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Overwriting Dimensions, Dimension Properties and Design Layers


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Hi All,

I just got VW 2008 Architect. I have these questions. I was previously an ACAD user so all of this is super new to me

1. How do I make my own dimension styles with specific font sizes. I can change the font style and size of each dimension object but how do i make them standard/peculiar to my dimension style?

2. How do i overwrite dimension readings? In ACAD there's an overwrite command in the properties toolbar.

3. I can't seem to snap to other design layers other than my active design layer, even when I have as my setting show/snap/modify others.

I thought the whole point of design layers is that it allows you to draw one new floor, tracing the floor below without modifying the bottom layers!

Any help will be much appreciated.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Dimensions can be customized by going to File >> Document Settings >> Document Preferences >> select Dimensions (the middle button) in the lower left select Custom >> select New >> name your intended custom dimension set and click OK. Now select Edit and you should be presented with a panel allowing you to customize your dimensions.

Dimensions take on the font style and size set under the Text >> Font and Text >> Size menus and can be easily altered there.

Is your Constraints Panel set up to allow snapping?

Edited by Wes Gardner
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On dimensions:

IN ACAD, I make dimension styles for different scales. My custom settings are usually: 1:10 means the size of the dimension text is 10, if 1:20, then size 20 and so on.

In VW, the dimension tool immediately gives me a size 12 for a design layer at 1:10. I want to change this. I made a dimension style but it has no parameters for changing the font size for an entire dimension style. How do I solve this? I can change the dimension font size for one dimension but surely this is a stupid way of doing it for all the dimensions for one scale in one layer.

Also, one would think that by changing the scale of design layers, the size of dimension text would also double (as in 1;10 to 1:20). But VW just halves it...making it smaller.

Design Layers:

My constraints panel allows for snapping but I still can't snap onto non-active design layers despite turning on the show/snap/modify option. How do I fix this?


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Zhin - check that the other layers you want to snap to are the same scale as the layer you're in and that you've got them all set to top/plan view - and of course check the class options as well as the layer options (show/snap/modify others).

If you uncheck the 'scale text' button when you change the layer scale then the point size of the text will not be altered, effectively re-sizing it inversely to the scale change.

If you want to change the font for all the dimensions on one layer, set the active class to Dimension, class & layer options to 'show others', then select all and use the text menus to change the font. Alternatively set the default font before you start by setting the text values with nothing selected.

To override dimension values select the object then in the object info palette uncheck the 'show dim value' box, you can type your own values in using the Leader & trailer fields.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Here's what I get...

If I set my default to 12 point in a design layer of 1/4" = 1'-0" and I copy and paste that dim to a design layer of 1/8" = 1'-0", the size of the font is now 6 point.

I typically draw with Snap to Object, Snap to Intersection and Smart Points turned on - I can snap to objects of the same scale on different layers but not if the layer scale is different...

Oh and what Keith said...

Edited by Wes Gardner
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Thanks so far guys,

There must be something wrong with my file settings. I opened up some files from the VW Training CDs and it allowed me to utilize the Show/Snap/Modify others option across Design Layers.

However, in my own created file, I still can't even snap to non active layers. Is there some preference somewhere that perhaps disable snapping to other layers of the same scale other than the Show/Snap/Modify option on the Navigation Pallette?

Also, this is a bit off thread how do you select an object behind the front object if they are coincident?


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Have you tried starting from scratch with a new file? Also double check all the settings and ensure that the layers are in top/plan - if you've managed to set the other layer into a 3D view the snap options won't work. The things I can think of that control snapping are the Constraints Palette, the Class & Layer options and the view - if they're all correct there should be no problem.

Re selecting objects, VW will select the front most object that it is able to select - unless your objects are totally coincident you may be able to use a marquee/modifier to select the one you're after, or else you can send the frontmost one backwards or if you're using classes you can restrict the class options to only select the class you're looking for.

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