Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 214

100 Autocad Tips You should Know

http://www.cad-notes.com/100-autocad-tips-you-should-know/
http://www.cadforum.cz/cadforum_en/qaID.asp?tip=5131

Create and modify


Tip 1. How to: Create an Arc with Specific Length

Everybody knows how to create an arc in AutoCAD. If you need to draw an arc with
specific length, do you know how to do it? See this tip how you can create an arc with
specific length!

How to: Draw an Arc with a Specific Arc


Length?
May 6, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 22 Comments

This question appears in our local forum. Is there any way we can create an arc by
defining the arc length? There is no direct way to do this. There are some methods that
seem to allow you define length. For example start, center, length. But this is defining
the chord length, not the arch length.

There is a suggestion to calculate the angle using simple mathematic calculation,


comparing the arch radius and arch length. After you get the angle value, then you can
draw it. But it is not easy.

One of our member, Ast, suggest a better solution: draw the arch, then modify it using
lengthen tool.

1
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Lengthen tool allows you to define the object total length, including an arch. Select the
total length option, then type the distance you want.

Command: LENGTHEN
Select an object or [DElta/Percent/Total/DYnamic]: T

Specify total length or [Angle] <1.0000)>: 1000

Select an object to change or [Undo]:

Now if I try to inquiry or see the arc properties, I will see the arch has the exact length I
wanted.

I never need to draw arch by defining it’s length. Any body knows why we would need
to do that?

2
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 2. Align Tool: Move, Rotate, and Scale Your Object at Once

Align is often overlooked by many AutoCAD users. Instead of using move, rotate, and
scale separately, you can do it at once using this tool.

As Robin Capper said, it’s a forgotten AutoCAD hero! See the animation how to use it
in Robin’s post.

Align, the forgotten AutoCAD hero

A post on Daily AutoCAD, subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already,


highlights a brilliant but often forgotten editing command. With “Align” you can move,
rotate and scale an object while aligning it with existing geometry or selected points. It’s
often only thought of as a 3D command but is one I often use in 2D. While it will
manipulate AutoCAD geometry you can also scale and align images. Just draw a line to
the “known length”, select the two corresponding points on the image and use the scale
option to rotate, scale and place the image perfectly.

Here is a Camtasia gif of Align in 2D action, Daily AutoCAD have step by step
examples for 2D & 3D uses of align.

3
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

ALIGN command in 2D - Daily Autocad

ALIGN command in 3D - Daily Autocad

I’ve long argued Align deserves a place on the standard “Modify” toolbar/Dashboard but
it’s not there.

UPDATE 2010-06-18: AutoCAD 2010/2011 have Align on the Home > Modify flyout

4
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Older AutoCAD versions may still require you to add it:

Thankfully the ability to customise the dashboard means you can add it yourself using
Right Click > Customise Commands and choosing “Align” in all commands. If
the control lacks an image, specify RCDATA_16_ALIGN in both “Images” property
fields.

5
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 3. How to Control Linetype Scale

We use linetype to control the object appearances. It can be dashdot for center lines,
dashed lines for hidden lines, etc. Sometimes we have a hard time to control the linetype
scale. And we can’t see the linetype as we expected. It is not that difficult actually.

See this tip: Controlling Linetype Scale is as Easy as 1,2,3!

Controlling Linetype Scale is as Easy as


1,2,3!
June 13, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 6 Comments

Controlling linetype scale can be confusing. How to get the correct linetype scale for
our AutoCAD drawings? Why my linetype is not showing, just continuous lines?
Sometimes we also have a hard time when setting viewport in layout. We have them
correctly in our model, but they are all gone in our viewports! Sometimes we end up to
do a trial and error (again) to get it right.

This 3 steps guide maybe can help. It is not that hard at all when you know what control
the linetype appearance. It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

Step 1: Use the Right AutoCAD Template

This is important. If you work with metric, use metric template. If you use imperial,
then use imperial template. Yes you can change the units later, but you can save a lot of
time when you use a right template. Especially if you already define your own
template.

6
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Step 2: Check the Annotation Scale

Now you can draw just like usual. If you don’t see the linetype don’t worry. Change
the annotation scale. It’s at the right bottom of AutoCAD window.

Change to the value to the size you want to plot it. You may need to REGEN your
drawing before see the effect.

The nice thing about annotation scaling is: it has intelligence to show how your objects
should look like in different scales. These two viewports below are showing identical
object. The left viewport is shown in 1:100 scale, while the right one in 1:50. See that
the line type appears exactly at the same size on both viewports!

Very easy, isn’t it? In common situation, we only require to do those two steps. But if
you want to control your line type scale further, check step 3.

Step 3: Check System Variable

7
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Many things in AutoCAD are controlled by system variables. The main system variable
that controls the linetype scale is LTSCALE. If you started with the right template, 1 in
most cases is acceptable. However, you may need to adjust the linetype size. Change the
LTSCALE to higher or lower value.

Annotation Scale Dependant

There are two more system variable that control the linetype appearance:
MSLTSCALE and PSLTSCALE. This variables are related to annotation scaling. By
default, their values are 1. If the step 2 above doesn’t work, these values might have
been changed to 0… check these variables.

If you don’t want the line type is affected by annotation scaling, then you can change it
to 0. I strongly suggest you to leave it to 1. Try to get comfortable with annotation
scaling first. There are many benefits that you can get by using annotation scaling.

Overriding the objects line type scale

Sometimes we need to override some objects linetype size, and not using the global
linetype scale. We can override the value from properties palette, under general
category.

I hope controlling your line type is no longer confusing! Have fun!

Don’t forget to check more AutoCAD tips on CAD Notes here.

8
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 4. 10+ Ways to Select Objects in AutoCAD

When you use modifying tools, you need to select objects.


Selecting objects sometimes can be tricky, especially in
quite a complex drawing. This tip have 10 ways how you
can use the object selection. Useful for beginners, and
some methods might be missed by advanced users. See the
complete list!

10+ Ways to Use AutoCAD Object


Selection
July 10, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 19 Comments

Picking drawing elements in AutoCAD can be frustrating, especially if you have a


complex drawing. You can see (most of) AutoCAD tools options on command line or
dynamic input. Like this polyline tool for example. You can see it’s options: arc,
halfwidth, length, undo, and width.

But do you see the options for selecting drawing elements? Nope. AutoCAD selection
tool has options that you can use, but somehow, Autodesk just decided not to show
them.

Let’s explore about this tool, from very basic knowledge that you might already know,
to the hidden options!

1. Pick Single
You can pick single object when AutoCAD ask you to select objects.

2. Window
You can define a window selection by clicking at two points. Click first point on the left
side, and 2nd point on the right side. This will select all elements inside the window.

9
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This action will select:


(dotted circles are the
selection)

If you pick your points right then left, then it will be cross window selection (will be
explained next). This two are the default window selection.

If you want to activate window selection, type W then [enter]. Type it when AutoCAD
ask you: select objects…

Even you pick points from right then left, it will be window selection.

3. Cross Window
Basically if your window selection defined from right to left, then it will be cross
window selection. It will select all elements inside and touching the window.

This action will select:

You can override to activate cross window selection by typing C then [enter].

4. Fence
You can select drawing elements by defining ‘a fence’ that touched objects you wanted.
Just type F then [enter] to activate it. After you finish defining your fence, press [enter]
to select.

10
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This action will select:

5. Window Polygon
This option behave as window selection, but you can define unlimited points for that
window. Just type WP then [enter] to activate it. All elements inside the window will be
selected.

This action will select:

6. Crossing Polygon
Similar to cross window selection. CP

This action will select:

7. Touching Objects

11
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

When AutoCAD ask you to select object, type ‘FS then [enter]. We use ‘ for transparent
use. Pick your object, then all objects touching it will be selected.

Select objects: ‘FS

Use ‘FSMODE to control chain selection.


FSMODE = OFF
Select touching object: 3 object(s) found. 3 found, 7 total

Select objects:
Exiting Fastsel

FASTSEL is an express tool. So if you don’t have express tools installed, it might not
work.

This selection is controlled by FSMODE system variable.

FSMODE = OFF (default), it will select objects touching your picked object only.
FSMODE = ON, it will select objects touching it, and all objects touching them too.

8. Cycle Overlapping Objects


If you have many overlapped drawing elements or close to each other, and you are too
lazy to zoom in, you can cycle between them by pressing [shift] + [space]. Hold your
[shift] key, and press [space] several times until you found your object. Release your
keyboard key, then click your mouse.

9. Select Previous Selection or Last Object


Did you ever want to select your previous selection? Easy, just type P then [enter] when
AutoCAD ask you to do selection!

What about last object created? Either the last drawn or result from modify operations
such as copy. Type L then [enter]!

10. Remove/Add
Sometimes it’s easier to select all elements then remove some of them from your
selection set. You can do this by holding [shift] and select object you want to exclude.
OR, you can type R then [enter] to switch to remove mode.

To activate add objects, type A then [enter].

11. Lasso selection


This feature is introduced in AutoCAD 2015. You can click and hold your left mouse
then drag the pointer to make a lasso selection. Similar to window and crossing
polygon, but you don’t need to type anything to activate this mode!

12
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you drag your pointer first to the right, it will be a window selection. But if after the
first click you drag it to the left, it will be crossing window selection. Like you see
below.

Bonus: Undo Selection

Here is a bonus option. You can undo your last object selection by typing U [enter]
while your selection set is still active. This only undoing your last selection.

Have fun! You may want to go see about quick select and filter for more advanced
ways.

13
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 5. How to: Create Angular Dimension Larger than 180 degrees

Do you need to create an angular dimension that shows angle larger than 180 degrees
like below? You probably have found that you can’t create dimension with angle larger
than 180 degrees after selecting those two lines.

You can actually… You can create it by selecting the lines’ vertex. Read more, and see
the animation how to do it here.

http://www.cad-notes.com/creating-angular-dimension-larger-than-180-deg/

Creating Angular Dimension Larger


than 180 deg
July 2, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 11 Comments

Can we create angular dimension larger than 180 degrees in AutoCAD?

Well if you see the recorded animation below, you can’t do that by selecting lines,
obviously.

14
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

But you can create it in AutoCAD using dimangular by selecting line’s vertex.

From your AutoCAD ribbon (or toolbar) activate the tool. OR type DIMANGULAR
then [enter], you will see on the command line these options:

Select arc, circle, line, or <specify vertex>:

Press [enter] to specify vertex. Now, select the vertexes.

You need to use some option, but yes, you can do it!

If you are interested to see more tips, see our 100 AutoCAD tips compilation here.

15
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 6. How to Match Only Selected AutoCAD Properties

MATCHPROP is a great tool to match object properties. I used to draw everything and
match the attributes later. It was quicker sometimes (but I won’t recommend you). The
most obvious is when we get a drawing that is created with different standard.
Sometimes we want to match only some properties between objects. Many of us don’t
realize that we can choose which properties to match. I found this a couple years ago,
quite late I guess. There is See the options below.

Read the complete tip here.

AutoCAD Match Properties Settings


June 3, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 4 Comments

Many of AutoCAD users already know that we can match object properties using
MATCHPROP (or MA for short key in). This tool is very handy for you who wants to
change an object properties to copy other object’s.

But many of us don’t realize that there are some settings that we can use in this tool. It
allows us to use this tool to match only a specific property. So you don’t have to use
separate tool like LAYERMCH to match only layer.
Let’s say you want to copy an object line style. But you don’t want to copy it’s color,
layer, and any other properties.
Let’s try to activate this tool. Type MA then hit [enter].

You can also use activate this tool from AutoCAD ribbon> home tab> clipboard panel.

Command: MATCHPROP
Select source object:
Current active settings: Ltype Ltscale Dim Text Hatch Polyline Viewport Table

16
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Material Shadow display Multileader


Select destination object(s) or [Settings]:
After you activate the tool, pay attention that there is an option to choose settings in
AutoCAD command line. Type S then hit [enter].

You will see property settings dialog box.


Uncheck anything that you don’t want to change. Click OK. Now you can copy
selective properties to your AutoCAD objects!

17
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 7. How to Link Cells Between AutoCAD Tables

We can create and use tables in AutoCAD almost as powerful as in Microsoft Excel. We
can also use formula and do simple calculation. But do you know that we can use the
value from cells in other table?

See the detail article in JTB World by Jimmy Bergmark.

How to link information from tables in AutoCAD


You probably already know how to link between cells in one table. Just use formulas
like in Excel: =B2+B3

Did you know it is possible to link cells between tables in AutoCAD?

Here is how you can do it.

Right click on a cell and select Insert>Formula>Cell

18
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Select a cell in another table and you will notice a formula like this.

The formula can be changes to your needs. For example to:


=Table(2127834720).B2*A2

The formula options Sum, Average and Count can also be used like this.

2127834720 or whatever shows up is the Object ID for the table. If you save the
drawing, close it and open it again you will notice that this value has changed. This is
because the Object ID is just a file session valid value.

Notice that only numeric values can be cross linked like this. If you select a cell with
text in it you will only see ####.

But if you have ADT (Architectural Desktop) or ACA (AutoCAD Architecture) you will
notice that you cannot link to a cell in a Schedule object (AEC_SCHEDULE_TABLE).
You can convert a Schedule to a table if you right click on the schedule and select
convert to table.

How about text object (TEXT or MTEXT)?

19
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can Insert a Field (CTRL+F) and in the Field Category select Objects and then
select the field name Formula. Now you will see the buttons for Average, Sum, Count
and Cell.

If the number of rows in the table changes to let’s say from 3 to 2 the formula doesn’t
change and the value that shows up after running Tools>Update Fields (command
UPPDATEFIELD) shows #. The formula has to be changed to have a valid range to
show the correct value. If you add a new row above the source row you will also notice
that this needs to be handled manually.

You might also need to run REGEN to have the tables updated.

20
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 8. How to Maintain the Attributes Value when Exploding

Block attributes is a nice tool to have. We can use it to preserve text style and size as
annotation block. Drawing title and title block is a good example. The problem is when
we need it explode it somehow, we will loose any information we put in the attribute.

To preserve the values, do not use explode. Use BURST instead.

Tip 9. How to Maximize Your Hyperlinks Usability

Hyperlinks are very useful to provide information for your objects. You can link any
object to the manufacturer/support website, technical support email, specification
documents, etc. See the tip how to reference to objects using hyperlink here. JTB World
blog also has a good basic tutorial how to use hyperlinks.

They even write in very detail tip how to extend the capabilities. You can refer to a
specific page in pdf, specific sheet and cell in Excel, etc. Find out the details in this
page on JTB World Blog. Murray Clack also gives a tip how you can use hyperlinks to
navigate between paper space and model space. See tip no. 12 here.

How to: Reference Objects to File/URL


in AutoCAD
October 15, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 3 Comments

I had this question yesterday. Someone asked if if it’s possible to link an object in
AutoCAD to another file. So if he needed to see the components specifications, or 3D
model of a certain component from P&ID drawing, he can simply click the link. I said,
have you tried using hyperlinks?

Hyperlink maybe not a popular feature in AutoCAD, but it can make some use. You can
add hyperlinks to an object. The hyperlinks can be pointed to the manufacturer website,
to a word document that contains the installation procedure, or to excel file that contains
product specifications.

21
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Adding and Using Hyperlink

Adding a hyperlink is very easy. Activate hyperlink from insert tab, data panel.

AutoCAD will ask you to select object, then you will see this dialog.

In this example I add link to specification document in my local computer. In the real
world, you might want to point it to a file on your server. Or a page on website.

