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How can I create a Viewport of a symbol?

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I want to dimension this symbol without adding another instance on another layer. Is there some way to isolate one instance in my layer and create a viewport of that? I know about cropped viewports and I know I could create another class to isolate one instance, but cropped won't work because the objects are not aligned, and adding another class is not what I want to do. I'm counting the symbol instances in a worksheet, so adding more just to dimension them is not an option.


Theses objects are all the same symbol. I want to dimension just one of them:



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Currently the only reasonable ways to control the visibility of objects in VPs is using Layer and Class Visibility.


So your best option is exactly what you say you don't want to do, but an extra instance of the symbol on a "dimensioning" layer.


You can then use the criteria for your worksheet to exclude that layers it does not mess up your counts.


If you only need orthogonal views, not isometrics, you could probably put all the symbols on a single layer arranged diagonally so that you can get any view you need (Front, Top/Bottom, Left/Right) by just cropping the viewports to exclude the other symbols.

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15 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

So your best option is exactly what you say you don't want to do, but an extra instance of the symbol on a "dimensioning" layer.


You can then use the criteria for your worksheet to exclude that layers it does not mess up your counts.

I will try that. Thanks.

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Some other approaches, not necessarily better, but might serve in different ways:


  • In the symbol definition, add dimension objects.
  • Create a special dims class just for these "internal" dims in the symbol definition, eg duplicate the default Dims class and rename Dims-SymbolDef or other descriptor.
  • Hide the special dims class except as needed in any dims VPs.
  • Use the Automatic plane mode to create the 3d dims, and the 2d mode to create the hybrid plan/front/side view dims. (or skip the 2d's and take care of those in the dims VPs).
  • Place an instance of this symbol on the parts dimension layer.  Direct the Worksheet to exclude the dimensioning layer and any VPs made to illustrate the symbol dimensions.

These dimensioned symbols can be added as resources to other files.

Some Downsides:

  • 3d dims do not rotate to camera, so have limited effective view/camera angle
  • This makes the symbol definition slightly "heavier", which might affect performance if many instances are placed in Design Layers.



  • Duplicate the symbol definition. Use only in dimensioning layers and vps. Name it Symbol#1_Dims, or other descriptor.
  • It can have a special class if needed. If there are multiple symbol definitions duplicated for dimensions, they can all assign to this same class.
  • Add Dimensions to the symbol definition as above.

Place an instance of this new symbol on the parts dimension layer.

Direct the Worksheet to exclude the layer and various special classes of this special dimensioning symbol.

Some Downsides:

  • This symbol definition will need updates to match any changes to the original.  Copy/Paste from original, then redimension?
  • Manage the new classes in VPs and worksheets.



  • Place a symbol instance (the regular, original symbol) on the parts dimension layer.
  • Convert to Group so it is no longer counted as the symbol in the data sets.
  • Inside the group add 2d or 3d dims which can show/hide in the various VPs.
  • Group can be switched to a special class as needed for visibiliy control.
  • Can use special dims class or default dims class, depending on needs.





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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

Upvote my longstanding wish for Sheet Layer Viewports to be able to look at Symbols as an option.....




That was the first thing I tired. Create a VP from a symbol. That would solve the problem. Until then, I think Pat's suggestion is the simplest, although I appreciate all of the other suggestions. 

Edited by Bruce Kieffer
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