Description Key Sets and Point Styles, Part 4 (CAD Clinic: Civil 3D Tutorial)

29 Sep, 2008 By: Phillip Zimmerman

Point label styles display user selected object properties and define how the label behaves and what the label displays.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Imaginit.

In the last article, I covered the settings for a point label. These settings control visibility, readability, size, location, and dragged state behavior. This article reviews the creation of a point label named Component.

Label Style Composer
The Label Style Composer dialog box contains all the settings from last month's article. This dialog box defines the basic ground rules for a label. The Layout tab defines the content of the label. A label may have one or more named components (see left side of figure below). Each named component can contain one or more object properties (see right side of figure below).

Layout of named components.

Each named component anchors to the feature or another named component. In the left side of the figure above, the Point Description anchors not to the coordinates, but the named component Point Elev. In the figure's right side the Northing/Easting name component anchors to the point's coordinates (the feature).

Anchor and Text Justifications
To understand anchor point and text attachment locations, a user should think in terms of AutoCAD text justification locations. See AutoCAD Help for Text, Alignment, Align Single for a justification chart. When first learning how to layout a label, you should diagram the component's anchoring — its anchoring point and the named component's attachment point.

The General section's anchoring component value is the first location to note. This point is usually the object, but in some (point) styles it is another named component. This point has anchoring locations expressed the same as text justification points. The second point to note is the named component's attachment value. This justification connects to the named component's anchor point set in the General section. For example the point description in the figure above has its attachment point as upper left, which connects to the named component point elevation text's bottom left. In the Northing/Easting label style, the coordinate's middle right is where the named component's middle left justification point attaches to the coordinate.

Text Content
Text content's value is an object property formatted appropriately for the label. The Text Component Editor identifies the property and formats it for the layout entry. Properties and Format are dialog box tabs each displaying a panel with controls over the label component.

Text Component Editor dialog box, Properties tab.

Text Component Editor dialog box, Format tab.

Text Component Editor – Properties
The Properties panel's top left selects the property for the label component. The list of properties changes for each label type. The object type's complexity creates an appropriate property list, i.e. pipes have a longer list of properties than does a point. Each property has it own modifiers and values list.

Object properties lists.

When selecting a property from the list, on the left side immediate below the selected property, the default modifiers and values display. A user can change them to suit office standards and when done, at the upper middle of the panel select the blue arrow to transfer the settings from the left to the right side.

To add a second property to the current named component, select another property from the list, set its values, and transfer it to the right side. The advantage to having multiple properties in one component is that they can have a single border, a background mask, and behave as a single bock of text.

Text Component Editor – Format
The Format panel can change the font, color, justification, add symbols, import text, and add bolding, underlining, and italics. This panel can override almost all text format values the label contains. The only value not editable is the Text Style. These settings allow a user to make each named component's property different. To add a symbol from a font, click the Symbols button to display the Select a Symbol dialog box. After selecting and copying a symbol, returning to the Format panel displays the added symbol.

Point Groups and Style Overrides
When using a Description Key Set to assign point and label styles, a point group can override the initially assigned point and/or label styles. This ability is the basis of the No Show point group that overrides the assigned point and label styles with the None point and label style. Any point group can change the point and/or label style of its members. For example, wanting to display individual tree species symbols and then all trees as generic symbols is a function of group point style overrides and the adjustment of point group display properties (draw order).

Making overrides work is a two-step process. The first step is assigning the point and label styles and the second step is toggling them on in the Overrides panel. The style's Information panel sets the style assignments. A second place for style assignments is the Override tab. When changing the styles here, they also change in the Information panel. No matter where the styles are set, you must toggle on overrides in the Override panel.

Point Group override settings.

Point Group Properties
Rather than manipulating layer visibility to display points, use Point Groups display order and a No Show point group. The No Show point group includes all points, and it overrides their originally assign styles with None. When displaying last, top of the Point Groups list, no points display on the screen. To display point group points, place point groups above No Show to display their points.

Point Group display order.

Point label styles display user selected object properties. The label style's General, Layout, and Dragged state panels define how the label behaves and what the label displays. Point labels, as most labels, display a subset of all point properties. A point group can override Description Key Set assigned styles and by manipulating Point Groups (display) properties, making points appear or change in a drawing. Next is reviewing point file formats and their definition.

About the Author: Phillip Zimmerman

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