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Organize the Project

Organize the Project

A project is a complex set of drawings, symbols, views, details and documentation elements such as annotations, tags, dimensions and non graphic information. All these elements need to be organized and arranged in a convenient way. 

Layers, Drafting Sheets and Details allow to manage the project effectively.


A layer is a concept used in CAD and design programs to conveniently group elements in a logical way. As its name implies, this concept derives from the use of overlaid semitransparent papers in manual drafting. As in manual drafting, layers are used in HighDesign to organize a complex drawing into different component parts, but, differently from real layers, each CAD layer has its own properties. 

Decomposing a drawing into its components is one of the most important operations in computer design. Any object, even the most complex, can only be analyzed by separating its elements in logical groups, applying criteria that depend on the object nature and on the designer goal. 

Any element of a drawing in HighDesign belongs to a layer: there is no restriction on what types of objects you can assign to a layer. You are free to group different elements together in the most convenient way to you or according to the drawing standard you are following. 

HighDesign layers have the following properties:  

  • Name. Layers are identified by their name;  
  • Visibility. A layer can be visible or invisible. Items belonging to a visible layer are redrawn to screen, are printable and selectable; invisible layers are not printed. 
  • Lock. Layers can be locked to make their items not selectable.
  • Color. Layers can have a default 32 bit color. If the byLayer option is on (you can change it by opening the “Colors” pop-up menu in the Properties bar and selecting “byLayer”), any new item gets the color of its layer.
  • Drawing tool binding. You can create a binding between a drawing tool and a layer so that, every time you activate that tool, the layer is set automatically. To enable this option, click the corresponding check box. The Tool column on the main table will become active. Click the icon on a row to select a tool or method to associate with that layer.
Quick Layer Management 

The layers of the project are listed on the Layers menu of the Properties Bar: select the desired layer by a click to update the current default or to change the layer of the selection. 

The name of the current layer or of the layer of the selection is shown on the menu.

  • The Layers menu displays the main functions to manage layers: you can switch to other layers, show or hide layers, lock some layers and access the Layers Manager to create and arrange new layers. 
  • The commands on the upper section of the menu allow to create new layers, open the Layers pane of the Resource Manager window and switch layer masking on and off. 
  • You can mask the layers of a project so that only the current layer is visible and editable. Masking is a switch on/off command, and as long as the mask is active, changing the current layer will automatically hide the other layers. Once masking is switched off, the other layers return to the original visibility they had before the command.
  • Layers are document based and are only available to the project you created them for.
  • In addition to the pop-up menu, you can manage project layers with the Layers panel, available under the Window menu, or with the Resource Manager. 

Project Browser  (not available in Lt edition) 

The Project Browser shows a logical hierarchy for all the Drafting Sheets of the project and also lists Details and Layouts which are special sheets used to present the project. By using this panel you can quickly create, rename and delete sheets, change their visibility, protection, optional size and scale attributes. 

To create a new sheet, click the New Sheet button (+) and modify its name. By default, new sheets are created with the current drawing scale and units. You can change the units and scale of a sheet by double-clicking it on this window. 

To arrange a sheet, drag it to the new position: the table order corresponds to the actual display order, where the topmost visible sheet is the first item of the list. 

You can control how the sheets are displayed on screen by clicking the Opacity button. There are three states: all sheets equally visible, the current sheet displayed normally and the others dimmed, or only the current sheet visible. 

Drafting Sheets

As it is in manual drafting, a project is made of different sheets, each with its own page size, drawing scale and units, depending on the part of the project it represents. HighDesign provides an intuitive way of handling projects by introducing the concept of “Drafting Sheets.” 

  • A Drafting Sheet in HighDesign has special attributes such as visibility, write-protection, etc., that make it a convenient way of organizing a project: you can, for instance, put a different drawing on each sheet or use a sheet for the main drawing and draw sections on additional sheets. 
  • A HighDesign project, either for architecture, engineering or design, is thus made up of several drawings contained in a single document. 
  • The ability to show or hide sheets, transparency and write protection allows you to compose a complex project even in a single layout. 

The following are some of the properties and advantages sheets provide: 

  • Independent drawing scale and optional paper size of the current sheet; 
  • Independent drawing units;
  • Write protection and display mode (visible, hidden and dimmed);
  • You can search and select items on a single sheet or on all sheets; 
  • Visible sheets can be merged into one; 
  • You can create and delete any number of sheets;
  • The print functions only prints the visible sheets;
  • A sheet can be saved as a new document;
  • Sheets can be reordered and renamed; two or more sheets can share the same name; 

Drafting Sheets are managed through the Project Browser Panel of the Sidebar and via the Project menu, which provide all the commands to create, rename, delete and reorder sheets, move and duplicate items across sheets, show and hide, etc. 

Drafting Sheet Properties

From left to right, the properties of a drafting sheet accessible through the Project Browser are: 

  • Visibility, on or off;
  • Optional Paper Size: double-click the page icon or use the Object Info panel to change the paper size of the current sheet;
  • Name: double-click to rename the selected sheet; 
  • Sheet Protection: click to switch; protected sheets are visible but are invisible to the snap; 
  • Drawing scale and units: click to open the units and scale menu. 
Utility Buttons 

The Project Browser panel provides several buttons on the footer of the window to quickly access functions and set options.

  • New sheet: adds a new sheet at the top of the list; new sheets have a default progressive name which can be changed by double-click.
  • Delete selected sheet: all objects of the current sheet can be moved to another one or deleted. 
  • Action menu. The action menu lists the commands to manage sheets as in the Project menu, apart from those specific to the selected objects of the drawing, and the commands to change the visibility status of all sheets in relation to the current one.
  • Display modes: All Visible, Dim Others, or Hide Others.

Details  (Pro)

Detail Sheets are specialized drafting sheets used to add detailed views of the project. Details can be created as independent drawings or as drafts linked with selected Detail Areas of the project as well. You can create new Details through the “Add” button in the Project Browser panel or via the New Independent Detail command on the Project menu.

Once you create a new detail you are asked to enter name, scale and units. When drawing a detail you can use sketching and documentation tools but design tools as Walls or Windows are not available.

Details linked with a Detail Area show the source drawing enclosed by the area as an underlay with adjustable opacity, available as a reference for drafting. Also, the underlay can be exploded and turned into a group for editing and further transformations: to explode the underlay you can use the “Explode Underlay” button on the bottom-right corner or the drawing area or the proper command in the Project menu.

The Object Info panel provides the main information and options of the current Detail. Details do not have the Paper Size option.

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