Detail Explorer & the Detail Folder System
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Detail Explorer & the Detail Folder System

The Detail Explorer is our detail organization system that gives you access to your entire detail folder structure directly from CAD. You can use it to see which details are saved where, view a thumbnail image of your details, edit or delete details, and move or copy them to another category location.



The Detail Explorer is a separate feature from the Detail Manager. For more information, see our Detail Manager documentation.

The Detail Explorer is the detail organization library for your installation. You're welcome to delete and reorganize folders in the Detail Explorer in any way you see fit for your office.

Detail Explorer Overview

Open the Detail Explorer:


F/X Details ribbon, Explorer button


F/X Details ribbon, Explorer button




F/X Details menu


F/X Details menu, Detail Explorer option



Details toolbar


Details toolbar




Detail Manager toolbar


Detail Manager toolbar

Details Preferences screen, Detail Explorer button

Details Preferences, Detail Explorer button




or type DetailExplorer in the Command line




The Detail Explorer dialog box will open when you select any of these options.




It's a good idea to review the Detail Explorer before saving details. This will help you determine the best locations and type of file system for your preferred method of saving your details. The following image of the Detail Explorer dialog box shows the default filing system for Detail Explorer.


Detail Explorer, overview


1. Search box to search all detail categories.


2. Check this box to include empty detail categories in the list.


3. The Detail File Structure. The default structure has two overall divisions: DETAILS and STANDARD DETAILS. You can add subdivisions to each of these divisions as needed.


4. Buttons to create New categories, and Edit or Delete existing categories. The Print button will produce a spreadsheet breaking down all the categories as well as any subcategories that currently exist. For more information, see our Print Details documentation.


5. Buttons to Import and Export details.


6. If you click a specific detail in the list, a thumbnail view of the detail will appear in the upper right corner of the dialog box.


7. Use the plus (+) button to add a photo to a detail. Note: You'll only see the plus sign and arrows when viewing a preview of a detail.


8. A listing of the details within a highlighted category will appear in the lower right corner of the dialog box. You can then click the detail to view the thumbnail above, or right-click to delete or edit the detail.




The DETAILS Division

The division labeled DETAILS is for a general category file structure as developed by you or your office.

If you want to create a file location for an individual project's details, this division is where you'll create that location. This division also contains the F/X Detail Library, where our software files and adds to details. You can create, edit, and delete categories of details within any division to adhere to your firm's file structure. Note that if a category already contains one or more details, you will only be able to edit the category's name and you won't be able to delete it.



The STANDARD DETAILS Division & Our Default Details

The division labeled STANDARD DETAILS is another category file structure that is based on the United States Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) classification system for the built environment. Your installation includes this file structure for your information only. You can edit or delete these folders to fit your firm's needs. Note that if a category already contains one or more details, you will only be able to edit the category's name and you won't be able to delete it.


The default Land F/X details, included in your installation, are stored within the STANDARD DETAILS division. We've placed them here in order to make it easy for you to see them among your saved details. These default details represent objects ranging from railings to exterior lighting, masonry items, plumbing structures, and much more. They're stored online and will download on demand if and when you decide to use them. Before spending time creating details for objects you commonly use in your drawings, take a look through the folders in this division – one of our default details might just work for your purposes and save you the time of creating custom details. Our detail library includes Metric versions of all details. When you search for a detail, the available details will be filtered automatically according to your current unit setting.


You're of course welcome to create and use your own details – we just provide these default details in case you can use them.

Notes on Setting and Editing CSI Divisions for Details:

  • The Details Preferences include an option to Set numeric division for all details. If you select this option, you'll be required to set a division each time you save a detail. (If your firm does not use CSI divisions, or is not a large multinational firm, we recommend leaving this option unchecked.)
  • Although you can edit the CSI divisions to a certain extent, you will not be able to delete or renumber them if they contain Land F/X default details (that is, the details that are included in your installation). For example, if you try to delete 32-84-03-13, you will be prevented because it contains our standard details for spray heads. If you want to adjust the standard section significantly for your office in a way that doesn't conform with CSI standards, you should use the Details section above the Standard Details section.

The CSI, and its related MasterFormat® Numbers and Titles, are specification standards for most commercial building design and construction projects in North America. It lists titles and section numbers for organizing data about construction requirements, products, and activities. To purchase the latest edition of the MasterFormat® listing of numbers and titles for the construction industry, or to learn more about MasterFormat training, certification and local chapter information from CSI, go to or

Detail Categories

Creating a New Category


To create a new overall Category in either the DETAILS library or the STANDARD DETAILS library, highlight that library title in the Detail Explorer and click New.

