Adjusting the Opacity of Symbols

Question

I've inserted a graphic from a Symbol Library but I can't adjust it's opacity. What's wrong, how do I adjust the opacity of an object inserted into my drawing from a Library?

Requirements

PowerCADD version 7 (7.01 or newer recommended)



Background

In all versions of PowerCADD, objects in Symbol Libraries can be inserted into a PowerCADD drawing in one of two states:

  • As a Group
  • As a Symbol

The attributes of items inserted into a drawing as Groups can be adjusted. That includes the opacity attribute. The attributes of items inserted ito a drawing as Symbols cannot be adjusted. Those are two fundamental rules that have always applied in PowerDRAW and PowerCADD.

What To Do

There are two methods available to adjust the opacity of items inserted into a drawing as either a Group or as a Symbol that we'll describe here.

Option A: Insert items as Groups

  1. Open the Symbol Library containing the graphic to be inserted
  2. Scroll to the desired symbol and click on the main drawing window
  3. Press Option and click on the Symbol Tool
  4. Click the Group radio button and press Ok
  5. Click the mouse to insert the graphic into the drawing
  6. When the object is selected, observe that the Edit Window displays Group in it's title bar confirming your settings in step 4
  7. Choose Windows menu > Attributes to open the Attributes Window
  8. Drag the Pen or Fill Opacity? slider to change the opacity of the selected object(Drunk

In this situation, you can simply drag the Pen or Fill Opacity slider in the Attributes Window to change the opacity of each item. If multiple items are selected, the opacity of all items is changed at the same time. It's important to remember that since the object is in fact a Group that dragging either the Pen or Fill Opacity sliders will change both attributes. That is to say, the Pen or Fill Opacity settings are linked.

One primary advantage to inserting the items as a Group is you can adjust the opacity (or other attribute settings) of each item on the layer independently. Of course, you can also use the Layer Opacity Attribute to adjust all the opacity settings globally (as describe in Option B below) if that's more efficient.

Option B: Insert items as Symbols

  1. Open the Symbol Library containing the graphic to be inserted
  2. Scroll to the desired symbol and click on the main drawing window
  3. Press Option and click on the Symbol Tool
  4. Click the Symbol radio button and press Ok
  5. Click the mouse to insert the graphic into the drawing
  6. When the object is selected, observe that the Edit Window displays Symbol in it's title bar confirming your settings in step 4
  7. Choose Layout menu > Layers... to open the Layers Window
  8. Double click on the Layer Name onto which you inserted the Symbols in step 5
  9. Drag the Layer Opacity slider and press OK
  10. The opacity of all objects on the specified layer are adjusted

In this situation, because the Attributes of a Symbol are locked (cannot be changed or unlocked), using the Layer Opacity Attribute is the most efficient way to make the change. The other alternative is to use Tool menu > Replace Symbol... to globally replace all the items with Groups but that seems like a lot of additional adminstrative work but may be necessary depending on your drawing condition.

For more information on working with Symbols and the various optional tool settings and what they mean, please reference your PowerCADD user manual.

We hope that helps
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