Stage Lighting CAD – Theatre Lighting Symbols – DWG Blocks

Stage and theatre lighting design uses your technical and artistic skills to specify equipment and create the look of a production. Planning lighting positions and communicating your ideas by drawing a lighting plan used to involve what was called technical drawing but pens and paper have given way to CAD – Computer Aided Design. So, where do you get some FREE stage lighting CAD symbols…?  Plus a new lighting symbol library for Open Office Draw.

On Stage Lighting runs CAD training and Stage Lighting Courses that are delivered worldwide using a custom online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

There are CAD video resources at the On Stage Lighting YouTube channel, including tutorials on using AutoCAD for stage lighting design theatre and moving your learning between AutoCAD and Vectorworks. We also have series of screen tutorials on using Vectorworks Spotlight 2010.

On Stage Lighting has been visited by many budding lighting designers via searches for “theatre lighting symbols”, “Stage Lighting DWG” and other lighting CAD related topics. Unless you are lucky enough to own a genuine stage lighting CAD package, as outlined in Stage Lighting Design Software .. you might be struggling to find a free source of theatre lighting symbols to use in your CAD.

Luckily, the lovely people at theatre CAD specialists Modelbox have a stash of free lantern symbols, including the old Strand Patt. lanterns that still survive in schools, churches and small theatres everywhere. The lighting symbols of these ancient lights are familiar to “old lags” of lighting, being hand drawn using a Rotoring pen and green plastic stencils.

So, enough rose tinted memories – what theatre lighting symbols have they got?

Theatre Lighting Symbols

Modelbox have kindly provided .zip files of each lighting manufacturer plus a complete package. Each symbol file is in .DWG format (R14 release, if you are interested) which is a standard CAD format that is supported by all CAD packages and also vector drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. The files also contain attributes/layers of other stage lighting information such as channel, focus, colours etc. which make them extremely useful when used in conjunction with a CAD software which allows full use of attributes. You can use these to plan gel cuts, patch and dimmer information.

The symbols in the files cover:

  • Lighting Accessories – A whole rack full of lighting accessories, scrollers, stands haze and fog machines. All those extras. Zip file
  • Followspots – A range of different generic Followspot symbols.Zip file
  • ETC – CAD symbols of Source Fours, S4 Juniors and S4 PARs. Zip file
  • Profile Spots – Some generic profile spots icons. 500w, 1000w etc. Zip file
  • CCT Silhouette – The different sizes of the Sil range. Zip file
  • TV and Film lighting – A few generic symbols of mega lanterns used in the TV business.Zip file
  • Altman – Spots, Fresnels and PARs of the Altman range. Zip file
  • Fresnels – Generic fresnel CAD icons of a range of sizes. Zip file
  • PAR Cans – PAR36 and PAR64 with different lamps such as MFL, WFL, VNSP etc and shortnose (stubby PAR) versions. Zip file
  • Selecon – Symbols for the Selecon ranges including Acclaim fresnels, spost and floodlights. Zip file, Zip file 2.
  • Strand – Pretty much everything you could want from the Strand range including Patt23, Patt123, Patt734 and even P23N! Also includes the modern fresnels and spotlights like the Minim, Prelude and Cantata ranges right up to the Strand Brio. Zip file.

So, there’s some free CAD symbols for your next lighting design. The package does not have any intelligent lighting, moving lights or LED fixtures but these are usually available in .DWG and .DXF formats from the lighting manufacturers anyway.

More information about the stage lighting symbols files are on the Modelbox website.

Update: Mark Lautman has given us a heads up about his new theatre lighting symbol library for Open Office Draw.  If you don’t know, Open Office is a free suite of products similar to Microsoft Office – we use the word processor and spreadsheet programs in this office.  I haven’t used Open Office Draw but assume it similar to MS Draw or Visio and Mark has developed a number of native symbol libraries including one specifically for stage lighting planning.

Check out the OO shapes and let us know what you think.

27 thoughts on “Stage Lighting CAD – Theatre Lighting Symbols – DWG Blocks”

  1. Andrew,

    I don’t know of any FREE band members blocks but if you need free CAD models then Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse is a good place to start. If you have Sketchup PRO, AFAIK you can export as DWG/DXF.

  2. Hi there, nice little package you have here of the lighting fixtures.
    I was just wondering if you may be updating them soon? to include LED fixtures, moving lights etc?
    Once again, thanks nice little package!

  3. Hi Mike,

    The symbols belong to Modelbox, who have them available on their website. As the package is fairly old not, I assume that they will not be updated to include newer fixtures.

    Thanks for visiting.

  4. Thanks a lot for the huge amount of CAD symbols given here. I really appreciate it but, are they on 1:1 scale?

    I’ve opened some instruments and stuff with weird scales! For example, there’s a 34ft X 21ft PAR 64 from Altman (Alt-P64nsp.dwg) and a 17′ X 21′ PAR-64 Barn door (Par64-BrnDoor.dwg)

    I know how to re-scale them in AutoCAD using the measurements from each product’s technical specs as a guide, but is there a bug or something affecting the real scale on the CAD blocks?


  5. Hi Ivan

    Thanks for telling us about your scale issues. The files are not provided by On Stage Lighting but are available from the Modelbox website. I didn’t know of any problems but they are free.

    There is also another AutoCAD / DWG lighting symbol resource @ the Cue1 Lighting website.

  6. Hello,

    Could you recommend a free CAD programe that the above lantern symbols can be used in?



  7. Hi Matthew,

    The lighting symbols are all in DWG or DXF format and many free 2D CAD packages support those files. A free version of TurboCAD was available from last time I looked, along with other drafting software . Google Sketchup (also free) can import the symbols too.


  8. Thankyou soooo much, I have been looking for this everywhere and conteplating just giving up and handing over a dogeared chocolate wrapper with my lighting plan on the back then running away!
    I guess you;ve got to start somewhere!!!

  9. The ETC blocks are worthless as posted here, being that they are not even remotely close to being in scale.

  10. For all of you with scale issues, you’ll definitely need to re-scale each block. I’m in autocad 2010 educational – I run the block editor and re-size using the scale command and a tape measure. Once you’ve got that, you can add a lighting legend and save it as a template. I’ve made templates for each of the venues I’ve designed at in the last six months and it makes you popular with other designers. Remember to leave a blank template with your house tech.

  11. You could check out LXFree as a passable free lighting plot package – it does fairly well with basic plots and will automatically generate fixture lists and the like.

    For mac:

    Java, for other OS:

  12. Pingback: CAD Symbols Library
  13. We have many related AutoCAD event blocks in both 3d and 2d

    We have lighting fixtures, truss, audio, venues and much more.

  14. Hi Mike. Thanks for all your knowledge. i have a issue. When import a dwg on vectorworks. i ready made it. But i can´t use it or modify. i can’t no transform on object or symbol.
    Any suggestion?

    Thank you!!!


  15. @Bill Marshall
    Most of The symbols (dwg files) mentioned may be opened in librecad ::

    Which is a fork of QCAD …

    These may also be saved as dxf files and used in FreeCAD .
    (or possibly exported to svg ? )

    Inkscape should also be able to open them.
    (and export to some other format that also supports layers)

  16. Hey

    I have a question,
    I want to order a item from your store.
    but i can not find it anymore on your site,
    it looks like this picture on this site
    I hope you will sell it again soon.
    I’ll wait.


    “Sent from my iPhone”

  17. Hi – modelbox here

    The website has recently been rebuilt, and the links here need updating. You can visit the website at

    All the best


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