Detail Explorer, New button




Entering a name and code for a new detail category

Enter a Name for the new category.


The Code field will autopopulate with the first three characters of the name you provide. You can keep this code for the category or enter a new one. Make sure you can recognize it and it makes sense to you.


Click OK to create the new category.

You won't be allowed to use the following four codes, as they affect the actual coding of our software:



If you attempt to use any of these codes, you'll see the message Not a valid name for a detail category. You'll then need to create a new code for the category.



Once you create your new category successfully, you'll see the category name in the library location where you created it, followed by the code in parentheses.



In our example, our new category, Paving and Surfacing (PAV) now appears in the DETAILS library under the category Commercial (CO).

New category listed in the DETAILS library




Detail Explorer, New button

If you want, you can now add subcategories to your category by selecting that category and clicking New.




Enter a Name and Code for the new subcategory, and click OK.

Entering a name and code for a new detail subcategory




New subcategory listed in Detail Explorer

You'll now see the name of the new subcategory under the category name in the Detail Explorer.




In our example, the subcategory Asphalt Paving with the code (ASPH) is now included in the category Paving and Surfacing.




You can also define your new category by creating additional subcategories.

Additional subcategories, examples



Levels of Categories

Each category can have up to three levels of subcategories. When you define a particular category, keep the overall category fairly general and get more specific as you further define where the details will be saved. If you're saving a detail for a bench, don’t create a category called Benches (too specific). Instead, consider creating a category called Site Furnishing, for example. You can now break down the Site Furnishing category into types of furnishing, such as benches, tables, etc., and then into relevant subcategories, such as wood, concrete, metal, etc.




Example of category and subcategory levels

For example, the category Fences and Gates can be broken down once into types of fences, such as Wood Fence, then a second time as to a type of wood fence such as Solid Sheaving, and then a third time to a specific types, such as Craftsman Two Sided and Solid Two Sided.




Switching to a Standard Library Division List

You can now choose from several standard detail organization lists on which to base your office's organization, such as the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI®) MasterFormat®. These lists are updated by our team, with periodic updates to each supported industry standard. More information and instructions




Creating a Detail Category for a Project

It can be valuable to create a category that relates to a specific project. This allows you to:

  • Keep all of a project's details in one file location for ease of access and review
  • Quickly save a detail relating to that project right in its file location, thus saving it and adding it to the project at the same time
  • Drag and drop existing details to a project's file location, thus copying them and adding them to the project at the same time



First, create a category for your projects. Because you have four levels of categories and subcategories, you can accomplish this in two possible ways:




Option 1: Create a General Category for Projects


Create a general category called Projects and then a subcategory for types of projects, such as Commercial, Educational, Residential, etc. This structure would take up two levels of categories – one for Projects and the next for the type of project.



You can then create subcategories for the specific projects, such as Projects/Commercial/ and then Fashion Mall for the project.



Because you have a project name of Fashion Mall, the code could consist of the project number, such as 20130211.

The code can't exceed eight characters.

Creating a general category for projects




Example structure showing three levels of categories

This structure would result in three levels of categories, allowing you another level in case you need to group details within the project file location, as pictured to the left.





Each of these final subcategories could have any number of details filed within them. The details that are saved or copied into these final subcategories would have a detail “Number” that would reflect the code. Thus, the first detail you save in the Entry Plaza subcategory would have a detail file number of P-CO-20130211-ENTR-01.

In seeing the detail, you'd recognize P for Projects, CO for Commercial, 20120211 for the project number, ENTR for a portion of the project site (in this case, the Entry Plaza), and finally 01 for detail number 01 that was saved to this category.




Option 2: Create a Category for One Project or Type

Depending on your needs and the levels of subcategories you require, you could create a category for one project or type of project.



For instance, your client may have several amusement parks, and one park has many levels of detail subcategories.




The main category could be named for the specific park (for instance, Magic Land in Atlanta, GA, in case the client has Magic Land parks around the world), and a familiar code to the client would be MLA for this usage.

Creating a categpry for one project or type




Example showing four levels of classification

The first subcategories could be individual sub-lands within the main park.




Then each sub-land could have different areas to define it, with numerous details for each area.




This type of organization would amount to a total of four levels of classification.




A Note on Editing and Recovering Details Categories


All your detail categories are stored in a file named _index_.xml, located in the folder LandFX/Details.



