How to Use MiTek’s “Assign to Layers” Feature for PDF Collaboration

How to Use MiTek’s “Assign to Layers” Feature for PDF Collaboration

One of the biggest highlights about working in my current position is the ability to experience a magnitude of different approaches to a common problem and have my teammates provide many different solutions. For this article, I would like to present how I use pdf files in layers in the Sapphire program.

Many of us at Gould Design, Inc. possess a great deal of knowledge regarding the MiTek program, with some naturally having more than others. The beauty of the cohesiveness is that I work in an environment where we can all continue to learn new aspects of the program.

Many designers follow this process when importing a pdf into MiTek Sapphire:

  • Select the level that the pdf represents
  • Scale the pdf
  • Move the pdf as needed
  • Uses the pdf for whichever purpose
  • Turn off the pdf visibility (Or delete the PDF entirely)

When you import a PDF to your layout, what do you do?


What happens when a designer needs to use multiple PDF’s for a job on the same level; for instance, floor plan, roof plan, and electrical plan?


Importing a pdf, going through the process, and then deleting becomes tedious. Especially, if the designer needs to reference the pdf again after already importing another one. Or the company that is designing the job uses a Q/A (Quality Assurance) person who likes to see the overlays in Sapphire.

I USED to be one of these people who would import and then delete, only to import another pdf later on. This was because I found having multiple pdf’s spread far into the emptiness of Sapphire caused more headaches than solutions when I would turn the pdf “visibility back on.


At one point, I even saw a teammate taking the time and creating Levels just for pdf’s, and I thought this was a fantastic idea. However, it becomes tedious and more often than not becomes troublesome.

Some people at this point may know where I am going with this and others may be on the edge of their seat. The question clamoring in your mind right now: Is there truly a way to simplify this process and keep multiple pdf’s in a layout and organized?

The answer is a resounding YES! The software gurus over at MiTek gave us another option called Layers.


We can import as many pdf’s as desired and simply “Assign To Layers” all the pdf’s. NOTE: Remember the more pdf’s the larger the MMDL file becomes!


And if we want to make a pdf invisible or visible, we simply hit the check box next to the layer(s) we want on or off.


Presto! It’s just that simple!!!

It just so happens to be that this is one of the features I often see not used enough. Why? Because folks either do not know what it does or do not realize it is there, even though many of us stare at this program for the majority of the week. Give this feature a try and watch your performance increase!

Now some of you may be wondering why we would be giving away this information for only the cost of a few minutes of your time, right? Especially considering that our main workflow and income relates directly to your company’s inefficiency?

Well, that’s just what we do here at Gould Design, Inc. by actively practicing the “Pay It Forward” mentality. I would encourage you to reach out to us and invite us to come to your location for an efficiency consultation to allow us to point out to you just how many timesavers you may not be aware of. After all, if you could save (at the minimum) 20 minutes per day, per employee, you would have paid for the consultation visit in just a few weeks. What have you got to lose…except your inefficiency?

What other timesavers or features you don’t quite know how to use would you like to see us write about?

Neil Laporte – Project Manager

Gould Design, Inc.