Specifying Which Wall Layer Exterior Dimensions Locate

Reference Number: KB-00658 Last Updated: 03-31-2015 02:33 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I would like Auto Exterior Dimensions to locate the ­sheathing layer of my exterior walls, but the only options I have on the Locate Objects tab of the Dimension Defaults dialog are Surfaces and Wall Dimension Layer. How can I specify the wall layer in specific wall types that exterior dimensions locate?


By default, a wall type's Main Layer is also its Wall Dimension Layer.  You can, however, specify a different Wall Dimension Layer in the Wall Type Definitions dialog.

To specify the Wall Dimension Layer

  1. Open the drawing in which you would like to change how exterior dimensions locate exterior walls.

  2. Select Edit> Default Settings  from the menu. In the Default Settings dialog: 

    • Click the  next to Walls to expand this category.
    • Select Exterior/Interior Wall with a single left click and click the Edit button to open the Exterior/Interior Wall Defaults dialog.
  3. In the Exterior/Interior Wall Defaults dialog, click the Define button to the right of the Exterior Wall Tool drop-down. 


  4. In the Wall Type Definitions dialog, specifications for the selected wall type can be set. 

    • Notice the diagram of the wall type at the bottom of the dialog.
    • A small arrow to the right points to the selected wall layer.
    • To the left, another arrow on the left points to the active layer surface.
  5. In either the wall diagram or in the numbered list of layers on the left side of the dialog, near the top, click on the layer that you would like to dimension to. Notice that the arrows will move in response.

  6. Place a check in the box beside Dimension to This Line, located above the left arrow, then click OK to close both the Wall Type Definitions and the Exterior/Interior Wall Defaults dialogs.   

  7. In the Default Settings dialog, click on the   next to Dimension and then click  Auto Exterior Dimensions, click the Edit button to open the Auto Exterior Dimension Defaults dialog.

  8. On the Locate Objects panel of the Dimension Defaults dialog, make sure that Wall Dimension Layer is selected, then click OK.  Click Done to close the Default Settings dialog, as well. 

  9. Select CAD> Automatic Dimensions> Automatic Exterior Dimensions .

    • In X4 and prior, select CAD> Dimensions> Automatic Exterior Dimensions

    These new dimensions will reflect the changes you made to the exterior wall type - as long as all of your exterior walls are of the same type that you modified in the Wall Type Definitions dialog.  


Remember that the settings in the Wall Type Definitions dialog apply to one wall type only. This permits great flexibility in the way you create dimensions, but can also create confusion if you are not mindful of the specifications for other wall types.