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Defining Label Styles, Part 1 (CAD Clinic: Civil 3D Tutorial)

10 Apr, 2007 By: Phillip Zimmerman

Use the Label Style Composer.


Last month we finished up a three-part series on translating data with Civil 3D. This month we're going to delve into defining label styles. No matter what type of label style you develop, it uses the same process and dialog boxes. The main dialog box for a label style is the Label Style Composer dialog box. The dialog box names the label style (Information tab), sets general label rules and layers (General tab) and defines text content for the label style (Layout tab) and the dragged state behavior of the label (Dragged State).

figure
The Label Style Composer dialog box.

You format a label's content in the Text Component Editor content dialog box. The dialog box has two distinct areas. The left area contains the current label property and its format values. The left side also selects the property of the label content.

The right side of the dialog box holds the current label component, its format and any additional text.

figure
The Text Component Editor dialog box.

Information
The Information tab contains the name of the style, its description and the date of its creation and latest modification.

figure
The Information tab.

General
The General tab has three sections: Label, Behavior and Plan Readability. The Label section sets the default text style for the component labels, the style's visibility and the layer for all text components. Each label's text component can have a different text style, but it's an override of this setting.

The Layer section sets the layer for all of the text components of the label. You can't have text components on different layers. The object layer modifier isn't used to prefix or suffix the layer's name of a label.

The Behavior section assigns the reference orientation of the label. The Reference orientation has three possible values: Object, View and World coordinate system. The Object option sets the orientation of the label to the zero direction of the object. The View option orients the label based on the zero direction of the model and layout viewport. The World option orients labels to the x-axis of the World Coordinate System.

The Plan Readability section sets the rules for rotating labels to be plan readable (reading from left to right). The readability value is the amount of rotation that must occur before Civil 3D rotates the label.

figure
Label Style Composer's General tab.

Layout
The Layout tab contains the components of a label. The General tab layer setting is for all label components. There's no way to assign a layer to each label component. If you want to have different pen weights for a label component, you must assign a color to that component, something you can do in the Text section of the component.

The name of the current component is at the top left of the Layout tab. The rest of the panel displays the values of the named component. Four icons are to the right of the component name. The left-most icon is a stack that creates a component type. A label can have a text, line or block component. Other object labels might have additional choices, such as structure labels that have a per-object (pipe) component type.

The next icon on the right creates a new component that is a copy of the current component name. The red X icon deletes the currently named component. The last icon on the right displays a dialog box that controls the display order of a label's components.

The General section assigns the anchor to the label, name and visibility. An anchor has two parts. The first is the Anchor Component and the second is the object or another label component. An example of anchoring to the feature is anchoring a parcel-area label to the centroid of a parcel (Feature). An example of anchoring a label component to another label component is attaching the point number to the elevation of a point.

figure
The Layout tab.

A label could contain one or several components. An example of one component having several properties is the Name Area & Perimeter parcel label. In this situation, each property is a new line in the value of the label. The Name Area & Perimeter label has three properties of a parcel as one text content value: a parcel name, a parcel area and its perimeter. If a single-label component has multiple properties and has a border toggled on, the border surrounds all of the properties in the single-label component.

When having a single component with several properties, you can't vary the text size. You can control the text style, font, justification and color of the selected component. See the discussion on the Text Component Editor in next month's "CAD Clinic: Civil 3D" column.

figure
A single component with multiple properties.

The Text section contains the properties and values for a label component. The properties of a label are contents, text height, rotation angle, attachment, x or y offset, color and lineweight.

The Border section contains the properties and values for the border of the selected component. The properties of the Border section are: visibility, type, background mask, gap, color, linetype and lineweight.

figure
Multiple components creating a single label.

Dragged State Tab
The behavior of a label dragged from its original position is controlled by the settings in the Dragged State panel. The Leader section defines the type and metrics of a label's leader. You can assign a leader a color different from that of the text component.

The settings of the Dragged State Components section affect the text of the relocated label. The most important property is display. If the value of this component is set to As Composed, the dragged label remains as defined in the Layout panel values. If the value is set to Stacked Text, the dragged label converts to text stacked in the order you defined the label components. This setting removes all lines, blocks, ticks and direction arrows from the originally placed label. With this option on, you can define a border and other attributes of the newly defined text, mask, color, linetype and lineweight.

figure
The Dragged State tab.

Summary Tab
The Summary tab displays a panel containing all of the components and their settings for the selected label style.

figure
The Summary tab.

Label Style Basics
When defining or modifying label styles, the first dialog box you interact with is the Label Style Composer dialog box. This dialog box is the same for all label styles. The dialog box has five tabs, each of which displays a panel with multiple sections and their associated values. The first panel is Information, and it contains the name of the style. The General tab values set the layer, text style, orientation and visibility of the label style. The Layout tab defines the components of the label and its properties. The Dragged State panel and its settings control how a label behaves if it is moved from its original location in the drawing. The Summary tab values report the settings for each label component and the values in each tab.

Next month's "CAD Clinic: Civil 3D" column reviews the second dialog box for defining a label: the Text Component Editor -- Contents dialog box. This dialog box determines the object property that a layout component labels and formats its value.


About the Author: Phillip Zimmerman


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