Command of the Week - Extract Properties (Week 30)
This series is called the command of the week, but it could also explain a feature. The explanations will tend to explain the technical parts of the command, and is intended to highlight the basics (and complexities) of the command, and information about how to use it, but won't be a detailed tutorial. It is up to you to use it creatively in your maps.
Week 30 - Extract PropertiesOften, you'll need to make another entity similar to an existing one, using the same fill, line style, color, etc. To help us with this, we have the Extract Properties command, also known as Keep, as well as a the related Like and Draw Like Commands. All these are simple, easy to use commands, but they can save you from a lot of clicking and make your mapping more efficient.
Where to find it?Toolbar: [Image_9135] (Right click for all commands)
Menu: Tools -> Set Properties -> Extract Properties, Draw -> Draw Like
Command Line: KEEP, LIKE, DRAWLIKE
How to use it?These three commands are somewhat related, but do a few things differently, so let us look at each of them.
Extract Properties [Keep]Extract properties lets you take the properties of any given entity, and set these as the current properties. The primary use of this is when you already have an entity in your map with the relevant properties (for example fill style) and you wish to draw another entity in the exact same style. Simply use Extract Properties on the existing entity first, this will change the current properties (displayed in the status bar) to those of that entity, and everything you draw from then on will use those properties.
Another tip for this command is to use it together with change properties. If you have two entities in your map, and you wish to make one look like the other, you can first use Extract Properties on the first entity, and then use Change Properties on the second. Remember that the Change Properties dialog is always populated with the current properties, and NOT the properties of the entity you use it on. This means that it will now be preset with the properties we extracted from the first entity, so all you have to do is to place a check mark next to the ones you wish to apply and click OK, no need to first examine the first entity, and then carefully choosing each property.
LikeLike is much like Extract Properties, the only difference is that the properties will only apply to the very next entity you draw. This is very helpful if you just need to draw a single entity like something else, and don't feel like changing the current properties back and forth. Note that when using Like, the status bar do not change at all, there is no visual indication as to what properties will be applied to the next entity.
Once you have drawn the next entity, CC3+ will start using the properties shown in the status bar again.
Draw LikeDraw Like extracts the properties of an entity, and it also have you start drawing a new entity of the same type. For example, if the selected entity for this command was a circle, CC3+ will automatically start the circle tool, and use the properties from the original circle. Note that you will still need to draw the new entity, it won't be copy of the old one, but it will use the same properties, and the same basic entity type.
Note that this has some limitations. For example, both a Fractal Poly and a regular Polygon are known internally in CC3+ as a "2D Polygon", and CC3+ doesn't know which were used to draw the shape, so it will default to the simpler tool.
Using with Drawing ToolsWhile these commands do work with entities drawn with the drawing tools and not just entities drawn with the basic drawing commands, there are some issues to be aware of. The most common one is that many entities drawn by drawing tools are actually two different entities, like a landmass with it's outline. The commands above only works on individual entities. So, If you try to use extract properties on a landmass with an outline, Extract Properties will get the properties of one of them, and if you then use the polygon tool to draw an entity you will get an entity matching either the coastline or the landmass (depending on what properties were extracted), you won't get a dual entity like the one drawn with the drawing tools.
Additionally, drawing tools themselves usually ignore the current properties, so even if you use keep on an entity first, if you draw something with a drawing tool afterwards, it is probably not going to use the properties you extracted (unless it is set to use the current properties). Obviously, because the drawing tools does this, it is usually easier to just use the drawing tool again instead of using keep, as long as you have appropriate drawing tools. Keep/Like is usually better used when you have your own "manually crafted" entities that didn't come from a drawing tool. However, it may also be useful to extract the properties of an entity drawn by a drawing tool if you need to draw something similar, but using a different shape than the drawing tool offers.