Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dimension Elements in GTViewer and GTVx

GTViewer and GTVx both support the drawing of Dimension Elements. These elements are exactly what you might imagine; they show a length and a reference line to help clarify dimensionality. The example below shows two dimension elements:

The Dimension Elements can automatically compute the length as they are drawn or you can enter any text you want to display for the dimension value. The Dimension Element tool is found under Draw/Dimension in GTViewer and is also on the toolbar:

Activating the Dimension Element mode will display the following dialog box:

Font and Size both deal with the Dimension Text characteristics. Color applies both to the reference line and the text. Weight applies only to the reference line. The Dimension Text can be manually entered or the Automatic Text option can be used to compute the displayed length based on the length of the reference line drawn.

Text Orientation and Terminator Orientation both relate to the appearance of the Dimension Element. Text Orientation specifies how the Dimension Text will appear relative to the Reference line. There are currently 4 different options:

The Terminator Orientation specifies how the arrow heads on the end of the reference line will appear. There are currently 6 different options:

The Dimension Element properties can be changed after placement by selecting the element and pressing the Properties button on the Redline Toolbar. Several Keys can also be used to adjust the appearance of a Dimension element if it is selected:

  • The Enter key will iterate through the Terminator orientation.
  • The Space Bar will iterate through the Text Orientations.
  • The Plus and Minus keys will scale the Text and the Terminator Arrows without affecting the length of the line.
  • The standard redline scaling, rotating, moving can be done with the Shift-Arrow Keys and the Ctrl-Arrow Keys.

If using the Automatic Text mode, the Text will be fixed after the placement, so that you can adjust the reference line without changing the text. If you do want to recomputed the text, just select the Properties and check the Automatic Text button and say OK. This action will update the text to the new computed length.

The Automatic Text mode’s Unit comes from the Master unit defined for the data and the Format droplist on the Dimension Element Dialog box can be used to specify how many numbers appear after the decimal point.

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