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  1. #1
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    Default Terribly sorry, but I need "The Great Dimension Scale Question" succinctly answered

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    I've been reading forums and going over .pdf's about this all morning, and I'm still confused on the most basic point.

    What I want is a dimension line in model space, based on one dimension style, that scales with the viewport. Not just the value of the dimension (that's easy enough), but the entire dimension: arrow size, break size, text height, offset from dim line, everything.

    This is impossible, right?

    So why is almost every guide telling me that I only need one dimension style? Yeah, that would be true, if every one of my viewports is in the same scale, which never happens.

    If I'm dimensioning in paper space, then yes, I set the "scale for dimension features" to "scale dimensions to layout", all my dimension elements end up being the same size, and it's just the dimension value that derives from the viewport scale.

    However, now I'm starting to put together some sophisticated dynamic blocks with dimension lines built-in, so paper space dimensions aren't the only kids on the block anymore. Do I really have to set up a new dimension style for every potential viewport scale? Again, the number isn't the issue, it's the entire dimension line. That cannot vary in my drawing at all.

    There's no way I have to set up at least six visibility states in every dynamic block with dimensions.

    Why am I so confused by this?

    Anyway, thanks!

  2. #2
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    Annotative scale.
    That awnsers all your questions.

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    Thanks for the response, but... my questions remained unanswered.

    Here's a picture of what I'm dealing with (I hope it comes out alright):



    Those are two viewports displaying the same thing, only at different scales. The dimstyle for the model space dimensions is Standard - Model, and the paper space dimstyle is just Standard.

    I also played around with the settings for the viewports, ANNOAUTOSCALE and ANNOALLVISIBLE, but the dimensions do not change.

    What am I missing?
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    Quick self-reply: so, I have to have that checked, and I have to have annotative scales set up (per each dimension line?). I remember looking at this before and balking at it, because what does it matter? I couldn't care less about what the scale is ultimately, I just want the text height to end up at 0.125 no matter what, and the other elements of the dimension line also scaled appropriately. What if I'm using a non-standard scale, or seek to change scale whenever? Autocad can't make that calculation??

    Either way, I still can't get it to work, even with pre-set annotative scales. I'm completely lost on Autocad's approach to this. Who gives a frog what the viewport is scaled at, when you know what your want your text height (as an example) to be in paper space no matter what?

  5. #5
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    Since you have failed to grasp the nuances of annotative scaling perhaps you should consider placing all text and dimensions in your paper space layout.
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  6. #6
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    Annotative scaling has been around since release 2007.

    You've only scratched the surface of annotative objects, and blown them off too soon based on an incorrect perceived notion.

    Yes, annotative scales are assigned to each individual dimension, leader, and text object, and some other useful things. But, you don't have to do it yourself, although you can if you like extreme tedium.

    For starters, there is a pick list of annotative scales on the taskbar. It is used for changing the annotative "view" scale in modelspace. It will simulate your intended viewport scale without affecting your model geometry.

    Once you have picked a scale from the list, to be the "current scale", simply place new annotative dimensions or leaders or text on your modelspace objects. AutoCad applies the current scale to new dimensions automagically. If your next viewport is to be a different scale, just change the modelspace annotative view scale again. and keep on rolling.

    If you find that you have somehow applied the wrong scale to a group of dimensions, you can change the modelspace view scale, select the dimensions in error, and click the "Add Current Scale" button on the Annotation contextual tab. OR, you can select the error dimensions, then click the "Add/Delete" button on the same tab, and then manually add or delete scales for the selected dimensions.

    You can apply more than one scale to one or all annotative dimensions, and then use the same object and same dimensions in more than one viewport at a different scale in each viewport at the same time. All you have to do is apply the dimensions at one model view scale, then change the view scale, and Apply the Current Scale after selecting the dimensions. (or use the Add/Delete dialog)

    You can also have two or more complete sets of dimensions applied to one object, and each of those dimension sets can have a completely different annotative scale. This makes it easy to dimension one single object all at once prepping for an overall view, and one or more large scale detail views without copying, trimming, fixing, and fussing.

    There is WAY more to annotative scaling than this, but walking before flying is best.

