Many many years ago, when I worked at Visio Corporation, one of my projects was to create the dimension line shapes that you can still find to this day under File > Shapes > Visio Extras > Dimensioning – Architectural or Engineering.
After all the sweat and tears that went in to creating them, I came to affectionately call them: My Babies. In fact, I still claim them as dependants every April 15th, and will soon be searching for a suitable university for them to attend.
So when a forum question appears regarding Visio’s dimension lines, I’m naturally all ears. Recently, someone made an inquiry in the Visio general newsgroup about a dimension line that could display Rack Units…
While it wouldn’t be super-hard to create a simple version of such a dimension line shape (you just need to insert the field-formula = Width/1.75in), it would be nice to retain many of the nice features the pure, elegant, unparalleled genius of those original Visio dimension line shapes. 🙂
The Rack Unit Dimension Line shape has several custom properties that will help you to finely-tune the look of your drawings. You can quickly get to them by right-clicking a dimension line shape.
These attributes can be also be seen in an “always on” fashion by showing the View > Custom Properties anchor window. The properties appear as follows:
The properties allow you to:
- Choose the precision of the units from zero to four decimal places, (ie: 0, 0.0, 0.00, 0.000, 0.0000)
- Show or hide the units (e.g.: 8 R.U. or just 8)
- Show and hide individual extension lines, which is helpful when the dimension line is between objects and the extension lines are superfluous
- Specify the actual value of a rack unit. Normally, this is 1.75 inches, but you could use this dimension line for applications other than rack units, in which case you can define your unit
- Name your rack unit. The default for the shape is units, but you could specify R.U. or RU or r.u. as you like
A close-up of the Rack Unit Dimension Line shape and it’s features is shown below:
I hope this shape all helps you to improve your network documentation, and have a bit more fun creating those Visio drawings!