We no longer distribute the ESI Symbol Editor for PIPE-FLO® Professional V15+.

Program Basics

The ESI Symbol Editor is a tool for creating custom device symbols for use in Engineered Software's line of piping design software programs. Every device on the FLO-Sheet is represented by a symbol that indicates what kind of device it is.

Example devices include tanks, pumps, components, flow controls, flow meters, valves and fittings, as well as others. However, because a single FLO-Sheet device might describe a number of different pieces of equipment, it is sometimes convenient to use different symbols for the same general device type. To handle this need, the piping software often provides a list of standard symbols that may be chosen for each device type.

As an example, consider a system that contains both open atmosphere and pressurized fluid tanks. The system designer can choose to represent these tanks with different symbols so that it is easy to tell at a glance which tanks are which.

The Symbol Editor takes this capability a step further by allowing you to create specific symbols for any device type in your system.

The Interface

The Symbol Editor is a standard Windows® application, consisting of a set of menus, a toolbar region, and a program window. The program window is divided by a vertical divider bar. To the left side of the bar is the Symbol List. The right half of the window is the Drawing Window. The Symbol List contains a vertically-aligned list of all the device symbols contained in the currently open file. The Drawing Window displays the currently selected symbol.

The Symbol List

The Symbol List displays a picture of every symbol contained in the current file. Symbols are displayed vertically. If there are too many to fit on the screen, a scroll-bar will allow you to scroll through the list.

To resize the Symbol List, look for this resizing handle on the divider bar that separates the list from the Drawing Window. Click and hold the left mouse button on the handle and then drag the mouse to the left or right. Release the mouse button when finished.
It is possible to completely hide Symbol List by dragging the divider bar  all the way to the left. Just don't forget to move the divider bar back to the right again when you want to examine a different symbol on the list.

The Drawing Window

The Drawing Window is where custom symbols are created and edited. Only one symbol can be displayed on the drawing window at a time. Select the symbol you'd like to edit from the Symbol List on the left side of the screen.
The zoom level of the Drawing Window can be adjusted by rolling the mouse wheel or by clicking the  (Zoom In) and  (Zoom Out) buttons.
The "Fit to Window" button,  automatically adjust the zoom level so that the drawing fills the drawing window without running off the edge of the screen.

Pan around the drawing by holding down the middle mouse button and dragging the mouse.

Grid Lines

Grid lines in the Symbol Editor play an important role. They provide the frame of reference for determining the overall size and positioning of the symbol as it will appear in the piping design software.

There are two kinds of grid lines, major and minor. Major grid lines are marked with a wide, dark, dashed line. Minor grids are marked with a lighter dotted line. You should note that the zoom level of the Drawing Window will affect the appearance of grid lines. Zoom out far enough, and minor grid lines will appear to be solid. Zoom out further still and all grid lines will disappear.

Major grids are the equivalent of one "fine grid" in the piping design software. (The piping design software has settings that allow it to display grid lines in 3 different sizes. "Fine grids" are the smallest of these.) There are 15 minor grids in one major grid.

For reference, the default pump symbol in the piping design software fits within a 2 x 2 square of major grids. Most of the other small to medium sized symbols do as well. Creating symbols that take up more grids will make them seem proportionally larger than other symbols in the system. If you'd like to compare the size of a symbol currently in your piping system to one you are creating, simply make sure that the drawing options for your system are set to show fine grids and count how many grid spaces the existing symbol fills.


Coordinates are another useful tool for ensuring that they size and placement of your custom symbols turn out to be what you expect.

The coordinate toolbar acts as a readout telling you the position of your mouse cursor by reporting the number of minor grid lines you are away from the "0,0" point of the symbol. As is traditional, the left number tracks horizontal movement, and the right number tracks vertical movement. Negative numbers indicate that you are to the left of or below the "0,0" point while positive numbers indicate that you are to the right of or above it.

The "0,0" point of the symbol is an important reference. This is the point toward which pipelines connecting to your symbol will draw. If you have a symbol that should appear to center itself over the node to which it's attached, then the symbol should be symmetrically proportioned around the "0,0" point. If you have a symbol that you'd like to sit above the connecting node, then the symbol should be drawn above the "0,0" point.

Tip: If the coordinate toolbar is not visible, right-click anywhere within the toolbar region and choose "Coordinates" from the menu that appears.

Symbol Files

The Symbol Editor stores your custom symbols in files ending with a .shape file extension, and stores them in your piping design software's "Tables" directory.  By default this is usually, the "My Documents\My Engineering Files\Tables" directory.  If you create a PIPE-FLO project using custom symbols, these symbols are saved with the project itself, so you can send this project to other PIPE-FLO users, and they will be able to see your custom symbols, even if they don't have your custom shape table.

 Creating New Symbol Files
Whenever you run the Symbol Editor, it creates a new symbol file called untitled.shape. At any time, you can manually create a new file by selecting the "File / New" menu item or by clicking the "New File" button. If you have unsaved changes to an existing file, you will be prompted to save those changes before the new file is created. 

 Opening Existing Symbol Files
Click the Open Files button or select the "File / Open" menu item. By default, the program will look in the standard "Tables" directory, however, you may use the browse box to load files from wherever you like. 

 Adding Notes to the Open Symbol File
Click the "File Properties" button or select the "File / Properties" menu item to add identifying notes to the file. The properties dialog has spaces for "Creator," "Company," and "Comments." These note fields are intended as a convenience to make identifying the creator, content, or intent of the symbol file easier. They are not required and may be used for whatever purpose is convenient, as they do not appear anywhere else in the Symbol Editor or the associated piping design software.

Note: There are two properties buttons on the tool bar. The "File Properties" button is located with the other file command buttons, between the "Open File" and the "Save File" buttons. 

 Saving Symbol Files
Click the "Save" button or select the "File / Save" menu item to save an open symbol file. The saved file will use keep its existing filename and save location, overwriting the old version. To save the file with a different name or in a different location, select the "File / Save As" menu item.

Note: Because newly created files are all given the same filename, "untitled.shape," be sure to use the "File / Save As" menu option when saving them for the first time.

When saving symbol files, you may choose to save them in alternate directories but in order for PIPE-FLO to load your custom symbol, the .shape file must be saved in the "My Documents\My Engineering Files\Tables" directory.

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