sketch text tips

by Nate Hekman on May 26, 2008

When creating a large number of analyses, sketch text can be difficult to deal with.  Until version 7.1, sketch text has been “global”–you add it once and it is displayed in every analysis.  That’s great for things like titles or some results, but no good if you want to display text that only makes sense for one analysis.

A couple of important changes have been introduced in 7.1 to make it easier to control where text is displayed.

Text in Define vs. Contour

We’ve long differentiated between text intended for Define and text intended for Contour.  That feature has not changed.

If you create text when you are in Define, the text is forever associated with the Define view.  It will always be displayed if you are in Define.  When you switch to Contour, there’s a view preference to choose if you want Define sketch text to be displayed or not.

Likewise if you create text when you are in Contour, then you switch to Define, a view preference lets you choose if you want to display the Contour sketch text.

Hide Text with Invalid Fields

New in 7.1, if a block of sketch text contains a “field”, and if you’re in a view where this field doesn’t make sense, the entire block will be hidden.

For example, say you’re in SLOPE/W Contour, and you add some text to display the factor of safety:

When you switch to Define, or if you switch to a SEEP/W analysis, there is no factor of safety, so the text will not be displayed.

Analysis-Specific Text

For even more control, you can choose to display text in only one analysis.  In the Sketch Text (or Modify Text) dialog, select “Current analysis only” in the “Show in” list, and this text will only appear in the analysis in which you create it.  Select “All analyses” and the text will always be displayed (subject to the “Hide Text with Invalid Fields” logic I just mentioned of course).

You can always change that option later using Modify Text.  If you want to start displaying sketch text everywhere instead of only one analysis, go to the analysis where it’s viewed, use Sketch – Modify Text, select the block of text, and change the “Show in” to “All analyses”.

Cloning Analyses with Analysis-Specific Text

If you add some text to an analysis with the “Current analysis only” option, then you go into KeyIn Analyses and you clone the analysis, the new analysis will have a copy (or clone) of the text.  Change the text in one analysis and it will not change in the other analysis.  You really have chosen to only display that text in one and only one analysis.

Text Suddenly Appears, Then Disappears

When you’re in Sketch Text or Modify Text mode, all sketch text for the current analysis will appear, even text with invalid fields.  (Otherwise there’d be no way to modify or delete text with an invalid field, as you could never select it.)

So if you find that in Sketch Text mode you have lots of text, but as soon as you exit the mode the text disappears, it’s likely because there’s an invalid field in the text.  Choose Sketch – Modify Text from the menu, and read the text that reappears.  If there’s an invalid field, it will tell you so:

FOS: Could not find field “CurrentResults.CurrentSlipSurface.SlipFOS”

Click the text to edit it, and delete or fix the invalid portion.


Version 7.1 tries to be somewhat smart about what sketch text to display by hiding any text that does not apply to the current analysis.  You can help it further by specifying that text is only for a specific analysis.  If you’re puzzled by disappearing text, it’s likely because of an invalid field, which you can fix using Modify Text.

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