A quick tour

To get the most benefit from Punch! Home Design Software, you should take a minute to become familiar with the layout of the Punch! drawing space, plan tabs, and toolbars. In most cases, detailed information on standard Mac concepts or on specific menu items is not provided here. For information on standard Mac concepts, such as the mouse, the shortcut menu, the window border, the maximize button, dialog controls, and so on, refer to Mac online Help


Menu Bar

The Menu Bar displays the name of the application and allows you to choose menu items using either the mouse or the keyboard. To use the mouse, click the menu name; when the menu drops down, click the item you want. Menu items with an arrow to the right display a submenu, when you place the pointer over one of them.

To use the keyboard, press the Command key and enter the underlined letter in the menu name, then enter the underlined letter in the menu item’s name. If there is a submenu, you must enter another letter. You can also use the arrow keys to move through menu items and press the Return key to select one. The Esc key backs out of the menu items one level at a time. There are single-key or key combination shortcuts for certain frequently-used menu items. Each menu lists available shortcut keys to the right of the item’s name. You can use the techniques for choosing menu items in combination.

Plan Tabs

Home Design Studio utilizes a collection of layers, which are accessible by clicking the tabs along the top of the design window. Clicking a plan tab opens the group of tools available for that plan, which you can use to design your plan; for example, clicking the Electrical tab accesses outlets, switches, and ceiling fans, while clicking the Landscaping tab accesses tools for edging, fencing, ground fill, excavation, and so on.

Once placed, each feature created with a plan tool can be altered at any time. Click to select the feature and its properties appear in the Properties pane on the right sidebar.

You can further customize which plan layer or combination of plan layers you want to be active. In addition, you can make each plan layer a different color, so you can tell at a glance which layer a specific feature is on. You can even move features to a different plan, when necessary.

Using the easily-accessible plan tabs, you can quickly access each group of tools at any time.

To select a plan tab

1 In the left sidebar, click the Tools tab to show the pane.

2 Choose the Select Objects button from the Editing Tools group.

3 Click the plan tab you want to use. The plan tab is selected and the tools appear in the toolbar.

(alternatively) Swipe three fingers on the trackpad to scroll through the plan tabs.

Design Window

The design window is where the application is contained. The name of the current drawing file appears at the top center, in the title bar. You can close, minimize, and maximize the design window using the buttons in the top left corner. You can also minimize the design window by double-clicking the title bar.

You can create more space to design by collapsing the left and right sidebars and then expanded them again when needed.

Left Sidebar

The left sidebar contains the Tools pane, Decorator Palette pane, and Plant Inventory pane. You can hide the sidebar to give you more space to draw or show the sidebar to access the panes and their contents. When the sidebar is visible, you can resize it by dragging the edge.

To control the left sidebar

■ Click the Left sidebar button to collapse or expand the sidebar. (alternatively) Choose View > Hide Left Panel or Show Left Panel (or press Command-[).

Tools pane

The Tools pane includes three sets of groups: Editing Tools, Annotation Tools, and Plan Tools. Each group can be collapsed and expanded as needed.


Editing Tools group

The Editing Tools group contains tools you’ll use to select, rotate, zoom, and so on.

Annotation Tools group

The Annotation Tools group contains text and dimension tools.

Plan Tools group

The Plan Tools group displays the tools available in the active plan. For example, the Floor Plan includes toolsets for drawing walls, stairs, railings, and floors. By editing the preferences settings, you can configure the tool display style and which tools are visible in each group. Grid Table Display Style You can choose to display tools in a Grid or in a Table


Tool Group/Tool Visibility You can choose the tools you want to be visible in each of the tool groups. By default, all tools are visible, but you can deselect the tools you want to hide in each group. Tools that are not available cannot be hidden (for example, Select Objects).

Automatically Expand checkbox controls if a tool group appears collapsed or expanded when the application opens.

To configure the tools pane display

1 Choose Home Design Studio > Preferences. The Preferences dialog appears.

2 Click the Tools tab and edit the preferences, then click Save.

Decorator Palette pane

The Decorator Palette lets you organize materials for use in your design. For more information, see “Using the Decorator Palette”.

Plant Inventory pane

The Plant Inventory pane keeps track of all of the plants in your design. For more information, see “Plant Inventory”.

Right Sidebar

The right sidebar contains the Properties pane, Content pane, History pane, and Help pane. You can hide the sidebar to give you more space to draw or show the sidebar to access the panes and their contents. When the sidebar is visible, you can resize it by dragging the edge.

