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Dimension styles are similar to text styles. They determine the look of your dimensions as well as the size of dimensioning features, such as the dimension text and arrows. You might set up. a dimension style to have special types of arrows, for instance, or to position the dimension text above or in line with the dimension line.
Dimension styles also make your work easier by allowing you to store and duplicate your most common dimension settings.

AutoCAD gives you one of two default dimension styles called 150-25, or , depending on whether you use the metric or English measurement system. You will probably add many other styles to suit the style of drawings you are creating. You can also create variations of a general style for those situations that call for only minor changes in the dimension’s appearance

In this first section you’Il learn how to set up your own dimension style based on the Standard dimension style (see Figure 9.2). For metric users, the settings will be different but the overall methods will be the same..



  1. Open the Unit file you edited in the last chapter. If you didn’t create one, use the 09 a-unit. dwg file on the companion CD-ROM and rename it Unit. dwg.
  2. Issue Zoom All to display the entire floor plan.
  3. Click Format > Dimension Style, or type D..Jat the command prompt. The Dimension Style Manager dialog box appears.
  4. Select Standard from the Styles list box. Metric users should select 150-25.
  5. Click New .The New Dimension Style dialog box appears.
  6. With the Copy of Standard or 150-25 name highlighted in the New Style Name input box, enter My Architectural.
  7. Click Continue. The detailed New Dimension Style dialog box appears.

You’ve just created a dimension style called My Architectural, but this point, it is identical to the Standard style on which it is based. Nothing has happened to the Standard style; it is still available if you need to use it.

Setting Up the Primary Unit Style

Now you need to set up your new dimension style so that it conforms to the U.S. architectural style of dimensioning. Let’s start by changing the unit style for the dimension text. Just as you changed the overall unit style of AutoCAD to a feet and- inches style for your toilet and tub drawing in Chapter 3, you must do the same for your dimension styles: Setting the overall unit style does not automatically set the dimension unit style.

  1. In the New Dimension Style dialog box, click the Primary Units tab. The options for the Primary Units style appear .
  2. In the Linear Dimensions button , open the Unit Format drop-down list and choose Architectural. Notice that this drop-down list contains the same unit styles as the main Units dialog box (Format> Units). Metric users can skip this option.
  3. Select 0′-0 1/4″ from the Precision option, just below the Unit Format list Metric users should select 0.00. The Precision option allows you to set the level of precision that is displayed in the dimension text. It doesn’t limit the precision of AutoCAD’s drawing database. This value is only used to limit the display of dimension text values.
  4. Just below the Precision option; open the Fraction Format drop-down list and select Diagonal. Notice what happens’ to the graphic in the right-hand corner of the dialog box. The fractional dimensions change to show you how your dimension text will look. Metric users can skip this  this, since it isn’t available when-the Decimal unit format is selected.
  5. In the Zero Suppression button group in the lower-left corner, click 0 Inches to turn off this check box. If you turned on, indications of 0 inches . will be omitted from the dimension text. (In architectural drawings, 0 inches are shown as in this dimension: 12′-0″.) Metric users can ignore this option.

If you use the English measurement system. you have set up My Architectural’s dimension unit style to show’ dimensions in feet and inches, the standard method for US. construction documents. Metric users have just changed the precision value and kept the Decimal unit system.

Setting the Height for Dimension Text

Along with the unit style, you will want to adjust the size of the dimension text. The Text tab of the New Dimension Style dialog box lets you set a variety of text options, including text location relative to the dimension line, style, and height.

  1. Click the Text tab to display the text options.
  2. Highlight the contents of the Text Height input box.
  3. Type 1/8 to make the text height 1/8 high. Metric users should enter 0.3 for the text height.

Unlike the text you created in Chapter 8, you specify the text height by its final. plot size. You then specify an overall dimension factor that affects the sizing of all of the dimensioning settings such as text and arrows.

If you want to use a specific text style for your dimensions, select a text style in the Text Style drop-down list in the Text tab. If the style you select happens to have a height specification greater than 0, then that height will override any text height settings you may enter here in the Text tab.

Setting the Location and Orientation of Dimension Text

AutoCAD’s default setting for the placement of dimension text puts the text in line with the dimension line, as shown in the example at the top 01: Figure 9.2. However, you want the new Architectural style to put the text above the dimension line, as is done at the: bottom of Figure 9.2. To do that, you will use the Text Placement and Text Alignment options in the Text tab of the New Dimension Style dialog box.

  1. In the Text Alignment group in the lower-right comer of the diaIogbox, click the Aligned with Dimension Line radio button.
  2. In the Text Placement group, open the drop-down list labeled Vertical and select Above. Notice how the appearance of the sample image changes to show you h.ow your new settings will look.
  3. Again in the Text Placement group, change the Offset from Dim Line to . 1/16. This setting controls the size of the gap between the dimension line and the,dimension text.

Each lime you change a setting, you get immediate feedback your changes will affect your diimension style by watching the graphic.

