Layers in Model View


Instructions from Video:

As a BIM model is created, each element in the model has stored settings that affect how the element will appear when it is flattened to a 2D drawing for working drawing purposes. For this tooltip we will dive into how the layers are attributed to the element and how we can change them.

For this example, we will select all the siding walls in the model and look at their layer settings. Left-click to select one wall, right-click and select Select All Similar,  and then right-click again and select Properties. Changes made to the first initial wall will occur on all the walls.

In the Walls dialog box, select the Line Work tab. Here each component of the wall is listed on the left and the components corresponding layer information is listed on the right. The first 4 components for the wall refer to when a wall is in a hidden line view in a 3D view, section view, or an elevational view. We can see that the lines to illustrate the walls in those views will be on a layer entitled “Walls”. The button to the right of the layer name gives us access to the entire list of layers if we did want to change this.

You can see in the Layers dialog box that each layer has a Colour, Line Type and Line Weight. When a Wall is illustrated in an elevation view the lines will be blue, a continuous line and the line weight will be Light. By clicking on any of those features you can alter how that layer will illustrate when the model is put on a worksheet. If you want to add a new layer, say for example you don’t want both the interior components and the exterior components on the same general “Walls” layer, click the Add button and describe the new layer that you want to create. For example, create a Walls Elevation Exterior layer name that is Red Continuous and a Medium line weight, just as an example. Click OK to return to the Walls dialog box.

The Exterior surface shows that it is using the colour, line type and line weight of the layer “Walls Elevation Exterior” if you click on those options you can deviate from the layers options for the walls selected. It is generally best to practise to follow the properties of the layer and if you need to alter them create a new layer.  Beneath it also lists the Hatch pattern that is associated with this component. For the Exterior wall selected the Exterior Surface component has a horizontal siding pattern. This hatch can be also on its own layer. The layer is listed below and is currently the same layer Walls that Exterior surface had for the lines. This means they would have the same colour and line weight. For hatch to have a significantly lighter pen weight, click on the button beside the layer Walls to go into look for a new layer.

The layers are in alphabetical order, the layer Hatch is magenta colour and has very light line weight. Perfect. Select it and click OK.

The 2D components are associated to the wall when it is in plan view. We can see that the core (stud) portion of the wall and the finish surfaces are all separate components and therefore can be on separate layers, so they print and appear differently in a plan view. Each one also has a hatch pattern associated to it so you can also select a pattern and the layer that you want it on, so it appears the correct colour and line weight. I will select all the 2D components at the same time in the list and simultaneously change the layer for all of them to the Hatch layer. Click OK to accept the changes made to the layers for this model.

Now let’s see how that translates when an elevation is inserted onto a worksheet view. Click the 2 Elevations tab at the bottom of the screen to insert a front elevation.

Select Insert>Smartviews>Define Smartview or select the Define Smartviews button.  In the Insert View dialog box, select the Elevations tab.  At the bottom of the dialog, change the view type to Patterned to see the hatch patterns. Click Insert.


A copy of the elevation will attach to the cursor, left-click to insert it. We can see the elevation and the colours translated for each layer. I hope that makes your work easier!