User Preferences Window

This window is used to set various user preferences. It is invoked from the Main Menu's "Admin/User Preferences..." option. There are eleven tabs at the top of the window. Pressing on different tabs allows you to set different kinds of preferences as described below.

Drawing Window Preferences

Figure 1: The User Preferences Window - Drawing Tab

These settings control the operation of the drawing window See Main Window.

Line scroll percentage -  Set the percentage (of a page) that you want the drawing to scroll when pressing the up/down or right/left buttons at the ends of the scroll bars. Usually this will be 10% to 20%.

Page scroll percentage -  Set the percentage (of a page) that you want the drawing to scroll when you click in the slide area of the scroll bar (but not on the slider itself). Usually this will be 80% to 100%.

Zoom in/out percentage -  Select the percentage you want to scroll in or out when pressing the "Zoom In" or "Zoom Out" buttons on the Main Toolbar. Usually this will be 50%

Point editing sensitivity -  This setting is used when selecting or editing points for measurements and annotations. If the point you click on is within this many pixels of a point, it will be considered clicking on that point. If you have difficulty clicking on points, increase this setting. If you find it difficult not clicking on a point, reduce this setting. The sensitivity distance in inches is shown to the right.

Degrees between arc points -  This setting is used when automatically generating circle or arc points. See Taking off Arcs and Circles. A setting of 12 degrees (the default) will generate 30 points for a complete circle, creating a measurement within 2-3% of the actual arc. A smaller setting will generate more points and increase accuracy.

Warn on negative areas -  Check this box if you want the Negative Area Warning Window to be displayed when digitizing a negative area. If you digitize an area in a counter-clockwise direction, the area is computed as a negative value. This allows cutout calculations.

The warning is useful for new users to remind them to digitize in the clockwise direction. It is only displayed when the area is negative and you select to display the "Total Area" or "Group Area" in the Measurement Quantities Control on the Measurement Toolbar.

This setting can also be turned off from the Negative Area Warning Window.

Point symbol sizing factor -  Point symbols are the symbols and/or text displayed at each point of a measurement. They are defined as a part of the measurement's trace. This setting determines how the size of the symbol changes as you zoom in and out.

If the setting is zero, the symbol is always displayed at the size of a 10 point font, no matter how much you zoom in or out.

If the setting is one hundred, the symbol is displayed as though it was drawn on the drawing using a 10 point font. As you zoom in it gets larger, as you zoom out it gets smaller.

If the setting is somewhere in between, the size will change slightly for lower settings and more for higher settings.

Crosshair display, color and width -  Check the box to display crosshairs in the drawing window when measuring. You can also select the color and width of the crosshair lines. The selected color will be drawn over white areas of the drawing with the opposite color drawn over black areas of the drawing. You can show or hide the cursor when the crosshairs are displayed. The crosshar display can be toggled on/off using the "H" shortcut key in the main window.

Rubberbanding color, width -  You can select the color and width of the rubberbanding lines. These are the lines drawn from the previous point to the cursor when adding points to a measurement. The selected color will be drawn over white areas of the drawing with the opposite color drawn over black areas of the drawing. If you check "Use trace line color", the color will be the trace's line color when working with measurements.

Disable polar mode when counting -  When adding points, polar mode causes a point to be placed on a line which is some multiple of 15 degrees from the previous point. This is most commonly used to force horizontal or vertical lines. When counting, this is of limited use and may even be undesirable. If you select this option, polar mode will be disabled when adding points to a measurement whose data type is "Count".

Polar mode snap angles -  Check the various angle to which you wish to snap. Vertical and horizontal lines will always be snapped when polar mode is on. If this is all you want, don't check anything. For any checked angle, it will snap to that angle left or right of vertical and above or below horizontal.

Imperial/Metric Scale Usage -  This setting determines how imperial (feet/inches) vs. metric scales are presented. Select from the following options:

Default curved line degrees -  During trace editing you can choose to curve the lines between points. This is the default curvature. During Advanced Point Editing you can drag the lines to the desired arc.

Enable Drawing Legend -  Uncheck this box if you want to turn the drawing legend off for all Projects and the corresponding drawing pages.

Show last segment length -  Check this box if you want to display lengths between points as measurements are taken off.

Close-up Window Preferences

Figure 2: The User Preferences Window - Close-up Tab

These settings control the operation of the close-up window. The close-up window is displayed when you click down to set or select a point on a drawing. It shows a close up of the area under the mouse cursor.

