Specifying Which Wall Layer Exterior Dimensions Locate

Reference Number: KB-00658
Last Modified: February 4, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


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 panel 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 and in the Default Settings dialog:

    Selecting and editing Exterior Wall within Default Settings

    • Expand the Walls category.

    • Select Exterior Wall with a single left-click and click the Edit button. 

  3. In the Exterior Wall Defaults dialog that displays, click the Define button to the right of the Wall Type drop-down.

    Defining the wall type in Exterior Wall Defaults

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

    Changing the Dimension to Exterior of Layer dropdown in Wall Type Definitions

    • Use the drop-down menu next to Dimension to Exterior of Layer to select the layer that you want to dimension to. 

  5. In the Default Settings dialog, expand the Dimension category, click Auto Exterior Dimensions, then click the Edit button.

  6. On the Locate Objects panel of the Auto Exterior Dimension Defaults dialog, make sure that Wall Dimension Layer is selected, then click OK.

    Changing how the Auto Exterior Dimensions Defaults locate objects

  7. Click Done to close the Default Settings dialog, as well.

  8. Select CAD> Automatic Dimensions> Auto 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. 

Showing how dimension lines locate the wall in plan view

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.