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AutoCAD Help Sheet #14 - Dimension Variable Settings Setting Dimension Variables and recommended settings for architecture:

The dimension variables control the appearance of the dimensions To set them in a dialog box format go to the Data pull down and select Dimension Settings First you must hit the modify button to change the dimension style: There are several tabs: Lines - This controls the dimension lines and extension lines Arrowheads This controls the arrows Text - This controls the text style, and also the text location Fit - Controls how the text is placed and controls the overall scale of the dimensions Primary Units - Controls the units for the dimension Secondary Units - For metric dimensioning Tolerances - Controls tolerancing, this is only used for machine drafting Because of certain settings in the Lines tab that are dependent on settings in the Arrowhead Tab, you need to set the Arrowheads first: Arrowheads - controls the arrowhead type used 1st and 2nd - the type of arrowhead used for the starting and ending arrows both should be set to architectural tick Leader - controls the leaderline arrowhead. Leave set to closed filled for a solid arrow. Size - set to 1/16" (with ticks the size is half the size you get when you print) Center - used for dimensioning circles or radii Leave set to center mark Size - set to 1/8" Then set up the dimension lines by going to the Lines tab Dimension lines - this controls the appearance of the dimension line itself Suppression - allows you to suppress all or part of the dimension line. Do not click in either box Extension - grayed out with arrows, when you use ticks, it becomes active set to 1/8" Spacing - set to 1/2" Color set it to bylayer Lineweight - set to bylayer Linetype - set to bylayer Extension Lines - controls the appearance of the 2 extension lines Suppress - allows you to turn off one or both extension lines Do not click in either box

Extension - 1/8" Origin offset - the distance between the selected point and the start of the extension line. Set to 1/16" Color set it to bylayer Lineweight - set to bylayer Linetype - set to bylayer Uniform extension line length this allows you to set a predefined extension line length, but this can cause problems because there might be conflicts with other objects at the predefined length. Generally, leave this option off. To set up the text, click on the Text tab Style - sets the text style used in the dimensions. Always set to romans, or to some other simple text font. Height - set to 3/32" Offset from Dim Line - set to 1/16" Color - set to the same color as the text layer. Vertical - controls where the text is in relation to the dimension line. Set it to above Horizontal - controls where the text is placed relative to the extension lines. Leave it centered. If you need to have it off center, you can move it later Text Alignment - This controls the alignment of the text, whether it's always horizontal or aligned with the dimension line. Click in align text with the dimension line. IMPORTANT NOTES: 1. Always use a simple text font for dimensions (such as Roman Simplex), otherwise it will become illegible at the typical text height for dimensions 2. Always set the dimension text to the same color as the text layer, because you want the dimension text to be the same line weight as the rest of the text. To set up the scale and fit of the dimension, click on the Fit tab Fit options - Controls what to move outside of the extension lines in tight areas. Click to move the text outside of the lines. Text placement - controls where the text is if it is outside of the lines - set to put it beside the dimension line. Scale - Sizes the dimensions to the drawing scale Set the overall scale to the scale factor listed on the text height reference chart For 1/2" = 1'-0" the scale is 24 For 1/4" = 1'-0" the scale is 48 For 1/8" = 1'-0" the scale is 96 IMPORTANT NOTE: The dimscale variable is the most important variable to set when dimensioning. If it doesnt match the scale factor, the dimensions will not plot at the proper sizes

Fine tuning - this controls the text placement and dimension line - click to always place the dimension line between the extension lines. To set the units for dimensioning click on the Primary Units tab: Unit format - set to architectural. Precision - set to 1/8" Fraction format - click on not stacked. Stacked dimensions can cause problems with some fonts. Round off - leave set to 0.000 Prefix and Suffix - only use if you have a text string you want to add to all dimensions Measurement Scale - a multiplier for the dimensions, used for drawings with multiple scales - leave it set to 1.0000 Zero suppression - when on, AutoCAD doesnt show zero values. Turn off zero suppression for inches. Leave it on for feet. Angles - can be set to decimal or degrees minutes seconds depending on preference. To dimension the drawing in metric as well as English units, click on the Alternate Units tab. To enable metric dimensioning, click in the display alternate units box. The scale factor is preset to convert English units to metric. After that it is the same as the Primary units box, except you should not change the settings. Set the display units to be below the primary units instead of after. This will save space and make the drawing more readable. The Tolerancing tab is not used for architectural drafting. This is a method used in Machine parts, which must be made to a high degree of precision.