Not only website link and local files, you can link to layout or saved view in your
model.

You can also link to email address. Maybe you want to link a certain item to vendor
contact person for maintenance or something. This can be useful for building
maintenance purpose.

Hyperlink Within Block

22
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you insert and place a block, then insert a hyperlink, it will only attach to an instance
of that block. When you insert another block with the same definition, then the new
block won’t have the hyperlink. Unless you copy it.

If you want every block links to a certain file/website, you can edit the block and insert
hyperlink to the elements. With this method, not only you can define the hyperlink once.
You can also insert several links to different elements. Including nested block.

25 Readers Most Favorite AutoCAD Tips


March 15, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 7 Comments

AutoCAD Tips competition has reach the deadline. There are many interesting
submission, and as promised, the winners will be announce next Monday. These is the
list of tips submitted. However, I do feel that the contestant are not trying to submit their
favorite post, but their best tips they can write. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes
many people are not willing to submit their tips, and feel it’s too hard. You actually can
link to any page on internet where you find interesting tips for you, and not necessarily
create your own.

However, the competition has ended. And these are the favorite tips submitted and pass
to be selected by the judges.

*This tips order is arranged by their submission time.

**If there are macro or AutoLISP codes, you will need to retype them. This site
platform will convert the codes to something else that not recognize by programming
language.

1. Load AutoLISP Every Time You Start AutoCAD

If you use some AutoLISP frequently in AutoCAD, you will want to have them
automatically loaded every time you start AutoCAD and not reload them every time you
start AutoCAD. You can do it by using startup suite.

When you load application with APPLOAD, add your frequently used application to
startup suite.

This tip was submitted by Puji.

2. Using Your Own Hatch Pattern

One of the frustration for us, metric users, is many AutoCAD pattern don’t work
properly with metric unit. Especially ANSI. Using pattern sometimes is the fastest, for

23
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

example when we want to create 300x300mm ceramic tile. So we need to create our
own pattern for 1x1mm.

Load it in custom pattern tab, and you can use the same scale as you wanted without
conversion.

This tip was submitted by Murni Kesuma Ayu.

Some explanation from me:

There are also many pattern you can download and probably you also want to create
your own :) You need to place the pattern in a folder that’s defined in ‘support file
search path’. If you want to create your own folder for better file management, then you
will need to add your own folder here.

3. Zoom Extent While Using Tools

When we use a modification command (such as copy, array, etc) sometimes we can’t
see the whole drawing and need to REGEN or Zoom Extent. Scrolling your mouse is
simply don’t work. Most people will press [esc] quickly, zoom extent, and restart the
tool. However, when we use a tool with many properties, this can be frustrating. We
need to reset many properties from the start.

We can zoom extent when a tool is active. You can simply click the zoom extent from
ribbon (or toolbar).

Additional information: This tip maybe work for smaller file, but it looks like not
working for larger files. Probably has something to do with the graphic memory
limitation. Thank you for Harold Kip, Harold Weistra, and Gerrit de Jong
from AutoCADExchange.com for mentioning this

This Tip is submitted by Setiadi.

Additional Tips From Me

You can also use single quote before Z (‘Z) if you prefer command line.

24
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

4. Use Both Hand to Work Faster

It is always faster to work with both hands. That’s why every application has shortcuts.
Even many modern web pages has it. So have you used AutoCAD command alias as
shortcuts?

This tips was submitted by Halim.

Additional Information From Me

You can see the complete list of these command alias in acad.pgp, and you can also
customize them.

5. Switch between Trim and Extend Quickly

While you are working with trim, you can switch to extend quickly, without having to
activate other tool and reselect the boundary. You can press [shift] to switch it.

This tip was submitted by Murray Clack

Additional Information from Me

Pressing [shift] when using extend will also switch the command to trim.

6. Use EXTRIM to Trim Quickly

If you need to trim many objects with one boundary (not working for more than one)
this is very useful. You only need to select the boundary, then which side you want to
trim. All objects crossing that boundary will be trimmed.

This tip was submitted by Ibud Sumardi

7. Setting Grids Within a Limit

I’m not really sure if many people still using limits at the moment. But apparently it is
still useful. If you want to draw using grids, and want your grids appear only within a
certain paper size, you can set the limits to do that.

Command: limits

Reset Model space limits:


Specify lower left corner or [ON/OFF] <0.0000,0.0000>:

25
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Specify upper right corner <420.0000,297.0000>:

This tip was submitted by Murni Kesuma Ayu

8. Masking in Block Attributes

It was impossible to add masking in your block attributes before. But since Autodesk
add multiple line features in block attributes, now we can do that.

This of course will take many advantages from multiline text (not all), not just using
simple single line text!

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

Additional Information:

Murray also mention about using fraction and stacking in attributes, but I still can’t
manage to use it. I will update this when I can clarify about this fraction and stacking.
Probably it was just me :)

To see the stacking button when editing attributes, we need to change the system
variable ATTIPE to 1. The detailed explanation is described by Murray in comment.
Thank you for Murray for clarifying this.

9. Duplicate Block Definition

When we want to create a similar block from existing block, do you know that we can
save the block as? I didn’t :)

This is some thing I missed, and probably you miss it too. This is very useful especially
when we are working on a dynamic block with many parameters.

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

10. Using DIMROTATED Instead of DIMALIGNED

26
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Do you ever have problem when dimensioning when the objects are staggered? Using
DIMALIGNED can’t do this. A great tip from Murray mention that we can use
DIMROTATED.

There is no documentation or toolbar about it, but I’m sure you will find it really useful!

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

11. Finally Purge “$AUDIT_BAD_LAYER”

$AUDIT_BAD_LAYER is a layer created when you run audit tool. This layer is kind of
persistent and looks hard to remove. But actually.. it is very simple:

To finally purge that annoying $AUDIT_BAD_LAYER layer, simply do the following:

1. Run the AUDIT command


2. Run the PURGE command to get rid of the $AUDIT_BAD_LAYER layer
3. SAVE the drawing and QUIT
4. Reopen the drawing, and the $AUDIT_BAD_LAYER layer will be gone!

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

12. Navigate Between Model Space and Paperspace with Hyperlinks

Below is a step-by-step process that helps you quickly navigate between Modelspace
orientations and multiple Layout tabs using Saved Views and Hyperlinks (this tip is
lengthy, but so worth the effort).

1. While in a Layout tab, use the VIEW command to save a view name (usually, I
would name the view based on whatever the sheet number would be, like
“A101”)
2. Then, draw a closed pline around the perimeter of a Viewport (either on Layer
“defpoints” or a unique layer set to “no plot”), and then use the CHSPACE
command to send the pline into Modelspace through that Viewport.
3. With your cursor still within Modelspace via inside the Viewport, save a new
view name to something reflecting what is going on within the viewport and
including the sheet number (eg. “Plan 1 – A101”), and then bring your cursor
back into the Layout environment (ie. PSPACE command)

27
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

4. Enter the command HYPERLINK


5. When prompted to “Select Objects”, select the Viewport boundary that you just
saved a view in.
6. When the “Edit Hyperlink” dialog box appears, click on the “View of this
Drawing” button
7. Expand the Model tree by clicking on the “+” symbol, select the view name you
just created, and then click the OK button

Now, hold down your Ctrl key, and click once on the Viewport boundary with your left
mouse button. AutoCAD will then switch to Modelspace and zoom into the area of the
saved Modelspace view that you created earlier – and you will also see the closed pline
that you sent through the Viewport.

To get back to the Layout tab, repeat steps 4 through 7, but this time, select the closed
pline and select the saved view for the Layout.

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

13. Create a Circular Wipeout

As you may or may not know, you cannot create a wipeout using a circle, only a closed
pline without any arcs. Instead, use the POLYGON command.

1. Enter the command POLYGON,


2. When prompted to enter the number of sides, enter a value of 36 which will
create a closed pline that looks just like a circle.
3. The use the WIPEOUT command like you normally would, and select the 36-
sided pline

I use 36 sides because it looks just like a circle without having too many vertices that
make the closed pline too “busy”

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack

14. The Basic of Using AutoCAD Tools

This tips was chosen by Egyherlim, he is referring to a post in CAD Notes: The basic of
using AutoCAD tools. He said this is very useful for him when switching from UG NX
to AutoCAD. I’m surprised that he was switching to AutoCAD (not Inventor), however
it does feel great that I know my simple tips are useful.

Using most AutoCAD drawing tools can be used the same way.

1. Click the tool to activate it.


2. Follow the instructions.
3. Change the options if necessary.
4. Some tools will end after you define points, like rectangle and circle.
Some other tools require you to end it manually, press [Enter] to do it.

This tips was submitted by Egyherlim

28
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

15. Make use of more then one search folder in the Printer Configuration
Search Path

…And how users then can have their own space for managing their PC3 files.

The Printer Configuration Search Path in Options allows you to assign only one folder.
But the trick here is that it will search for PC3 files in all sub folders too. All PC3 files
will be seen in AutoCAD as if there is only one location.
As a CAD manager you can separate PC3 files into sub folders for maintenace
purposes. I.e for several clients or projects.
But what I like most about this that you can add a folder shortcut into this search folder
which will point to the user’s (home) folder.

This way the user can create and manage his/her own PC3 files while the ones assigned
in the Printer Configuration Search Path are (should be) only managed by the CAD
manager. This trick will also work with the Plot Style Table Search Path so users can
manage their own Plot Styles aside from the ones configurated by the CAD manager.

This tip was submitted by Edward Winter

16. Removing Datalinks in XREF manager

When we use datalinks in our drawing, the reference datalinks are seen on xref manager.
And when we do not need anymore the datalink, we can remove the datalink but not on
the xref manager lists. One guy asked this in one forum, here is my workaround tip for
him.

1. Rename the dxe file so that it will be not found then save drawing, just to make
sure it is not found or not referenced.
2. Copy and Paste the code below to the commandline then press enter, save
drawing, close it then reopen again.

Code:
(dictremove (namedobjdict) “ACAD_DATALINK”)

When you open again the Xref Manager, it is now clean

This tip was submitted by Ronald Maneja

17. Using User Defined Fields

Fields are always useful. One of the submission is using user defined fields in file of
Sheet Set Manager (DTS file) for automatic fill text field in label of drawings.

This tip was submitted by Josef Remes

18. Using Annotation Scaling

29
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Annotation scaling allow us to use different scales for dimensions and viewports in one
drawing. Trick is in using annotative dimensions and setup scales in properties dialog of
viewport.

This tip was submitted by Josef Remes

Additional Info: You can see details about annotation scaling here.

19. More About Dimension Properties

Dimension style has so many properties. You probably want to find out more about:

- Set mask as background in dimension style for better view a value of dimension
- Learn more about character for create dimension a openings and use special characters
for it.

This tip was submitted by Josef Remes

20. Extend/Trim to Edge Using Fillet/Chamfer Tool

Create right angle via command chamfer of fillet with setup values of chamfering to 0.
Nice character of this command is possibility to join lines to polylines. You can simply
draw first entity as polyline and then use chamfer; first select polyne, then line and
result is one polyline.

This tip was submitted by Josef Remes

Additional Tip from me: You can hold [shift] and pick your objects without changing
the distance/radius variable. This [shift] tips is also submitted by Vivian Carvalho.

21. Using Text Field to Show Area

Another use of fields. Using text field for get area from polyline… it’s great for
counting room places with curved shape.

This tip was submitted by Josef Remes

22. Using Your Own Zoom Shortcuts

As one of the posts here rightly says the use of left hand on the keyboard & the right
one on the mouse. I take a little more sharp turn on this. Change your command aliases
in such a way that you use only the keys on the left hand of the keyboard.

30
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Zoom in & zoom previous are the commands which we require very frequently. I like to
do it with very simple lisp. “zx” for zoom extents & “zs” for zoom previous. As I said
earlier both of these command fit on the left side of the keyboard & are very easy to
access. Here are the short lisps for your reference,

;FOR ZOOM EXTENTS


(defun c:zx()
(command “zoom” “E”))

;FOR ZOOM PREVIOUS;


(defun c:zs()
(command “zoom” “p”))

This tip was submitted by Vivian Carvalho

23. LISP for Print without Dialog Box

This command is the most favorite in my company. It prints in clicks. Complete the
page setup & then just type “pp” & enter while in layout. No need of seeing that print
dialog box again & again. Here is the lisp for your reference.

;THIS LISP IS FOR PLOTTING IN ONE CLICK- IN LAYOUTS ONLY


(defun c:pp()
(princ “Prints in one click,provided layout is set.

Made easy by Vivian Carvalho”)


(setvar “cmdecho” 0)
(command “plot” “n” “” “” “” “n” “n” “y”))

This tip was submitted by Vivian Carvalho

24. Using Zero Fillet without Changing the radius

We all require to make zero fillets many a times. But the fillet command remembers the
last radius we have input which is controlled by a system variable “filletrad”. To make
zero fillets we need not change the radius every time. It is easily done by the use of shift
key.

Simply activate the fillet command (by toolbar or the shortcut key) then press & hold
down the shift key & select the lines you want to fillet. This overrides the “filletrad”
variable, while still maintaining it after the command is over.

This tip was submitted by Vivian Carvalho

25. Offsetting an entity to the current layer

When we invoke the offset command the following appears on the command line

“Specify offset distance or [Through/Erase/Layer] : “


On this instance type in “L”

31
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The command line will say


“Enter layer option for offset objects [Current/Source] : “
On this instance type “c” & continue the command as usual. Now all the new entities
will be drawn in the current layer.

This tip was submitted by Vivian Carvalho

Thank You

32
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 10. How to: Enable Snap to Hatch

Old AutoCAD version allows you to snap to hatches. In later version, this is disabled by
default to optimize performance. However, if you want to enable this, you still can turn
it on in drafting settings.

This behavior is controlled by OSOPTIONS system variable. Read more here.

Enable Object Snap to Hatch


July 2, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

I have a several colleagues asking me, why they can’t snap to hatch object, just like
when they use their old AutoCAD. Actually, you still can. It seems that Autodesk has
disabled this feature by default, may be because performance issue. To activate it,
simply open option. You can do it by typing OP then [enter] or by accessing through
AutoCAD ribbon.
In option dialog box, drafting tab, in object snap options, turn off ignore hatch objects.

You can also set this option by changing OSOPTIONS system variable.
I snip this from help file:

0: Object snaps operate on hatch objects, and on geometry with negative Z values when
using a dynamic UCS
1: Object snaps ignore hatch objects
2: Object snaps ignore geometry with negative Z values during use of a dynamic UCS

See more AutoCAD tips in our contents list page!

33
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 11. Import XY Coordinates from Excel into AutoCAD

Do you need to draw lines using coordinate from excel file? The best
application to do this is Civil3D or other site modeling software.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it using vanilla
AutoCAD! Read the details in Shaan Hurley’s Blog.

http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2009/06/import-xy-coordinates-from-
excel-into-autocad.html

Import X,Y Coordinates from Excel into AutoCAD

I am currently on vacation but wanted to share a great AutoCAD Tip from my friend the
AutoCAD Trainer Guy Michael Beal. Michael always has great tips and clear
instructions in his monthly “Michael’s Corner” available on the web as well as a
monthly newsletter.

The following tip is from Michael’s Corner May 2009.

Prerequisite: The X and Y values need to be in a single cell in the format of X,Y for
this to work. If X and Y have their own column, you will need to make the necessary
adjustments to get them to X,Y format.

