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Working with Element Templates

Element templates define properties of elements. Once you add them to the open DGN file (represented by the blue V8 icon), templates appear in a hierarchy in the left pane of the Element Templates dialog. You can name your templates and organize them by moving them up or down within a template group or by moving them into another template group. The templates in the open DGN file also can be copied, renamed, and set to be the active template. These templates can be deleted only if they have not been associated with elements. When you use a template from a DGN library to place an element, and if the Active Element Template icon is locked, a copy of that template is placed in the open DGN file.

Templates from the open DGN file cannot be copied or moved into the DGN libraries' template groups (represented by gray V8 icons). However, the DGN libraries' templates can be set to be the active template and can be copied into the open DGN file. Once they are part of the open DGN file they can be modified and deleted. You cannot cut, rearrange, delete, or rename templates in a DGN library without opening that DGN library.

For each template that you add to the open DGN file, you must decide which properties it will have and you must set those properties. You can add as many properties as needed to a template. None of the properties are required to be in every template. Once properties are added to a template they appear in the Properties pane when the template is selected. When you add a template it adopts the following properties from the active settings in the Attributes toolbox:

  • Level
  • Color
  • Line Style
  • (Line) Weight

If you copy an existing template to add a new one, the new template uses the properties of the copied template. You can add, modify, and delete properties from the open DGN file's templates. When adding properties to a template you can select them from the following categories:

  • General
  • Closed linear
  • Text styles and text style overrides
  • Cells — A cell can contain component elements that are associated with templates. When you place a cell, the templates associated with the components of the cell are added to the open DGN file. When a template definition is updated, the component elements within the cell are changed to match the properties in the template.
  • Points
  • Patterns/Hatch — To use these properties with templates, patterning and hatching must be applied to a parent shape that is associated with a template.
  • Multi-line styles
  • Dimension styles
  • Detailing Symbol Styles
  • Materials
  • Items
  • Terrain Model

You can add multiple instances of the same property to a template, each with a different setting. (In the image below the template has multiple color and line weight properties). If there are multiple instances of the same property, the first one in the list will be the default that is used when the template is activated. If there are multiple instances of the same property and you do not want to use the default property, before drawing the element use the appropriate toolboxes to select "secondary" properties that match those in the template. (In the case below you would use the Attributes toolbox to select a secondary color and/or line weight.) If the Active Element Template icon is locked, the placed element will be associated with the template. The element will also pass the Standards Checker's tests of element templates.

When multiple instances of the same property exist in one template, they appear in the Properties pane under the property's name. Each instance of the property has a number next to it in parentheses. The first instance is the default. The default property value is visible if the list of "secondary" properties is collapsed below the property's name.

Template with multiple color and multiple line weight properties