Current attributes

An 'attribute' is some characteristic of an object which you can modify in Xara. For example a shape's attributes include its color, its outline width and its outline color.

You can change the attributes of an object after you've drawn it, by selecting it and then changing its fill color, line width, or any of its other attributes. But Xara also keeps track of the 'current' attributes, which are the attributes that get applied to newly drawn objects as they are created.

Setting current attributes manually

If, for example, you want the next rectangle you draw to be red, make sure you have nothing selected (press "Esc" or click an empty part of the page) and then click red on the color line. You've now set the current fill color attribute to red. Now when you draw a new shape, it will be filled red. You can set other current attributes the same way – by first making sure nothing is selected before changing the attribute's value.

Setting current attributes automatically

By default, Xara automatically updates the current attributes for you, to match the object you last drew, or last selected. So for example if you draw a rectangle and then make it green, the next shape you draw will also be green. If you have a blue rectangle in your design and you wish to draw another one just like it, first select the blue rectangle (this makes its attributes current) and then the next shape you draw will also be blue. So by simply clicking an object, you set the current attributes to match that object.

This allows you to use existing objects as a 'palette' of available styles. Click an object to select it, then draw new objects in that style.

You can turn off this behavior in the General tab of the "Utilities" > "Options" dialog. Select the Give new objects most recent attributes (GNOMRA) checkbox. Now the current attributes will only change when you set them manually, as described above.

Attribute groups

Many designs consist of a combination of closed filled shapes and open shapes (lines where the start and end points are not coincident). Normally it wouldn't be desirable to have the attributes of an open shape used for a closed shape, nor vice-versa. Therefore the attributes for open and closed shapes are kept separate – these are known as attribute groups. Setting the values of one group does not affect the other group. So for example, selecting a filled rectangle with no outline will not change the current line width to zero for open shapes.

For the same reasons, text attributes make up a third attribute group. The text attribute group is only set when you select text objects, or when you set the attributes manually while in the text tool.

Exempt attributes

Some attributes do not get set as current automatically even when 'Give new objects most recent attributes' is on. This is because some attributes can cause problems if they become current.

For example if you applied a 10 pixel feather to a large object (to blur the edges) and then drew a new 10 pixel sized shape, that new shape would be invisible if the feather attribute was copied to it, due to the amount of feathering!

Other attributes can adversely affect the way designs export, or significantly increase the time taken to render the design and so should not be applied unnecessarily.

Examples of attributes which are copied automatically:

  • Fill colors, fill styles, line width, line color, line style, line join style, line endcap style, arrow heads/tails, text font, text font size, text margins.

Examples of attributes which are not copied automatically:

  • Feather, transparency, shadow, bevel, contour, 3D extrude, live effects.

Resetting current attributes

You can reset all current attribute groups instantly by pressing "Esc" when you have no objects selected. If you have objects selected, pressing "Esc" clears the selection, so just press "Esc" again to reset the current attributes back to their default values.


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