Instructions to Create a Drawing with X,Y Coordinates from Excel

1. In Excel, highlight and Copy the column of X,Y coordinates to be used to


generate the drawing.
2. Open Windows Notepad (Start All Programs Accessories Notepad).
3. Before pasting the coordinates, type LINE as the first word in the file (this will
launch the Line command when the script is run), then press [Enter].
4. Now Paste the column of coordinates into the file and you should see something
like that shown in the figure.
5. Close and save the .SCR file (remember where you're saving it).

34
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

6. In AutoCAD, launch the SCRIPT command, then navigate to where you saved
your file in the previous step, then select it and click Open. AutoCAD will
launch the Line command then, beginning at the first set of coordinates entered,
will draw line segments from one point to the next.

You may also want to consider…

 Replacing the LINE command with the PLINE command.


 Adding the word CLOSE as the last word in the script to have the linework close
back to the start point.
 Dragging the .SCR file out of Windows Explorer and dropping it into the
drawing window.

Do you have an AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture,AutoCAD Mechanical, or


AutoCAD MEP tips, tricks, or resources you would .like to share with the thousands of
readers of this Between the Lines blog? Send me your favorite tips, tricks and resources

35
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 12. Change Your MText to Lower Case or Upper Case

You might made a mistake and want to change the text case… either to lower case or
upper case. Do you need to re-type it? No way! It is easy to do.

1. Right click in the editor and select the CHANGE CASE option.
2. Alternatively, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + U to set the text to upper Case OR press
[Ctrl] + [Shift] + L to set the text to lower case

Thanks to Brian for the tip!

http://cadablog.blogspot.com/2008/08/quick-tip-mtext-upper-to-lower-case-and.html

Quick Tip-Mtext Upper to Lower Case and Back

Here is an Mtext Quick Tip that I am "borrowing" from Cadalyst's latest Tips and Tools
Weekly.

Have you ever typed a note in AutoCAD's Mtext editor only to find out that your caps
lock was on (or off depending on what you want to accomplish)? There are a few things
you can do to fix it. Right click in the editor and select the CHANGE CASE option. Or,
press Ctrl + Shift + U to set the text to Upper Case, OR . . . . press Ctrl + Shift + L to set
the test to Lower Case.

Very simple but handy.

Happy CADDING!

36
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 13. Group When You Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated!

If you need to modify object together, selecting them could be tedious. Especially when
your drawing is quite complex. Block is an option. However, working with blocks mean
that we need to edit in as a whole. Group might be more appropriate for this purpose.
There are some benefits that you can get by using groups when you think block is not
the right solution. See below. Block will only allows you to have one grip point, unless
you create dynamic block. Groups will maintain the original objects’ grip, but you can
easily select them in one click.

See Brian’s tip about group in this article. And that is a funky title Brian!

Groups - You Gotta Keep 'em Seperated

Do you ever need to move or edit objects together but still have the need to edit those
same objects individually? AutoCAD can do that with GROUPS.

Groups are different from blocks. With blocks, you can manipulate the block as a
whole, and that’s it. If you need to edit a part of the block, you have go into the block
editor (more or less) and make your changes. This will change every instance of the
block in your file.

With Groups, you can edit the object but it won’t change other instances of that group.
And you can’t share groups from file to file.

One example of where you might want to use the group command is in details. If you
have a sheet file that has several details on it, you might need to be able to edit each
detail, but you also want to move them around, scale them, etc. Drawing notes and
labels can also be used in groups. Perhaps you have a title that is a different font or
height. You can change this in the MTEXT editor, but you want to keep the integrity of
the text properties in tact. So you create on instance of MTEXT for the note title (bold
and underlined) while you create a second Mtext instance underneath it that has
standard text properties in it. You want them to stay together but you need to edit them
individually. Groups work well here.

Making groups is rather easy. Start the group command (type in GROUP).

Fill out the GROUP NAME field (to name your group) and enter a description. If you
don’t enter a description you can always fill this out later. Then hit the NEW button.
Select the items you want to group and hit enter. You’re done. You now have a group.

So, what can you do with a group? I can GRIP edit the items individually, or I can
move/copy/scale the group as a whole. Double clicking the text in a group won’t invoke

37
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

the text editor. You have to start the text editor command then select your text to change
it.

Now what else can I do with a group? Open the GROUP Manager (type in GROUP).
You will get a list of every group in the file. Pick one, and then hit the HIGHLIGHT
button. That group will be highlighted in your file making it easier to find. A ZOOM TO
feature would be nice. You can remove the selectable feature from a group, if you want
to (do this to be able to delete a specific item). That will remove your ability to
copy/rotate/scale/move the group as a whole. You can put it back later if you want to.

With the Group Manager, you can add or remove items from a group. Click the proper
button and then select the items to add/remove to/from the group. You can reorder the
order in which the groups appear in the manager, you can explode a group, rename it or
edit the description.

Try out the group command. It’s a way of managing the objects in your files that is a
little less permanent and easier to edit than a block.

This tip idea came from a CAD-a-Blog reader, Sony Khatri. If any one else has a tip
idea please let me know. I will be happy to take a look at it. I will always give
credit and a link to your website if you want me too.

Happy CADDING!

38
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 14. Eleven killer AutoCAD macros for viewport

Do you work with viewport and layout? Paul Munford shares eleven great macros to
make you even more productive with viewports! Read all the eleven killer macros here.

Eleven Killer Tool palette Macros for


working with AutoCAD Viewports
December 20, 2011 by Paul Munford 8 Comments

If you enjoy tinkering with AutoCAD, you may have noticed how every command is
triggered by a complicated looking bit of text. If you don’t know what I’m referring to –
type ‘cui’ at the command line and select one of the commands in the bottom left
window. You should see something like this:

This command string:

‘^C^C_line’

Is known as a command Macro, and you can create your own command Macro’s to help
speed up your workflow.

In this post I want to share some commands Macro’s that I use to help me speed things
up when I’m working with AutoCAD’s paper space viewports, and I’ll show you how to
set these up on a tool palette for easy access.

Setting up.
Before we start work, I want you to open up your company standard AutoCAD template
DWG file. Navigate to paper space, make your company standard viewport layer active

39
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

and create a viewport. I’ve used a layer called ‘VPORTS’ for this exercise, but you
should use the appropriate standard layer.

Tip: If you don’t have a company standard template read Edwin’s excellent post on
templates here.

Setting up a tool palette.


In this post I am advising you to host your new tools on a tool palette, simply because
tool palettes are easy to set up, maintain and migrate. You could apply these techniques
in the CUI instead and build your custom commands into a tool bar or ribbon tab… but
that’s for another time.

To open the tool palettes go to:

View Ribbon tab > Palettes panel > Tool Palettes

Or type ‘toolpalettes’ at the command line and hit Enter.

Now you have your tool palettes open, right click over any palette and choose ‘New
Palette’. You can name your new palette anything you like; I’ve called mine ‘ACME
VPORTS’.

Note: Tool palettes are not saved until the drawing is closed.

Creating a new tool


The next part is the fun bit. Click on the viewport you created earlier and drag and drop
it onto the tool palette. You have now created your first tool – that was easy!

Note: Left Click on the viewport once to select it. Now with the viewport selected, left
click again and hold the left hand mouse button down. You can now drag the viewport
onto the palette to create the tool.

40
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

To test your tool, click on it. You should be prompted to draw a viewport. Once you’ve
created a viewport, click on it once to select it. Notice which layer it’s on? That’s right;
your new tool has created a viewport, on your company standard layer and it didn’t even
change the current layer while it did it.

Note: This tool will also create the layer it needs if the layer does not already exist in
the current drawing file.

I hope that you are already impressed – but we can do more.

How does it work?


To see what the tool is doing, right click over it and chose ‘Properties…’. I hope you
notice the ‘Command string’ box, about half way down. The command string that this
tool is running looks like this:

^C^C_vports

The ^C part of the macro is equivalent to pressing the ‘Esc’ key – it cancels the current
command. This command uses ^C^C because some AutoCAD commands need two
‘escapes’ to completely cancel out of the currently command. It is good practice to start
all your command Macro’s this way.

Note: Can you think of an AutoCAD command that would need THREE ‘escapes’ to
fully cancel out of it? Answers in the comments please…

The underscore before the command is used to ‘Internationalize’ the command. If you
are not working with the English language version of AutoCAD the command names
will have been translated. The underscore tells AutoCAD to use the default English
version of the command.

The ‘vports’ part of the string is exactly the same as typing ‘vports’ at the command
line.

I also want you to notice the boxes under the ‘General heading’. You can see that this
tool will create a viewport on the ‘VPORTS’ layer, and you can also override some of
the other properties here.

41
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Applying a little finesse.


There are a number of ways that you can personalize your new tool. You can change the
name to something that makes more sense to you. You can change the description (the
description value becomes a handy little tool tip when you hover over the tool on the
palette). You can also change the picture by right clicking over the picture and choosing
‘specify image’.

Back to the Macro.


In this case the command string that has been created uses the ‘vports’ command by
default. However, the vports command also has a purpose in Model space. Let’s change
the tool to use the ‘mview’ command instead, which only works in paper space.

42
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

All you need to do is change:

^C^C_vports

To

^C^C_mview

More viewport creation tools.


To create more tools, just right click over the tool and chose ‘copy’ and then hover
anywhere over the blank palette and choose ‘paste’.

Here is another example of an alternative command macro you could use:

^C^C_mview;f;

The semi-colon ‘;’ in this command strings is just like pressing ‘enter’ on your
keyboard. So the macro could be read as:

Hit ‘esc’ twice, type ‘mview’ at the command line, hit ‘enter’, type ‘f’ at the command
line and then hit ‘enter’ again.

Try it out. What do you get?

That’s right – a viewport, taking up all the available room on the drawing sheet. Writing
this into a command Macro allows us to do all that with a single click!

How about this one:

^C^C_mview;2;v;

This command string launches the Mview command with the ‘Two viewports, vertically
aligned’ options current. Just two clicks to create two viewports, on the right layer.

Here’s one more:

^C^C_mview;p

This command string uses the Mview command with the ‘Polygonal’ option to create an
irregular shaped viewport.

The final one in this section gets a bit more complicated:

^C^C_circle;\\_mview;o;l

This command string creates a circular viewport. It does this by running the circle
command, and then immediately afterward, running the Mview command using the
option to create a viewport from the last object created, in this case our circle.

43
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The two back slashes ‘\\’ are interpreted as pauses. In this case the user must pick the
centre point and radius of the circle. This is two clicks – therefore two back slashes.

Note: It is not easy to include error checking in a command macro. In this case the
macro expects two clicks, if the user decides to choose a method of creating a circle
other than ‘Centre radius’ the command will fail. If you need to include error checking
in your Macro’s you may need to use Lisp.

Locking and unlocking viewports globally.


For the next example, I want you to copy your tool as you did before; but this time,
open the tools’ properties and set all the values in the ‘General’ options to ‘use current’
except the layer control, which you should change to ‘0’. In this case, our macro won’t
be creating any geometry, so we don’t want those properties set.

The next example will help us speed up locking and unlocking viewports:

^C^C_mview;l;on;all;;

Run the command and then hit F2 to bring up the AutoCAD text window. Have a look
to see what commands the Macro is executing…

44
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

That’s right; this command string locks all the viewports in the current layout – very
handy to run before you close down your drawing for the day.

The reciprocal is this, which unlocks all the viewports in the current layout:

^C^C_mview;l;off;all;;

Turning the viewports layer on and off


To turn the ‘VPORTS’ layer on and off, we need to use the ‘layer’ command. Copy and
paste the tool as before, and add this command string to turn the ‘VPORTS’ layer on:

^C^C_-la;on;VPORTS;;

And this command to turn the ‘VPORTS’ layer off.

^C^C_-la;off;VPORTS;;

I hope by now that you can work out what these macros are doing. If you aren’t sure,
click the button to run the macro, and then hit F2 to bring up the command window and
see what’s happened.

Note: Replace ‘VPORTS’ with your layer name. If you layer name contains a space,
make sure that you put the layer name in quotes e.g. “VPORTS 1”. The layer name is
not case sensitive.

Freezing and thawing the viewports layer

45
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you would prefer to freeze or thaw the VPORTS layer, you can use these two macros
instead.

To freeze the ‘VPORTS’ layer:

^C^C_-la;f;VPORTS;;

To thaw the ‘VPORTS’ layer:

^C^C_-la;t;VPORTS;;

Round up and further reading


I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you found it useful. If you have any questions,
please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to know more about Tool palettes, Edwin has a great tutorial here:

http://cad-notes.com/2009/09/creating-your-own-autocad-palette/

If you’d like to know more about command macros check out the developer help files.
You can find the help files online here http://cadso.co/t17wRy.

46
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 15. Get the Most of Multiline Attributes

AutoCAD now allow us to use multiline attributes. This of course will take many
advantages from multiline text (not all), not just using simple single line text!

1. Now we can use text mask.


2. Now we can create stacked text in attributes.
3. And more multiline advantages!

Note: To enable stacking in block attributes, we need to change the system variable
ATTIPE to 1.

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack in our contest before.

47
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 16. The Forgotten Dimension: DIMROTATED

Do you ever have problem when dimensioning when the objects are staggered? Using
DIMALIGNED can’t do this. A great tip from Murray mention that we can use
DIMROTATED. See the comparison between DIMALIGNED and DIMROTATED
below.

There is no documentation or toolbar about it. It might be forgotten, but I’m sure you
will find it really useful! This tips was submitted by Murray Clack.

Tip 17. Fillet and Chamfer for Quick Modify

OK, you know what are fillet and chamfer for. Do you know that we can use fillet and
chamfer to quickly modify objects?

1. Trim and chamfer can be used to quickly create a corner. Use 0 as the radius (or
chamfer distance). They will extend or trim the lines. Hold [shift] to override the
radius/distance to 0 temporarily.
2. The method above will join the lines as polyline, if one of them is a polyline.
3. Use fillet to create arc to close parallel lines, regardless on the radius defined.

Tip 18. Align Texts Using Quick Properties Palette

Do you hate quick properties palette? Don’t! I know that many users immediately turn it
off because it makes AutoCAD slow and when the palette appears, it can block your
view. However, you should consider using it after read this tip. You can use it to quickly
align texts using quick properties palette. See this nice tip on CAD Forum.

48
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Simple alignment of drawing texts.


If you need to align several text entities (e.g. left-align texts to a border) just select all text
objects to be aligned (justified), open the Properties palette (Ctrl+1) and set a new common
X-coordinate (Geometry: X-position).

You can use the TJUST Express Tool to adjust text justification before changing its
alignment.

Tip 19. Filter Objects Using Quick Properties Palette

Another reason to use quick properties palette. We can use it to quickly filter our
selection. Orhan Toker shares this nice tip on Daily AutoCAD.

http://www.daily-autocad.blogspot.com/

49
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 20. How to: Create Multi Colored Line

Do you need to create a line that has multi color like below? It looks impossible, but yes
you can make it!

A nice trick by Vladimir Michl. See how to do it here in Xanadu!

How to make a multicolored line entity in


AutoCAD?
Although it may sound impossible - you CAN draw multicolored lines/polylines in AutoCAD.

MLINE functionality can be used for this. Use the MLSTYLE command to define a new
multiline style and define (element properties) two line elements, both with the offset equal
to 0. Set different colors to them (e.g. green and red). Use different linetypes, e.g. DASHED
and DASHED2 (you may need to Load them first) - for real-life applications you will
probably need to define your own linetypes. Save the new Mline style. Now use the MLINE
command to draw a polyline using this new mlstyle - it has alternating green/red colors!

