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CAD Manager – Defining Your Borders

The Border File is one that is used on every sheet file and every project you have. Getting it right shows that you really have your act together. Getting it wrong can tell others that your level of quality is slipping. I have been in meetings and have seen the clients name spelled wrong on the border and have it show up on every sheet. I have seen mistakes in peoples name, titles, locations, addresses, project numbers and more.

Project Managers and those that interact with the client take the brunt of these discussions. They are in the meetings with the clients and owners. If the client is the one that catches these mistakes – it makes them look pretty bad. You don’t want to have that happen very often. They can come back from meetings with a very sour attitude.

Reviewing Your Border

Take the time needed to fully define and refine your border files. If you have a standard company border that is used on every project, then get it perfect. Review the look and feel issues fist. Does it have all the info needed? Does it reflect the current locations of your firms offices? Does it look like it was created in 1950? Is it time to change the look? Does it reflect the current format of other collateral that your firm uses like letterhead layout, logos, fonts, etc.?

Now that the look is defined then take a long look at the layers you are using. Keep them as simple as you can. Reduce the layers that you use to the most minimal that get the job done. Use color to your advantage. If you are using CTB for plotting then don’t let the layer colors stray from something simple. If you are using STB, then make the colors pleasing on the eye.

Reduce the fonts and linetypes used. Does it use non-AutoCAD standard fonts? Are you using TrueType fonts that may not reproduce on other folks plotters and screens? Consider using PLINE for thickness and not color. Consider gapping CONTINUOUS lines in place of linestyles which can be impacted by someone changing LTSCALE.

Is the Logo an Image? Most CAD packages are handling images better, but I would still consider redrawing your company logo in CAD and not using an image file. The image files are usually externally referenced into the files and can be left behind when transmitting the deliverables.

Cleaning up the File

Now that you have reviewed and perfected the look and layers – Clean the file up. Leaving artifacts from unused data clutters the file up. Take an extended time period to get all the junk out of the file. PURGE the file to death. WBLOCK it out to another file. Check REGAPPS. Check residual fonts, layers and more. Check it, Check it, Check it. Clean it, Clean it, Clean it.

Once it is clean (you did clean it – right?) put it into a central location and lock it down. Do not let users fiddle with the standard file. They may copy it into their project location, but they should not adjust any of the standard border graphics or data.

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