    The only real pitfall I have found to annotative objects is what happens when they are selected. Suddenly you will see ghost images of that dimension, one for every scale assigned to that dimension. These ghost images are not all that transparent either. This can virtually obliterate the object geometry behind the dimensions, and the snap markers, making it difficult to manipulate or move a dimension. This is why I try very hard not to have more than one scale assigned to any one set of dimensions. The annotative section call-out block that comes with AutoCad is the worst for this because it is so large anyway.

    Annotative objects go invisible even in modelspace if the modelspace view scale is set to a scale that is not assigned to the annotative objects, just like in any viewport.

    There are system variables for annotative dimensioning and task bar toggles for these variables. Here's the two most used. One is very useful, the other is to be feared but can be handy

    ANNOALLVISIBLE = 1 will allow all annotative objects to be seen in modelspace no matter what scales are assigned to them. Those with the current model view scale assigned to them will appear at the proper size. The rest will look nasty, but in modelspace it doesn't matter. In a viewport, only dimensions with the current scale will show.
    ANNOALLVISIBLE = 0 will only let the annotative objects with the current scale assigned show in modelspace.

    ANNOAUTOSCALE = 0 DOES NOT add the new current scale to ALL annotative objects automatically when the current modelspace view scale is changed. THIS IS A GOOD THING.
    ANNOAUTOSCALE = 1, 2, 3, or 4 WILL automatically add the new current scale to ALL dimensions in the entire freaking drawing all at once, or parts of it, depending on the value set. This may be useful in some way that I have as yet to discover, but I currently view it as NOT A GOOD THING. Imagine selecting a few dimensions for whatever reason, and having 16 or more ghost images of them appear wiping out your ability to see what is behind them. It can be a mess.

    Anyway, there. You have some stuff to investigate. Believe me, any time you spend learning up on annotative scaling, can never possibly add up to all the time you've already wasted building up a pile of dimension styles just for different viewport scales.
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  7. #7
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    The beauty of putting all dimensions in one's layout......ONE dimension style and only ONE system variable to worry about....Associative.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    The beauty of putting all dimensions in one's layout......ONE dimension style and only ONE system variable to worry about....Associative.
    Amen to that!

  9. #9
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    Oh man, thanks for the responses guys, especially Dana! I actually got really angry with myself yesterday afternoon about this stuff, and kinda gave up on this thread, but I'm glad I decided to check it again!

    My afternoon's too tight to really try this stuff out, but I have some preliminary questions, if I may:

    - I understand assigning annotative scales... sorta. Setting ANNOAUTOSCALE to anything but 0, as Dana describes, is what I thought Autocad would already do naturally. It seems this basically gives you the option to assign a scale that is different from your viewport scale... and I don't know why anyone would ever want that. Maybe that's a dumb thing to say, since I've only been drafting for a year or so, but this entire concept just seems like a confusing middle-man to me. Is it not a foregone conclusion that I want the dimension line to be scaled to the viewport scale, whatever it may be? What else could I possibly want? I suppose these questions are more philosophical than technical...

    - Not sure if it's important, but my model space is always scaled at 1:1, as a rule.

    - "This is why I try very hard not to have more than one scale assigned to any one set of dimensions." -- This is exactly what I'm trying to do! I have dimensions in model space in a dynamic block, and I don't know the scale of the viewport in which they'll end up, but those model space dimension lines ultimately need to mimic my paper space dimensions. The viewport could be at literally any conceivable scale, and the block will be used across dozens if not hundreds of drawings. I don't think pre-assigning an infinite number of scales would really work...

    - As others have said, yes, for consistent dimensions, you should dimension in paper space. That's what I've been doing since I started, because of this exact issue. I've had several people ask me why I don't dimension in model space, and I answer it's because I want to control the format of the dimension lines and keep that consistent, and they usually just say "huh..." and shrug it off, as if that is somehow unusual. Am I really the only guy who wants literally every dimension in every drawing to be the same format?

    Anyway, I apologize for being frustrated about this. I think my preconceived notion is broken, which sucks, since I've usually been able to rely on those...

    Thanks again, especially Dana, for the help! I'll give this stuff a proper try tomorrow.

  10. #10
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    Late to the party and haven't read everything, but you mentioned scaling your model space at 1:1.
    One does not appy scale to modelspace but rather to viewports in your paperspace.
    Stick to drawing life-sized in your modelspace (1:1) and preferably in the appropriate (meaning intended) units, on an appropriate template, meaning either Metic or Imperial to suit your project.

    Dana, you really went the extra mile!
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