AEC

Standards, Part II: Level Symbology and Text Styles

21 Jun, 2004 By: James Dyer

Consistency among project elements makes for proficient design


This month's Productivity Corner column continues our focus on the power of standards. Standards, which help ensure consistency, come into play in many areas of design. This second part of our two-part series focuses on level symbology and text considerations. MicroStation V8 has removed the level, text, and dimensioning barriers associated with implementing company-, project-, and user-level standards, so now is the time to explore a new approach to design and documentation.

Level Symbology
MicroStation V7 offered level symbology, but V8 enhances this feature, making it possible for symbology to be level dependent. In MicroStation V8, you can specify your level symbology as active for a particular level while it's inactive on the other levels in the DGN file.

MicroStation's Views offers a number of attributes that you can adjust individually for each view window. Use the View Attributes dialog box to control view attributes that affect whether and how to display certain types and classes of elements and whether to display certain drawing assistants (figure 1).

Some view attribute settings determine whether to display parts of a model -- elements on particular levels, text, fill, and drawing assistants such as the grid. Others determine the manner in which to display the model -- with or without a background image or dynamic updating, for example. Changes take effect only if you apply them using the Apply or All buttons.

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Figure 1. View Attributes options let you specify whether and how to display parts of a model.

Symbology contains controls to set the section geometry's level and symbology, including color, line style, and lineweight.

You must turn on the Level Symbology option in the View Attributes dialog box for the override symbology to display.

When the override buttons are off, each part of the section geometry has the same level, color, line style, and lineweight as the intersecting model geometry on which it is based.

When the override buttons are on, the level, color, line style, and lineweight of all elements in the section have the override values you select.

Once you set the View Attributes options to enable level symbology, you can control the level symbology from within Level Manager.

You can define level symbology by the following two states:

•ByLevel: A view setting that, when turned on, displays all elements on a particular level with the same element symbology (figure 2).

figure
Figure 2. The Symbology ByLevel view setting displays all elements on a particular level with the same element symbology.

DWG work mode displays all elements with bylevel element symbology.

•Overrides: A view setting that, when turned on, displays all elements on a particular level with a set of element symbology other than the default (figure 3).

figure
Figure 3. Use the Symbology Overrides view setting to override the default for how you want to display all elements on a particular level.

DWG work mode disables symbology overrides. It displays all elements with bylevel element symbology.

To control the level symbology of individual or selections of levels, simply highlight the levels to be affected, right-click, and use the Level Properties dialog box to define the color, style, or weight values (figure 4).

figure
Figure 4. Use the Level Properties dialog box to define symbology values of individual or selections of levels.

Conversely, you can use the Level Properties dialog box to deactivate the overrides by selecting Off for the symbology override (figure 5).

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Figure 5. The Level Properties dialog box also lets you deactivate your symbology overrides.

Text Styles
MicroStation V8 supports text styles and provides an easy-to-use interface for constructing text using available system fonts and a variety of text attributes. A text style comprises text attributes such as font type, width, height, and color. Using text styles significantly automates your project's production documentation phase. Text styles enable you to place text within a design or sheet model consistently and automatically.

MicroStation V8 natively supports the following:

  • MicroStation fonts
  • TrueType fonts
  • AutoCAD Shape fonts (SHX)

You are probably familiar with using the Settings Manager utility in V7 to control the text settings. MicroStation V8 continues to support this functionality. However, moving forward with using the Text Style option to set up and manage your text styles is easier than you'd imagine (figure 6).

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Figure 6. MicroStation V8's Text Style option lets you easily set up and manage text styles.

Follow these simple steps to create a text style in MicroStation V8:

  • Select Text Styles from the Elements pull-down menu. The Text Styles dialog box opens.
  • From the menu bar of the Text Styles dialog box, choose Style / New.
A new, untitled style appears in the Text Styles hierarchy tree.
  • Key in the desired name for the new text style. Press Enter. The new text style name appears in the Text Styles hierarchy tree.
  • Optional: From the Advanced tab, modify the values of text attributes as desired. The Advanced tab contains all the settings from the Spacing, Under/Overline, and Background tabs.
  • From the menu bar of the Text Styles dialog box, choose Styles / Save.

This saves new text style as the active text style.

MicroStation text styles allow you to introduce a child text style. A child text style (or substyle) inherits all attributes of its parent text style except those that you specify as different. For example, you can have a text style called "architectural" that has substyles for various output scales, such as 1:100, 1:500, and so forth. Each substyle inherits all other characteristics from the parent text style, but has a different text height that you specified for each output scale.

Dimension styles function very much the same as text styles. Using dimension styles, you can save the settings of dimensions and apply them to dimension elements during placement (figure 7). You can create and customize dimension styles, then save them for easy recall. Select Dimension Styles from the Elements pull-down menu.

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Figure 7. The Dimension Styles option lets you apply predefined styles to dimension elements.

The standards facilities within MicroStation V8 represent the most comprehensive in the industry. Establishing company-, project-, and user-level standards makes the difference in operating productively and proficiently. The multifaceted reality of standards will bring us back to this topic throughout the year.

Until next time -- enjoy MicroStation!


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