Window size (pixels) -  This is the size (height and width) of the close-up window in pixels. Most screens have 50 to 75 pixels per inch.

Display delay (tenths of a second) -  This is the amount of time before the close-up window is displayed. When doing quick, easy clicks, the close-up window can be distracting. By setting a delay, the window doesn't appear on quick clicks. It only appears if you hold the mouse motionless (with a button down) for the specified time. If you set this to several seconds (20-20 tenths), it effectively disables the close-up window.

Zoom percentage -  This is the zoom percentage used to display the drawing inside the close-up window. 100% means each pixel in the close-up window will represent 1 drawing pixel. 50% means each close-up window pixel will represent 4 drawing pixels (2 by 2).

Dimension display -  You can optionally display line lengths in the close-up window when setting or moving measurement points. If there are multiple lines attached to the point, each line will and length will be shown in a unique color as shown in figure 3:

Figure 3: Close-up Window with Lengths Displayed

The Dimension display can be set to any of the following:

Show close-up even when zoomed in -  If this is NOT checked, the close-up window will only be displayed when the close-up window will show more detail. In other words, the drawing is zoomed in less than the close-up window zoom factor. This means that the dimension display (described above) is unavailable. If this IS checked, the close-up window will be displayed regardless of the drawing zoom.

Enable close-up window -  This enables you to display the closeup window percentage used to display the drawing inside the close-up window.

General Preferences

Figure 4: The User Preferences Window - General

Default dwg desc. -  Each drawing added to a Dimension project is given a description. These descriptions appear in the drawing list in the Project Toolbar Drawing List. Clear descriptions allow you to quickly switch between drawings.
When a drawing is added, it is given a default description based on the name of the drawing file. we will use the following sample drawing file: Dimension supports three different methods for generating default drawing descriptions.

New project folder -  When adding a new project, the first step is to select the project folder. This preference defines where the folder selection dialog will start. To set this preference, press the "Browse" button and use the Dimension Folder Selection Window to select a folder.

Use F2 key to begin editing in grids -  This applies to the Quantity Worksheet and the Measurement List. If this is checked, you can use the left/right arrow keys to move around the grid without interruption. If you wish to edit a cell, you can press the F2 key to begin editing its contents. If you wish to replace its contents, you can just begin typing. If this is NOT checked, you will begin editing as soon as the focus moves to an editable cell.

Use Dimension Excel Add-on -  Checking this box will add the Dimension Excel Add-in to the Excel Add-in list.
Note: You must still select "Tools/Add-ins..." from the Excel menu and check "Dimension".
Un-checking this box will remove the add-in from Excel. That will break any existing spreadsheets that use Dimension functions.

Automatically create planroom projects and project folders -  This option only applies to information downloaded from an integrated planroom. Normally, when you save the first drawing file from a planroom project, the Project Setup Wizard is displayed. This allows you to edit the project information and options provided by the planroom before the project is created. If this option is selected, the project wizard is NOT displayed and the project and the project folder are created automatically.

Include measurement detail number in description -  Each measurement that is part of a project has a sequential detail number. This number can be displayed and/or printed on the Measurement List and the Quantity Worksheet. Each measurement has an option to display the measurement description and/or quantity on the drawing. If this option is selected, the description is prefixed with the detail number. For example: "16.Slab on Grade; Area=123.45". This allows people using printed output to associate a measurement in the measurement list or quantity worksheet with the corresponding measurement on a drawing.

Organize Traces in a Tree -  Checking this box will allow you to organize traces in a hierarchical tree and select them using that tree. For more information see Organizing Traces in a Tree.

Start new measurement on control panel trace double-click -  With this option NOT selected, double-clicking on a control panel trace will assign the trace to any currently selected measurements. With this option selected, double-clicking on a trace in the control panel will start a new measurement using the selected trace. In either case, you can right-click on a control panel trace and select "Assign to selected measurements" from the context menu.

Use Easy Trace Edit when description dropped for new trace -  New users often need to create many new traces to match their estimating system. If they have the names of those traces in an application such as Microsoft Word, they can easily create a new trace by dragging the description and dropping it on an existing trace that is similar to the one they want to create.

This can be done by dropping the description on a trace in the Control Panel Trace Tree Control or the Standard Trace Tree Window. When the drop is made, a trace edit window is displayed to create the new trace. Drops on the Standard Trace Tree Window always display the Standard Trace Edit Window. Drops on the control panel can display either the Standard Trace Edit Window or the Easy Trace Edit Window based on the setting of this check box.

