Description Key Sets and Point Styles, Part 2 (CAD Clinic: Civil 3D Tutorial)

1 May, 2008 By: Phillip Zimmerman

A point label style defines what properties show adjacent to a marker.

Last month's tutorial reviewed the point style. A point style defines the marker at a point's coordinates. This month's tutorial starts the review of the point label style. A point label style defines what properties show adjacent to a marker. A point label style attaches to the feature (coordinates) and the attachment definition is the same as defining AutoCAD text justifications (top, middle, bottom, etc.). A point's label, like all Civil 3D labels, changes its text size when changing a view's plotting scale.

Label Settings
Point label styles use drawing or point branch values accessible from the Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box. If the points branch does not change any of settings in the Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box, they are those set at the drawing level. The dialog box's Child Override column indicates if any styles below this settings tree's location use different values. If overridden, a blue down arrow appears in the column. When clicking on the blue arrow, a red X appears. If selecting apply or exiting the dialog box, all styles using a different value are set to this dialog box's value.

The Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box.

If wanting all label styles to start out the same, set these values at the drawing level and do not modify them for any one object type's branch. If wanting point label styles to use different values from other object types, change their values in the point branch's Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box.

The Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box has six sections. The first four affect the label's composition and initial behavior. The last two define a label's behavior if it is moved from its original location.

This section sets the label's text style, visibility, and layer. If toggling off visibility, all style instances do not display. The layer entry defines the label's components layer. All label components use the same layer, but each component can have a different color assignment.

Object reference defines how a label orients itself in the drawing. By default all labels orient themselves to the object they label. However, you can also make a label orient itself to the World Coordinate System's (WCS) 0 (zero) direction or have the label's orientation based on the current view. In this case the label is always horizontal.

Forced Insertion
The default value is none. An example of forced insertion is having pipe labels above or below a pipe segment.

Forced Inside Curve
The default value for this is false or as defined in the label. When set to true, the label is placed inside the curve with the components maintaining the same offset and rotation. This setting has precedence over the Forced Insertion value and is active only if Orientation Reference is set to Object.

Plan Readability
This section's values affect when labels flip to be left to right readable. Plan Readability can be on or off; it is on by default. The readability bias is the amount of rotation it takes for a label to flip. In the left image of the figure below, the initial label placement reads left to right. In the left image of the figure, when rotating the view more than 110 degrees, the text flips to be plan readable.

The Plan Readability feature.

Flip Anchors with Text
When a label flips to be plan readable, does its anchoring point also change? It is not often that this value is set to true. The default, false, keeps the original anchoring points, but mirrors the text so that it is readable.

This section's values assign a label's component its default text size, color, linetype, and lineweight. When defining a new label component, it uses these values as its defaults.

When moving a label from its initial location, does the label have a leader pointing to its original label position? If it does have a leader, this section defines the leader's arrowhead size and style, visibility, type, color, linetype, and lineweight.

Dragged State Components
When dragging a label from its initial position, what happens to the label components? A dragged label has two possible states: stacked text and as composed. If Display is set to stacked text, the label displays as stacked left justified text when moved from its original position (left image of the figure below). If Display is set to as composed, a dragged label remains as it was originally defined in it new location (right image of figure below). The remaining settings affect the label's display: border, mask, background mask, border and text gap, text height, leader justification, color, linetype, and lineweight.

Dragged state of Stacked Text and As Composed options.

Point Labels
A point label style uses the same interface as all Civil 3D label styles: Label Style Composer and Text Component Editor. When creating a label, you need to define its behavior when it is placed in the drawing (layout) and how it will react to being moved to a new location (dragged state). A point label accesses more properties than the traditional point number, elevation, and description. The figure below shows the list of point properties available to a point label style. Additional label properties come from expressions and user-defined attributes. When you define them, they display on the properties list.

Point Label properties.

When creating a label from the shortcut menu's New routine, the label's initial values are from the Edit Label Style defaults. A new point label has three initial components: point number, elevation, and description. You then should go to each component's panel and adjust its values. When copying an existing point style, you start with its settings and modify them as needed.

A point label style's default values come from the drawing's or point branch's default label style settings. Each branch has its own default settings, and varying those values make the branch's styles different from other object types. The setting's values affect text styles, visibility, attachment, readability, and more. It is essential that you describe the behavior of the label before attempting to define it.

In the next tutorial, I will create a new style and define and modify its components.

About the Author: Phillip Zimmerman

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