You can use the same approach to define even three or more colors.

As AutoCAD allows to define complex linetypes containing text, you can even make
linetypes (mlines) with embedded text in a different color than the line (e.g. line in a
BYLAYER color and text always in blue). For this you need to define one complex linetype
containing text and almost no lines (e.g. only dots) plus a appropriate dashed linetype with
spaces for the text. To see the principle you can define such multicolor text linetype using
MLSTYLE with elements of DASHED and GAS (shipped with AutoCAD) linetypes. See the
BUDWEISER benchmark drawing (DWG also downloadable from
www.cadstudio.cz/download) for examples (benchmark #5).

50
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 21. How to: Convert Spline to Polyline

Do you need to convert your splines to polyline? The easiest way is if you have express
tools installed. You can use FLATTEN to quickly convert them. However, there are
more ways if it fails. See the other ways to do that in CAD Panacea.

Spline to Polyline
There are a number of ways to convert splines to polylines. Here are some of them.

 Flatten - if you have Express Tools installed, run the flatten command and select
the splines. They will be converted to LWPOLYLINES regardless of the setting
of PLINETYPE.
 AutoCAD 2009 with Bonus Pack 1 or later - Spline to Polyline is included in
the PEDIT command.
 SPL2PL.VLX - This is a free tool from dotsoft.com. After you download it,
drag and drop the .VLX file into the AutoCAD editor, then run the command
SPL2PL. This tool will create a POLYLINE or LWPOLYLINE depending on the
setting of the system variable PLINETYPE.
 WMFOUT/WMFIN - Run the WMFOUT command, enter a filename, then
select the splines. Now erase the spline, and then run the WMFIN command.
Use the upper left corner of the viewport as the insertion point, and then scale it
2X. The resulting entity is a POLYLINE.
 Save As R12DXF - If you save a drawing as R12 DXF format, all splines will
be converted to POLYLINE entities.

51
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 22. How to: Modify Objects With Non-Uniform Scale

This is a challenge for me before. I tried to create a circular railing. In elevation view, it
should be getting tighter like below.

The solution is quite simple. But it’s a boring repetitive task. You need to create the
railing panel as a block, then insert it with different scale on one axis. See the complete
explanation here.

How to: Modify Objects With Non-


Uniform Scale
August 6, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 4 Comments

This image below was drawn in AutoCAD. Take a look at the railing in red circle. How
can we make baluster like that?

52
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

It’s just actually a simple, boring repetitive task. As you can see, I use the baluster in all
railings. I made it as a block.

After I have it as block, I can insert it and squeeze the X scale a little. I only change the
X scale, but I keep Y and Z scale 1.

To do that, make sure you uncheck the “Uniform Scale” option when you insert your
block.

53
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

It could be 0.90. Then I repeat the process and place the next one with X scale 0.80. The
next one 0.75. I repeat the process until the last baluster. To get the correct scale, you
might need to do some trials. But you get the idea.

There are many things you can do with non uniform scale. This is just one of it.

If you ever need to scale your object non-uniformly, what do you need it for? Can you
share with us?

You may also like -

54
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 23. How to: Create 2D Isometric Drawing in AutoCAD

AutoCAD has a setting that allows you to draw 2D isometric diagram. You can activate
the ‘isometric mode’ by changing the snap grid style. See the details how to set it in this
post: Isometric Drawing in AutoCAD

Isometric Drawing in AutoCAD


September 8, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

If you work in plant industry, then you might need to draw isometric drawings. If you
use AutoCAD, you may wish you can do it easily. You can.

It’s not a 3D drawing, but 2D drawing by simply change your drawing orientation. You
can do it by using snap, then change it’s style to isometric.

Command: SNAP
Specify snap spacing or [ON/OFF/Aspect/Style/Type] <10.0000>: S
Enter snap grid style [Standard/Isometric] <S>: I
Specify vertical spacing <10.0000>:

You can change your plane by typing ISOPLANE [enter] then select left, top, right.

Read more about creating isometric planes and circle on Heidi’s blog.

You may also like -

55
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 24. How to Create Isometric Text and Dimension

In tip 23, you know how to create isometric drawing. But do you know how to create
isometric text and dimension like above? See how you can do it in AutoCAD Isometric
Text and Dimension

AutoCAD Isometric Text and Dimension


September 10, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 13 Comments

Previously, I wrote about isometric drawing in AutoCAD. It’s


not actually AutoCAD 3D drawing. But changing your cursor
orientation will make it easier to draw isometric drawings. But
have you tried to annotate your isometric drawings? How about
dimensions and text, is it appear properly? No it’s not. The
drawing looks isometric, but not the annotations.

So how can you create isometric annotations?

If you use vanilla AutoCAD, there is no direct or easy way to do it. But a little work
around could achieve what you want.

Isometric Text

First, create two styles. Use oblique angle 30 deg for one style and -30 deg for the other.

Now place your text (single or multi line), change the rotation to 30 deg or -30 deg. It
depends on where you want to put it. See next image as reference.

56
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Specify rotation angle of text <0>: -30

Try to create it with several style and text angle combination. Well, basically these three
are all you need.

Isometric Dimension

What about dimensions? You also have to create two styles. One of the style use 30 deg
text style, and the other one use -30deg.

Now place aligned dimension.

Now we have to do a little modification.

57
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Activate DIMEDIT [enter], choose OBLIQUE, then give 30 or -30 as oblique angle.
Once again, depends where your dimension is.

Command: DIMEDIT
Enter type of dimension editing [Home/New/Rotate/Oblique] <Home>: O
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Enter obliquing angle (press ENTER for none): -30

See this image as reference.

Now if you examine the drawing carefully, the dimension arrows don’t look right. They
don’t look isometric yet. We will cover this on the next tutorial: how you can create
isometric dimension arrow.

I know it’s not fun to do those steps, but it’s the only way if you use vanilla AutoCAD.
If you have experience in macro, you can create your own command in CUI or even
create an AutoLISP program.

58
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 25. How to: Create Isometric Dimension Arrow

Many people may not notice about this one. See the dimension arrow in the isometric
drawing. It doesn’t look right. It suppose to look like below.

This tip will show you how to create an isometric arrow for your dimension. This tip
can also be used to create your own dimension arrow. See the tip here: Isometric
Dimension Arrow

Isometric Dimension Arrow


September 18, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 2 Comments

I have posted a couple tutorial how to draw isometric drawing and dimensions. If you
look at the dimensions closer, there’s something not right. The dimensions are still using
the default style, which is not isometric at all.

In this post, we will create a new arrow to fixed this. You can use this technique to
create your own later. But now, we just use it for isometric drawing. The original post
was written in Indonesian by Pither Rukka, one of our contributor.

First, you have to create a drawing, how you want your arrow look like. I create
something like below. Make it pointing to right. You may want to use ellipse or
something else. You can also use lines, arc, hatch pattern, etc. But let’s create something
easy first.

Three things you can use as a guide when you draw it:

1. Use angle about 30deg, because it is the default angle for isometric drawing in
AutoCAD.
2. Draw a dimension using existing style. Refer to the default arrow for your
drawing size.
3. Now related to #2, check your dimension style. You have to create the drawing
as large as size 1. If you have your referenced arrow size 100 in your style, then
resize your drawing to 1/100.

59
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Create it as an AutoCAD block. Define your insertion point like below.

Now open dimension style dialog box. Modify your isometric dimension style, in
symbols and arrows tab, change your first and second arrow heads to user. Then select
your block.

Check your drawing now.

60
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Looks better. But there is something still not right. Take a look at dimension showing
700 value. It’s not supposed to look that way. How to fix that?

Well, there is no other way. Just like before, you have to create another style for it. Want
to try it by yourself?

You may also like -

Tip 26. How to: Force Styles to Match Your Standard

One problem we have in daily work: we need to match some drawings to our styles.
Creating new drawing to match our dimension styles, text styles, layers, etc is easy. The
problem is when we already have a drawing with different styles. Or worse, the styles
have the same name but the properties are different! This tip probably can help:
enforcing Dimension Styles Across Your Drawings

Enforcing Dimension Styles Across Your


Drawings
June 15, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 2 Comments

I found this question has been asked twice in CADTutor forum in the past two days.
How can we apply new dimension styles across our drawings? You may already created
some (or many) drawings with different styles. Now you want to apply the same style to
all your drawings. How we can do that?

Although this article is written to solve the dimension style problem, this technique can
be applied to layers, dimension styles, linetypes, and text styles.

61
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Copying Styles From One Drawing to Another

This is one way you can do. Let’s say we already have one drawing that we consider as
a standard. We can copy the dimension styles using design center. Design center allows
you to browse the styles within your drawings. You can then drag and drop the styles to
your opened drawing. Now you have the dimension styles in your drawing!

The best thing to maintain your drawing standard is drag and drop everything you
consider as standard in an empty drawing, and save the file as a drawing template
(dwt). So every time you start a drawing using that template, you already have the
standard styles.

The downsides about this method are:

1. You only copy the styles to your drawing. After you have the styles in your
drawing, you will still need to select your objects and change their style to the
new one.
2. if you already have dimension styles with the same name, AutoCAD will ignore
it and will not change the existing styles definition. You will see this warning:
Dimstyle(s) added. Duplicate definitions will be ignored

Using CAD Standard

One feature that I can think can do it better is using CAD Standard. We need to place
all the dimension styles in a drawing, then save it as drawing standard (dws).

In AutoCAD ribbon> manage tab> CAD standards panel, click configure tool.

62
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Add the dws file you save before as your standard file. Now let us run the cad standard
checker!

There are some problems can be found by cad standard.

1. The dimension style in your drawing may not exist in your drawing standard.
You need to choose a standard dimension style to replace it.
2. The dimension style in your drawing have the same name with the style in your
drawing standard, but the properties are not standard. You can force AutoCAD to
change all the properties to match your standard dimension style.

You need to do this in each your drawing. If you have 50 drawings, then you need to do
it 50 times. It hurts, but this is a reminder for us to start implementing cad standard as
soon as possible!

I’m not sure if there is any other way we can do to solve this problem with vanilla
AutoCAD. It’s possible that someone already made AutoLISP or some programming to
do this. Do you have any suggestion?

63
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 27. How to: Select Objects with Windows Behavior

AutoCAD is a very unique application. It has different way to use shortcut. It has
different way to ask input from the users. While other application use dialog box,
AutoCAD use command line. And selecting objects is different to. In most Windows
application, when we select a new object, then the previous selection set will be cleared.
We need to hold [ctrl] or [shift] to add objects to selection set. You may not use
AutoCAD that much, so you want AutoCAD to behave like other application you have.
You can set the selection behavior by changing the PICKADD system variable to 0. The
default value is 2.

Manage
Tip 28. How to: Set All Objects’ Properties to ByLayer

I never like when I receive drawings with many of the properties are overridden.
Especially if they are all are drawn in Layer 0! Sometimes I need to change the
properties back to ByLayer. It should be easy to do, just select the objects and change it
from the properties drop down menu… right? Not really! Objects’ properties within
blocks will not be changed. We are lucky that we have this tool: SETBYLAYER.

If you have problem using it, see the detail here.

Set All Your Objects Properties Back to


ByLayer
August 4, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 8 Comments

64
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

I don’t like when I receive AutoCAD drawings with the properties overridden to other
than ByLayer. It’s a bit hard to distinguish between layers in that drawing. I usually can
determine objects layer when I see their color.

There are many ways to change them back to ByLayer. One popular method is to select
all objects and set the properties to ByLayer or using Match Properties.

But it will be a problem when it has blocks that also have it’s property
overridden.AutoCAD actually has a very handy tool for this purpose: SETBYLAYER.

You can type it in command line/ dynamic input or accessing menu modify>change by
layer. Or you can find it in home tab> modify panel. Expand the panel and you should
see this command like below.

You can see that this tool will change these properties to ByLayer:

1. Color
2. Linetype
3. Lineweight
4. Material

By default, this command will change all those properties. However, you can choose
only specific properties to change. For example, you want to change the color and
lineweight to bylayer, but you don’t want to change the others.

You can also see that this tool can change ByBlock to ByLayer. And you can also
change objects inside blocks!

Command: SETBYLAYER
Current active settings: Color Linetype Lineweight Material
Select objects or [Settings]:
Specify opposite corner: 167 found
Select objects or [Settings]:
Change ByBlock to ByLayer? [Yes/No] :
Include blocks? [Yes/No] :
167 object modified.

This is a great tool to implement your CAD standard to a drawing. It won’t take long to
restore all properties to ByLayer!

65
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 29. How to: Purge Persistent Layer

Purge is the first tool that come in mind when we need to purge our layer. However,
some layers are persistent and can’t be purged. If this annoys you, then this tip can be
the cure. See this tip how to remove the persistent layer in JTB World.

http://blog.jtbworld.com/2008/11/purge-layers-that-dont-want-to-be.html

Purge layers that don’t want to be purged in AutoCAD


Want to clean up you drawings from extra or garbage layers?

The obvious way to purge layers is to use the Purge command but sometimes it’s not
enough. Purge might need to be run several times. Make sure to select purge nested
items.

I got a request per email and the not so obvious tip that worked was the following:

Try to open the drawing with RECOVER or run AUDIT on it and then run PURGE and
select all and also purge nested items and it will probably go away. Sometimes this
needs to be repeated several times.

Notice that you cannot purge

 the active or current layer


 layers with objects
 layer 0
 layer Defpoints (It can be purged if you remove all dimensions)
 layers in XREFs (xref-dependent layers)

In the Purge dialog box you can find items you cannot purge.

66
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Layers can exist nested in blocks. They can be used by empty text strings
(QTEXTMODE can be used to show these) or lines without length or even viewports
that have the layer frozen.

LAYMRG (Layer Merge) or LAYDEL (Layer Delete) might be able to help you either
merge the layer to for example layer 0 or if you don’t care what’s on the layer delete it.
LAYWALK is also useful to see what is in each layer and can purge unreferenced
layers.
LAYTRANS can also purge layers. In the Layer Translator, right-click in the Translate
From list. Click Purge Layers.

To use the filters in the Properties palette (QSelect) can also work but you might need to
explode everything several things first.

Another way to generally purge a drawing is to Wblock the entire drawing to a new
drawing or use –WBLOCK and * for whole drawing or you can Wblock selected
objects.

You can also try to isolate the problem by deleting 50% of the drawing, try to purge and
then keep repeating it until nothing is left. If the layer is still there it might be used by
some kind of object that is not purged using the plain purge command. It might be

67
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

something in a vertical like AutoCAD Architecture and then you have to maybe purge
using the style manager.

DXF can also help. Save as DXF or use DXFOUT command and open in a text editor
and search for the layer to see where it is used.

SmartPurger can help you automate your purging and scripting work.

What is your trick to purge layers?

68
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 30. Which Objects are on Which Layer?

When we have a quite complex drawing, it is become hard when we need to check
which objects are on which layer. Our hero to easily check this is Layer Walk or
LAYWALK.

See the animation how it works here. Mark W Kiker also write a detailed tip on his blog
here.

http://www.caddmanager.com/CMB/2007/09/autocad-2008-layer-walk/

AutoCAD 2008 – Layer Walk


CADDManager on September 12th, 2007

Let’s take a stroll down Layer Lane with Layer Walk

Issue the command and you will see a list of all the layers in your DWG.

By highlighting one of them, you will see only the layers on that highlighted layer.

Select another layer and you see only that layer.

