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In AutoCAD 2011: Tips, Tricks, and Industry Secrets, Jeff Bartels shows AutoCAD users how to become more efficient power users, reducing the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task, increasing profit margins, and strengthening marketplace competitiveness. The course covers everything from shortcuts used in geometry creation, to program customization, to real world solutions to common problems. Interface customization, block and reference management skills, and express tool usage are also covered. Exercise files are included with the course.
When we create dimension style, we're telling AutoCAD how we'd like our dimensions to look. The settings that we choose are then applied to all dimensions using that style. If you think about it, this is a one-size-fits-all approach. I mean, maybe I'd like my linear dimensions to use a different arrowhead style than my angular dimensions and maybe I'd like my ordinate dimensions to be a different color than the other dimension types. Well, if you have the desire, you can actually be that specific with your dimension settings and you can do it by creating parent-child dimension styles.
In this lesson we're going to learn how to create child dimension styles that target specific dimension types. On my screen I have a drawing that represents a sawhorse design and I would like to apply some dimensions to this drawing. So I'll start by creating a dimension style. I'll open the Annotation panel and then we'll open the Dimension Style Manager. I'll select New and I'm going to call this style custom. I'd like the Dimension Style to be Annotative and I'll click Continue. Now, I'm going to keep most of the default settings. However, I am going to jump to the Primary Units tab and I will change the Unit format to Fractional.
This will allow me to dimension the geometry using inches. I'll come down to the Suffix field and add the inch symbol to all of my dimensions. All right, let's click OK and close and then we'll try out the new dimension style. Let's create a linear dimension from the endpoint here to the endpoint here. I'll pull this out. That one looks great. Let's create one more. I'll press the Spacebar to re-enter the command and I'll create a dimension from the endpoint here to the endpoint here.
So far the style is working fantastic. Here's where we have a problem. Let's Zoom in on the right side view and this time I'll create an angular dimension. I'll select this line and this line and I'll pull out the value. Take a look at this. It says 30 degrees inches. I'm getting this extra inch designator because I told AutoCAD to apply that suffix to all dimensions, and this is obviously incorrect. To fix this, I'm going to go back to Dimension Style Manager.
I'll select Modify and I'll remove the suffix. I will then click OK. Then I'll click New and I would like my new dimension style to be based on the custom style. However, I'm not going to give this a name. Instead I'll open the Use for fly-out and I'll select Linear dimensions. Notice the Name field is grayed out. That's because I'm creating a child dimension style based on this parent style. Let's click Continue. Now, these settings will apply to linear or straight line dimensions only.
In here I'll add the inch symbol as a suffix and I'll click OK. Notice that the current dimension style is still custom. However, custom has a child style that applies to linear dimensions only. If we select this style, we can see the revised settings over here. Let's click Close and from now on whenever I create a linear or a straight line dimension, AutoCAD will add the inches designator. Let's zoom in and I am going to change my annotative scale to 1:4, and this time I'd like to create a radial dimension.
I'll select this arc and I'll pull out the value. Now, some people don't care for the extension lines that are applied to radial dimensions. It's no problem to turn them off. However, I don't want to turn off extension lines for all of the dimension types. So let's create another child style that applies only to radial dimensions. And while we're at it, let's add a suffix to these as well. Once again, I will open the Dimension Style Manager. I'll select New. I'll open the flyout and I'll select Radius dimensions and click Continue.
I will add the inch designator as a suffix and then I'll jump to the Lines tab and I'll suppress the extension lines. I will then click OK and close. As you can see this now reads 1 inch and the extension line has been removed. Let's select this. I'll grab the grip and I'll pull the dimension up to here. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. So from now on, whenever I create a radial dimension using the custom style, I will never again be bothered with those extension lines.
So the next time you create a dimension style, remember that you don't have to create a one-size-fits-all group of settings. By creating child styles under the main dimension style, you can have customized settings for each dimension type.
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