Working with Layers

Wednesday September 16, 2015 at 10:10am
SOLIDWORKS allows the use of layers in a similar fashion to 2D CAD programs. However they may be an occasion where your drawing annotations or dimensions do not conform to the layers you think they are located on.
Working with Layers

SOLIDWORKS allows the use of layers in a similar fashion to 2D CAD programs. However they may be an occasion where your drawing annotations or dimensions do not conform to the layers you think they are located on.

First of all you could do with showing the “Line Format” toolbar (View > Toolbars > Line Format) it will look something like this: The first icons on this toolbar refer to changing and creating new layers. The layer properties button allows you to create and edit the existing layers that are setup:

So once you have configured these you may transfer items such as annotation or dimensions onto these layers in any of the following ways;   Right click and item and “Change Layer”

Select an item and then change the layer through the Property Manager (note this shows the dimension property manager, other annotations may look different)

You can also set the default layer for various annotation types through the Document Properties, and then subsequently save this as a drawing template to be remembered for future drawings.

Now for the problem that may occur. You think you have changed the layer correctly but the colour scheme or line weight still doesn’t show through as expected. The reason for this is typically that you had already changed the default display style for the annotation prior to attempting to change the layer- these settings take precedence over the layer properties.

You may have altered the colour of line font using some of the other icons on the Line Format toolbar such as Colour, Line Thickness or Line Style. To correct the problem you have to set the annotations back to the default options where the layer properties can then take effect.

Firstly select all of the items that will not change (note Selection Filters can be really handy for this).

Then press the “Line Colour” button and then ensure the “Default” checkbox is selected  

You may need to repeat this for Line Thickness & Line Style

Then you should see that the layer settings take effect correctly.

One other common question related to Layers is the ability to set a component’s outline to a layer style. To do this you right click on the part within a drawing view and choose “Component Line Font”

From here you can then untick to “Use Document Defaults” and then choose the desired layer as well as changing the setting to all views in the document.    

Written: September 2015, Adam HartlesUpdated: June 2021, Aaron Moore

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