This folder should also contain a file named _index_.bak, which is a backup of _index_.xml.

LandFX/Details folder showing _index_.xml and _index_.bak files

If you lose your detail categories, or if the file _index_.xml disappears for some reason, you can recover your categories by changing the name of the file _index_.bak to _index_.xml. However, please note that this backup file will only contain the version of your detail categories previous to the most recent edit. For this reason, we strongly recommend backing up your Land F/X data on a daily basis. This practice will help you retain the most recent version possible of detail categories, as well as many other important items.

Searching for Details

The Detail Explorer includes a search box, which you can use to search for details in your library.



We've dramatically improved this search function, giving you even more control over your searches for keywords in detail titles and/or categories.







At the top left corner of the Detail Explorer, you'll see a search field where you can type in your search terms to look for details.

Detail Explorer, search box




Button to access search options in the Detail Explorer

Click the button with the three dots to choose whether you want to search for a keyword in the detail categories, in the titles of details, or both.




You'll now see two options for searching for your keywords:

  • Category titles
  • Detail titles


Select one or both of these options to refine your search, and click OK.

Options for searching for details by catagory titles or detail titles




Example search for a detail in the Detail Explorer

Type your keyword in the search field (example: Wall), then click Search.


All detail categories and/or detail titles that do not include your search term will be filtered out of the list.


Note that our detail library includes Metric versions of all details. When you search, the available details will be filtered automatically according to your current unit setting.

Note that the detail folders will all be collapsed at this point, so you'll need to expand them to locate the specific detail you're looking for.




In our example, we've expanded the CONCRETE category and then the SITE CONCRETE subcategory to get to all the details in that subcategory whose title include the keyword Wall.

Detail category and subcategory expanded to show details within




To reset the search results, just delete the keyword from the search field.

Detail Management in the Detail Explorer

You can use the Detail Explorer to:

  • Navigate to where a particular detail is filed
  • View a thumbnail of the detail
  • Copy, move, edit, or delete the detail





Detail Explorer showing detail selected




If you want, right-click after selecting a specific detail to Edit or Delete it. You can select one of these options from the menu that appears when you right-click.


Right-clicking a detail to edit or delete it



If you decide to Edit the detail, a separate CAD drawing of that detail will open for closer review. Edit or change it as necessary, then save the detail as the same detail or under a new detail number.


Moving and Copying Details

You can move or copy details as necessary from one category to another. For example, you can copy a detail to another project or file location. From the Detail Explorer dialog box, simply drag the detail reference to another category.


Dragging a detail to copy or move it to a different category




Are you sure you want to copy the selected detail

If you drag a detail from our library into another category, you'll be asked whether you're sure you want to copy the detail to the new location. Click Yes to copy the detail over.


A copy of the detail will now be included in that category and receive a new detail number.




If you drag a detail from one project to another, you'll have two options: Copy the detail to the other project, or Move the detail out of the first project and into the second.


Select the option you want, and click Yes.

Copy and Move options seen when dragging a detail to a different category

If you copy a detail into another category or project, the original version of the copied detail will still be included in its original category with its original number.







Reorganizing Detail Folders

You can easily reorganize your Detail Library by simply moving detail folders around in the Detail Explorer.

We highly recommend starting this effort with a small or test project, and then confirm that all is well. This operation can potentially cause a host of problems, so proceed with caution. However, assuming that all details in the project are still valid and none are currently open, the system will move and rename all relevant details and their references to reflect the reorganization.




If you drag a project detail folder into another folder, you'll be prompted to confirm how many folders and details you're about to move.


Click Yes to move the folder, or click No to cancel.

About to move folders and details message




Note that the process will fail if you move a detail folder in an unsupported way, including:


You may not have more than four levels of hierarchy message


Attempting more than four levels of folder hierarchy

There is already a folder of that name message


Duplicating folder names

You cannot move a folder into itself message


Moving a folder into itself

You can also reorganize your detail folders in the Organization tab of the Project List.




Detail Subcategories/Subfolders

If you have subcategories beneath the project detail folder, you'll just need to use some care in assembling the details. We recommend using the drag-and-drop capability of the Detail Explorer, which allows you to drag details into the subcategories.



Note that you'll still need to set the parent folder as the project detail folder. When you save or drag a detail into a subfolder, the system will look one level up to determine whether it can find a project assignment.




Locking Standard and Project Details from Editing

You might want to prevent specific users in your office, or even all users, from editing your office details. Here's how

Assigning a Photo to a Detail

We've added the capability of assigning a photo to a detail from the Detail Explorer.




