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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013

USER INTERFACE
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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013
USER INTERFACE TIPS
1
AutoCompletecansuggestcommandsand
systemvariables
Admit ityou still use the command line! Youll be happy to know that as
soon as you begin keying in characters at the command line, AutoCAD

will
suggest commands and system variables that start with those characters.
This is especially helpful when you cant quite remember how to spell a
system variable! If you have a release earlier than AutoCAD 2012, you
can get a similar result by clicking the Tab key after keying in one or
more characters at the command line. AutoCAD will cycle through all
thepossibilities.
2
Usearrowkeystomoveupanddownthe
command list
Up and down arrows can take you through previously executed commands.
Using the Up arrow is certainly the fastest way to access a command you
used a few steps ago.
3
AddfrequentlyusedcommandstotheQuick
Accesstoolbar
Since the Quick Access toolbar is always on the screen, youll want to add
your most frequently used commands to it for speedy access. This can
easily be done by right-clicking any tool on the ribbon or by selecting More
Commands from the drop-down list. I highly recommend adding the
Layerlist!
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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013
USER INTERFACE TIPS
4
Cantndacommandin
theribbon?
If youre not sure where a command is located on the ribbon, key it in to the
Application Menu text box (accessible from the AutoCAD icon in the upper
left corner of the drawing editor). AutoCAD will show you exactly where to
nd it!
5
Dockfrequentlyusedpalettesonthesideof
yourscreen
You want frequently used palettes like Properties and the Layer Manager
to be easily accessible. I recommend docking your favorite palettes on one
side of your screen. Simply right-click the Palette bar, make sure Allow
Docking is selected, and then choose to anchor the palette to the left or
right. If you also enable Auto-hide, the palettes will close automatically
when you remove focus from them.
6
SaveyourfavoriteUserInterfaceto
aworkspace
After you have the perfect user interface setup, youre going to want to
save it to a workspace so you can easily recall it later. This is especially
handy when you upgrade! Right-click the Workspace drop-down (found on
the Quick Access Toolbar) and select Save Current As Youll never have
to put your favorite UI back together again!
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LAYERS
USER INTERFACE
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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013
LAYER TIPS
7
Customizeyour
LayerColumns
You probably dont use all the columns in the Layer Manager, so be sure
to set up the columns to work for you. Drag and drop the columns to suit
your preferred order (infrequently used columns should be on the far right).
Right-click any column header to turn of columns you never use. Its all
about you, baby!
8
AutoCADgurususe
LayerStates
If you nd yourself spending too much time in the Layer Manager making
changes to your layers, you need to start saving Layer States. A Layer State
is a snapshot of your layer settings that you can recall when needed. Save
Layer States in the layer palette or directly from the ribbon. Switch between
Layer States when needed! This is a huge time-saver in the long run.
9
Needtochangeyourlayerstoadiferent
namingconvention?
It can be a seriously tedious process to change the names and properties
of your layers to a diferent standardunless you know about LAYTRANS!
This handy translator makes it easy to map your layers to a diferent
standard. Simply select a drawing with the correct layer standard and map
the layers one by one. You can save the mapping for future use if you plan
on doing this with multiple drawings. What a time-saver!
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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013
LAYER TIPS
10
Viewlayersindividuallywith
LayerWalk
Would you like to view the layers on your drawing one at a time? LAYWALK
makes it easy to do just that. As you step through the layer names,
AutoCAD will display the objects on each layersuch a handy tool! You
can also select objects while in LAYWALK, and AutoCAD will highlight the
associated layer names.
11
ReturnobjectstoByLayerquickly
andeasily
A well-trained AutoCAD user knows to set objects to ByLayer and let the
layers control the various properties. What do you do when you run across
a drawing where someone broke the rules? SETBYLAYER to the rescue!
This command will even convert nested blocks to ByLayernow thats a
handytool!
12
Deletestubborn
layers
Weve all had layers that just wouldnt purge regardless of our eforts! The
powerful LAYDEL command makes quick work of deleting even the most
stubborn of layers. (Note: LAYDEL wont delete 0 or the defpoints layer
but everything else is fair game!)