Choosing an Arrow Style and Setting the Dimension Scale

Next, you want to specify a different type of arrow for your new dimension style. For linear dimension in architectural drawings, a diagonal line or “tick” mark is typically used, rather than an arrow. .

In addition, you want to set the scale for the graphical components of the dimension, such as the arrows and text. Recall from Chapter 8 that text must be scaled up in size in order to appear at the proper size in the final output of the drawing . Dimensions, too, must be scaled so they look correct when the drawing is plotted. The arrows are controlled by settings in the Lines and Arrows tab and the overall sale of the dimension style is.set in the Fit tab. .

  1. Click the Lines and Arrows tab. You see the options for controlling the arrow style and dimension line extensions.
  2. In  the Arrow heads group, open the drop-down list labeled 1st and choose Architectural Tick. The graphic next to the arrowhead name shows you that the arrowhead looks like.
  3. In the Arrowheads group, change the Arrow Size setting to 1/8 Metric users should enter .3.
  4. In the Dimension Lines group, highlight the value in the Extend Beyond TIdes input box, then enter 1116. (Metric Users should enter 0.15. This causes the dimension lines to extend past the tick arrows. This is a standard graphic practice used for dimensioning linear dimensions in architectural plans.
  5. In the Extension Lines group, Change the Extend Beyond Dim Lines setting to 1/8. Metric users should change this to .3: This setting determines the distance; that the extension line extends past the dimension line.
  6. Again in the Extension Lines group, change the Offset From Origin setting to 1/8. Metric users should change this to .3. This sets the distance from the point being dimensioned to the beginning of the dimension extension line .
  7. Click the Fit tab of the New Dimension Style dialog box to display the options for overall dimension scale and miscellaneous settings.
  8. In the Scale For Dimension Features group, select the Use Overall Scale of radio button.
  9. Double-click the list box just to the right of the Use Overall Scale of radio button, then enter 48. This is the scale factor for a 1/4 scale drawing. Metric users should enter so.

All of the values that you enter for the-various options in the New Dimension Style dialog box will be multiplied by this value to obtain the final size of the dimension components. For example, the ‘text height you entered earlier, 1/8, will be multiplied by 48 for a dimension text height of 6. For metric users, the text height of 0.3 will be multiplied by 50 for a text height of 15cm.

Setting Up Alternate Units

You can use the Alternate Units tab of the New Dimension Style dialog box to set up AutoCAD to display a second dimension in centimeters or millimeters. Likewise, if you are a metric user, you can set up a second dimension to display feet and inches. In most situations, you won’t need to use these alternate units, but for our exercise you’ll use them for the benefit of AutoCAD users in all parts of the world.

Now take the following steps to add alternate units to your dimension style.

  1. In the New Dimension Style dialog box, select the Alternate Units tab.
  2. Click the Display Alternate Units check box. The options in the tab become available for your input.
  3. select 0.00 from the Precision drop-down list Metric users should select 1/4.
  4. Enter a scale factor for your alternate dimension in the Multiplier for Alt Units input box. For U.S. users, the default value is 25.4. This value converts feet and- inch dimensions to millimeters. In our metric examples, you’ve been using centimeters so change this setting to 2.54. Metric users should enter 0.3937 to convert centimeters to feet and inches.
  5. In the Placement group, select the Below Primary Value option.

Click OK to exit the New Dimension Style dialog box. The Dimension Style Manager dialog box reappears.

Setting the Current Dimension StyIe

Before you can begin to use your new dimension style, you must make it the current default. .

  1. Click My Architectural in the Styles list box in the Dimension Style Manager dialog box.
  2. Click the Set Current button in the”i;;r-right side of the dialog box.
  3. Click Close to exit the Dimension Style Manager dialog box.

You’re now ready to use your new dimension style.

In the next set of exercises, you will be using the My Architectural style you just created. To switch to another style, open the Dimension Style Manager dialog box again, select the style you want from the Styles list, and click Set Current, just as you did in the previous exercise.

Modifying a Dimension Style

To modify an existing dimension style, open the Dimension Style Manage . dialog box, highlight the style you want to edit, then click Modify. The Modify dimension Style dialog box appears, which is virtually identical to the New Dimension Style dialog box you’ve been working with. You can then make changes 10 the different components of the selected dimension style. When you’ve finished making changes and closed both dialog boxes, all of the dimensions associated with the edited style will update automatically in your drawing. For example, If you decide you need to change the dimension scale of a style, you can open the Modify Dimension Style dialog box and change the Scale value in the Fit tab. In prior versions of AutoCAD, you had to use the Update option and manually select each dimension that required the new setting.

This section introduced you to the various settings that let you set the appearance of a dimension style. This section didn’t discuss every option, so if you want to learn more about the other dimension style options, consult Appendix D. There you’ll find descriptions of all the items in the Dimension Style dialog box, plus reference material covering the system variables associated with each option.

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