To control the right sidebar

■ Click the Right sidebar button img to collapse or expand the sidebar.

(alternatively) Choose View > Hide Right Panel or Show Right Panel (or press Command-]).

Properties pane

You can easily modify features you have previously drawn by selecting them and editing them on the Properties pane. Here you can control the properties of your drawing while nothing is selected, and then edit an actual object when the object is selected. The Properties pane is easily accessed by clicking a feature in your design. For example, clicking a door opens the customizable properties for doors, and clicking a plant opens the properties for plants. If nothing is selected, the Plan and Editing, Visible plans, and Plant Grow


Content pane

The Content tab gives you access to the expansive libraries for adding objects, colors, materials, plants, and more to your design. Each library is organized into Content categories, and in some cases the categories include subcategories. The available libraries include:

Standard Library content included with the initial installation

User Library items copied from the Standard Library or imported that can be edited or organized into custom categories

Some libraries are contained within disclosure triangles; click the triangle to view the libraries. Once you choose a library, its contents appear in the Preview Bar. When you switch content libraries, the Preview Bar is updated to only display those items that exist in the active category, so you can easily sort through items as you work on your design. You can drag the bar at the top of the Preview Bar to resize it. For more information on using the available libraries, see “Organizing Library Content”.


Note: The libraries that are available are dependent upon your current view. If you are viewing the 2D Plan View, colors, materials, and trim will not be available from the pop-up menu, as they can only be applied in a 3D View. There is a Search field at the bottom of the Content pane that allows you to search for a specific object, or filter all the objects within a specific category (for example, “chairs”).


You can control the number of content columns in the Preview Bar. The more columns the smaller the preview thumbnail appears


To control content grid columns

1 Click Home Design Studio > Preferences. The Preferences dialog appears.

2 Click the Interface tab and choose the number of columns you want from the Content grid columns pop-up menu and then click Save.

History pane

The History tab displays a list of your actions as you design. This powerful tool will contain every action that happens in the design window, so you are free to design and redesign with the ability to revert back and flash forward at any time. The History list is displayed with the most recent action at the bottom. Use the single arrow buttons to undo or redo actions in increments, or use the double-arrow buttons to undo all or redo all. You can also click the action you want to revert back to.


Some actions that are not tracked in the History pane include changing the view from 2D to 3D, rendering styles, navigation modes; any action that cannot be undone or redone from the Edit menu is not included in the History. Each drawing file has its own History list in the pane. So, when a new drawing file is opened, the History list will be empty. This means that when a drawing is saved and closed, and then reopened at a later time, the History list will be empty.

View Buttons

When you load Home Design Studio, you will be working in 2D Plan View. This allows you to quickly draw walls, add doors and windows, and so on. You can always access the 2D Plan View button.


When you want to focus primarily on your 2D actions, while maintaining a clear view of the 3D design, you can open the 3D Window View, a floating, resizable 3D window. Then, when you’re ready to add materials and colors to your design it will be easier in 3D Full View or Elevation View. All of the 3D views are available from the 3D Views pop-up menu. For a full explanation of the five view options, see the chapter titled “Viewing in 2D & 3D”.

Floors Pop-Up

Use the Floors pop-up menu to switch the current view, based on the number of floors in your home plan. Simply choose the floor on which you would like to work to switch the current working floor. For more information, see “Work on Floor”.


Elevation Bar

The Elevation Bar is a dynamic, on-demand way to quickly change your working elevation or adjust object elevations while you work. You can make adjustments to elevations without clicking in the field; just type the elevation you want as you’re working in the design window and the values appear.


Working Elevation

While nothing is selected in the design window type the elevation at which you want to work and press the Return key. The field is populated and all subsequent objects are placed at the elevation you’ve specified.


Object Elevation

When an object is selected, you can type the elevation at which you want the object to appear and press the Return key. The field is populated and the object is set at the elevation you’ve specified.

Status Bar

The Status Bar is located at the bottom of the design window. The Status Bar displays information related to your drawings, such as calculated area, plant names, and material names.

Green Building Tips

Home Design Studio includes information to help you with designing an energy-efficient, environmentally-minded home. Tips and information are available to help guide you as you are creating your design.


To access the green building tips

1 Choose Help > Green Energy Saving Tips. The Green Energy Savings Tips window appears.

2 Choose a category to see green building and energy tips.

3 Click the close button to close the window.