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

23 Jul, 2008 By: Phillip Zimmerman

Create a point label style using the Label Style Composer dialog box.

Last time we reviewed default point label settings and point label styles. A description key set assigns a point and label style to each point matching an entry in the key set.

Creating a Point Label Style
A point label style is no different from any other label style in Civil 3D. A point label style uses the Label Style Composer for default layers, text styles, plan readability, label components, and dragged state settings. The Text Component Editor formats the label's contents. Understanding these two editors is key to creating any Civil 3D label.

When selecting New from the Point Label Styles heading's shortcut menu, the Text Component Editor displays ready for a new label style definition. The Information panel sets the label's name, description, and creation date.

Next is the General panel. This panel has three sections: Label, Behavior, and Plan Readability. The Label section sets the label's text style, visibility, and layer. The default settings for this section are from the Edit Label Style Defaults at the Drawing level or the Point branch. Changing the values at this point changes them only for point label styles. The visibility toggle hides all label style occurrences. Rather than toggling off a layer containing potentially different label styles, this toggle hides all occurrences of this label style.

The most important question is what layer to use. If setting the layer to 0 (zero), the label uses the parent object's layer as defined in Edit Drawing Settings' panel: Object Layer. If setting a layer, the label uses the assigned layer. See also the discussion of ByLayer/ByBlock in the Layout panel.

The General panel.

The Behavior section defines the label's orientation to the object it labels. The Plan Readability section defines when the label flips, maintaining left to right readability. The Plan Readability property is a toggle setting whether a label flips. The Readability bias is the amount of rotation needed to flip the label. When set to true, the label flips when the view is rotated 110 degrees or more. The initial label placement creates a label reading left to right, and if rotating the view by 110 degrees or more, the label will read from bottom to top. The label then flips to be readable from top left to lower right.

Flip Anchors relocates the label's anchor point. Setting this value depends on the label's components and their organization.

The Layout panel defines a labels components, their text content, and if they have a border. The General section defines the component's name, visibility, anchor, and the anchor point's justification. Generally, the anchor point is the object it labels. This point has justification just like AutoCAD text: top, middle, bottom, right, center, and left. Anchoring the component to the feature's bottom right means the text anchors to a point to the lower right of the label's placement pick.

The Text section defines the label's text content, x and y offset, paper height, color, lineweight, and attachment to the feature anchor point set in the General section. Continuing with a feature anchor point of bottom right, the text component attaches its text justification point to the feature's point. It would be the label component's top left justification point that attaches to the feature's anchor point if wanting the text to be located below and to the right of the selected label point.

All Civil 3D label's change their size when the Annotation Scale changes. This is done to create text that is 'correct' for any viewport's annotation scale. When defining component x and y offsets, take into consideration the original label placement. If horizontal, the offsets reflect the WCS x and y directions. If placing a label whose anchor point is at the top and the text extends down, the x direction is relative to the insertion point (before the insertion point is a negative x and a positive x moves the text down).

A text component's color is one of two choices: ByLayer or ByBlock. If selecting ByLayer, the text component is the same color as the layer set in the General panel's Label Layer.

If setting a component to ByLayer or ByBlock and having set a layer or layer 0 (zero) in the General panel, the component displays the color of the layer specified in the style or in Object Layers. If selecting a color in the Layout panel, the component displays the selected color.

The Border section defines a border for the component and can be round, rectangular, or rectangular with rounded ends. A border can have its own color and a user specified gap between the border and the text. To make the text content have a mask, set the border's mask, but do not make the border visible.

Defining borders for your label.

Dragged State
The Dragged State panel defines the behavior of a moved label. A dragged label controls two components: a leader and the label. If dragging a label from its original position, it can display a leader. The leader settings define it shape, arrow head, color, and visibility. Many labels will not have a leader component when they move.

The Dragged State component defines what the label does when dragging it from its original position. The most critical setting in this section is Display. This setting defines what happens to a dragged label. The first option for Display is As Composed. This value makes the dragged label remain as it was defined when relocating it. For some labels, this is not a desirable behavior. For example, a curve segment label with curved text. If dragging this label to a new location, it is not desirable to retain the curved text and their composition when attached to a curve. In this case it is desirable to have the text transform to left justified text (individual lines of text similar to the text created by AutoCAD's text command).

A label style uses a dialog box with four tabs: Information, General, Layout, and Dragged State. Each panel controls a unique label area and receives default values many from settings at the drawing or feature level. The Information panel defines the label's name. The General panel defines a label's layer, text style, anchor point, and plan view behavior. The Layout panel defines the label's components and their properties. The Dragged State panel defines how the label behaves when relocating it in a drawing.

The next article reviews defining and formatting a label component.

About the Author: Phillip Zimmerman

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