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Have more than one Units type in a drawing


MHBrown

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For me, this is a must, must, must have: Units must have more flexibility beyond the global setting. As it stands now, a drawing's units must be the same in every viewport because it is set globally. Vectorworks MUST make it to where you may change unit types as a part of the edits in the Viewport Annotation window. The original global setting can be the default, but do you really think a single drawing page--much less an entire drawing package--should have just one units type? Small details are best dimensioned in inches (or mm/cm) where as large areas are better as feet and inches (or meters). This is such an egregious flaw I always check to make sure it is still there in each new version. Please fix this!

MHBrown

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Guest Frank Brault

This probably doesn't fully address your needs, but although each VWX file can have only one designated drawing unit, you can edit the unit on individual dimensions to whatever you want. Frequently, there will be instances in a project where I want to assign a unit to a dimension different from the one assigned to the file. Obviously, this does not address scenarios where it is desired to assign the dimension a particular unit to one sheet, and a different unit to another sheet within the same file, but I have often adjusted the units of a few of the dimensions on one part of a file when the scale of the detail is wildly different from those of the rest of the file. Not what you are asking I know, but this little known feature has helped me to occasionally address this...

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@Frank Brault  So how do you assign a different unit to a specific dimension?   Other than dual dimensions I can't see a way to edit a single dimension to show an alternate unit.

 

So say I have my units set to feet and inches,  alternate units to mm,  put I want the dimensions on the Site plan to show in M,  how do I do that?

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2 hours ago, MHBrown said:

This is such an egregious flaw

Just set up Dual Dimensions

 

File>Doc Settings >Units>Dual Dimensions.

Then you can have the Dimension object reference the primary, the secondary or both dimensions at once. Just pick one of the preset Dim Std>Dual presets in the OIP or create your own custom one.

Edited by bcd
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Hi Frank, I know you are trying to help, but I don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. Way, way back in 1992 I used something called Claris CAD ("Claris" was, I believe, Apple's software branch). In any design window (similar--in a very simple way--to VW's viewports) you could pick your units: from mm to hectare. This was a good idea 30 years ago and it is a good idea now. With all due respect (and I know you have an infinite amount of knowledge as to how CAD systems should work) your answer should have been something like, "Yes, that is an egregious flaw in VW. Sorry."

 

Thanks,

Mike

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36 minutes ago, MHBrown said:

Hi Frank, I know you are trying to help, but I don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. Way, way back in 1992 I used something called Claris CAD ("Claris" was, I believe, Apple's software branch). In any design window (similar--in a very simple way--to VW's viewports) you could pick your units: from mm to hectare. This was a good idea 30 years ago and it is a good idea now. With all due respect (and I know you have an infinite amount of knowledge as to how CAD systems should work) your answer should have been something like, "Yes, that is an egregious flaw in VW. Sorry."

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

I’m curious why you think you need different units in different viewports.  What are you trying to accomplish?

If it’s dimensioning, give Frank’s advice some credence instead of shade.

 

I have to disagree with your assertion that this is a software flaw and what the software “must” do.

Most of us do just fine working in a global unit of our choice and dimensioning in a variety of units, sometimes within the same viewport.

 

 

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Guest Frank Brault

Hi Mike,

I just checked and something that I used to be able to do in the software is at least partially disabled; What I found is that that you can edit an existing dimension object units mark in the drawing space to change the units mark, such as to edit the inch text (") to a meter (M) and the dimension object redraws to the new length as determined by the units mark that you entered in the dimension object. This is not as useful as I recall, by a long shot.

 

I remember that at one time, if you edited a units mark in a dimension object label, the result was, rather than changing the length of the dimension object, the dimension would remain the same length and would change it's text to the display the existing length in the new units mark; This no longer works as I described above; Sorry that I didn't check this before posting...

