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Tech Support Blog: Colour Hierarchy for Drawing Annotations

Friday June 24, 2016 at 9:46am
Tech Support Blog: Colour Hierarchy for Drawing An
After my previous blog regarding setting drawing standards to adhere to document and layer preferences, another support call came in last week with respect to colour not displaying with drawing annotations. Basically despite a defined layer being applied to the dimension, a different colour was showing through. The reason behind this is that there is a hierarchy in a drawing sheet which can allow colours to be applied in one of three ways- below each of these are discussed.

1- System Options
Under Tools > Options > System Options > Colors you can find a reference to a number of annotation types but staying with dimensions there are two in particular: Dimensions, Non Imported (Driven) and Dimensions, Imported (Driving)- by default there are grey and black respectively. If you place any dimensions on a drawing using Smart Dimension (Driven) or Model Items (Driving) and there are no layers present, you would expect the grey or black colours to show through.

Colour Options

2- Layers
You can define layers to contain a colour property and dimensions can be set to adhere to layer properties. The image below shows a Layer created to show any items added to be in orange. You can either set dimensions to link to a layer after the fact, or have it set in the Document Properties (as discussed in the previous blog).

Layer Settings

3- Colour Override
This is the least known method of applying colours and can catch people out. On the Line Format toolbar there is a button for Line Colour. If you use this you can override both the System Option and Layer level colour to anything of your choosing- there is no obvious indication you have done this either until you spot the results are wrong. This was the exact scenario in the support call last week.

To apply the override you can select a dimension, or multiples at once and then click the Line Colour button. Then from the palette can choose any of the colour swatches you desire- this colour will show through above all others as it sits at the top of the hierarchy.

Line Colour Palette

So how do you undo this? 

The answer is that you need to select a dimension that you feel is wrong and go back to the Line Colour command, showing the colour palette again. The image below is subtly different to the one above in two ways- a) the highlighted colour will be the one being taken on by the dimension and b) the key one is the "Default" check box is unticked- this means it is not using the default colour scheme i.e. the layer or system option colour from (1) and (2) above. If you now tick the Default tickbox and then OK the dialogue you should find the proper and expected colour will come through.

Default Colour

As a further tip, if you select one of the dimensions on the drawing and use CTRL A to Select All of the others, you can then access Line Colour and toggle that Default off and back on again and it should correct all dimensions.

So a hidden option and one that can be particular useful if  you have inherited drawings from colleagues or legacy data from other applications.

By Adam Hartles
Senior Applications Engineer.