69
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now the fun begins…

In the layer list, you can…

 Click a layer name to display the contents of a layer. (what we just did)
 Double-click a layer name to turn the Always Show option on or off. This will
display a small asterisk next to the layer name. Now when you select another
layer the asterisked layer(s) will stay visible.
 Press CTRL and click layers to select multiple layers.
 Press SHIFT and click to select layers in a sequence. (shown below)

 Press either CTRL or SHIFT and double-click in the layer list to turn the Always
Show option on or off.
 Click and drag in the layer list to select multiple layers.

Make sure the Restore on Exit box is checked. Then when you close the dialog box, all
the layers will be restored as they were when you entered the command.

70
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 31. How to: Place Dimensions or Hatches to a Predefined Layer

Managing layer standard sometimes very hard to do. We might miss changing the layer
accidently before placing our dimension or hatches. If you do care about layering
standard and want to prevent your user from making mistakes, Vladimir Michl shares
this tip. This is 5 ways you can do to prevent the mistakes in Xanadu.

http://www.cadforum.cz/cadforum_en/qaID.asp?tip=5131

How to place dimensions or hatches automatically to


preset layers?
If you want to draw your dimensions, hatches, points or text always to fixed predefined
layers, you can use several methods how to do this in plain AutoCAD (some vertical
AutoCAD versions and add-ons offer this function automatically):
1. you can customize (no programming) your AutoCAD toolbars so that the
dimension functions will always start with a layer switch command:
_-LAYER;_Make;myDims;;_QDIM
2. place dim commands or hatch patterns onto a user Palette (Ctrl+3) and in the
properties of these items (rt-click, Properties) set the given value for the Layer
property; if you start commands from palettes, this is the best option for you
3. use a .LSP program to redefine (_UNDEFINE) the _DIMxxxx commands so that
they will always start with a layer switch command (_-LAYER)
4. attach a reactor to the dimensioning commands which will automatically switch to
a specified layer (and then switch the layer back)
5. you can also change layer ex-post - use QSELECT or the Properties window to
select all dimensions and then change their Layer property to the target layer

Probably the most effective way are the palettes (2) and reactors (4). As an example of
such reactor you can use the free utility AutoLay (see www.cadstudio.cz/download) or
FLay (see www.cadstudio.cz/download), which places all drawn dimensions, hatches and
texts to fixed predefined layers. Just load the LISP utility into AutoCAD (APPLOAD) and
switch it on with the AutoLay (or FLay) command.

E.g. for FLay, you just prepare a simple text file FLay.tab with layer names for the individual
object types (this file is loaded by the FLay utility). That's all, you can use standard
commands. An example (hatches, red texts):

* Texts 1
TEXT MTEXT DTEXT
* Hatch
HATCH BHATCH

71
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 32. How to: Create Layer List from a Drawing to Excel Table

Need to report all your layers and their properties to an Excel table? Don’t be afraid…
It’s easy to do! You can use this tip by Jimmy Bergmark.

Copy Layers in AutoCAD to a list or Excel


I tried this in AutoCAD 2004 and it didn’t work but in AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD
2009 it works (possibly some earlier versions too, but I don’t have them installed to try
in).

You can select one, many or all layers (CTRL+A or right click and select all) and then
press CTRL+C. Then just paste into Excel, Word or even directly to AutoCAD.

If all layers are copied a header is also included with all columns:

Status Name On Freeze Lock Color Linetype Lineweight Plot Style


Plot New VP Freeze Description

Notice also that if a column is hidden it will not be included.

I’ve known about this tip since before but got reminded that it also works in AutoCAD
LT.

72
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 33. Reduce Your File Size by Using Block

Block is one of the most important productivity tools, I wrote many tutorials about it,
even write an e-book to cover only this topic. Using reusable content is faster, easy to
manage, and can be used for many automation later.

What interest me is Robin Capper found that using block will also decrease your file
size significantly. Thank you for sharing Robin. If you have more than one instance of
your object, consider to use blocks. Especially in 3D, it can reduce file size
significantly.

Use Blocks, AutoCAD will reward the investment

Although our store plans use stripped down fitting models (most a few hundred KB)
sometimes you need more detail for presentation. Then it’s often faster, easier, to use
raw supplier source files (usually supplied as ACIS Solids no matter what they use to
make them) and accept the extra overhead.

Today I wondered why two


outwardly similar pallet rack files
differed in size by nearly 20MB.
Opening the large one I found
more than three hundred clothes
hangers had been used to
demonstrate the garment capacity.
Those hangers were all individual,
and reasonably complex, solids.
That was probably a result of the export process but imposed a huge overhead.

Taking one hanger, creating a block, deleting all the ”loose” hangers, then inserting the
same number of block instances made a dramatic difference. The result was a 3MB file
instead of the original 23MB. It was quicker to open and much more responsive to work
in.

Blocks aren’t new, they do take a bit of time to create but will reward that investment
every time you touch the file. If there is more than one of anything, seriously consider
making a block of it.

73
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 34. How to: Create Tool Palettes From Block Libraries

If you already have a drawing that you consider as a standard, you may want to use the
blocks from that drawing. The easiest way to manage the blocks is using tool palette. So
do we need to open the drawings, drag and drop each block to the palette? No way! You
can use design center and create the palettes just with a few clicks! Open design center,
find you file. Expand the (+) sign, right click on blocks. Do you notice the ‘create
design center’ tool? Click it and you will have all blocks in that file in a palette!

This is why you should consider to have drawings as block libraries.

Tip 35. How to: Re-path AutoCAD Drawing Reference Files

How can you update and re-path AutoCAD drawing reference files such as other
drawing files, fonts, or plot configuration files after a path has changed? Reference
Manager is the answer for this mess.

74
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

See the details in Shaan Hurley’s Blog here!

http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2009/06/autocad-reference-manager-
refman.html

AutoCAD Reference Manager “Refman”

How can you update and re-path AutoCAD drawing reference files such as other
drawing files, fonts, or plot configuration files after a path has changed?

Reference Manager is the answer. In AutoCAD 2004 the Reference Manager was added
and it is included with other AutoCAD based products like AutoCAD Architecture, and
AutoCAD Mechanical. The tool is easy to add drawings and see where reference files
were found or not..You can search, select all, invert selections, edit selected paths and
even use find and replace paths in batch. The Reference Manager can run outside of
AutoCAD and without AutoCAD running.

You can locate the Reference Manager from the Windows Start Menu > Programs >
Autodesk > AutoCAD 200x > Reference Manager

Cheers,
Shaan

75
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 36. How to: Duplicate Block Definition

When we want to create a similar block from existing block, how do you do it? Explode
it and recreate block with different name? You will have a lot of problem when you
have block with many dynamic block parameters and actions! In dynamic block editor,
we can save the block as different name. Yes, there is ‘save block as’ tool in open/save
panel!

Thank you for Murray Clack for the nice tip!

Tip 37. Using Mask and Alignment in Dynamic Block

Dynamic block can be very useful. There are so many tricks that we can do with
dynamic block actions. In this tip, you can use align tool for schematic drawings (P&ID,
electrical schematic, etc).

Not cool enough? Add mask so when you place the symbol, your line is automatically
‘trimmed’. When you need to move it, you don’t need to modify the line, because we
never actually trimmed it! Read the tip here. See another magic with masking in door
block here.

Interface and accessing tools

Dynamic Block Tutorial #3: Door

76
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

August 27, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 34 Comments

This is the last object we are going to create using AutoCAD dynamic
block. We are going to create a door. Basically it’s not that different with what we did
with dynamic block before. But this time, we are going to learn about action properties
in dynamic block. We are going to use wipeout as well.

Now, open your previous dynamic block tutorial file. We are going to create all of our
dynamic blocks in a single AutoCAD file. This file will be our block library. We will
create several dynamic blocks here. Don’t loose it until we finish our tutorial.

Creating the Geometry

In your AutoCAD file, create a new layer: A-Door, with color: blue, and lineweight:
0.09 mm. Set this layer as current layer.

Draw a 50×150 rectangle as the frame. Copy it to it’s right with 700mm distance. Draw
a rectangle 30×650 as door panel. Then draw an arc for swing symbol to complete it.

The last thing we are going to add is a wipeout. Activate it, and draw a rectangle
wipeout that covers the whole door width.

You will see the door frames are covered by the wipeout. Select the wipeout, right click,
then from context menu select draw order>send to back.

77
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Why do we use wipeout? We are going to host our door to a wall. We don’t want to trim
or modify our wall after door placement. And modifying the wall length will be reported
incorrectly. So we add wipeout to cover our wall later. We will try this at the end :)

Now as usual, create a block from this object. We will create it as dynamic block. Give
it name ‘Single Door’. You can define insertion point wherever you think appropriate.
Open your block in block editor.

Adding Parameters and Action

We are still using linear parameter. Add a linear parameter as below.

Delete the left arrow. Or you can change ‘number of grips value’ to 1 in properties
palette.

There are 3 action we need to add, based to this parameter:

1. Add a stretch action to stretch our door width. Similar to what we do with adding
action to dynamic block wall. This time we only need to create a small rectangle to
include the right door frame and the wipeout.

78
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

2. Add scale action to resize the arc door swing symbol. This action is very simple to
add. Just select the parameter, then select the arc. [ENTER] to finish.

3. Add another stretch action for resizing the door panel. Only select the door panel
when this action ask you to select object.

Parameter and Action Properties

Placing those action is easy I believe. But we are not finish yet. We are going to limit
the size. We don’t want AutoCAD users to change the door size without a guidance. We
will change some parameter properties just like we did when we create column. Select
the parameter. Change the Dist type to ‘List’ and click the … button to input distance
value list.

Don’t forget to change this parameter name to something like ‘width’ or ‘door width’.

*You may want to use Increment. But since the last time we used it, I think it will be
better to use list now.

79
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Add more values to define your door width.

The last one, is changing an action properties. Not only parameter has properties!
Remember the stretch action for the door panel? Where do you think the door panel will
be stretch? Horizontally!

We need to change a property to override this behavior. Select this action, open your
palette property. Under overrides category, change the angle offset to 90 degrees.

This will override the stretch action, it will stretch the door panel vertically even the
parameter is stretch horizontally.

Ok, we are done! Save block, and close block editor.

80
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you have difficulties with the tutorial, you can watch this video. But sorry, this video
don’t use WIPEOUT. But shouldn’t be a problem, because we are emphasizing on
parameters and actions.

One more thing. We still can see our wipeout frame. Let’s turn it off. Activate wipeout,
then type F [ENTER] to activate frame option. Type OFF [ENTER] to turn it off.

Command: WIPEOUT
Specify first point or [Frames/Polyline] <Polyline>: F
Enter mode [ON/OFF] <ON>: OFF
Regenerating model.

Try to stretch your door and don’t forget to try placing your door at walls!

*Notes:

1. If you can’t see the wipeout covering your wall, select your wall and change the
drawing order: send it to back.
2. You might want to add flip actions so you don’t need to mirror it.

81
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 38. Using Shift Key Combination

Every body want to work faster. And probably using less key or tools. Have you used
the [shift] key to speed up your work? You can access shortcuts, override tools, etc by
using [shift] key. See the common 6 [shift] key combination here.

6 SHIFT Key Combination You Might


Not Know
June 1, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 6 Comments

It is great to know that AutoCAD has so many productivity tools that we can use. Some
of us might use it, some might not. And the rest just don’t even realize that the tools
exist. Autodesk has change several command line tools, shortcut key combination
several times.

Many people don’t realize that using shift combination can increase their productivityt.
CAD Forum has listed all the keys, see the complete AutoCAD shortcut key here.

Here is a litle list that might interest you, because they are my favorites:

1. Hold [shift] + right click.

This shortcut key combination will display context menu for snap overrides. I love this
one. Try to hold [shift] then right click. Release, then press [E] to activate end point
snap.

82
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Just like other Windows compliant software, in this context menu we can hit underlined
character for shortcut key. We can activate snap overrides really quick using this
combination.

2. Hold [shift] for temporary ortho mode

Holding this key while you draw, will activate temporary ortho mode. Exactly like when
you activate ortho mode by pressing [F8]. But this is just temporary. I don’t use it much.

3. Hold [shift] + left click

When you select many object for modification, sometimes it’s easier to select it all, then
remove some objects from selection set.

Yes, you can type R then [enter] to change selection mode to remove. Then you can type
A then [enter] to switch back to add selection.

But you can also hold [shift] then select objects you want to remove from selection set!

4. Holding [shift] while chamfering and filleting

You know what will happen if we hold this shortcut key when we use chamfer or fillet?
It will override the distance or radius value, and will use 0 (zero) value! Pretty nice, I
use it a lot.

5. Holding [shift] while using trim/extend

When we use trim, sometimes we want to extend other objects to the same reference.
You don’t have to finish your trim session, and activate extend to do it. Just hold [shift],
then trim will be inverted to extend command. This work on the other way when extend
command is active, it becomes trim!

6. Holding [shift] and pressing [space]

This one is new. At least in older AutoCAD we use hold [crtl] then left click to cycle
between overlapped objects. This is what you can use so you can select overlapped
objects easier.

83
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Love keyboard shortcuts? If you love it, and you are using ribbon interface, you might
also interested to see that you can use ribbon shortcut!

What are your favorite keyboard shortcut, something that you can’t live without?

84
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 39. AutoCAD Command Alias

The most powerful shortcut in AutoCAD is the command alias. You simply need to type
L then [enter] to activate line. C for circle, etc. If you are interested to see the complete
list of the command alias… or may be want to customize it, you can see and edit your
acad.pgp file.

See how you can see and manage this alias commands.

Where Can I See AutoCAD Command


Alias List?
August 19, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 9 Comments

AutoCAD Command line is a very powerful feature, and I don’t think replaceable. I
know there are a lot of pros and cons about using command line in AutoCAD. But why
not use both? Personally I like using command alias as shortcut, but I found that it’s
difficult for people who rely heavily on this when learning other CAD application. But
doesn’t matter. When you use AutoCAD, you’ll want to use it optimally right?

You can see the command alias list and customize your own shortcuts by accessing edit
aliases in ribbon, manage tab, customization section.

Or if you use AutoCAD classic interface, you can access it from menu
tool>customize>edit program parameters (acad.pgp)

This will open your acad.pgp file in text editor (by default it’s notepad).

85
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

As you can see, this is a list of all your AutoCAD command aliases. They are your
shortcuts. Mine is default, so aliases for line is L. When I type L then [enter] will
activate the line tool. Typing LA [enter] will open the layer manager. Etc. They are very
useful shortcuts to work faster!

AutoCAD commands don’t work like any other Windows applications. In Revit or
Inventor, you simply press two keys as shortcut to activate a tool. No need to press
[enter]. But in AutoCAD you can use single character, or more than two.

You can edit the command aliases and change them to what you want. After you finish,
save this file. You might need to restart your AutoCAD after doing your modification.
(Or you can run REINIT to reload your acad.pgp – thanks to Alex Serdakowski)

Updates

I have comments from Alex Serdakowski and Marty saying that there is another way to
modify AutoCAD command aliases easily. We have to use express tool to do this. This
tool name is Command Alias Editor. You can access it from menu:
Express>Tools>Command Alias Editor.

86
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

It’s a great tool that I missed. If you haven’t had express tools installed, then you can’t
use this tool.

Where’s the Complete List of AutoCAD Command?

You can see the whole AutoCAD command in AutoCAD help file. See under command
reference>commands.

But do you really want to remember all of them? :)

So what is your favorite custom shortcut? I have some friends that use close character
on keyboard so they can access it quickly. Even they don’t mean anything anymore. For
example CC for copy. It’s faster than using CO or CP!

