Tips from Tech Support
The Levels Tool
- By Sean Boyer -


The Levels tool enables users to input multi-story buildings in one layout and easily switch between them, both in layout view and 3-D.  These levels will be used for defining entities such as walls and trusses, and for selection purposes. Objects defined in a level can be moved to a different level or shared with another level.

Turning on the Levels Toolbar

Users may turn on the Levels toolbar by going to View->Toolbars and selecting the “Levels Toolbar”.

The Levels Toolbar

The Levels toolbar consists of two icons.  The first icon, “Level Properties” , allows users to create and modify levels.  The second, “Level Group Properties” , enables users to manipulate which level(s) a group of objects are assigned to.  The Levels toolbar also shows a dropdown list box so users may quickly change to a new active level. The format of the string in the list box is “Level Name, Height, Level #”.  Once the active level is changed, the default wall top elevation, bottom elevation and width will be set on the status bar of the wall section.


Level Properties

Selecting the “Level Properties” icon on the Levels toolbar brings up the “Level Properties Manager” (Shown below). 

  Add New Level = Adds a new level to the list
  Delete Selected Level = Delete the selected level line from the list
  Assign All Levels On = Changes the visibility of all levels to visible
  Assign All Levels Off = Changes the visibility of all levels to hidden
  Assign All Levels Shadowed = Sets the selection column of all levels to disabled
  Clear All Levels = Deletes all user created levels
  Load Defined Levels from a File = Loads a file of saved level definitions
  Save Level File = Save current level definitions to a file
  Existing Wall Heights = Drop down list that displays all the wall elevations defined in the current layout
  Restore Default Level Information = Check this box and Click the "OK" button to restore all objects to their appropriate level
Columns in the Levels Tool
Active:  This field designates which level is active. There can only be one level active at any given time. When inputting object, they are placed in the currently active level.  An object that is placed in the active level but actually fits in different level because of its height will be shared between multiple levels.


Visible:  There are two states for this field, visible and hidden. The states are pretty much self-explanatory, entities in visible levels are shown on the screen and ones in hidden levels are not.


Selection:  There are two states for this field, enabled or disabled. This controls whether items in the level are selectable. If a level is disabled it still may be selectable as lines but not as an object. Note that selection cannot be set to “Enabled” if the level visibility is set to “Hidden”.


Level:  This assigns a level number to a level each level has a unique number in the range of 1 to 25.


Name:  This is a descriptive name that can be assigned to each level.  Note that when switching between levels via the drop-down menu, this is the name you will see.


Height:  This is the most important field when setting up a level. Often, this field is confused with wall height.  Level “Height” is used to define the level envelope.  All entities fitting inside that envelope will be placed in that level.  The level “Height” should reflect the highest point of the level.  For instance, if most of the walls on the first floor are 8’-1 1/8”, but there are some walls (or beams) that are taller (say 9’-1 1/8”), the level Height should be set to encompass the highest object (9’-1 1/8”) in that level.  

Displacement:  This is the offset displacement adds separation between levels when viewing them in 3-D.


Wall top:  This specifies the default wall top elevation for the level.  When switching to a level, the default wall top box at the bottom of the screen in wall section will be updated to this dimension.  The software will automatically assume that this field is the same as the “Height” field unless told otherwise.


Wall bottom:  This specifies the wall bottom height for the level.  This is both the default bottom height of the walls and the lowest most point of the level.  When switching to a level, the default wall bottom box at the bottom of the screen in wall section will be updated to this dimension.


Wall width:  This specifies the default wall width for the level.  When switching to a level, the wall width box at the bottom of the screen in wall section will be updated to this dimension.


Level Basics
As stated earlier, levels are basically envelopes (See red dotted line on grapic to the right).  Any object fitting totally inside the level is automatically assigned to that level.  The top of this envelope is defined by the "Height" field (not the wall height field), and the bottom of the envelope is defined by the "Wall Bottom Field". 

The only exception to this rule is for trusses. Trusses will exist in the level that its bearings are contained. Obviously, if the truss has no bearings then the truss will be placed only in the active level.  


Some functions use the active level to restrict selection. The functions include auto trim walls, plane placement, and auto solve. When auto solve is used it will only operate on items in the active level.


The default level will always exist. Consider this the catchall level. If an object being defined does not fit into any of the specified levels it will go in the default level. Once you enter the level tool and add a new level objects will be moved from the default level as needed based on the specified height for the level.



Adjusting the Level Properties of a Specific Object


Users may either use the “Level Group Properties” tool on the levels toolbar or right click on an object and select “Level Properties” to view/change which level(s) objects are assigned to.  The “Modify Object Level Properties” dialog will display a list of levels in the current layout and check marks on the level(s) the object is assigned to.  Check/uncheck these as desired and click the checkmark icon to apply the change.




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