Save as Standard Trace on as default for Easy Trace Creation -  Checking this box will ensure that the "Save as Standard Trace" box is checked when creating new traces utilizing Easy Trace Creation/Edit Window to build new traces.

Files Preferences

Figure 5: The User Preferences Window - Files

Use Dimension to handle OSX files -  Some planrooms use OSX files to interface with On-Center's viewer. If you select this option, Dimension will intercept the OSX file and be integrated with the planroom. You should NOT select this option if you use the On-Center viewer.

Use Dimension to handle PLN files -  Dodge Data & Analytics distributes drawings as files with the extension ".PLN" If you select this option, double-clicking on a PLN file will open the file in Dimension. You should NOT select this option if you use Dodge Data & Analytics's Dodge View viewer.

TIFF files have several advantages over other file types. They are very quick to display, zoom and scroll. In addition they are widely supported by software products when proprietary formats such as CPC are not.

Automatic conversion (when enabled) will convert files the first time they are viewed AND are part of a Dimension project. The converted TIFF file will have the same name as the original file but with the extension ".tif". The original file's extension will have "cvt" appended to it. So if the original file was named "CoverSheet.pdf", the converted file will be named "CoverSheet.tif" and the original file will be renamed to "CoverSheet.pdfcvt". Renaming the original file prevents it from being picked up during a subsequent scan for drawings.

Automatically convert PDF files to TIFF files -  If this box is checked, PDF files will be automatically converted to TIFF files when first opened. Warning: TIFF files are bitmaps and will become pixilated (distorted) when zoomed in very closely. Most PDF files used for construction drawings are also bitmaps and suffer this same distortion. But some PDF files contain CAD commands and suffer no distortion. In this case, the PDF file may be preferable to the TIFF file.

Automatically convert CPC files to TIFF files -  If this box is checked, CPC files will be automatically converted to TIFF files when first opened.

Extract bitmaps from PDF files containing a single bitmap -  Drawings are frequently provided as PDF files containing a scanned image of the drawing (a bitmap). Extracting the bitmap allows it to be loaded, displayed and zoomed much more rapidly. Check this option to use bitmap extraction. If this option is checked, PDF files containing a single bitmap will NOT be automatically converted to TIFF files because there is no performance advantage.

WARNING: The extracted bitmaps may have a different resolution than the original PDF file. That means that any measurements made on the original PDF file may need to be re-done. If the original bitmaps were converted to TIFF files, there will be no problem.

This option will be checked on all new installations and it will be disabled so that it can't be un-checked. This avoids the resolution problem described above. If you need to un-check this option, click on one of the other tabs of the preferences window. Then hold the Shift key down while clicking on the "Conversion" tab. The option will be enabled.

Use Windows application for PDF specifications -  If this box is checked, specifications files with the extension ".pdf" will be passed to Windows when they are opened. Windows will open them using the application assigned to PDF files (typically Adobe Reader).

You can identify a file as a specifications file in the Drawing Properties Window or the Drawing List Window.

Use Windows Folder Selection Dialog -  If this box is checked, folders will be selected using the Windows Folder Selection Dialog rather than the Dimension folder selection dialog.

TIFF Output Resolution -  When converting to TIFF (or saving as TIFF), there are four output resolutions available:

16 Level Gray-scale is the recommended setting. Some users prefer Black/White with or without dithering. 256 Level Gray Scale is rarely worth the increased storage requirements and increased conversion and display times.

Extra Scan Extensions -  When scanning folders to find drawings, normally we just look for files that can be opened by Dimension. But you may wish to include other documents in the project (such as spreadsheets or Word documents). To include them, enter the extensions for the file types you want to include in this edit control. Extensions should be entered without the leading dot. Multiple extensions should be separated with commas.

When you scan for drawings, any files found with the specified extensions will be added to the list of files to be added to the project. If you add the files, they will appear in the drawing lists and trees. If you select them, they will be opened outside of Dimension in application associated with the file type. The files can (optionally) be included when you backup and zip a project.

WARNING: When you delete a project and elect to "Delete all files and folders for this project", these files will ALSO be deleted.

This option is NOT available in the Basic viewer.

Convert Preferences

Figure 6: The User Preferences Window - Convert

There are four situations when we need to convert images from multi-color images to black and white images: