3.6 Contract sheet files

The initial contract sheet layout will have long term impacts on how design information will be shown, especially at the beginning of the project. Regardless of the procedure used for the preparation of the contract plans, changing sheet layout in the middle of the design process will be difficult and time consuming.


The sheet layout will be accomplished by the placing of "clip frame" cells in the Master Topographic file along the geographic extent of the project. The clip frames represent the interior dimensions of a standard plan sheet or any other standard sheet used for contract plans. The clip frames will be used to show the sheet layout and represent the initial reference file clipping boundary in the sheet file. The clip frame cells to be used for each type of sheet are sheet are listed in Table 3.6.1.

Sheet Name

Clip frame

Sheet Description

















Table 3.6.1

The clip frames should be placed on level 11 in the Master Topographic file. As each clip frame is placed in the graphics file the rotation angle used to position the clip frame should be written in the graphics file next to the clip frame. Figure 3.6.1 shows an example clip frame layout. Clip frames need to be placed in the master topographic file only.



Figure 3.6.1

As clip frames are placed throughout the master topographic file, a saved view should be established for each frame. The saved view would reflect the rotation angle that will be represented on the plan sheet. Saved views will make it easier to get around in the master file. Another benefit comes in when the master files are referenced into the plan sheet files (this of course means corresponding saved views would be established in all master files). For example if you were referencing what would be necessary to put together sheet L-1, you would reference view L1 from the master design file and view L1 from the master topographic file. By this method the reference files would be rotated and basically depict the correct area you want in one step.

The contract sheets will be constructed from a combination of reference files located in the ref directory. To help facilitate the attachments, links should be created in the drafting directory pointing to the appropriate graphics files in the ref directory. By placing links in the drafting directory the primary search path does not need to be modified to view the contract sheets and all the attached reference files. Links should be created for the Master Design, Master Topographic and Master Sheet files in the drafting directory. Links are created by entering the following commands at the "$" prompt;
$ ln -s ../ref/x12345aa1.dgn ./x12345aa1.dgn
$ ln -s ../ref/x12345bb1.dgn ./x12345bb1.dgn
$ ln -s ../ref/x12345sht.dgn ./x12345sht.dgn
where x12345aa1.dgn is the master design file for project "12345" in district "x".
The contract sheet border is created by attaching the master sheet file. This graphics file contains all CALTRANS standard sheet borders. The desired blank sheet is attached by saved view, see Figure 3.6.2.
When attaching a reference file you have the option of also giving the reference file a logical name and description. The logical name is an equivalent name for the reference file attachment. Thus, in graphics, when prompted for a reference file name the logical name can be used in its place. The description, although not required, helps define the use of the reference file. Table 3.6.2 below defines a suggested naming convention to be used with the reference file attachments. Other functional areas should use some short logical name and a description to help manipulate their reference files before combining with the master design file at PS&E time.


Design File Name

Logical Name




master topo file



master design file



master sheet file


de or sc

master detour file


Table 3.6.2

In the sheet file, attach appropriate master topo file, master design file and master sheet file by saved view. Optionally both the Master design and Master topo files can be attached a second time unclipped and unrotated for visual reference as shown in Fig. 3.6.2. The reference files to be used in the contract sheets may be either precision moved and rotated into the sheet border using the upper left corner of the clip frame as the reference point or attached by saved view. The precision snap point in the sheet is a small symbol in the upper left corner of the sheet.


Figure 3.6.2

After the Master reference files have been attached and placed in the sheet border, the unclipped attachment displays may be turned off and a "save settings" performed on the sheet file as shown in Fig. 3.6.3. The reference files shown in the sheet should be re-clipped to the shape of the clip frame until the match lines have been determined at which time the reference files should be re-clipped to display only up to the match lines.


Figure 3.6.3


The contract sheets are now ready for the continuous modification process until PS&E. To maintain the capability of multiple delineators working on individual sheets simultaneously, design data must be placed in the appropriate files. The philosophy behind the placement of design information is that the actual graphical element depicting the physical feature should be placed in the Master Design File and all text, arrows and anything else describing the physical feature should be placed in the sheet file. The design squad usually maintains the Master Design File with delineation maintains the contract sheet files.