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What Exactly is a Drawing Register?

The concept of a drawing register may not be familiar to everyone. In this article we will explain the basic parts, features and functions of a good drawing register.

what's a drawing register

A Simple Drawing Register

In its simplest form a drawing register is a list of drawings for a company, project or some other category of drawings. The list might be a hard copy paper list or it might be a simple Microsoft excel spreadsheet.

The list will usually include the drawing number, title, revision, author and a date. This list of columns may have additional references or information that helps the users of the specific register. For example an architectural firm may include job number or client name.

A register like this is useful to keep a record of all the drawings in existence for a given subject and is a central authority on the details of each drawing. This list will probably be controlled by one or more people to maintain its integrity and to avoid duplication, errors or inconsistencies.

A More Useful Intermediate Drawing Register

You can probably see the limits of a simple drawing register especially a paper based one that relies on one person to maintain or one master copy to be maintained. There are numerous drawing registers that expand upon the simple drawing list. Usually these are created as Microsoft Excel Drawing Registers, Microsoft Access Drawing Registers, or are a custom piece of software.

These types of drawing registers usually incorporate the same drawing list as used in a simple drawing register, but they will add extra functionality like another list of archived or superseded drawings. They will often allow the storing of electronic copies of drawings, or at least the referencing of a file location where a user can access the electronic copy of the drawings.

Drawing registers in this category will usually have basic error checking and duplication checking to prompt users of any obvious issues or inconsistencies when adding new drawings.

Advanced Drawing Registers

Advanced drawing registers will include all the features of a simple and intermediate drawing register system, but will incorporate an additional suite of functionality and time saving measures.

Advanced drawing registers will include a system where each user has their own access via unique login details, this is to allow security auditing of activities within the register and the setup of different levels of security.

They will have the ability to manage drawings through the design control process from reserving numbers, drawing stage, checking, marking-up and approving.

Good drawing registers in this category will also have the ability to track revisions through change requests or some other instrument that links the design history of a drawing or drawings together as a story showing you what changed at each step and why.

And a must have for advanced drawing registers is the ability to distribute your drawing directly from within the drawing register system itself on a transmittal or something similar. This means there is very little possibility that a user can send the wrong drawing to a supplier, customer or consultants. And there will always be a record of what was sent to who and when.


If you are an architectural, engineering, manufacturing or building organisation you can really reap the benefits of a good drawing register system. It will make you so much more efficient.