13
Copyobjectstoanotherlayerin
onestep
How many times have you made a copy of an objectand then changed it
to another layer? Well, youre working too hard! Use the COPYTOLAYER
command to make a copy of one or more objects and then change it to another
layerall in one easy step. You can even create a layer on the y if needed!
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HATCHING TIPS
14
Doyouhaveaholeinyour
hatchboundary?
Dont waste time searching for a gap in your hatching boundaryjust set
HATCHGAP to a value larger than the size of the gap! (Note: In most cases,
AutoCAD will show you where the gap is with two red circles [AutoCAD
2011 and higher].)
15
Pushhatchesbehind
otherobjects
We typically want our hatches to display behind the other objects in
our drawing. Use the handy HATCHTOBACK command to quickly send
all hatches to the back! (Note: Same concept: You can also use the
TEXTTOFRONT command to make sure all your text is on top of the
otherobjects.)
16
Setupadefaultlayer
forhatching
Are you tired of changing your current layer for hatching? If you are
using AutoCAD 2011 or higher, youll love the ability to set a default
layer for hatching. Use the HPLAYER command or set it from the ribbon
(eveneasier!).
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HATCHING TIPS
17
Needtoduplicatean
existinghatch?
Do you need to add some additional hatches to a drawing using the same
properties of an existing hatch? The fastest means of doing that is by right-
clicking the hatch pattern and then choosing Add Selected from the right-
click menu. AutoCAD is now ready to create another hatch pattern with the
exact same settings and properties! Super speedy!
18
Makeyourownhatchpatternson
they
Dening your own hatch patterns can be a very cumbersome process. The
Express Tool SUPERHATCH lets you use images, blocks, xrefs, and wipeouts
as hatch patterns! Simply draw your hatch patternsave it to a block and
use SUPERHATCH to hatch with it! Now isnt that easier?
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HANDY SYSTEM VARIABLES
19
TiredofObjectselectedisnotapolyline,do
youwanttoturnitintoone?
Admit ityoure tired of that extra prompt in the PEDIT command!
Set PEDITACCEPT to 1 and youll never have to face that question
again.Fabulous!
20
Stopthatghostingof
AnnotativeObjects
SELECTIONANNODISPLAY controls the ghosting that appears on
annotative objects. Set it to zero to only see one scale at a time for
selectedobjects.
21
TrayNotication
buggingyou?
Set TRAYNOTIFY to 0 and banish the bubble!
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HANDY SYSTEM VARIABLES
22
Soyouwantyourlinetypestocontinue
across vertices?
By default, linetypes treat each segment in a polyline individually. If youve
ever wanted a linetype to treat the entire polyline as one continuous
segment, set PLINEGEN to 1.
23
Showallyouropendrawingson
theTaskbar
You want to be able to jump from one open drawing to another as quickly
as possible. Set the system variable TASKBAR to 1 and all of your open
drawings will appear on the Taskbar.
24
Personalizethesample
textstring
The default sample text string for MTEXT is Abc (boring!). Personalize
it with the system variable MTJIGSTRING. Of course I have mine set
toAutoCAD!
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TIME-SAVERS
25
Cleanup
yourdrawing!
Rid your drawing of duplicate or overlapping objects and extra vertices in
polylines. OVERKILL will clean up your drawing for you in one fell swoop,
resulting in a smaller le size and possibly speedier response time. After all,
a clean drawing is a fast drawing!
26
Joinmultipleobjectstogether
withease
The updated JOIN command will join as many contiguous objects at one
time as you like! Want to rid an entire drawing of stray objects? Key in ALL
at the rst JOIN prompt followed by an extra Enter (it really works!).
27
Grip
tips
Want a super speedy way to clear your grips? Hold down the right mouse
button (your ngers never have to leave your mouse!). Did you know that
by holding down the Shift key you can grab more than one hot grip?
28
Fastcorners
inllet
No need to set your llet radius to zero anymore to square of a corner.
