Initially RealCADD will open with a new Plan – "Untitled 1" – which will be displayed at the bottom of the Window menu. As more drawings are opened, they will add to the list. To move from one to another, simply click the one you want. The current drawing will be ticked.
This is one of the few areas where a RealCADD Plan differs from a RealCADD Workbook, so we'll deal with each separately.Layers/Pages... (Plan Drawings) Keyboard shortcut ⌘L
Selecting Layers loads the window shown on the near right. Clicking the triangle at the bottom left of the window, expands it to the full window shown on the far right. Clicking the triangle again, collapses it to the basic window. Let's look at the nuts and bolts of the basic window:
Name: The default name of the layer will be Layer0 – we only have one layer at the moment. If we create another layer, it will default to Layer1; and if we create a further layer, it will default to Layer2; and so on. To rename the layer, click on "Layer0", and when it becomes editable, type in a new name and hit the ⏎ (Enter) key.
Scale: This is the drawing scale of the layer. RealCADD can have different scales on different layers. Currently it is showing 1/10. To change it, click on the right-hand part of the scale "10" and, when it becomes editable, change it to what you want – say "2" for a 1/2 scale. Hit the ⏎ (Enter) key.
A: Denotes the current Active layer. There can only be one active layer. When there are several layers, checking the "A" box adjacent to the layer makes it the active layer.
V: Indicates whether the layer is visible or not. A layer is visible when the "V" box adjacent to it is checked. You can have as many visible layers as you wish.
C: Checking this box will cause everything drawn on that layer to be a specific colour. The colour is indicated by the little square to the left of the layer name. The default is black – as shown on the window. We will discuss how to change the colour shortly.
New: Clicking "New" will create a new layer as you can see from the window on the right. Layer1 is the new layer. As you can see, Layer0 is still the active layer, but Layer1 is visible. You can't make the active layer invisible. To change Layer1 to the active layer, click its "A" box – if it invisible, it will automatically become visible once it's the active layer.
Delete: This deletes a layer. Select a layer by clicking on it and hit the "Delete" button. All the contents of the layer will be deleted also. The window shows Layer1 selected.
Up: This moves the selected layer up. You can't actually move Layer1 up because it is already at the top. The order of the layers controls what is on top of what. Quite logically, objects on the top layer are on top of (and can obscure) objects on the second layer down, and so on.
Down: This moves the selected layer down. You can also move the layers by simply grabbing them with the mouse and dragging them to a new position.
As mentioned above, clicking the little grey triangle expands the layers window.
Clicking the little coloured (in this case black) square to the left of the layer name (in this case Layer0), produces a larger square of the same colour – as shown on the annotated image to the right.
Click the larger square and hold the mouse button down to display the full colour pallette, again as shown on the right. Hover over the colour you want for the layer and let go the mouse button. The little square to the left of the layer name will change to the colour you selected (in this case red) – see below.
If the "C" box for Layer0 is now checked (see image left), the outlines of all the objects on that layer will change to red, and all new objects drawn on that layer will be drawn in red. This identifies visually the layer that objects are on, which can otherwise get quite confusing in a multi-layer setup.
There are two other straightforward options on the expanded window:
Selection on all visible layers: Does exactly what it says – when checked, allows you select objects on all visible layers. If you select and copy (⌘C) an object on a visible, but non-active, layer and then paste (⌘V) it, it will paste on to the active layer – which is the easiest way to move objects from one layer to another. If you duplicate (⌘D) an object, it will stay on the same layer.
Attraction with all visible layers: Again, does what it says. When checked, you can draw on the active layer, using Snap on any visible layer, as well as the active layer.
We are going to set up a very simplified 3-layer drawing. The layer schema is shown to near right and the drawing itself far right. The three layers are:
Interior: Just rectangles representing items of furniture maybe.
Plumbing: Basement services – drainage perhaps.
Structure: The walls of the building. The structure is common to both Interior and Plumbing.
The interior layer is coloured black.
The plumbing layer is coloured blue.
The structure layer is coloured red.
You can distinguish which is which reasonably easily on the drawing, even though they are all on top of each other, because they are different colours. However furniture has to do with structure and plumbing has to do with structure, but – in our schema at least – plumbing and furniture have very little to do with each other. And when we come to issue the drawings, the furniture drawing will show the structure (but not the plumbing) and the plumbing drawing will also show the structures (but not the furniture).
RealCADD allows us to achieve this very easily, by creating different layouts of the layers.
To create the Interior layout, arrange your layers so that Interior is active, Plumbing is not visible, and Structure is visible.
Name: Type the name of the layout in the name box. Let's say, "Interior".
Click the New button. "Interior" will appear in the Display box, replacing "No layout".
Now rearrange your layers so that Plumbing is the active layer, Interior is not visible, and Structure is visible.
Name: Type "Plumbing" in the name box and hit the New button. "Plumbing" will be added to the list of layouts in the Display box.
Display: Selecting "Interior" from the Display menu will change the drawing to show the Interior and Structure layers – as shown in the left-hand images below.
Display: Selecting "Plumbing" from the Display menu will change the drawing to show the Plumbing and Structure layers – as shown in the right-hand images below.
Update: Allows you add additional layers to a layout (or indeed take layers away). For example you could create an additional layer, say, "Notes" on our three-layer setup, to appear on the Interior layout. Create the Notes layer. Select "Interior" from the display menu. Make Notes visible. Click Update. Now the Interior layout will contain three layers: Interior, Notes and Structure. Plumbing will still only be Plumbing and Structure.
Clear simply clears whichever layer is selected in the Display menu
RealCADD does not limit the number of layers you can have on a drawing or the number of layer layouts – though too many can get a bit complex.
Different scales. Layers are very useful when you want parts of a drawing at a different scale to other parts. You might have the main drawing at 1:10 scale, but want to have some detail inserts at 1/2 scale. Although RealCADD does support different scales on the same layer, it is very much better if they are on different layers. So you would create two layers, say: Main Plan at 1/10 and Detail at 1/2.
Large complex drawings. On a very large drawing, scrolling from one part of the drawing to another can get tedious and can also get slow as the screen has a lot of refreshing to do. One way to overcome this is to have separate sections of the drawing on different layers and then flip between layer visibility to before moving from one section to another. You still have to scroll, but as there are fewer items visible, it is much faster. However a better way to achieve movement around the drawing is to use the Views menu
Both the above are instances of where layers can be used for parts of the drawing that are not basically superimposed over each other, which is the more traditional use for layers.
Tip Sometimes, when opening a new RealCADD drawing, or after a computer restart, the Layers pallet will open up so that the bottom of it is off the screen. I think this depends very much on your screen geometry. The solution is to change the Display Resolution (System Preferences >> Displays). Then you will find that you can grab the bottom of the Layers pallet and reduce its height. Change the resolution back to your normal resolution and all will be well.