To assign a photo to a detail, select the detail and click the + (plus) button in the top right corner of the Detail Explorer.


Plus button to add a photo to a detail




You'll be brought to a dialog box where you can choose a photo to assign to the detail.


Browse to and select a photo, then click Open.

Browsing to a photo to add to a detail




The photo will now appear in the preview box for the selected detail.


If you want, you can click the + (plus) button again and repeat these steps to assign an additional photo to the detail. You can use the arrow buttons to toggle between the detail preview and the photo assigned to the detail.


Arrow buttons to toggle between the detail preview and the photo assigned to the detail

Combining Multiple Detail Libraries

Need to combine two or more detail libraries into one? Follow our steps to combine or merge multiple detail libraries.

Importing and Exporting Details

We've included the Import and Export buttons in the Detail Explorer for two specific purposes:

  • Backing up your details
  • Sharing an office's library of details with another office that's not connected to the same detail library folder
Detail Explorer, Import and Export buttons




Exporting Details

Detail Explorer, Export button

To use these tools, you'll first export the details from your library.


Select the folder of details you want to export. Then click the Export button to export the details in that folder.




Choose a location where you want to save the exported details, then click OK.


If you want, you can just select your LandFX folder.

Browsing to a folder of details to export




Message showing number of details exported

You’ll see a message showing the number of details that were exported to a folder named detail_export in the location you chose. In this example, the exported details will be saved at the location LandFX\detail_export.


You can now share this folder, and the details contained in it, with others.

The Export tool creates this detail_export folder automatically in the location you select. The exported details are then saved to that folder. In our example, we exported to the LandFX folder. As a result, the export automatically created, and saved the exported details to, a detail_export subfolder in that location.




Import Details


After a folder of details has been exported as described above, you (or another Land F/X user) can import those details in order to access them.


To begin importing a folder of details, open the Detail Explorer and click Import.

Detail Explorer, Import button




Browsing to a folder of details to import

Browse to the folder of details you want to import. In our example, we'll browse to the detail_export folder within the LandFX folder, where we exported our folder of details above.


Select the detail_export folder in that location and click Open. The Import tool defaults automatically to select the details.xml file within the folder you choose. This file will allow the details to import.


The details will be imported to the same location in the Detail Explorer from which they were exported.

Related Webinars

  • Details for Beginners: Take a full tour of our detail system, where you’ll learn how to navigate our detail library, find the details you need, and use them in your drawing set. (1 hr 1 min)
  • Design F/X Setup: Join us for a complete demonstration on how our software helps you manage and use construction details. We’ll provide an overview of our entire system, including a look at our detail library system. (53 min)
  • Getting Started with the Detail Tools: We'll show you the basic tools you need to familiarize yourself with on the F/X Details ribbon, including organizing your details. (58 min)
  • Saving your Detail Library to Land F/X: We'll go over the best practices for saving your firm's standard details into our system. This webinar will help you make decisions that will save time and money in the long run. (1 hr)
  • Standardizing Your Detail Library: We'll introduce you to some tools and techniques that make it incredibly easy to bring your collection of details up to a specific standard for layer names, callout styles, unit settings, and much more. (56 min)
  • Detail Workflow in a Case Study Design: Guest presenter and guru Aaron Emerson of longtime Land F/X client Mills Design Group demonstrates how his team uses our details tools by presenting a few award-winning case studies. (1 hr 7 min)
  • Detail Tips And Tricks: Learn some advanced techniques and best practices to create details that communicate your design intent clearly, including how to batch save details (59 min)


Issue: You're trying to copy details from my Standards folder to your Project Folder in the Detail Explorer, and the details aren't showing up in the Detail Manager


Issue: Error: 'bad argument type: VLA-OBJECT nil' when moving detail storage location


Issue: Disassociate or remove a detail folder from a project or detail category


Issue: You tried to associate a project with a detail category/folder, and received the message "That category is already being used by another project"


Issue: Your office migrated its server and mapped a new letter drive to that location, and you need to move your Detail Library location to that new letter drive


Issue: You want to advance a project into a new phase (e.g., permitting to construction)


Issue: You received an Error: Saving data message when trying to create a folder in the Detail Explorer


Issue: You need to combine two or more detail libraries into one


Issue: You need to recover lost details or rebuild your detail database


Issue: A detail's description is blank in the Detail Explorer

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 June 2023 10:04
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