Making Dimensions Annotative in AutoCAD

In AutoCAD, annotative objects are text, text styles, blocks, hatches, dimensions, dimension styles, geometric tolerances, multileaders, and multileader styles that can be scaled according to the scale factor of the viewport or current model space.

In this video, KaDe King, one of U.S. CAD’s AutoCAD experts, sets up dimensions as annotative objects in a simple AutoCAD drawing.

About Annotative Objects

Hi, this is KaDe King with U.S. CAD. Our next Infrastructure Tuesday is on November 7th, and our topic is going to be Getting Started with Annotative Objects in AutoCAD. I’m going to introduce you to just a short little bit of this topic.

We’re going to talk about dimensions in regards to this. Annotative objects is AutoCAD’s ability to take text, dimensions, hatching, blocks, multiliters, all of these types of objects, and to be able to scale them according to the scale factor of the viewport or the current model space. Very easy to do, so I’m just going to give you a quick example here.

The Steps

They have two viewports set up in this particular drawing. This bottom viewport is at a scale of 1:4 and the top viewport is at a scale of 1:10. And you can see that there’s already text in this top viewport that’s not showing in the bottom viewport. That should kind of lead you to come down the path we’re going to go here. I’m going to come into the smaller of the two viewports, which is a blow up of this little or close up of this little shed here, and I’m going to go ahead and start my Dimension command.

I already have a style that’s been named Civil for the dimension style, and, if we look at the style here, you can see that the style has a small triangle next to it. That indicates that it’s been set as an annotative style. This can be done very quickly inside of your Fit on the Style tab. All you have to do is check annotative and that tells it to read the current scale factor.

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So once you have your style set, all you have to do is grab your Dimension command, hover over your objects—I’ll get that picked up there and turn my object snap off—and I’m going to pick that, and I’m going to zoom in. I’ve got this viewport locked so it’ll make it a little easier to see what we’re doing here. I’m going to go ahead and drop a dimension in here.

Then I’m going to repeat that on the other side and drop another dimension in here. Now that those dimensions are in, go ahead and hit Escape here, and I’ll get out of my viewport. If I pan up here to the top viewport, you can see that that dimension is not showing in that viewport. That is because this particular dimension has been assigned a scale of 1:4 and does not have a scale of 1:10 assigned to it. So it’s not automatically going to show up in that other viewport.

For me, that may work perfectly fine in this particular situation. However, what if I want to add that to it? Easy enough. I’m just going to come back in—I don’t have to do this for model space, but I wanted to show you that you can do it this stuff from either space—and I’m going to grab both those objects. I’ll grab this guy and this guy. I’m going to use from the Annotate tab the Add/Delete Scales command, which, if you want to type that, it’s just OBJECTSCALE, and it’s going to show me that those two dimensions have a scale of 1:4. I’m going to add a 1:10 scale, say OK, and OK. You’ll instantly see them show up in a 1:10.

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Now, there’s a little problem with them at 1:10. They’re a little too close to my shed, so I’m going to just pick that up and drag the whole dimension out, not just the text, I’m going to pull that out a little farther, and then I’m going to do that same thing for this little guy on this side, just pull it out a little farther over here, and hit Escape. You’ll notice when you select those that there are two representations kind of glued together, and that’s typical for annotative objects. You’ll see that they look like they’re kind of ghosted. That’s just the different scale factors showing through. I can display the different views by just coming into my scale factor and saying, “Let me see what it looks like at 1:4; now let me see what it looks like at 1:10.” And that’s beautiful.

I can come back to my paper space and I can see that both of them have that dimension text in the viewports and it’s the same size of numbers. No messing around with layers with different visibilities set, no messing around and saying, “Okay I have to freeze this layer and this view ort.” And so on. Beautiful, right?

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