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17 hours ago, MHBrown said:

Hi Frank, I know you are trying to help, but I don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. Way, way back in 1992 I used something called Claris CAD ("Claris" was, I believe, Apple's software branch). In any design window (similar--in a very simple way--to VW's viewports) you could pick your units: from mm to hectare. This was a good idea 30 years ago and it is a good idea now. With all due respect (and I know you have an infinite amount of knowledge as to how CAD systems should work) your answer should have been something like, "Yes, that is an egregious flaw in VW. Sorry."

 

Thanks,

Mike

Yes Claris is an Apple subsidiary, ClarisCAD was a CAD "upgraded" version of MacDraw (which later became ClarisImpact) at the time, even though it was really nice it did have its limitations compared to e.g. AutoCAD (even then), VersaCAD, MiniCAD and Vellum so it fell by the wayside after a few years.

 

Being able to define units for dimensions per viewport sounds nice and I can see why you want it, you can already dimension in units of your choice and setting up dimensions styles for that is a solution as already suggested by others but probably not the one you prefer given your reaction. Though I think using dimension styles for each unit type is in the end more flexible than assigning (dimension) units per viewport which can create issues for people who don't expect that or are not even aware of it.

However.... as @Frank Brault found out... this seems to be broken now.

 

10 hours ago, Frank Brault said:

I remember that at one time, if you edited a units mark in a dimension object label, the result was, rather than changing the length of the dimension object, the dimension would remain the same length and would change it's text to the display the existing length in the new units mark; This no longer works as I described above; Sorry that I didn't check this before posting...

@Frank Brault This surprises me a bit because some 3 years ago this still worked if I remember correctly as I had a project back then where I had to use both metric and imperial versions of the same drawings. I can't think of a good reason to break/remove this functionality. Even an ancient program like Canvas Draw (now Canvas X Draw) handles this properly. Could you find out why this was changed, or perhaps it was broken unintentionally.

(Though I'm currently no longer using VW and may not use it in the near future I may return to it later so I'm still around to keep tabs on how it is developing so I may be chiming in  on discussions from time to time.)

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Like @bcd says you can easily switch between two different units in the same document using Dual Dimensions. So I use millimetres primarily but switch to metres when it's a site plan or something large. But like @TomKen says what you can't do as far as I know is introduce a third unit into the mix: so if I wanted to refer to a particular object in feet + inches instead (not totally out of the question around here) I think the only way would be to disable 'Show Dim Value' for the Dimensions in question then manually type in the feet + inches value as a Note...

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12 hours ago, Tom W. said:

Like @bcd says you can easily switch between two different units in the same document using Dual Dimensions. So I use millimetres primarily but switch to metres when it's a site plan or something large. But like @TomKen says what you can't do as far as I know is introduce a third unit into the mix: so if I wanted to refer to a particular object in feet + inches instead (not totally out of the question around here) I think the only way would be to disable 'Show Dim Value' for the Dimensions in question then manually type in the feet + inches value as a Note...

 

Until you hit a tool that Is hardcoded to only use the primary units of the file and can't switch to dual. 

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If you need to do this regularly just set up a dimension style for each measurement.

With dual dimension styles one can turn off the primary dimension and only display the secondary units.

Create a second file if you need more than two different types of units and reference in the base document.

Example would be a site plan for a house being in Metres; you would reference in the house file into the document where you would have prepared the site plan and it's associated viewports.

The house file could then be based primarily in millimetres but could also display feet and inches measures as a secondary unit (although I personally would not want to regress to the imperial system). But this method can generate millimetres and centimetres at the same time to produce cross compatible documentation for both Canadian and European standards.

 

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First of all, the "Imperial System" of measurement is neither better nor worse than the Metric system or any other random unit-based system. Who is to say that a power of 10s based system is any more intuitive than an inverse power of 2 system? Does it not depend on what you grew up with? Value judgements on such human inventions are non-sensical. Anyway, I digress. And you were probably just doing some harmless needling us insecure Imperial users, anyway.