87
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 40. AutoCAD Keyboard Shortcuts

Almost all AutoCAD users (99% I believe) know the AutoCAD pgp shortcut. At least
how to use it. But do you know the shortcuts using function keys (F1 to F12), using
[ctrl], [shift], or [alt]? CADForum has the list. See the AutoCAD shortcuts list here.

Keyboard shortcuts defined in AutoCAD.


The standard AutoCAD menu (MNU/MNS/CUI) defines the following hotkeys:
F1 displays help
F2 displays text window
F3 switches object snaps
F4 toggles table mode
F5 toggles isometric planes
F6 toggles DUCS (switches coordinate display, till A2006)
F7 toggles grid display
F8 toggles ortho mode
F9 toggles snap
F10 toggles polar tracing
F11 toggles object tracing
F12 toggles dynamic input (2006+)

ESC cancel changes, cancel grips


TAB cycles osnaps
SHIFT (on object selection) removes objects
DEL erases objects (hold when pointing)

Ctrl+0 toggles clean-screen mode (2004+)


Ctrl+1 displays Properties window
Ctrl+2 displays DesignCenter window
Ctrl+3 displays Tool palette (2004+)
Ctrl+4 displays Sheet Set Manager, or Content Manager (2005+,
ADT2004)
Ctrl+5 displays Info Palette, or Project Navigator (2005-2007,
ADT2004)
Ctrl+6 displays dBConnect window
Ctrl+7 displays Markup Manager (2005)
Ctrl+8 displays Quick Calculator (2006+)
Ctrl+9 shows/hides Command line (2006+)

Ctrl+A selects all thawed objects (2002)


Ctrl+Shift+A toggles group selection (group/single)
Ctrl+B toggles snap
Ctrl+C copies content to Clipboard
Ctrl+Shift+C copies with reference point
Ctrl+D toggles coordinates display (dynamic UCS, till 2009)
Ctrl+E switches isoplanes
Ctrl+Shift+E pull a region to 3D (PRESSPULL, since 2010)
Ctrl+F toggles osnaps
Ctrl+G toggles grid display
Ctrl+H toggles Pickstyle (group and hatch selection)
Ctrl+Shift+H toggles Palettes display (2009+)
Ctrl+I toggles coordinate display (2009+)
Ctrl+J repeats the last command (Enter)
Ctrl+K displays the Hyperlink dialog
Ctrl+L toggles Ortho mode
Ctrl+Shift+L adds previously selected objects (2013+)
Ctrl+N starts new drawing

88
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Ctrl+O opens a drawing


Ctrl+P print a drawing
Ctrl+Shift+P toggles Quick Properties display (2009+)
Ctrl+Q quits AutoCAD (2004+)
Ctrl+R switches to the next viewport
Ctrl+S saves drawing
Ctrl+Shift+S saves drawing as (2004+)
Ctrl+T toggles the Tablet mode
Ctrl+U switches polar tracing
Ctrl+V pastes the Clipboard contents
Ctrl+Shift+V pastes contents as block
Ctrl+W toggles object tracing
Ctrl+X cuts contents to the Clipboard
Ctrl+Y redoes the undone action
Ctrl+Z undoes the last action
Ctrl+PgDn switches to the next layout (2004+)
Ctrl+PgUp switches to the previous layout (2004+)

Alt+F8 VBA macros


Alt+F11 VBA editor

temporary override keys (2006+):


Shift switches ortho mode
Shift+- switches dynamic UCS mode (2007+)
Shift+) switches object tracing mode (2007+)
Shift+. switches polar mode
Shift+A switches osnaps
Shift+E switches endpoint osnap
Shift+C switches center osnap
Shift+D disables osnaps and tracing
Shift+M switches middle osnap
Shift+Q switches object tracing osnap
Shift+S enables osnap override
Shift+W starts SteeringWheel (A2009+, fixed)
Shift+X switches polar tracing

CTRL+mouse cycles selection of overlapping objects (till 2006)


Shift+space cycles selection of overlapping objects in 2D (2007+)
CTRL+space cycles selection of overlapping sub-objects in 3D
(2007+)
CTRL+ALT extrudes the selected region into 3D - PRESSPULL (2007-
2009)
CTRL+arrow moves cursor
Arrow up/down - command history

CTRL+SHIFT+letter goes to the property in the Properties window


ALT+down arrow opens a list in the Properties window
ALT+up arrow closes a list in the Properties window
Of course all the Windows shortcut keys remain active as well (Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+F3, Ctrl+F6
etc.). Other shortcuts may be defined as user keys in the ACCELERATORS section of your
AutoCAD menu. Since AutoCAD version 2006 you can also use CUI to define so called
temporary override keys.

89
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 41. How to Cycle AutoCAD Commands

If you new to AutoCAD, and saw how the veterans and AutoCAD ninjas using the
command line, you probably want to do the same. The problem is AutoCAD has so
many commands and system variables. Someone told me it was like 900 something.
The good thing is, most command in command line also use similar name in ribbon.
Then we can cycle to find the tool. For example, you want to create a rectangle. You
tried to press R [enter], well it’s not the right one. Neither is RE. No need to guess like
that. Enter the first (or several) character and press [TAB] to cycle between

Tip 42. How to: Control Mouse Wheel Speed

Do you ever feel your mouse wheel is zooming to fast? You can change the
ZOOMFACTOR system variable. The default is 60, higher value will increase the zoom
speed and lower value will decrease the speed. 3-100 is the valid value. Thanks to
Shaan who share it on his blog.

Change the AutoCAD Zoom Speed with ZOOMFACTOR

Have you ever felt like the middle mouse wheel zoom is too fast or too slow in
AutoCAD? It can depend on the scale of the drawing and objects you are working on, or
perhaps even your mood. This speed of the zoom in and out is controlled by a system
variable named ZOOMFACTOR. The default of the system variable ZOOMFACTOR is
60. You type ZOOMFACTOR at the AutoCAD command line and then changing the
value. My preference is 40 so that I am not zooming in too fast of increments.

This is another one of those little settings that allow you to make AutoCAD more
tailored to your use whether you like warp speed zooms or turtle slow zooming with the
mouse wheel.

You can also set someone else's ZOOMFACTOR to 3 just for fun or torment but be sure
after watching them struggle to set it back. More Office AutoCAD Pranks

Another related system variable is ZOOMWHEEL which can change the direction of
the mouse wheel zoom to match another product such as Autodesk Inventor. Change the
Direction of the Middle Mouse Wheel Zoom in AutoCAD

Online AutoCAD 2010 documentation:

 AutoCAD Help
 Command Reference

90
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 43. How to: Reverse Mouse Wheel Direction

And do you ever feel the wheel direction is going the wrong way? If you use Inventor
primarily, then you want AutoCAD to behave like Inventor, not the other way. I know
you can reverse Inventor wheel. But you can use ZOOMWHEEL to control this
behavior in AutoCAD. Shaan Hurley shares this tip in Between the Lines.

Change the Direction of the Middle Mouse Wheel Zoom in AutoCAD

Perhaps you use AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor and prefer the direction Inventor
uses for the mouse middle wheel transparent zooms. You can change AutoCAD to
match the direction Autodesk Inventor uses by changing the AutoCAD System Variable
ZOOMWHEEL at the AutoCAD Command line.

AutoCAD by default when moving the wheel forward zooms in on an object while
Autodesk Inventor zooms out when moving the mouse wheel forward.

Setting ZOOMWHEEL to 0
Moves wheel forward zooms in; moving wheel backwards zooms out.(Default)

Setting ZOOMWHEEL to 1
Move wheel forward zooms out; moving wheel backwards zooms in. (Like Inventor)

91
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 44. Optimize Your Palette Placement

Autodesk has introduced palettes in AutoCAD. The advantage of using palette is, you
can change the value on the fly, without having to click OK and close it like in dialog
boxes. It is much easier to use, and you can always let it open and put it somewhere on
your screen. The problem is having all the palettes open will take a lot of screen space.
This tip will share how you can optimize the palette placement. So you can have the
advantages without sacrifice your screen space. Read the detail here.

Optimize Your Palette Placement


June 10, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

In the last several version of AutoCAD, Autodesk has changed many dialog boxes into
palettes. Properties dialog box, now become properties palette. XREF, Layer
Properties Manager, etc. They are all palettes.

92
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Why Autodesk changing those dialog boxes to palettes? It has to be good reasons for it.
With palette, now we can change those properties and applied instantly… on the fly. No
need to click apply or OK to see the effect. There might be more reasons for that. And I
believe ability to minimize palette is another benefit.

Tool palettes also allows you to quickly customize your tools, so you can use it later. No
programming knowledge is required!

Let the palettes open is taking a lot of space. I don’t think that palette are supposed to be
close as soon as we finish with it. Some palettes are used regularly. At least, I use
properties, layer properties manager, and reference manager palettes a lot. I prefer to
keep them open.

Palettes can be minimized with auto hide feature. On the upper left of the palette, you
will see |<> button. Clicking that will activate auto hide.

When you move away your pointer, the palette will be minimized. Only the title bar left.
This can save some space in your drawing area.

Still not enough? Right click over the title bar. Make sure the ‘allow docking’ is active,
then choose anchor left (or right, depends on your preference)

93
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Your palettes will be docked on the left side of drawing area. If you open more than one
palette, it will be arranged automatically.

Try to hover your mouse pointer over the title bar. The palette will be maximized.

What do you think? Do you prefer this new interface, or you prefer the old dialog
boxes? Personally I prefer the old dialog box, load faster. But it has some advantages.

94
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 45. Setup Your Workspace with Initial Setup

Workspace is very useful when you need to work with different environment. Or at least
when you need to set your own interface, template, etc. Since AutoCAD 2010, Autodesk
introduced Initial Setup. This is a wizard that you can use to easily setup your settings.
What I love the most about initial setup is we can easily define our template and
industry. Read about initial setup in Brian’s blog.

AutoCAD 2010 - Initial Setup

It’s that time of year again when Autodesk starts to unleash upon us its latest versions of
AutoCAD and other products.

There are several new features in AutoCAD 2010. The main three features that
Autodesk is strongly promoting are: Freeform Modeling, Parametrics, and PDF
Support. That being said, there are so many more enhancements and additions that
without the above mentioned new features, AutoCAD 2010 would have much to offer.

The two biggest updates are the Free-Form Modeling and the Parametrics. They will
therefore require the most scrutiny and discussion. I will cover them right after I discuss
the User Interface changes. Don’t worry; the UI is not new, just better.

Initial Setup

When you start AutoCAD for the first


time there will be an extra step. That step is called the Initial Setup. The Initial Setup is
essentially a workspace wizard that you can use to set your interface environment to
your specific industry. It will also allow you to pick certain workspace and drawing
templates. This process will create a new and unique workspace for you to work in
called Initial Setup. You can still use the 2D Drafting, 3D Modeling, and Classic
AutoCAD workspaces that come out of the box or any migrated workspaces that you
may have. You are not forced to use the Initial Setup Workspace, but you may find that
you like it. This step can be skipped with no harm done whatsoever. If you feel that you
missed out by skipping the process, just go to the Options Manager, User Preference
Tab, and click the Initial Setup button on the bottom left to start it again. If you used it
once, you can use it again to create a second (or third) workspace. I recommend

95
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

renaming your first Initial Workspace because when you create a second one, AutoCAD
2010 will use the name Initial Workspace 1, then 2, then 3, etc. I would name your
workspace according to the Industry and any specific details you included while setting
it up. But of course, feel free to name it whatever you want to. This tool can help you
create new workspaces quickly that are industry, template, and tool pallet specific with
little effort.

Happy CADDING!

96
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 46. Pin to Make It Stick!

Do you have favorite files or favorite tools? You can make your favorites sticky in
application menu or other part of your screen. See the pin icon?

If you like it, then pin it! Brian shares this tip on his blog.

AutoCAD 2009 – Like it? Then PIN it

AutoCAD 2009 now has a PIN feature in


almost every dialog box there is (keyword – almost). What do I mean by PIN you ask?
Great question.In this instance, to PIN something, means to hold it in place in order to
keep it visible.This is a process or feature that is popular in message boards on the
Internet.Autodesk just brought it over into AutoCAD.

Two questions:How do I PIN something and how do I know if it can be pinned? You
guys (and gals) really ask great questions. My readers are the smartest readers on the net.
I mean that.If something can be pinned, there will be an icon in that objects dialog box
that looks like a pushpin.See image at the left:

In order to pin it, just click the PIN looking icon. To “UN”-pin it, click the icon again.
Very simple.

If you want a file to stay listed in your menu-browser, just pin it. This is real nice when
you are working on a particular file over and over again.Some dialog boxes will
collapse, or partially collapse, but you can pin many of them opened.The Action
Recorder is like this.Pin it open to see more of the recorded actions that were recorded.

97
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can pin the Quick View Drawings, or Quick View Layout images to stay opened if

you want to.

Look for the pin, if it see it and you want it, click it. If you get tired of it (whatever IT is)
click the pushpin looking icon again to close the item. Very simple, just like I like it.
Happy CADDING

Tip 47. Control UCS Icon Position

When we open a new AutoCAD drawing, UCS Icon becomes available and will be
locked at the origin. However, if the origin remains in the middle of our drawing, UCS
Icon will disturb us as it will always be in the view. The solution is very easy… You can
change UCSICON system variable to Noorigin.

Try to see UCSICON properties too. You might like what you can change here.

Tip 48. Control Extended Tool Tip Behavior

Since AutoCAD has ribbon, Autodesk introduce ‘extended help’ when you let your
pointer a while on a tool. This is a great feature for people who just learn using
AutoCAD, and when we want to know a quick explanation on a tool.

For the veteran users, this extended help might not be so great. You might feel the tool
tip disturbs you. See how Brian’s shares his tip to control this behavior.

98
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

AutoCAD 2009-Extended Tooltips

AutoCAD Tooltips have been around for a long time. In AutoCAD 2009 Autodesk has
added Extended Tooltips. These add extra information to the tooltips if you wait around
a little bit longer. Tooltips provide information about a tool by hovering your mouse
over the command, tool palette item, icon, toolbar, etc. Keeping your mouse there
longer will engage the advanced tooltips.

More information is great, the first few times you need it. But once you have learned
what the command does, the advanced tooltips simply get in the way. A common
occurrence is to work on something, leave your mouse at one spot for a few seconds
only to have the information you are trying to read and use covered up by the tooltips.
This is very annoying. How do you deal with this?

There are a few options. This is AutoCAD, where everything can be customized (mostly

anythin g.) If you open your


configuration dialog (type in OP at the command line) and go to the DISPLAY tab,
there is a button you can push to turn tooltips off. That’s great, no more interference.
However, there are no more tooltips either.
If you want the tooltips, but not the Advanced, or Extended, tooltips, there is a button to
turn only those off. This may be the compromise you want. You get the tooltips, but not
the giant window of tooltips covering your work area.

A third option and one I suggest you try, is to set the time AutoCAD 2009 waits to show
the extended tooltips to a high number. Its default setting is 20 seconds. Set it 45 or 60.
Try it out until you find a number you can live with. Tweaking this setting will allow
you more time to keep your mouse still but still call up the extra data if you want it. You
might find that this will allow you to get that extra little help you need every once in a
while, but yet keep your screen open and friendly.

I hope this helps.

99
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 49. How to: Use Classic Layer Dialog

Layer Properties dialog box is now using palette. You can change anything without
having to close the dialog box to apply the changes. However, if you for any reason the
palette and want to use the classic dialog box… don’t worry. You still can have it.

