Chief Architect Help Database - Article Number: 705
How to Use the Line Weight Scaling OptionsThe information in this article applies to:
- Chief Architect X5
- Chief Architect X4
- Chief Architect X3
- Chief Architect X2
- Chief Architect X1
I would like to understand how the Line Weight Scale and line weight scaling options work. What do these do and how can I best implement them?
Line Weight Scale is a print setting that is specific to each plan, layout, CAD detail, or elevation. Understanding how line weight scaling interacts with plan and layout drawing scales is critical to getting the desired printed result.
A line prints at the specified thickness if you print the view at the same scale that you set for your drawing scale. If you rescale the drawing, the line weight rescales as well.
This article describes in detail the way line weight scaling works.
To access line weight scaling select File> Print> Page Setup from the menu.
Note that the Page Setup dialog box applies only to the specific view in the plan file or to the layout file from which it was opened.
Setting the Line Weight Scale in the plan
First, let's talk about setting the line weight in the plan file.
By default, the Line Weight Scale is 1 = 1/100mm which is the CAD standard.
If you have a particular CAD standard that requires your lines to be set in millimeters, you might want to set a line weight of 1 = 1/100 mm. Now it is easy to determine how wide a line will be. If you want a line that is .18 mm wide, set its line weight to 18; for a line that is 1 mm thick, set the line weight to 100.
Line weights can be set for entire layers in the Layer Display Options dialog or specified for individual objects independent of their layer, usually in the objects’ specification dialogs.
- In Chief Architect 10 and prior, this was set at 1=1/600 in, because many older printers print at 600 dots per inch (DPI).
At this scale, a line with a Line Weight of 1 will be one dot wide, or approximately 0.00167 inches, when printed. On a printer that prints at 600 DPI, this is the thinnest line possible. If you have a printer that prints at 1200 DPI, a line weight of 1 would be the same thickness but two dots wide. A printer that prints at 300 DPI would also print a line one dot thick, but it would be twice as wide because these dots are bigger than 600 DPI dots.
Setting Drawing Scale in the plan
When we draw a plan, we are actually drawing at 1 to 1 scale. Because of this, it may be tempting to set the Drawing Scale at 1 to 1. Remember, though, that the Drawing Scale is really a print setting: we would need very big paper to print a house plan at a scale of 1 to 1.
You can see this for yourself if you click the Print Preview toggle button to display the drawing sheet and then use the Point to Point Dimension tool to measure its size.
If your Drawing Scale is set at 1 to 1, the drawing sheet will display as a small white rectangle in the middle of your plan – not nearly large enough to contain the plan.
Most likely, we will scale this plan down to, say, 1/4 inch per foot so that the plan will print on architectural sized paper. The problem is that in scaling down our drawing, all of the line weights that were set to look right at the 1 to 1 scale will be rescaled so small that they will be nearly invisible when printed at 1/4 inch = 1 foot.
To avoid this problem, we want to set our Drawing Scale for the plan at the same scale that we want it to be printed at. If we want to print the plan at 1/4 inch = 1 foot, we need to set our drawing scale in the Page Setup dialog to 1/4 in = 1 ft. If we want the plan printed at 1 mm = 50 mm, we should set our drawing scale to that scale.
To recap: In most cases, you will want to use these settings in the Page Setup dialog for the plan:
- Drawing Scale: 1/4 in = 1 ft; or 1 m = 50 m
- Line Weight Scale: 1 = 1/600 in; or 1 = 1/100 mm
Setting the Line Weight Scale in layout
Let's move on to a layout and set up our line weight scale. As in the plan, the default Line Weight Scale is 1 = 1/100mm.
Here, again, you can implement your CAD standard in millimeters or any other unit you desire. Keep in mind, though, that if we decide to print a check plot of the plan at a smaller scale, the line weights will rescale also.
If we print a check plot at 1/2 scale, we will end up with lines that are half the desired width of what we set in our Page Setup dialog.
Setting Drawing Scale in layout
Just like in a plan, objects such as CAD lines or text drawn on a layout page are drawn at a 1 to 1 scale. Unlike in a plan, the default Drawing Scale for layout is 1 to 1; so, if you have a 24” x 36” (ARCH D) size drawing sheet and use the Point to Point Dimension tool to measure its size, it will be 24” x 36”. If you draw a CAD box just inside the sheet edges, as you might on Layout Page Zero, this box will also be approximately 24” x 36”. If you then change the Drawing Scale from 1 to 2, the length of the lines that make up your border will remain approximately 24” x 36”; but the size of the drawing sheet will double to 48” x 72”. It is important, therefore, to keep the Drawing Scale for layout at 1 to 1.
Another reason to keep the Drawing Scale for layout at 1 to 1 becomes evident when we send views to layout. When we send a drawing to a layout sheet, we must scale it in the Send to Layout dialog. We can either select Fit to Sheet, which will resize the drawing so that it fits the entire Layout page; or, we can select a specific scale. If we select a specific scale, such as 1/4 inch = 1 foot, the view will appear in layout and later print at that scale – as long as the Drawing Scale for layout is set at 1 to 1.
Although it may seem logical to set the Drawing Scale for layout to 1/4 inch = 1 foot, as well, the result will be that views sent to layout are scaled twice and become extremely small. A view scaled at 1/4 inch = 1 foot twice will ultimately be scaled at a tiny 1/16 inch = 1 foot. Line weight settings will also be rescaled a second time and will be considerably finer.
To recap: In almost all cases, use these setting in the Page Setup dialog for layout:
- Drawing Scale: 1 in = 1 in; or 1 m = 1 m
- Line Weight Scale: 1 = 1/600 in; or 1 = 1/100 mm
Drawing Scale in Layout
How Drawing Scale changes affect plans sent to layout
When we send a view to layout, the Send to Layout dialog asks us to specify a scale for the view. It is advisable to specify the same scale for the view in layout as the Drawing Scale that was used to draw it. The single most important reason for this is that the line weights in the view will be rescaled if we do not. While it is not wrong to send to layout at a different scale than the scale set in the plan Page Setup, the result will be lines that are thinner or thicker than the specified line width.
Let’s take a look at some actual results using different settings and observe the differences.
The lines in the drawing below are set to several different line weights and are all the same length. They were sent to layout at various scales to demonstrate the difference scaling has on the actual line width.
In the next graphic, we sent the plan to layout at the same scale but changed the plan Drawing Scale instead.
Notice that when we match the plan Drawing Scale to the scale at which we sent the plan to layout, we end up with lines that are at the specified width.
When we change the plan Drawing Scale to something other than the scale at which we sent the plan to layout, we get lines that are the same length but are either thicker or thinner, depending on the change we made.
To recap: In almost all cases, follow these basic rules:
- Set the line weight scaling to correspond to your printer’s capability; in most cases, 1 = 1/100mm is sufficient.
- Set the Drawing Scale in the plan file, CAD details, and cross section views at the scale that you want to print them.
- Send views to layout at the same Drawing Scale they were created at.
- Set the Drawing Scale in the layout file at 1:1.
Saving a template with the print settings
Now that we have our Drawing Scales and line weights set, how do we save these so we can use them in the future?
The answer lies in understanding that the default print settings are stored with each plan. This is a powerful feature because we can create layout templates with customized print settings for use with different printers or for specific applications. For more information about creating template plans, see How to create a style template.
One final tip: If you plan on opening files created in previous versions of Chief Architect and want to use these print settings, place a check in the box beside "Use these settings when converting old files" in the Page Setup dialog for both plan and layout files. Since old plans do not keep these settings, this will allow you to automatically apply them the next time you open an older drawing.
Last updated on: Mar 29, 2013