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Our rule for dimensions is the same as our rule for text. We should never place dimensions in a drawing until we know our intended plot scale. Fortunately, dimension styles can also be annotative. So once I know my plot scale AutoCAD will set the size of my dimensions automatically. Let's take a look. On my screen I have a mechanical example and I would like to add some dimensions to this drawing. Before we get started, let me mention that I have already created a layout for this drawing, and if I look right down here, you can see that my part is being displayed at a SCALE 1:2 or Half Scale.
Now I have already verified my Viewport Scale so I know that's good. Let's return to Model space and we will create some dimensions. At this point I have not yet created a dimension style, so we will do that first. I will open up the Annotation Panel and then I will open the Dimension Style Manager. I will select New and then I will give my Dimension Style a name. I am going to call this Annotative Dimensions. I will be starting with the same settings as the standard style, and then I am going to put a check in the Annotative Box.
This will ensure that my new style is annotative. I will click Continue and then I can go through and adjust the settings for my new style. Here's the way it works. Anytime you have a size setting, you want to set this to the size you want your dimension to appear on the printed sheet, so all of these sizes are paper sizes. I am going to go to the Lines tab and I'd like to make a change to my Extension lines first. I will change the length of the Extension to .10 and I will press Enter.
This is the distance from the Arrowhead to the end of the Extension line by the way. Then I will go to the Symbols and Arrows tab and I'd like to make my Arrow size a little smaller. I will change this from .18 to .12. Next, I will go to the Text tab and .18 is rather large for a Text Height, so I am going to change this to .12. Since we are looking at text, you may wonder, if you are making an Annotative Dimension Style, do you have to use an Annotative Text Style with it? No, you don't.
It's perfectly fine to use a Non-Annotative Text Style. Let's do one more thing, I will set the Primary Units tab Current and I will change my Precision to 2 decimal spaces. Then I will click OK, and notice that my new style has an Annotative icon next to it. This means it will size itself to match my desired plot scale. I can see my new style is Current, so I will move down and click Close. Now I am going to come down to the Annotation Scale fly-out and I will set this to match my plot scale, my plot scale is 1:2.
And now that I have made that change, I am going to do a regen. I will type re and press Enter, and when I do, watch my line types. Notice the line types also can form the Annotation Scale. Let's pan this down and I am going to create a linear dimension. I'll dimension the distance from the endpoint here to the endpoint here and I will pull this up. I will then press the Spacebar to create another dimension. I will create it from the endpoint here to the endpoint here and I will pull this one out.
Now I am not going to dimension everything, I am going to create a few dimensions as an example. Let's make one more. I will dimension the distance from the endpoint here to the endpoint here. Now let's try a scientific experiment, I am going to open up the Annotation Scale and I will change this to 1:4, will this affect my existing dimensions? No, it will only affect any new annotative objects that I create. For instance, I am going to create a radial dimension, I'll select this circle and I'll pull it out to there.
Notice the size difference. In the event my part was being plotted at quarter scale, this would be an appropriately sized dimension. Now I don't need this, so I am going to erase it. I will then set the Annotation Scale back to 1:2, and I will create an appropriately sized radial dimension for this drawing. Alright, this looks pretty good. Let's return to the Layout and take a look. As you can see my dimensions are legible and they are appropriately sized for this Viewport.
From this point on it would be a good idea to make all of your dimension styles annotated. This way you can ensure that your dimensions are consistently sized regardless of the scale of your plot.
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