Paul Kaiser

Measuring Ability Explained

Discussion created by Paul Kaiser on Feb 21, 2010
Latest reply on Oct 23, 2012 by Thaddeus Johnson

This post is an attempt to clear up some confusion regarding whether or not a given document can be measured in eDrawings.


We're working on improving the documentation for this topic, so your feedback on the information presented here would be helpful to us.




Paul Kaiser
Manager, eDrawings


Measuring Ability Explained


The ability to measure in eDrawings requires two things:
  1. The file must be measure-enabled (this is a document property)
  2. The eDrawings viewer must have a Pro license
    1. This Pro license is inherent in eDrawings Professional
    2. A Pro license can also be conveyed inside the file
    3. A Pro license can be checked out from a SolidNetwork License (SNL) server


The Measure Enabled icon (I.E. the measuring tape) on the eDrawings status bar indicates the document property.


The Review Enabled icon (I.E. the pencil) on the eDrawings status bar indicates the presence of a Pro license.


The Measure tool will be enabled only if the file is measure-enabled (the document property), and a Pro license is present (as described above).  In other words, the Review Enabled and Measure Enabled icons must both be shown before the Measure tool can be used.


Measure Enabled vs. Measure Disabled


An eDrawings file can be made non-measurable in order to protect the details of a design.  If a measure-disabled eDrawings file falls into the wrong hands, they won't be able to use eDrawings to extract measurements from this file.


A measure-enabled eDrawings file can be re-saved as a measure-disabled eDrawings file.  But the reverse is not true; once an eDrawings file is saved as measure-disabled, all of its descendant files will be measure-disabled.


When native SolidWorks files are opened in eDrawings, they are inherently measure-enabled.


To disable measurement, the file must be saved as EPRT/EASM/EDRW with measure disabled.  This can be accomplished using File>Save Asin either SolidWorks or eDrawings.
  1. In the SolidWorks Save As dialog,
    1. Change Save as type to eDrawings
    2. Click on Options ...
    3. Uncheck the Okay to measure this eDrawings file box
  2. In the eDrawings Save As dialog, uncheck the Enable measure box.  If a file is already measure-disabled, this checkbox won't even be shown.


Markup Dimension Tool


The Markup Dimension tool has many similarities with the Measure tool, but also some important differences:
  • Markup dimensions can be saved in the eDrawings file as part of a markup comment, while the results from the Measure tool are dismissed when the tool is turned off.
  • When a markup dimension is created, the default text is the value of the measurement.  But the dimension text is freely editable by the user.


The Dimension tool follows the same licensing rules as the Measure tool.  In other words, measuring with the Dimension tool is possible only if both the Review Enabled and Measure Enabled icons are shown in the status bar.


If a file is review-enabled, but not measure-enabled, the Dimension tool is still active, but the dimension's text box will be empty by default.


Conveying a Pro License in a File


If a file originated from SolidWorks Professional or SolidWorks Premium (2006 SP5 or later), it automatically has an embedded Pro license (in other words, it is review-enabled).  This is true for native SolidWorks files as well as published eDrawings files.


If a file is saved from eDrawings Professional, it gets an embedded Pro license.


Opening a file with an embedded Pro license effectively transforms the free eDrawings viewer into eDrawings Professional (while that file is open).


Note that a measure-enabled, non-Pro-licensed eDrawings file can be:


  1. Opened in the free eDrawings viewer and be un-measurable (because no Pro license present)
    1. The Review Disabled and Measure Enabled icons will be shown in the status bar
  2. Saved from the free eDrawings viewer, as a measure-enabled file (I.E. select the Enable measure checkbox on the Save As dialog)
  3. Later opened with eDrawings Professional and be measurable.