For the past couple weeks The CAD Geek Blog has been rather quiet.  Rest assured I haven’t abandoned my little corner of the CAD blogosphere, but rather took a little end-of-year vacation (Dec 17-Jan 1).  I started my vacation with grand plans of blogging almost non-stop, and finding new ways to break AutoCAD and Civil 3D.  What actually happened was a lot of Christmas shopping, followed by a number of excursions.

Proclaimed as the birthplace of the Tacky Christmas Light Tour, I had a chance to visit the many tacky homes in and around Richmond, VA.  My mothers home is among those on the Richmond Tacky Light Tour.  Getting Christmas off to a somewhat comical start was me attempting to calculate and balance the electrical load for her light display.  2-30 Amp and 2-20 Amp breakers later – we had lights!

Other highlights of my long Christmas break included visiting Baltimore, MD for their Miracle on 34th Street; Newport News, VA for their Celebration in Lights, and Virginia Beach, VA for their Holiday Lights on the Boardwalk.  Finally I had the pleasure of bringing in the new year with my favorite band – Carbon Leaf.  Needless to say, all that fun didn’t leave much time for blogging.  But 2008 is here, and so am I!

AutoCAD 2008 introduced a handy feature for managing layers properties on a viewport-by-viewport basis.  Pre-2008 we could only freeze and thaw per viewport, but now we can change Color, Linetype, Lineweight, and Plot Style.  In the short time we have had 2008 installed, the feature has already proven helpful a number of times.  So just how does one use this feature?

Below is a quick look at the Layer Properties Manager when clicked into a viewport.  You’ll notice the additional columns to the right.  Each of the columns prefixed with a "VP" can be overridden on a viewport-by-viewport basis.  That means you can display the same layer with two different linetypes in adjoining viewports.

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By default the Color and VP Color columns are the same, Linetype and VP Linetype the same, etc… With any viewport active you can open the layer properties manager, modifying its display properties in only that viewport.

So let’s say I change the color of my Storm Pipe Text layer C-STRM-PIPE-TEXT from Cyan to Magenta.

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Notice when I change the VP Color column from Cyan (it’s default) to Magenta, the Name, Color, and VP Color columns are highlighted with a light-blue background.  This is a visual cue letting you know the color has been overridden for that viewport.

While changing layer properties within a single viewport may be pretty straightforward for many, what about resetting things back to their defaults? Assuming you are an hourly employee you could always look at each layer, insuring the overall drawing properties match the VP properties, but certainly there’s a better way!?!

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Funny you should ask – there is indeed a better way.  Right-clicking on a given layer will give you the option to "Remove Viewport Overrides for" either "Selected Layers" or "All Layers".  Finally you are given the option to reset either your selected layers or all layers "In the Current Viewport Only", or not only the current viewport, but rather "All Viewports".


Happy New Year!