I think your method would work, so thanks for the tip, but I want something that is not so clumsy. Right now, when I want to change to feet or meters or whatever I do it globally under the Document settings, as if it were in the same category as sheet size. It is not. What I and, I believe, others want is a way to do this from inside a viewport--ideally in the OIP. So if I'm doing a detail that is half-scale, I can simply choose a reasonable unit type without having to go to the trouble of creating a class. I may never have a detail like that in the rest of the drawing. Or, worse, I may have lots of different scales in a drawing package and end up with a zoo of classes, many with only a handful of occupants. That's not really the purpose of classes.

No, I think that once inside a viewport the user should be able to select not just the scale, but the units as well. These go together like nothing else in drafting (or "draughting" if you are into conservation of spelling so common in English🙂.) In short, if I can pick the scale; I need to pick the units. Pretty obvious to me, but that could just be my workflow.

Mike

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Posted (edited)

It is always hard to switch standards that you learned as a child and got used to.

Same for the language. A second language will always fall behind in some aspects.

(numbers in spoken texts here)

 

 

3 hours ago, MHBrown said:

the "Imperial System" of measurement is neither better nor worse than the Metric system or any other random unit-based system.

 

I heavily disagree.

I think the advantages of the Metrical System are

1.

That you can easily switch between Units (from ... to mm to cm to m to km ...)

by just switching the decimal separator AND mentally ....

2.

The same for switching from Dimensions to Areas or Volumes (from ..... m to m^2 to m^3)

3.

If there possibly is any superior Unit System, it would be good if all would use it for better communication

(So that Satellites with international collaboration can reach their orbits successfully, ....)

4.

The professional, specific, human driven dimensions you have in the back of your mind

(an inch is a thumb (BTW a cm is a pinky) or a room hight is 8 foot, ....)

you will learn and get used to anyway easily.

(A pipe for a handrail may be ideal at 34 mmm circumference, while 35 or 36 mm may feel too thick, ....)

5.

The majority rest of the world switched to Metric centuries ago.

 

 

BTW,

I am very happy that I finally got the switch after about 20 years from old school PS (Pferdestärke)

= about HP (horse power) to KW by the help of the boom of electric vehicles 🙂

Edited by zoomer
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Rather than this being a setting attached to the viewing environment it could be better implemented via dimensioning tool enhancement.
There are a relatively small amount of tools in the drafting set that communicate measures so it would be easier to program an enhanced and flexible dimensioning system rather than altering viewport functionality. Improvements to viewport functionality are partially limited by its need to be translated to dwg format.

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Thanks, Larry, I suppose that would work great as well. I'm not sure why translating to a .dwg format is a high-priority with viewport functionality. In the rare instances where I need to export a .dwg/.dwx file I usually export the 3D model directly. That said, I think the ability to choose units with the dimension tool would be fine as long as you didn't have to look through a long menu every time you did it. To me, viewports are the best place to pick your units because that is where you pick your scale. The scale of the drawing, of course, drives the selection of which units to use. It's not really something that should have to be done every time one draws a dimension.

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Posted (edited)

In Ontario Canada, our Building Code is in Metric but a significant number of clients &/or contractors*** want dimensions expressed in Barley Corns ( ie Imperial, a pointless gentle jab introduced for larffs 😁).  We tend to work in metric (mm) but will also from time to time issue an Imperial set (very rare) or a set with dual dimensions*. Add to this mix, new surveys are expressed in meters** and some older surveys are in decimal feet. So having MHB's suggestion would be very handy. 

 

* When we do this we choose Dual Dimensions & may uncheck the "show dim value" button in the OIP if there's too much info

** To express this, we generally uncheck the "show dim value" button in the OIP & Type in the value in Meters in the "Notes"

*** Funnily enough, the most requests for Imperial construction sets tend to come from contractors who had to migrate to the Imperial system when they moved to Canada

 

With the aim of reducing headaches, we have a standard note stating a drawing is a metric document & that any Imperial measurements are for convenience and metric values govern. You know, with the other standard notes about reporting discrepancies & not to scale drawings; the notes that contractors never read?

Edited by Jim Smith
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