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Dimensions and Notes - in Design Layer or Sheet Layer Annotations

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My whole office is drawing dimensions and notes in design layer and when they get Viewported at different scales onto sheet layers the witness lines are at many different sizes. It is also hard to standardise the font size as well. 

 

But its a big ask to change 30+ people’s cadding habits without knowing the true benefits and cons of dimensioning in design layer vs sheet layer annotations. 

 

Can someone share best practice tips for 2D drawing dimensioning and notes? 

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Font sizes for dimensions / note objects can be set in Advanced Viewport Properties. I do not know the effect on witness lines.

A good general rule for dims and notes is this: If the dims / notes show up on more than one sheet, then they belong in a design layer (and may require a class to control their visibility). If they show up on only one sheet (as in e.g. a detail view), then they belong in the Viewport annotations, which are instance-specific to the viewport.

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Just my opinion really (and in an architectural drawing context) but dimensions should almost always be in annotations on the sheet layer.

 

In an efficient set of drawings, the same dimension shouldn't need to be repeated on several sheets.

 

If you need to communicate a dimension, then it should be communicated in the right place. If it's a setting-out dimension then it should be on the GAs or on a dedicated setting-out drawing. If it's a detail dimension it should be on the relevant detail drawing.

 

I often see drawings made cluttered and confusing by dimensions that don't need to be there, because they are already stated somewhere else.

 

My approach of almost never having them on a design layer seems to run contrary to various VW tutorials though. I don't know if that's because my dimensioning philosophy is not a widespread one, or if it's because the designers of VW don't understand enough about how architectural drawings are put together in real life practice.

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I agree that nearly all dimensions and notes should be on annotations. Only notes that appear on multiple sheets should be on the design layer (which is almost nothing ideally).

 

It makes for a cleaner file, less classes, and the scale of the text is never an issue.

 

I'd add that sometimes I will draw dimensions temporarily in the design layer as a design aid for myself. Once I get to a certain point, I will cut/paste those dimensions into the annotation of the proper viewport.

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ThreeDot, that is true, if you want to dimension in an isometric view. You will need to use planar graphics and dimension on the cardinal planes. But anything projected onto the sheet plane can be dimensioned, of course, 2D or 3D.

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Yes, perfectly possible to dimension orthographic sectional and elevational views in the annotations layer.

 

The ability to do the same for isometric or perspective views would be useful though.

Edited by line-weight

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Yes, but isometric dimensions have to be managed on the design layer. Which means users still have to manage the classes, views, scale, and other clutter that goes along with design layer annotations. Similarly, dimensions are not associative in the annotation layer, elevation markers must remain on the design layer, etc. I would love simplify my workflow and move all annotations to viewports, but the current toolset doesn't allow for that.

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Dimensions are used for both Design and Communication.

The rigor of always relegating them to Annotations is difficult to uphold

Revit has an elegant way of overcoming this by showing intelligently chosen temporary contextual dimensions as you draw.

In Design Layers I find we draw & delete dimension lines repeatedly throughout the day.

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1 hour ago, ThreeDot said:

Yes, but isometric dimensions have to be managed on the design layer. Which means users still have to manage the classes, views, scale, and other clutter that goes along with design layer annotations. Similarly, dimensions are not associative in the annotation layer, elevation markers must remain on the design layer, etc. I would love simplify my workflow and move all annotations to viewports, but the current toolset doesn't allow for that.

 

For sure I can see why some might opt for design layer dimensions. For my needs, the annotations layer approach is the 'least bad' solution but that will not apply for everyone.

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It i nice to have all the dimensions in the viewport annotation space however I find as I'm dimensioning a floor layout that I often have to tweak the layout slightly. If I was dimensioning in the annotation space I would have to flick back and forth between design layer and the annotation layer repeatedly. For this reason I place my main layout dimensions on a class in the design layer. That class is only visible in the layout plans.

 

Other dimensions, for the roof plans, foundation plans etc, I simply place in the annotation layer.

 

Also - inevitably there are revisions and walls can move. If the dimensions are right there with the walls (rather than in an annotations space) then it is much less likely that updating of the dimensions will with the wall changes will not get overlooked (especially if the are associated with the walls).

 

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The concept of making changes and not keeping track of all the viewports that are affected is like cooking dinner and leaving the pots and pans for someone else to clean up after you. The technique of drawing, doing annotaion and page layout in the design space is the old school technique that was required prior to the introduction of sheets and viewports into drawing applications. the old school method often had the technician redrawing information multiple times; once for each level of detail required. Building plans often did not jive with room plans which did not jive with envelope details because when ever one was changed the others would not get updated "for efficiency and speed reasons". Moving annotation and dimensioning to the viewport annotation results in fewer instances of unreadable blobs of text that were not intended for 1:100 drawings and cut-off witness lines not intended for the detail views and giant sized grid bubbles, etc. all related to differences in scale between the design space and the layout sheet or viewport's scale.

When developing a drawing in the design environment the notes and references I place there are not usually intended for the construction drawings. They are site measures, design constraints, source references (CCNs SIs details, email instructions etc.) These annotations are grouped into their own classes and are rarely turned on in the viewports.

Details can be laid out over building plans and sections at their relevant locations and simply grouped or symbolized with a class attached to control their visibility.

If you are using viewports and switching things around on the fly you are still going to need to go through all the relevant viewports and realign them, so there really is no excuse for forgetting to realign the annotation and dimensions too when you move the crop.

There is no one true way of doing these things but some methods just make it more difficult for the junior drafters to keep your drawings error free after you adjust them. After all that is what office standards are really about.

I think that was more like ten cents than two.

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5 hours ago, LarryO said:

There is no one true way of doing these things but some methods just make it more difficult for the junior drafters to keep your drawings error free after you adjust them.

This I believe is the crux.

If the implementation were ideal then there would be one true way or at least one highly recommended way.

Dimensions are really useful & often necessary in the Design Layer

Dimensions are best laid down in the Sheet Layer

I think the grail lies in an automatic 2-way communication and selective visibility between the two.

 

Some observations:

  • There are instances where a Annotation Dimensions on  the Sheet Layer will actually affect geometry in the Design Layer (Top/Plan Associated Dimensions  can move planar objects)
  • There are instances where Annotations are visible in selected Design Layers AND selected Viewports (Section Lines>Advances>Section Line Instances)
  • There are instances where Dimensions can be placed automatically (Auto-dimension Exterior Walls, (Sheet Layer or Design Layer))
  • It is possible to quickly switch on/off elements in both Design Layers & Sheet Layers which could be extended to control visiblity of, for example, Dimension Styles (Visibility Tool)

Yes - an implementation of a global dimensioning philosophy and workflow so that it is effective, efficient and elegant seems a long way off - but we have hints of the existing functionality, tools and commands that could be bundled, tumbled, expanded and refashioned to deliver a worthy 21st century solution.

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Wow. Some really insightful responses to what really is not a subject matter to take lightly. We dimension and annotate everyday so we really need to get a system that works efficiently with our individual workflows. Think the most important thing from the replies i gathered is how to create a dimensioning system which is mostly likely to reduce errors. That probably is the crux. Thanks all! 

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In addition to dimensioning, I think you'll find with the introduction of the Data Tag tool that TAGS, wall tags, room names, door tags, window tags, etc, etc. should be placed in the Annotation space of the viewport.

 

BTW, I DO draw with "control dimensions" on design layers with the intent of "publish dimensions" in Annotation space.

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