March 28, 2015

ACA/AMEP 2016: Styles Browser Part 2

The Styles Browser Interface (Continued)
Part 1 focused on the top part of the Styles Browser; this article will examine the style/defintion list box and related controls.

The Styles Browser has a tool bar at the top of the style/defintion list box. Three tools at the right side of this bar control how the styles/definitions are viewed: Preview Size, View Direction and Color Selection. As seen in the image below, the Preview Size tool has a drop-down list which offers four viewing choices: Small, Medium and Large preview images and Details, which shows just names and descriptions in text. Note that selecting the Details option will disable the View Direction and Color Selection tools, as these settings do not apply to the Details view. The icon of the currently selected tool is displayed on the tool button.

The View Direction tool has a drop-down list which offers the six standard othogonal and four standard isometric view directions. The initial default view direction varies with the Object Type selected. As with the Preview Size tool, the icon of the currently selected view direction is displayed on the tool button.

The Color Selection tool has a drop-down that allows you to select the background color of the preview images. The None option uses the palette background color. You can choose from a range of color swatches, including AutoCAD® index colors 1-9, or choose the More Colors option at the bottom to open the standard color selection dialog, offering the full range of Index colors, True Color and Color Books. A Recent Colors section is offered if you choose a color not offered on the pull-down. Setting a background color other than None (such as matching your AutoCAD background color) may be useful if you find it hard to see the preview graphics images with the Styles Browser background color.

When AEC Dimension, Display Theme or Zone are chosen as the Object Type, the tools at the right end of the tool bar will all be disabled, as the only view option for these is Details.

Hovering over a style or definition in the list box will display a Tool Tip, whether or not Tool Tips are enabled in the Options dialog, on the Display tab. Most styles/definitions have a two-stage tool tip; the first stage is all text, listing the style/definition name, description and the source file (or Current Drawing for styles/definitions in the current drawing). If you hover longer, the Tool Tip will expand to include image previews showing that style/definition in isometric, left, front and plan views. There is no expanded Tool Tip with graphics for the AEC Dimension, Display Theme and Zone Object Types.

The tools at the left side of the tool bar control the use of the styles/definitions displayed in the Styles Browser: Import styles, Add object and Apply style to selection. Selecting one of the styles or definition in the list box enables the relevant tools. The Import styles tool will be inactive if a style/definition from the current drawing is selected. The Apply style to selection tool will be inactive if no objects of the selected Object Type are selected in the current drawing. The same three options are available in a context menu when you right click on a style or definition. You can also double click on a style/definition to initiate the ADD command for that object type, using the selected style/definition (imported into the current drawing, if necessary).
When all of the objects that are selected in the current drawing are of the current Object Type and are all of the same style/definition, then that style/definition will be outlined in blue. When a style is selected, the entire style is highlighted in blue. If the cursor moves off of the palette, the blue color is removed, but the selected tool remains highlighted. If you wish to clear the current style/definition selection, press the ESC key.

If the current drawing already has a style/definition of the same name as one in a source file, a green checkmark will appear next to the style(s)/definition(s) in the source file(s). You will not be able to import these styles, and if you choose the Add or Apply options for these styles, the style/definition in the current drawing will be used. You cannot use the Styles Browser to update a style in the current drawing with one of the same name in a source file. Use the Style Manager to do this, when necessary.

All of the usual options for displaying a palette apply to the Styles Browser: Transparency, Auto-hide, Docking and Anchorage. Right click on the palette title spine and use the context menu to choose your display options.

The Styles Browser provides easy access to styles and definitions from office standard source files, project standards files and currently open drawings, without the need to create or maintain an extensive set of tool palettes and tools. When you upgrade to AutoCAD® Architecture 2016, try it out and see if it can improve your workflow.

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