in your visual.

Create a new layer

Choose Manage Layers from the Layers control at the bottom of the page or the Page tab if you need to modify your layers in the future.

You can choose to move layers up and down to help visibility, you can delete any layer, or you can modify the properties of a layer by clicking Edit Layer after selecting the layer in question.

Manage layer

Step 12. Import a Background Image

You can import any image as a background layer to enhance your design. This may be a previous plan from a contractor or perhaps an image of your site from Google maps.


To add a background image, select the Insert option on the Home tab and click on Picture.


In the dialog that pops up, browse your computer for the image or PDF you want to add and make sure you select Import as a Background Image.

Insert a background image

The imported image will live in its own layer that cannot have other shapes added to it called Background.


You can manage the other objects in your floor plan using the Manage Layers command. You can set layers to be visible and clickable as needed.

Floor plan with background image
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