Customizing your dimensional output in Solid Edge

Customizing your dimensional output in Solid Edge

Having worked with Designfusion for over 17 years now, I have had a lot of opportunity to work with and train many users with different experiences with other CAD packages. One of the things that has always stood out for me has been the overwhelming appreciation for the Solid Edge draft environment. Users from all backgrounds are always pleasantly surprised at the capabilities and ease of use in our draft environment. I am often speaking with experienced Solid Edge users, who are still unaware of all the capabilities inside our draft package. Recently, I received a technical request from a customer asking how to customize the output of his dimensions. So, for this blog I thought I should share how to do this, in the hope that other users can benefit from this knowledge.

The Styles command

The look and format of the Solid Edge Dimensions is controlled by the Style command. This command can be accessed from the Home tab > Dimension group.

It can also be accessed from the View tab> Style group.

When you launch the Styles command, you will notice that this command allows you the ability to control the style of more than just Dimensions. You can also control and modify everything listed in the Style type window, in the Style dialog.

To ensure that you are working with Dimension styles, you must highlight Dimension in the Style type window, as shown above.

Creating and Modifying a Dimension Style

Once you have selected the Dimension style type, you will notice the different available dimension styles, shown in the Styles window. Solid Edge is delivered with some default styles. You can select one of these to modify, or you can create a new style. In this example, I will modify the ISO (mm) style. To start, I highlight the ISO (mm) style and click on Modify.

This will launch the Modify Dimension Style dialog. This dialog consists of 11 different tabs, each tab allowing for the control of different settings for a dimension.

In the Solid Edge help documents, you can find detailed descriptions of each tab and the settings within. Below is a brief description of each tab.

Name - Names a style when you create or modify a style. This tab appears only when you click the New or Modify button on the Styles dialog box.

General - The General tab sets the general properties for dimensions in the Draft environment. It is shared by the Dimension Style dialog box and the Dimension Properties dialog box.

Units - Sets the primary units for dimensions. Specifies formatting for primary units in numeric, linear, and angular tolerance values.

Secondary Units - Sets the secondary units for dimensions and for annotations. Also specifies formatting for secondary units in numeric linear tolerance values.

Text - The Text page sets the text options for dimensions and for PMI elements. It is shared by the Dimension Style dialog box and the Dimension Properties dialog box.

Lines and Coordinate - Sets the line and coordinate options for dimensions. The Lines and Coordinate tab is available in the Dimension Style dialog box and in the Dimension Properties dialog box.

Spacing - The Spacing tab sets spacing options for dimensions and annotations. All options are a ratio of the text value.

Smart Depth - The Smart Depth tab sets hole, slot, and thread depth properties for dimensions and for the annotations that reference holes, slots, and threads. These annotations include hole callouts, feature callouts, and balloons. All options are specified as a ratio of the text value.

Feature Callout - The Feature Callout tab specifies the hole, slot, and thread depth properties that you want to extract and display in dimensions and annotations. These annotations include hole callouts, feature callouts, and balloons.

Terminator and Symbol - Sets terminator and symbol options for dimensions and annotations. The Terminator and Symbol tab is available in the Dimension Style dialog box and in the Dimension Properties dialog box.

Annotation - Specifies display characteristics of different types of annotations and connectors. The Annotation tab is available in the Dimension Style dialog box and in the Dimension Properties dialog box.


Pre-defining Hole Callouts


As an example, I wish to pre-define the format for hole callouts. Let’s assume that I want my hole dimension, for a simple hole, to look like the dimensions shown below.


To achieve this, I went to the Feature Callout tab and entered in %DI %HS %ZH in the Simple hole field, where:

-  %DI represents the diameter symbol.

-  %HS represents the hole size.

-  %ZH represents the Smart Depth.


Note: If you hover over the symbol, in the bottom of the tab, the tooltips will show you the %XX symbol. You can also click on the symbols to place the %XX value in the desired field.


When the %ZH symbol is used, it directs the system to the Smart Depth tab. Notice in the Smart Depth tab we can add additional format settings.


In this example, I set the Smart Depth, for a hole, to output –Thru, if the hole goes through the part, or – (%HD) DEEP if the hole is a blind hole. Note, %HD stands for hole depth. By populating these fields, I have instructed the system to output the following callouts:



Once this is entered, you must do two important steps to use this in your draft environment. First, you must save this in your draft template. Otherwise, you will have to format this every time you open a new draft file. Second, when placing your dimensions, you must have the dimension type set to Feature Callout.


Note: Alternatively, you can use the Callout command to place these predefined formats.

Once I have all my formats entered and saved in my draft template(s), I can label all my holes (and slots) with these pre-defined callouts. In the image below I show the results in a simple draft file, with a through hole and a blind hole.


Keep in mind that this is just one example of what can be accomplished by using the dimension style options. I encourage everyone to review all the options in the Style command. It is a great tool for company standardization and can provide some real time saving results.

Designfusion offers an Advanced Drafting course, which includes coverage of the Style command and template creation. At the time of the creation of this blog, we have not yet created an online version of this course yet, but there are plans to do this soon. If you haven’t seen our online training library yet, please visit our website at


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