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Andrew Davies

Classes within symbols

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So here is the challenge :

I have designed a symbol of an exhibition counter.

The exhibition counter could be used by several different clients (for simplicity say Green Client, Red Client, Blue Client etc)

There are three materials used in the counter - white laminate, beech laminate and printed graphic. The printed graphic is blue, green or red, depending on the client.

So I am wondering if anyone has any bright ideas on how I could change the appearance of the symbol depending on which client it is for. I was hoping I could draw a square for the graphic, assign it's attributes to "by class" and then be able to assign the whole symbol to a class called "Blue Client" etc - but that doesn't work.

Of course - as the counter is physically the same for each client - it is only the colour of the printed areas that changes - I am hoping I can use the same symbol all the way through. The only way I can get it to work at the moment is to duplicate the symbol for each client, then assign the graphic within the symbol to the class relating to Blue client etc.

Hope this makes sense!!!


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Are the symbols for the three different clients going to be used in a single VW file? Or will the symbol be used in different files for different clients?

In the second case you should be able to just assign the graphic to a class and set its attributes By Class.

If it is the first case, I think you will have to create three symbols each with a different class for the graphic.

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Or maybe, in the first case, just one symbol but the graphic is controlled in different viewports using viewport overrides?

Or alternatively, if more than one client is presented in a single viewport, one symbol with three instances of the graphic, each of which would be in a different class, one for each client?

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Thanks chaps

All the symbols would be in a single VWX file.

Was hoping not to have to duplicate the symbol - as up until we go to build, there will be tweaks being made to the structure of the counters. Would be a pain having to update all the duplicates manually.

Was thinking though - I could create a symbol of a blank counter - i.e. - the counter with no graphics applied. Then create separate symbols of just the graphics which are applied over the blank symbol - then make it into a group. A possible work around.

Haven't used Viewport overrides - but will investigate!

Thanks again,


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I think that's the best solution: a symbol of the counter inside the symbols that contain the graphics.

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Making the "base symbol" and then having a different symbol associated with the different clients makes sense to me, especially if they will all appear in the same viewport. I do this all the time, (especially with electric symbols).


I also highly recommend learning to use the Viewport Override feature. This is a very powerful way to precisely control how you want things to look in any particular viewport, beyond simply turning classes on and off.

If the objects within the Symbol are on their own separate classes, not only can you turn them on & off, but you can override both the pen of the fill of the class, giving a lot of graphic control. In other words, you can work with a simplified appearance while you are in the design layer, then create a much more graphically rich appearance when looking at it through a viewport on a sheet layer.

You can then set up a handful of viewports already "tweaked" to your different clients, so all's you have to do is paste the desired "client ready" viewport into the sheet layer you are working on.

hope this helps,


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atari2600's comment is the way to go.

Using the Viewport to manage this is the way to go - we do it all the time. Duplicated Viewports on the same sheet illustrating different assemblies for example.

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