Understanding the Layout / Layer Set Relationship

Reference Number: KB-00939
Last Modified: June 22, 2017

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


Whenever I send a view to layout, this message displays.

This new layout box references the "Layout Set 1" layer set saved in your plan. If you make any changes to this layer set in the plan, the layout view may be affected.

What is it talking about?


This Information message is designed to call attention to how Layer Sets are assigned to layout views. If changes are made to a Layer Set used by a layout view, those changes will affect the appearance of the view on the layout page - even if the change is made while working on an entirely unrelated view in the plan.

  • If you are not familiar with this relationship, please take a moment to read this article. The layout utility in Chief Architect is a powerful and flexible tool that lets you arrange dynamic views of a plan onto a sheet for printing. To use this tool to your best advantage, you need to understand how to control what actually displays in each layout view box.

  • If the relationship between Layer Sets saved with the plan and the display of objects in layout views is already clear to you, you can simply check Do not show this message again at the lower left corner of the message box.

Layout Layer Sets

Just as in 2D and 3D plan views, all of the objects that display in a layout view are all placed on layers, which can be thought of as a transparency sheet. Nearly all views use multiple layers, like stacks of transparencies put together to show different types of objects. The collection of layer settings for a given view are referred to as a Layer Set, which can be thought of as a stack of transparencies organized to meet a particular need.

There are two basic approaches to Layout Layer Sets: creating a unique Layer Set for each layout view and using the same Layer Set for each layout view that was used by the original plan view. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and one is likely to suit your own personal design process better than the other.

Creating Unique Layout Layer Sets

Creating a unique layer set for each view helps many users avoid making unintended changes to views already sent to the layout page. It is helpful in this regard because layout views do not use the Layer Sets that these users use for drawing. For example, if a user always draws in floor plan view using the Default Set and turns layers on and off in this Layer Set as his drawing task changes, he will not want his layout views to use this same Layer Set because their appearance will continually change.

The primary disadvantage of this approach is that some users may not realize that although their Layout Layer Sets are unique, they can still be altered.

If, for example, you access a plan view by selecting a layout view box and clicking the Open View edit button, the active layer set in that view will be the Layout Layer Set created for that layout view. Any changes made to that layer set will affect the view on the layout page.

Another disadvantage to this approach is that it can make the list of layer sets associated with a plan rather long. Users who regularly switch between layer sets may find browsing through a long list to be a problem.

Using Task-Specific Layer Sets

Other users prefer to create custom Layer Sets for particular drawing tasks and find that the same settings that make for efficient drafting are also appropriate for their printed documents.

For example, if a user has created an HVAC Layer Set with settings that work for both drawing and printing HVAC plans, she can assign this Layer Set to an HVAC drawing sent to layout. She will not use this Layer Set unless she is working on the project's HVAC plan and will never change its settings to work on other items, so the appearance of her HVAC layout views are safe from unintended changes.

The problem with this approach is that if the user makes a change to the layer set she uses to draw, the change will be reflected on the layout page. For example, if the user decides that the color or line style used to print some HVAC objects isn't easy to work with onscreen and makes changes to these settings, these changes will be applied to the layout view and will affect its printed output.

Send to Layout Dialog

When we send a view from plan to layout, the Send to Layout dialog presents a variety of settings that determine how the view will look on the layout page. Among these settings are two that let us define the Layer Set that the view will use.

The Send to Layout dialog

Towards the middle of the dialog box are two settings that allow us to specify the view's Layer Set: the Make Copy of Active Layer Set checkbox and the New Name text field.

  • Check Make Copy of Active Layer Set to create a unique Layout Layer Set. By default, this layer set will be assigned the name "Layout Set" followed by a number. If you wish, you can type a New Name for the layer set that reflects what it is used for.

  • If you uncheck Make Copy of Active Layer Set, the layer set currently in use will be applied to the layout view and the New Name field will become inactive.

  • Your choice of checking, or unchecking, Make Copy of Active Layer Set is remembered by the program.