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Design forum

surface defaults



I have a couple of issues with surfaces that are semi-related so I will try and explain the best I can, hopefully this is the right forum to post it.

I have tried looking through the help center's and forums but I haven't been able to find anything exactly what I am after.

1. when copying model elements from previous projects some of the elements that I copy either have surface overrides applied or in some cases the surfaces have been modified/deleted so when copying an element over the surface index number may by assigned to a different surface into the new project based off a clean template. i.e. same material name but different index number results in different material being applied to the element. I have found on some projects this also applies to the vector hatch assigned to the surface (fill index numbers are different)

Is there a way to force copied elements to use the surface name rather than then index number? or something to this effect.


2. Element with surface overrides - this applies to either elements created within current file or when copying from another project. Is there a way to bulk reset elements to default materials? i.e. remove surface overrides with out manually selected each element type and deselecting override?


For reference I'm using AC25 on Win10 with projects being copied from being either AC24 or AC25


thanks in advanced for any guidance given





Barry Kelly

1. Surface overrides have nothing to do with this issue.

When you copy from one file to another, the index of the attributes is used (all attributes - files lines, composites, etc.).

You have no choice in this.

So if you have modified or deleted attributes, the various files will no longer match and you may get attributes being replaced when you copy & paste between files.

The only way around this is strict attribute management and a good template that you base your files from.

Never modify an attribute.

Always duplicate and then modify that duplicate.

If you make a modification in another file then be sure to import that attribute into your template as soon as possible, or make the new attribute in your template and export/import to all other files.


In you template, I would create one of each attribute with a much higher index number.

So if you have say 100 surfaces, create a new one and adjust its index number to something like 1000.

Now when ever you create a new surface attribute in any file based on that template, it will get then next index number of 1001.

If you do it in your template, then manipulate the index number back to 101 (any number less than 1000) - it is easy now in 25 to adjust attribute numbers.

Now you know these base attributes are safe (unless someone modifies them which is why I say never modify - you must duplicate then modify).

When someone in a job file creates or duplicates an attribute, it will get an index number higher than the highest number you set.

If you want that attribute you can export/import it to your template and adjust the index number to be below the highest index number.

It is now in the 'safe' zone and when you copy & paste it won't be affected by attributes created by users as they will be outside that 'safe' zone.

If it doesn't exist, it will be created, otherwise it will just update if you have made changes to it.


So you now have a 'safe' zone of attributes, that can't change unless you deliberately modify them.

All new attributes created will be outside of that safe zone and I consider these 'free for all' attributes.

If you want then, bring them into your template.

You will still have the issue with these 'free for all' attributes clashing if they have been created in separate files.

But as I mentioned, if you want them bring them into the 'safe' zone of your template.


Remember, at any time in any file, you can always import attributes from your template.

This won't help if the index numbers are all messed up, but if you keep on top of your template and have the 'safe' zone as I described, and base all jobs on that template it is much easier to control.

You know those attributes will always be exactly as you want them.



2. I don't think there is a way of automatically turning of surface overrides.

View all in 3D and turn on all layers.

Select the element tool (i.e. wall tool) then CTRL+A to select all walls.

Turn of the overrides.

If they already show as off in the info box, then turn it on and then turn it off again as you are seeing the settings for the last element selected.

If you do this in the tool settings, and it shows as off, you have to turn it on then OK then open settings again and then turn it off and OK to reset all (as you are only seeing properties of the last element selected).

It is better to do it in the info box as that automatically changes all selected elements (even though you still only see properties of the last selected element).

Does that make sense?

Much easier to do than to explain.




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Thanks Barry for your quick and informative response. I think I follow but as you say much easier to do than explain. I'll have a go, I may have to start over with a clean template, which are always time consuming in themselves.


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