An ordinary is a shaped item that appears in a fixed, specific location on the field of the shield. In most cases there can only be one of each type of ordinary. DrawShield supports the following ordinaries. The headings below are sometimes used by Heraldic authorities to group ordinaries, but in most cases, DrawShield makes no particular distinction about them.

The Supported Ordinaries

Major Ordinaries

base, bend, chief, fess, pale, pile, pile throughout, quarter, chevron, tierce, pall, orle, inescutcheon, bordure, cross, fret, saltire

Cross Variations

In addition to the "plain" cross above, DrawShield also supports more fancy types of cross, cross parted and fretty, cross tripartite and fretty, cross-formy, fillet cross. The ordinary cross may also be gyronny of two different tinctures, and different numbers of gyronny segments are possible.

Chevron Variations

Unlike most ordinaries, of which there can be only one, you can have up to 3 chevrons, which will be stacked up vertically. If you want to use smaller versions of the chevron as a charge then either have more than 3 of them or call them chevron couped.

The chevron also has special variations of couched (appearing from the dexter side), throughout (stretching top to bottom) and fracted or debruised (broken at the top), inarched (enclosing an arch), rompu (centre section raised), burst (point missing), disjointed (gapped) and , removed (each half displaced vertically).

Bend Variations

Bends are also an exception to the "only one ordinary", in this case there may be up to two.


Smaller versions of the major ordinaries, bar, barrulet, bendlet, chevronel, humet, palet, closet, canton, shakefork, tressure, double-tressure, chief-triangular, chevron-fracted, baton


Smaller, and less common shapes, gore, fillet, 2 flaunches, graft, gusset, gyron, 2 square flaunches, lozenge-throughout, enty / ente en point

Other Ordinaries

Drawshield also supports the modern addition to heraldry, the Canadian Pale, and the label, which may be of some number of points. The ford is an ordinary which has fixed colours, and the gorge is also treated like an ordinary. Most authorities regard this as a charge, but since it occupies the whole field and there can be only one of them it makes it easier for DrawShield to treat it as an ordinary.

Ordinary Modifiers

Some ordinaries can have minor modifications. Not all modifiers apply to all ordinaries, and not all ordinaries have modifiers! DrawShield will display a warning if it cannot apply a modifier in a partifcular situation. In general, the major ordinaries support the largest number of modifiers, some of which can even be combined.


Ordinaries that are not symmetrical may be described as sinister, dexter, reversed, inverted


The major ordinaries can, where appropriate, be couped, couped dexter, couped sinister, couped in chief, couped in base, voided


The major ordinaries, and some of the others, may be cotticed, double cotticed, triple cotticed, and both these and main ordinaries may have a different colour and different edge types.

The tressures may be flory-counter-flory


It was not quite true when I said earlier that ordinaries are always in fixed positions - the modifiers enhanced, abased can be used to move them from their normal positions slightly up or down, respectively.

Colour Changes

All ordinaries may be fimbriated of a different colour. This gives them a differently coloured border which allows you to get around the Heraldic guidelines about placing colours on metals and vice-versa.

The major ordinaries may be either ofcompony, counter-compony of two different colours. Some of them may alternatively be lozengy.


Some items can be either ordinaries (i.e. a single example in a fixed location) or more than one can be present, in which case they treated like charges and can be positioned and arranged like any other charge. These are: cross, chevron, fret, saltire. If you wish to ensure that you draw a single chevron as a charge (i.e. not occupying the whole field used chevron couped.

Some ordinaries are treated slightly differently when they appear on flags - further details can be found on the Flags page.

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