After selecting the rst segment of the intended corner, hold down the Shift
key and select the second segment. Voila! AutoCAD will automatically
square it of.
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TIME-SAVERS
29
Superspeedy
Trims
Want to get in and out of the Trim command as quickly as possible? At the
rst prompt (select Cutting Edge) just hit an extra Enter! Everything in the
drawing will become a cutting edge (even though nothing highlights), and
you can trim away! (Note: This also works on Extend.)
30
CombineTrimandExtend(killtwobirdswith
onestone!)
Did you know that you can switch to Extending while in the Trim command
(or vice versa)? Just hold down the Shift key and AutoCAD will Extend
rather than Trim. If you are in the Extend command and you hold down the
Shift key, AutoCAD will start to trim! Try it!
31
TrythenewArrayoptioninthe
COPY command!
Have you ever been in the COPY command and decided you needed
multiple copies the same distance apart? If so, youre going to love the new
Array option that has been added into the COPY command. After selecting
the objects to copy and a basepoint, you can use the new Array option to
indicate how many copies you want and the distance/direction you want
them to go!
32
UsetheShiftkeytotemporarilyturn
on Ortho
Sure you can toggle ORTHO on and ofbut what if you just want to toggle
it for one step? Try holding down the Shift key to toggle Orthomuch less
efort! (You dont want to burn TOO many calories using AutoCAD.)
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BLOCKS AND XREF TIPS
33
BlockcountingthatisMUCHfasterthan
usingyourngers!
Use the nifty Express Tool BCOUNT to do a speedy, easy-to-read count of
any or all of your blocks. It doesnt get any easier than that!
34
Explodeablockbutkeepthe
attributevalues
It can be very frustrating when you explode a block with attributes, only
to nd the attributes resort back to their original tag. Wouldnt it be nice if
they could magically keep their values after exploding? Wish granteduse
the BURST command!
35
Makeblockswithmultiple
insertionpoints
1. Right-click a selected block and go into the Block Editor.
2. Select Point from the block authoring palette and choose where you
want an additional insertion point to go. Select anywhere to place the
label location.
3. Repeat for additional insertion points if needed.
4. Save the changes and close the block editor (ignore the yellow
exclamation points!).
5. When inserting your awesome new block, use the Control key to cycle
through added insertion points.
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BLOCKS AND XREF TIPS
36
Reversesearch
ofxrefs
We can easily list the xrefs in a drawingbut have you ever wanted to
nd out how many drawings a specic le is attached to via xref? (Did
you follow?) I call it a reverse search. Using the Design Center search
capabilities, you can open the Look for drop-down list to select Xref.
Follow this up by entering the exact drawing name in the text box.
AutoCAD will crawl through the indicated directories looking for all the
drawing les with this particular xref attached. Magic!
37
Fadeexternal
references
You can fade your xrefs from the Reference panel on the Insert tab,
Reference panel on the ribbon. You can also use the XDWGFADECTL
system variable to set it to a value between 0 and 90. The higher the value,
the more your xrefs will be faded. (Note: Click the icon on the left of the
slider bar to turn fading on or of entirely.)
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LYNN ALLENS 50 BONUS TIPS: AUTOCAD 2013
DIMENSIONING TIPS
38
Knockoutmultipledimensionsat
onetime!
The fantastic Express Tool QDIM enables you to dimension multiple objects
at one time. Just window the objects you want to dimension and show
AutoCAD where you want the dimensions to godone! You simply must
give it a tryit could save you loads of time!
39
Removeastepfrom
LinearDimensioning
This rarely known tip can save you lots of time. When asked to select the
endpoints for your linear or aligned dimensioning, hit Enter. Then youll be
prompted to select an objectand AutoCAD will nd the object endpoints
for you!
40
Usemulti-functiongripsfor
speedydimensioning
AutoCAD 2012 introduced some powerful multi-function grips that put
frequently used commands right on the objects themselves. Hover over a
dimension grip and youll nd a slew of commands right at your ngertips!