It’s all about system variable. See how you can control this behavior in Daily AutoCAD.

Tip 50. How to: Use Ribbon Shortcut Key

Every application has shortcuts. AutoCAD might be has unique shortcut in command
alias. But now we can use ribbon shortcuts that can be applied to applications that have
ribbon! Microsoft Office applications have this shortcuts, and all Autodesk applications
with ribbon also have it. See how to

Maximize Your Screen and Speed Up


with Ribbon Shortcut
November 12, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

I know there are a lot of cons against AutoCAD (and other Autodesk products) after
they finally implement ribbon for tools navigation. Especially for old school users. They
feel like they have to start all over again to be familiar with this new interface. And
there are complaints that using ribbon is taking a lot of screen space. Some also mention
that ribbon is slowing their work, because activating tools from it takes longer time. I’m
not with or against ribbon. But I hope this post can help.

I think ribbon is just like toolbar. But it groups the tools on a task base. When you draw,
then you see your drawing tools. When you annotate your drawings, you see annotation
tools. As simple as that. The structure is better. I know MicroStation has implement task
based tools since XM. And I feel it works very well for Autodesk vertical products. May
be there are some resistance at first, but I believe the users will manage. But AutoCAD
users are different. They have different behavior. I believe that’s why Autodesk still

100
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

provide the classic workspace in AutoCAD, but not in the others.


Honestly I don’t think using ribbon is that bad. It’s just like using toolbar. We only need
spend some time to find where are our tools and get used to it. I don’t know whether
Autodesk planning to get rid the classic interface later or not. But I think getting used to
it is a wise decision.

Getting Faster Access to Any Tools

I don’t feel clicking the ribbon take a lot of time. The delay is just the same with toolbar.
Except for the famous big A letter, there’s a delay. I am a command line ninja, so I don’t
use it that much anyway.
Since I’m a keyboard shortcut lover, I’m excited to see now we can use shortcuts in
ribbon.

No other application use command line like AutoCAD does. I had a hard time when I
have to learn and use other application, CAD or not. I also get frustrated when I teach
Revit, Inventor, or MicroStation to AutoCAD users. They tend to hit the keyboard very
fast. They quickly press [esc] repeatedly when they feel it’s not working. It only works
on AutoCAD.
The beauty of using this new shortcut is, it works for every item in ribbon.
Let’s try it. Press [alt] and then [H]. You can press it together or consecutively. Then
press LI to activate line. Try it again until you feel comfortable with the key position
and sequence.
Now try [alt] then [H]. Now press RE to activate rectangle. Try it several times. Not that
bad isn’t it?
It’s faster to just type L then [enter] for line and REC [enter] for rectangle. Sure they
are.
But now try press [alt] [H] then LA. This will activate the layer selection drop down.
How do you do it in the past? No quick way to do it, isn’t it?

Now we can select objects, and change their layer using this shortcut. Sure, you can also
change the active layer.
There are several tools now can be activated very quickly using ribbon shortcut. You
just need to give it a try.

Getting More Space in Your Screen

I’ve posted 10 AutoCAD Ribbon Tips You Should Know, there’s a tip from Mark W
Kiker how to hide your ribbon. If you hate ribbon because you feel it takes a lot of your

101
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

screen space, you can hide it anyway.


Not required so much space anymore, isn’t it?

You can minimize it once so you can see the tab and panel name. Unfortunately, the
ribbon shortcuts are disabled in this mode. Minimize it again, then you will see only the
ribbon tab name. I’m glad that the ribbon shortcuts work in this mode!
Now ribbon doesn’t take a lot of space, and you can work fast with ribbon shortcut. I
now some of you may still say no. But give it a shot won’t hurt, doesn’t it?
Like I said, I’m not with or against this feature. If you decided to use it, this post might
be useful for you. And let’s all pray that Autodesk won’t apply major interface changes
on the next version again :)

102
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 51. How to See Complete AutoCAD System Variable List

In many cases, you can change the options through option dialog box. However, there
are many that requires you to change it in system variable by typing it in command line.
And if you seriously want to create custom command or going further to programming,
you need to know the system variables. System variable might change from version to
version. Even if you are a veteran programmer, you might need to check them from time
to time. Read this tip: how to: see Your Complete AutoCAD System Variable List

How to: See Your Complete AutoCAD


System Variable List
August 28, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 2 Comments

If you are going to do some customization in AutoCAD, then


it’s unavoidable that you will have to change some system variables. I’m not good in
customization. So having a system variable list is very helpful. I know there are some
websites provide this list. But some of them are for old version of AutoCAD. Some of
the sys var might already have been removed. Some might have been changed. And if
you use old version of AutoCAD, it might not even existed yet. Why not you try to look
inside your AutoCAD?

If you are not familiar with system variables, they are the variables that control your
AutoCAD behavior. Every options you save, current layer, color, or lineweight, etc.

For example, we can turn on/off object snap by pressing [F3] – if I’m not mistaken it
was not F3 before, right? –. But if you are creating a new command like in this example
or this example, let’s say you want to turn off OSnap temporarily, you’ll have to use
system variable. You can change the SNAPMODE value to 0 (off) or 1 (on).

Another example, if you want to create a button that change your active layer to
‘Boundary’ and activate line, you have to use system variable to change the current
layer. you can use CLAYER to control the current layer. There are a lot of things you
can control by using system variables.

So how you can see the whole system variables? Simple.

Using SETVAR
Just type SETVAR [enter] then type ? [enter]. Enter once again to see the whole list.
You need to press [enter] several times to see them all.

103
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Command: SETVAR
Enter variable name or [?] <CLAYER>: ?
Enter variable(s) to list <*>:
3DCONVERSIONMODE 1
3DDWFPREC 2
3DSELECTIONMODE 1
ACADLSPASDOC 0
ACADPREFIX “C:\Documents and Settings\edwinp\application
data\autodesk\a…” (read only)
ACADVER “18.0s (LMS Tech)” (read only)
ACISOUTVER 70
ACTPATH “”
ACTRECORDERSTATE 0 (read only)
ACTRECPATH “C:\Documents and Settings\edwinp\application
data\autodesk\a…”
ACTUI 6
AFLAGS 16
ANGBASE 0
ANGDIR 0
ANNOALLVISIBLE 1
ANNOAUTOSCALE -4
ANNOTATIVEDWG 0
APBOX 0
APERTURE 10
AREA 0.0000 (read only)
Press ENTER to continue:

Using System Variable Editor


If you have express tools installed on your computer, it’s even easier. You can use
system variable editor. Not only see all the variables, you can also backup your current
variables and restore them later.

See about system variable editor here.

104
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 52. How to backup system variables

If you have express tools installed on your machine, then you can see the system
variable list and change the system variable easily. You can open a dialog box that show
you the list, show you the current value, initial value, and the description about what it
does. The nice thing about this tool is you can backup and restore your system variables
when things go wrong!

Read how you can backup system variables here.

Backup and Restore AutoCAD System


Variables
September 8, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 3 Comments

If you join some discussion group, you may see many problems are simply because
the AutoCAD system variable has changed. The most common variables that cause
confusion are FILEDIA and PICKFIRST. There are some more, but those two are very
common.

Why this happens? It can happen when you use an AutoCAD command (mostly on
AutoCAD based vertical products) and cancel it before it finished. Or the command
ends prematurely somehow. It can also caused by some AutoLISP program that change
the system variables but not return the original value. If you often download AutoLISP
from internet, this problem can happen. There are hundreds of system variables, so you
would better backup your original configuration before trying a new LISP. If something
went wrong after using that LISP, you can restore the variables easily.

There is a tool that we can use for this purpose: system variable editor.

This tool is a part of express tools, so you need to make sure you have express tools
installed. System variable editor is for editing your system variables easily. You can see
the variable, read the description, compare the initial and current value. Very useful if
you play with system variable a lot. But see in the red rectangle: you can save all the
variables and restore it later!

105
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If your AutoCAD works fine, backup your system variables now!

Tip 53. Cool Way to Open Your Drawing: Drag and Drop Your File!

Sometimes I just hate to open files from dialog box. Some files are not easy to find from
a small dialog box, so I need to find it from my Windows Explorer or doing search/find.
It would be a waste of time if I have to point my open dialog box to that file location. So
what do I do? Just drag and drop to open it! This is also useful if you have several
application that can open the same file type. You can drag to application that you want
to open it. See the other way to do it in this tip!

Cool way to Open Your Drawing: Drag n


Drop!
September 20, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 7 Comments

Sometimes I just hate to open DWG files from dialog box. Some files are not easy to
find from a small dialog box, so I need to find it from my Windows Explorer or doing
search/find. It would be a waste of time if I have to point my open dialog box to that file
location. So what do I do? Just drag and drop to open it!

There are three way to do this:

1. Drag your file to your AutoCAD icon on your desktop. You don’t need to open
your program, this will open AutoCAD and open your file!
2. Drag your file to your AutoCAD title bar. It’s the one mentioning your
AutoCAD version name, and your active file. This will open your file in your
session.
3. Drag your file into your opened file. This will insert your drawing to active
drawing as block.

106
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

4. Drag and drop using right mouse click and choose attach as reference to insert it
as XREF.

This is also cool when you doing a presentation and open files like that, isn’t it?

Tip 54. How to: Use Sub Object Selection Filter

Autodesk now allows us to modify objects using the sub-objects. We can use sub
objects to quickly modify objects, either in 2D or 3D. To easily select the sub-objects,
you can use the object selection filter.

See how to use sub object selection filter and modify your objects here.

SubObject Selection Filter


September 24, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 1 Comment

It’s always surprise me what I found when playing around with AutoCAD. Today when
I tried to explore the context menu, I found ‘subobject selection filter‘. I know
Inventor has similar feature like this, but I never expect AutoCAD has one.

As you probably know, now we can control until sub objects: vertex, edge, face, and
solid history. Sometimes it’s not easy to select them especially in 3D. But having this
filter will be very helpful!

If you are not familiar with sub object selection, you can select it by holding [ctrl] and
click your mouse. The most common sub object I use in the past is vertex. If you select
an object without activating any tool, then you will see the object’s vertices.

Let’s say you have a rectangle. Holding your [crtl] and click one of it’s edge will select
the edge. You can move, scale, and rotate only that particular edge! I use it sometimes to
create parallelogram.

I select the rectangle edge

107
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

And scale it by two.

When we are talking about 3D objects, then it will be more sub objects, not just vertices
and edges. We will have faces and solid history. You may want to select faces, but it’s
not easy if you have a complex object. You may need to click several times to get to
lower hierarchy that form your object, and to get to the right one. Selecting multiple
faces will be painful. Certainly doesn’t look good during a presentation.

Activating SubObject selection is very helpful in this situation. Right click your mouse,
and you will see the item on your context menu. After you activate it, when you hold
your [ctrl] key, you will see what filter is active. This one is for face selection.

Try to create a complex 3D object by using union and subtract. Activate SubObject
Selection Filter to Solid History. Now try to select solids that form your object. In this
example I only have a rectangle and a cylinder. That’s the only object that I will be able
to select. Now you can modify your object even after boolean operation easily!

Now try to create an extrusion. Try to turn off your SubObject Selection Filter first, and
try to select a face. Not so easy, right? Now use face filter.

Unfortunately, we can’t use edge or face selection filter to an object that still hold solid
history information. So if you sure that you are not going to modify solids that form
your objects from boolean operations, you need to change history from record to none.
It’s on your properties palette, under solid history group.

108
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This will remove all solid history information, and now you can use SubObject
Selection Filter!

Tip 55. How to: Protect Tool Palettes

Currently I and my colleague are trying to submit a project to develop a drawing


system. It means we are going to create their reusable contents, templates, drawing
standards, and some customization tools. Then here comes a question: How we can
protect the tool palettes?

See this tip how you can protect your palettes!

How Can We Protect AutoCAD Tool


Palettes?
December 20, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso Leave a Comment

This post was originally published on AUGI. I linked to the post in 100 best AutoCAD
tips I collected, and after AUGI redesigned the website, the post was lost. I tried to
search the new permalink but no luck. So I decided to rewrite this post about protecting
tool palettes (I hate broken links on my posts), with all the credit to AUGI who
published it first, and the author (I forget who wrote it).

This is the question: How do we lock our AutoCAD tool palettes? It’s not about
locking the position, but lock it so people can’t modify the items inside the palette . We
want to lock tool palette so the others can’t modify it. Or probably we don’t want
anybody delete or add items to tool palettes accidentally. In short, we protect them.

109
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The idea is very simple. Tool palettes data are saved as external file, xml format I
believe. To protect the data, we can set the file attribute to read only.

Let us see where AutoCAD save the tool palettes. Open AutoCAD option, open the files
tab. Find tool palettes file locations group. The path number and location maybe
different with your AutoCAD, depends which AutoCAD you are using.

The easiest way to go to that location is by copying the path location. Open your
Windows Explorer, paste the path in address bar.

Open palettes folder. You will see all your palettes here! AutoCAD added some more
strings after your palettes name, but you should be able to distinguish it easily. Now find
which palette you want to lock, right click, choose properties.

110
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Find read only attribute and activate it. Click OK.

You may see the lock symbol on your palette right away. Usually need some time. If
you still can’t see it, you need to exit AutoCAD, then open AutoCAD again. We have
protected the palette!

Hint: You can also set the read only attributes for the folder. So every palettes define in
it will be locked.

Now try to right click above the tool palette icon. No more delete, cut, rename, and
other palette modification!

111
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tool Palettes in Shared Location

Now we know how to lock AutoCAD tool palettes and prevent accidental modification.
But we know how to do it, and other people may know it too (they may read CAD
Notes as well ;). But people can still remove the read only attribute and modify it.

What if we don’t want the read only attribute removed? We really want to lock the
palette and not letting anybody modify it without our permission.

Easy. Put the folder in a shared folder and set the other accounts to be able to read it, but
not modify it. Ask your IT guy to provide a folder with that permission on a server.

112
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can then change the palettes file location in AutoCAD option.

If we think further, this also open the possibility to make an enterprise palette. You can
share the palette and use it together with your team!

Tip 56. Make Your Ribbon Panels Sticky!

Having ribbon interface sometimes so annoying when we have to move to different tabs
frequently. We can just tear off some panels I use frequently, and stick to home tab. See
Shaan Hurley’s tip on AutoCAD 2010 Sticky Ribbon Panels.

AutoCAD 2010 Getting Sticky with Ribbon Sticky Panels

In AutoCAD 2010 products there is now a new ribbon option we call sticky panels. You
can now tear off a ribbon panel to the drawing area. It will remain on your drawing area
modeless much like a toolbar would.

In this quick bite size example I want to take the Action Recorder off the ribbon to my
drawing area for easier access as I want to record and test some macros.

I simply select the panel on the lower panel description name and then hold the left
mouse button and drag it off the ribbon. You could do this for other panels you
frequently use perhaps the new Mesh panel or the Modify panel.

113
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

There is are option available on the sticky panel such as the ability to change the
orientation of the panel from vertical to horizontal. I can also drag the sticky panel back
onto the ribbon in a location I would prefer or select the option to return it to the ribbon
which places it back where it came from.

Cheers,
Shaan

114
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Plot, publish and share


Tip 57. Pack Your Files as an e-Transmit

We are now living in 21st century (unless you read this in the next century). Most of us
rely heavily on digital data. Also when we work with AutoCAD. The problem when we
send our files to the others is sometimes we left our files behind. Either a reference file
(XREF), plot style table, custom fonts, etc. Don’t worry, AutoCAD has the right tool to
pack all files that relate to the drawing to a zip file, ready for you to send. You will not
miss any files again! Read the detail here.

