Design with Style

Using styles in HighDesign

Learn how to use styles effectively in your projects.

A typical CAD project contains a very large number of objects, which can often reach the thousands. With the increase of graphic objects, parametric elements, groups and symbols, the complexity of the project also increases exponentially, and so does the time needed to find and modify specific items.

One efficient way to manage that complexity is to use styles to organize the project items by their properties, grouping together objects that share common graphical attributes like pen color or line type, and common settings like text font, sizes or arrow head. In addition to that, by using styles and types you significantly reduce the number of custom items, and that is a good practice toward more efficient, manageable projects. Also, standardized items make it easier to integrate the project in a BIM process.

In HighDesign Pro, you can easily create, modify and manage styles for any class of objects. In this article we’ll see how to use styles to organize your project with ease.

The Quick Way to Create a Style

In this example we’ll create a Linear Dimension style. To begin, open the Dimensions settings by double-clicking the Dimensions icon in the main toolbar on the left hand side of the project window. In the settings window, define your dimension as usual using the options on the panels. When you are ready, click the big plus (+) on the window header.

Another way to create a new style is the Styles panel. If it is not visible, you can open it with the menu command Window > Panels > Styles. Click the + button on the lower hand side of the panel to open the New Style window.

The New style dialog is organized into two main sections: Identity and Graphic Properties, and each includes several options.

The Identity section allows you to define class, information and location of the style, that is, whether the style will be saved as an external resource available to all projects, or only in the current project.

Graphic Properties shows the attributes that you want to be included in the style: uncheck the properties that should not be part of the style, and check or change the others. Pay attention to what parameters actually make sense for the style: for example, if you include the stroke color, an object with the same style parameters but different color will be regarded as “unmatched”.

Click Save when you have finished. New styles are automatically added to the current project and are visible on the Project Styles pane.

HighDesign Project Styles

Styles can also be selected from the title bar of a settings window, or directly with a right-click from the tool icon. Both methods open the Style popup chooser. From this panel you can select a default style for the current element class or change the style of a selected object.


One immediate benefit of using styles is the ability to repeat similar attributes without having to set them again each time. Activate a style in the Styles panel and simply draw: the current style is automatically applied to the new objects, which from that moment on will be styled.

Modifications to a style are also immediately applied to all the objects of that specific style, thus allowing you to update all the items in one action. So, if for instance you decide that the text of the dimension label should be smaller, you can simply edit the style, set the new size and save: the change is automatically applied to all the dimensions of that specific style.

Once an object with style has been created, it is a good practice to avoid changing its properties directly, because that would most likely introduce differences from its style that can be hard to manage. You can always re-match any object to its style by using the Revert to Original Style command on the pop-up menu of the Project Styles panel.

In the next articles, we’ll see how to edit a style, the differences between graphic styles and building element types, and how to manage styles through the Resource Manager.

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