October 27, 2008

Zoom To from Schedule Table Fails

I ran into an interesting problem today, and thought I might spare others the time it took me to sort it out by sharing the problem and the solution. I was taking a floor plan that was developed for a project and making the first "contract document" pass at the Doors in the file, with the goal of getting them "schedule ready." Those working on the file before me had tagged some of the doors; others had the property sets attached without being tagged. I dropped in a Schedule Table to see what Doors were in the file and the state of each one.

I had several Doors that did not have the Property Sets attached, and rather than using the Add All Property Sets option available on the Schedule Table context menu, I decided to use the Selection > Show feature to zoom to each door and determine if it should be in the schedule before adding the Property Sets. This worked just fine for all but one recalcitrant door, for which the zoom to feature simply would not work. I thawed and turned on all layers, thinking that perhaps if the door were on a frozen layer, that might disable the zoom to feature. That did not help.

Then it occurred to me that I might be able to get some information on the Door by editing the cell contents of one of the manual properties associated with that door. This forced the associated Property Set to be added to that door, and allowed me to determine the Style of the Door on that line. I also "marked" that Door by adding a value to the manual Remarks property that I knew would be unique in that drawing file. After selecting OK to register this change, I still was unable to use the zoom to feature.

Armed with the Style name of the Door, I used the Quick Select dialog (QSELECT command, also available as a button at the top of the Properties palette) to select all Doors of that style. Without clearing the grips on the selected items, I panned around the file, looking for a selected door that was untagged that might be the culprit. Eventually, I found a set of Door grips that had no associated Door graphics, and assumed that this was the Door to which I could not zoom. I deselected all of the other doors and checked the layer and display settings for that door, but did not find anything amiss (no frozen layer and no style- or object-level display override with all components turned off for active Display Representations). I tried moving the Door, and it would only move to another Wall (but stayed invisible), so I assumed it was anchored to an "invisible" Wall. I checked the Anchor data on the door (found under the Location category on the Design tab of the Properties palette, which indicated that the Door threshold was set to the bottom of the Wall, the center of the Door was centered on the width of the Wall and the start edge of the door was within a few feet of the start of the Wall. I did note that the anchor grip fell right in the middle of another, visible wall, which explained why "*Space Not Found*" was showing up in the door number property (we use the room number as part of the door identifier).

Finally, I WBLOCKed that Door out to a separate file, which also brings the Wall along to the WBLOCK file. I opened that file and selected all objects. In the Properties palette, I used the drop-down list at the top to look at just the Wall properties, and the reason why both Door and Wall were invisible became immediately obvious – the elevation of the Door was set to 9’-9 3/4", and the cut plane for the current Display Configuration was set at 3’-6". Back in the original file, I temporarily raised the Cut Plane to 12’-6" and the phantom Door and Wall became visible. I determined that neither belonged in the file and I erased them, removing the problem line from my Schedule Table.

If I come across this again in the future, I hope to remember the lesson I learned today, and will turn on at least one of the Above Cut Plane components and Below Cut Plane components for Doors at the drawing default level. Provided that any rogue Doors do not have style- or object-level overrides set, that would add visible graphics to any doors entirely above or below the cut plane to the file. Once there are visible graphics, the zoom to feature will work and allow each Door to be easily found. If there are style-level overrides involved, I could remove those after finding the name of the Style as noted above (you do have to have an automatic property that displays the Style name, but one could be temporarily added to an object-based Property Set that is used in the Schedule Table). If an object-level override was used (yet another reason to avoid these whenever possible), then the select all Doors of that style and manually pan around the drawing looking for grips without graphics approach would be necessary.

My original problem was created and diagnosed in Autodesk® Architectural Desktop 2004, but I have confirmed that the same behavior applies to AutoCAD® Architecture 2008 as well.


Anonymous said...

That was a very creative method for finding the rogue door but wouldn't the wall and door have shown up in an isometric model view once you located the "invisible" door?

I always remind my drafters to look at the isometric view when things don't seem to be working like they should. We find the answer to lots of weirdnesses that way.

David Koch said...

I suppose I should have thought of that myself. Unfortunately, the rogue Door and Wall were in the middle of a rather large plan, but I suppose once in an isometric view, the Zoom To function would work, because there would be visible graphics (assuming the Schedule Table is visible - and if it were not, it could easily be made visible). It would certainly be faster than manually panning through the drawing. Thanks for the tip!

JMH said...


Do yo know of a way to select multiple different objects types at one time and add all or remove all property sets at once? For instance, say that I select all, and that selection includes some structural members, doors, windows, and slabs; is there a way that all the property sets that are applicable to each object type can be added? The best I've been able to do is add all or remove all property sets that are common to all object types.