This cuts down on the need to search for commands in the ribbon (and
thats a good thing!).
41
Correctoverridden
dimensionvalues
Theres no easy way to tell if a drawing has dimensions with overridden
values. DIMREASSOC to the rescue! DIMREASSOC will highlight any
dimension text that has been overridden and return it to its real value. Now
thats power!
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DIMENSIONING TIPS
42
Tryingtogureouthowtodimensionan
anglemorethan180degrees?
No problem! Add an extra Enter at the rst prompt in Angular
dimensioning to specify a Vertex and youll be good to go!
43
Dontexplodecrossingdimensions
toeditthem
Let DIMBREAK deal with those crossing dimensions. Your dimensions
will stay intact, and the break will self-adjust should you need to move
yourdimensions.
44
Howdoyougetevenly
spaceddimensions?
Do you just visually space your dimensions until they look right? Let
DIMSPACE do the work for you. DIMSPACE will make sure your linear and
angular dimensions line up and are evenly spaceda real time-saver!
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OBJECT SELECTION AND CREATION
45
Ineedtoaddanotherobjectjustlike
thatone!
No need to research all the properties of an existing object to create
another similar object. Right-click any selected object and choose Add
Selected from the shortcut menu. This will launch you into the same
command that was used to create the original objectalong with all
the same properties! (Note: This is very useful when working on other
peoplesdrawings.)
46
Speedymeansofselecting
similarobjects
Do you nd yourself combing a drawing to nd all of the same type of
objects? Or perhaps all the same type of objects on the same layer?
Whatever the parameters are, youre going to want to use Select Similar to
nd them! Right-click any highlighted object and choose Select Similar from
the shortcut menu. AutoCAD will do the work for you and add them to the
selection set. Use the Settings option in the SELECTSIMILAR command to
control the properties searched for.
47
Isolateobjectsfor
easyediting
Were used to working with layers to control the visibility of objectsbut
now we can individually select objects to display or hide! Simply right-click
the selected objects you want to hide, and choose Isolate =>Hide Objects
from the shortcut menu. If you prefer to hide everything except for the
selected objects, you would choose Isolate =>Isolate Additional Objects
instead. Bring everything back by selecting End Object Isolation from the
right-click menu. (Note: You can also right-click the light bulb icon in the
lower right corner of the status bar.)
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OBJECT SELECTION AND CREATION
48
SelectionCyclingfor
crowdeddrawings
Be sure to turn on Selection Cycling (found on the Status Bar) in crowded
drawings to ensure you always select the right object. AutoCAD will display
a window of all the objects that fall under the object selection pickbox for
you to choose from.
49
Toughtimegettinginsideofa
nestedviewport?
Sometimes it can be tricky getting to objects found in a nested viewport
(a viewport within a viewport). Use Ctrl+R to cycle through all of your
viewports until you get to the nested one!
50
UseQuickSelect(QSELECT)tondspecic
typesofobjects
Are you looking for all the blocks with a specic name or the circles of a
specic size? Use Quick Select to tell AutoCAD exactly what youre after
and let Quick Select do all the work! You can nd Quick Select in the
Properties Palette or on the Utilities Panel of the Home tab on the ribbon,
as well as in the right-click menu.
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ABOUTLYNNALLEN
Lynn Allen, Cadalyst columnist and worldwide Autodesk Technical Evangelist, speaks to more
than 30,000 users each year. For the past 18years, she has written a column in Cadalyst
magazine called Circles and Lines, and is the voice behind Cadalysts Tips and Tricks
Tuesdays. Lynn started using AutoCAD software with Release 1.4 over 20years ago, and got
her start by teaching at the corporate and collegiate level for 12 years. A sought-after public
speaker with a unique comedic style, Lynn has served as the Autodesk University emcee for
10 years and is always one of the highest-rated speakers. Her latest book is titled AutoCAD
Professional Tips and Techniques.
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Autodesk, AutoCAD, and ATC are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or
afliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective
holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services oferings, and specications and pricing at any time
without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.
2012 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
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