Pack Your Files With eTransmit


June 8, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 2 Comments

Do you often need to send your AutoCAD drawing files? Sometimes you left your
reference file behind? Sometimes I receive an AutoCAD file that referenced to other
file, but they didn’t send the reference file. Or they burnt all the files in to a cd, but the
reference paths are broken. Not to mention other problems like they don’t include the
plot style table, custom fonts, etc. You can pack all reference files, and all related files
into a single zip file easily.

There is a tool in AutoCAD that can be very useful for this situation: eTransmit. I
believe that almost all CAD applications have similar tool. But It looks like many
AutoCAD users are not aware about eTransmit.

eTransmit will pack your related files into a transmittal package. Includes your
reference files, plot style table, reorganize your reference path, material textures, data
link files, etc.

You can open eTransmit by accessing AutoCAD menu: File>eTransmit.

115
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Click Transmittal setup and click modify. You’ll see that eTransmit has a lot of option
that you can use.

You can change path option, so all your AutoCAD files will be included in one folder.
So you don’t have to worry your path will be broken.

Or you can simply bind it all to master file. Some cad users are not familiar with
external reference, so sometimes bind them all in master file can be a good idea.

116
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can also choose what types of file to be included. Sometimes you don’t want your
partner to have excel file in data links. Or may be they already share same fonts or
material textures.

If you will send this file to your partner using old version of AutoCAD, you can choose
to convert it all first.

If you use Sheet Set, you can create the whole projects drawing to a single zip file with
a few mouse click!

117
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 58. How to Rotate Viewport in Layout/Paper Space

If you are a surveyor, civil engineer, or architect, we need to draw in model space the
real-world coordinate and orientation. However sometimes we want to rotate the
drawing orientation to match the paper for plotting/publishing purpose. See this tips
how to rotate your viewport in Xanadu.

How to rotate a view in paperspace (layout)?


Use the MVSETUP command and its options "Align viewports", "Rotate view".

As an alternative, you can use the DVIEW command with the "Twist" option. Or you can
rotate an UCS about the Z axis (UCS) and - if you don't have the UCSFOLLOW variable set to
1 - set the PLAN view (top view).

You can also use the Express Tool ALIGNSPACE.

Since version 2010 you can use the VPROTATEASSOC variable to control the associative
rotation of the contents of the viewport.

118
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 59. Five Steps Preparing AutoCAD Plot

Setting up plot for beginners often become confusing. Using scale, setting up title
blocks, etc… Plotting is actually very easy. Simple. Just click plot or publish then
you’re done. But there are some rules and steps you have to do when you draw and
arrange your model in layouts, it’s already started when you create your file! See the tip
how you can prepare your AutoCAD plot easily

5 Steps Preparing Your AutoCAD Plot


August 24, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 26 Comments

Plotting AutoCAD drawing can be tricky. Especially for people who just learn
AutoCAD. Saw several posts in the forum saying they are confused how to do it. Why
the plot result is not correctly scaled. Plotting is actually very easy. Simple. Just click
plot or publish then you’re done. But there are some rules and steps you have to do
when you draw and arrange your model in layouts, it’s already started when you create
your file!

1. Set Your Units!

The first rule is set your drawing unit correctly, and draw with that unit. I’m saw that
many AutoCAD users actually don’t care about units. When they insert blocks with
incorrect unit, it’s kind of messy. They have to rescale it manually. And this might sound
weird, but some of them actually draw it by scaling it, just like drawing it manually on
paper. Use appropriate template for your drawing. If you use metric, then use ISO
templates. Or you may change the units after you draw. Basically AutoCAD only

119
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

recognize two units in plotting: inch and mm. So the easiest for you is drawing in those
units. Of course you can draw in meters, feet, or other units. But that’s a different story.
Let’s talk about the basic first. Draw the object original size, not scaled. Draw all your
objects. For annotations, there are two choices:

 Draw all your objects in model and annotation in layout


 Or you can annotate in your model and use annotation scaling (for AutoCAD
2008 or newer). We will discuss about this on separate post.

2. Set Your Page/Layout

Next thing you should do is setup your page. Use layout, because it is easier to
understand and easier to manage. Open your layout. We should already have a viewport.
Delete it, we don’t need it at this time. We will create a new one, this one might will be
seen too small or too large after we set our page. Now let’s set the page setup. Open
your page setup manager. You can open it by right clicking over the tab name, then
select page setup manager. Or by right click over quick view layout.

On your page setup manager dialog box, you can see a list of your layouts. Let’s create
a new page setup. Click new, give it name such as ‘My A4 layout’, then click OK. This
will open page setup dialog box.

Set this values below:

1. Your printer/plotter type and sheet size.

120
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

2. On what to plot, select Layout.


3. Ensure plot scale 1:1.
4. Plot style table you want to use.

We created this layout with real paper size. So we use scale 1:1. The only scaling we
will do is scaling our objects view inside viewports. Click OK. Now click set current to
apply the changes to your active layout. Your layout1 is ready. Open your layout2, then
open page setup manager again. Select your previous page setup, then click set current.
I believe there is an easier way, but can’t find it. I usually already have it setup in my
template, or simply make a copy from existing layout. Do you have any suggestion how
to apply the page setup to multiple layout?

3. Setup Your Title Block

Now you should see your real paper size. The dashed rectangle is the area where your
printable area. Place your title block here. You can insert existing title block if you
already have one, or draw a new one. Remember, this is 1:1 scale. So if you want to
have 3mm height text, use 3mm as it heights.

4. Place Viewports and Set the Scale

Now we are ready to place our viewport. You can place it by clicking new in view tab,
viewports section, new icon. Or you can use viewport configuration.

In the opened dialog box, select single standard viewport, then click OK. Draw your
viewport as you desired. You should see all your drawing inside it. Or in the old way, I
prefer to type MV then [enter] :) Next, set the scale. Select your viewport, and select the
scale you wanted. You can do it from viewports toolbar or annotation scale bar.

121
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

5. Plot it!

Just activate plot by hitting [ctrl] + P or typing PLOT [enter]. Or of course, from menu
or ribbon. Everything should be ready now, but check it first by seeing the preview. If
you already familiar with it, you can try to publish multiple drawings at once. Not so
difficult now, right? I’m looking forward if you have other plotting tips you would like
to share.

122
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 60. How to: Render 3D Drawings as Wireframe

This question has been asked a couple times. Can I render my 3d drawing as wireframe
image? Not really. But you can plot your drawing to image… as wireframe, sketches, or
anything you can define as visual styles. Read how you can render Wireframe Image
from AutoCAD

Can I Render Wireframe Image from


AutoCAD?
February 19, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 1 Comment

This is an inquiry in CADtutor forum: Can I render wireframe image from AutoCAD?
I’m not sure why we ever need wireframe image. But the answer is no.

However, we can get the required image by using plot command. In the shade plot
option, we can set the shade mode to wireframe.

This allows us to plot to any type of visualization, including rendering images and
visualization styles.

123
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Anything you can set in visual styles, you can have it. Including sketches look like.

For wireframe, I would recommend you to export it .png. Works better for vector
images. JPEG and BMP quite good for renderings. And if that’s not enough, you can
also get other type of raster image by adding more plotters.

124
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 61. How to Plot .PLT or .PRN file

Do you get .plt or .prn file, and want to plot it? This is a tip on Xanadu how to plot
your .plt or .prn files.

How to plot/print a .PLT file on a printer?


You want to print an existing .PLT (or .PRN) file on your printer (or plotter).

Make sure the file was created for your specific printing device (the same model). You can
just copy the file to your printer:

COPY /B myfile.plt LPT1:


or
COPY /B myfile.plt \\server\designjet800
for a networked plotter.

If you have a networked plotter with TCP/IP interface enabled (e.g. HP DesignJet with HP
JetDirect, firmware version 08.03 and higher), you can also use the LPR utility in
WinNT/2000/XP (or Unix/Linux):

lpr -S192.168.0.99 -Praw -o l -d myplot.plt


where 192.168.0.99 is your plotter's IP address.
There are also several programs (freeware, shareware) for easier printing of PLT (or PRN)
files from the Windows environment (e.g. PrintFile, GoPlot - see
www.cadstudio.cz/download, etc.).

125
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 62. How to Create High Resolution Image From AutoCAD Drawing

Do you need to present you drawing in Word or PowerPoint document? We need to


create an image from the drawing. The common way to do it is by capturing the screen,
but the image is not good enough when we place it. We want to have high resolution
image and apply our plot styles. Have you ever try to plot it? AutoCAD has Publish
toWeb plot drivers, so you can get JPEG or PNG format! If you need more file format,
you can also add new plotter drivers, so you can get uncompressed image like TIFF,
TGA, or BMP! Read the detail here.

How to: Get Hi Res Image from


AutoCAD?
July 29, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 3 Comments

Do you need to create a high resolution image from your AutoCAD drawing? No, this is
not about AutoCAD rendering. This is about how you can get high resolution image
from your lines and arcs. It might be layouts, elevation views, etc. I had this question
several times. You can just plot your model/layout.

Try to open your plot dialog box. You can see a plotter named PublishToWebJPG.pc3.
Use it, you will get a JPG image with fair quality. Ready to be embedded to your Power
Point for your presentation.

JPEG probably is the most popular image format for presentation. But if it’s still not
good enough… how about BMP, TIFF, or TGA?

You can add more plotters for those file types. Open your control panel. You will see
Autodesk Plotter Manager icon here. Double click to open it.

126
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Basically this will only open another folder. This folder contains all plotters that can be
used by AutoCAD. To add new plotter, double click Add-A-Plotter Wizard.

This will bring you to a wizard. Click next at the first page.

On the next page, select My Computer. Then click next. On the next page, you can see a
list of manufacturers, and the models. We want to add TIFF this time. Select Raster File
Formats as manufacturers. Then select TIFF Version 6 as plotter model.

You can also select BMP or TGA if you like. Now, you can simply click next and finish
through the rest of this wizard. Open your AutoCAD, open plot dialog box. You should
see your new plotter there!

Use them to create your image. You should be able to get high quality image from your
drawings. Choose the format that’s appropriate for your purpose. Consider the quality
and file size. You will not want your program to take a long time loading the images
during important presentation!

127
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Visualize
Tip 63. How to: Create Sketch Like Drawing

The image above was a regular drawing. I didn’t actually create a sketch, but we can
manipulate the visual styles, so it looks like a sketch. See how to create the sketch here.

Creating Sketch From Your AutoCAD


Drawing
July 30, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 11 Comments

Images on the left looks like hand-drawn sketch (you might have to click on the image
to see the larger image). It’s actually an AutoCAD drawing, with a little tweak on
visual styles. This is from a sample file included in AutoCAD 2009 installation.

AutoCAD has this capabilities since AutoCAD 2007., when Autodesk made major
changes on AutoCAD 3D modeling. Let’s see how we can do this!

Open your visual styles manager palettes. Create a new visual styles (you don’t want to
mess your existing visual styles!). Give an appropriate name for it. Apply this visual
style to your viewport.

Now on the edge modifiers group, activate overhanging edge and jitter edge. Tweak the
overhang value and jitter if necessary.

128
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You should see the effect immediately! You can apply this to any existing visual styles,
except for 2D wireframe. You can also plot this effect to your plotter!

129
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Don’t cheat if your lecturer told you to sketch your design!

130
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 64. How to: Show Bump Maps Real Time in AutoCAD 2011

AutoCAD has developed further than just a 2D drawing application. The biggest
advantage is when you use it as vertical product platform like AutoCAD Architecture.
But in vanilla AutoCAD, you can also can impress people with the 3D capabilities. In
AutoCAD 2011, you can show bump maps in real time. Shaan Hurley shows you how
to do it here.

AutoCAD 2011 ~ POP Goes the Material!

Here is a great tip on AutoCAD 2011 Materials enhancements from my Autodesk


colleague Randy Young who is the AutoCAD Graphics System QA Lead in the
Autodesk San Francisco office.

In AutoCAD 2011 Autodesk has worked to break the myth of AutoCAD being just
another 2D application. This year the AutoCAD materials now show bump maps real
time in the viewport. This is achieved by enabling The Advance Material effect. The
effect is normally enabled by default but if it is not you can enable it by doing the
following.

1. Click on the new GRAPHICSCONFIG button on the status bar.

The image above is what the button looks like when you are in hardware
acceleration.

This is what it looks like when it is not enabled.

131
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

2. Choose the Performance Tuner… option from the menu

3. Click Manual tune button in the Performance Tuner dialog.

4. Now choose on next to ON next to the Advanced material effects name.

5. Enjoy your new rich real time in viewport “rendering like” material display.

Please note that this effect is very graphics card specific and it could cause graphics
system slow downs, so if you see any, I would suggest turning the effect off.

132
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This is an example of pre-2011 material display with advance material effect turned off.

This is the new AutoCAD 2011 material in viewport with advance material effect on.
Pretty cool isn’t it?
<Shaan> “Yes it is cool Randy”

133
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now imagine how your designs will pop as you are showing your prospective clients
what their projects will look like real time in viewport.

Good Luck,
Randy Young
AutoCAD Graphics System QA Lead

134
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 65. How to: Create Different Drawing Representation with Layer
States

Do you need to turn on/off layers frequently to show different drawing representation?
Or do you need to represent your drawings differently in different viewports? You can
do that easily using layer states. See how you can create different drawing
representation here

Creating Different Drawing


Representation
September 23, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 7 Comments

We have completed our AutoCAD drawing by creating floor plan. We set several layers
when we created wall and column. Why? We are going to create different drawing
representative for relatively large and small scale. How? We are going to create two
layer states.

Open your drawing, or download this DWG file. The drawing look like this.

This is going to be how it look with all the details. Let’s just save this layer states. Click
from your AutoCAD ribbon, home>layers>unsaved layer state>New Layer State.

135
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Give it name ‘high details’ and give the description something like given below.

That’s it! You’ve just save a layer state!

Now we are going to define another layer state. Open your layer manager.

Freeze these layers:

1. A-Column-Structure,
2. A-Wall-Pattern, and
3. A-Wall-Structure.

Now change the lineweight and color for these layers:

1. A-Column: 0.15, blue


2. A-Door: 0.05,red
3. A-Wall: 0.09, black.

No particular reason why we change the color, only I want the changes easily be
recognized. We change the lineweight so it’s not going to be too thick when we plot it in
large scale.

Now save another layer state. Give it name ‘low details’ and give appropriate
description. There you go, you already have two layer states!

How can we use it? Easy. Just click your layer states in Layers section. You should see
those two layer states there: high details and low details. Try to change it and see the
difference.

Now you have high details representation and low level representation. Now our
AutoCAD works just like Revit, isn’t it? ;) Well, nothing wrong to adapt other CAD
software workflow to AutoCAD!

136
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now open layout. I’ve provide one layout for this AutoCAD tutorial. Both of them look
the same, aren’t they? They both have all layers on.

Now double click inside the right viewport. After your right viewport activated, change
the layer states to ‘low details’. This should change the right viewport to low details,
while the left viewport still showing the high details. However, I found this doesn’t
always work. Sometimes, both of them will change their representation to new layer
states. But don’t worry, if you have this problem, you can follow these steps.

Restore both of your viewport to high details. Activate your right viewport again. Now
from layer state list, select ‘manage layer states’.

In the layer states manager dialog box, select ‘low details’ state, and click restore at the
bottom of this dialog box. Now you’ll have your right viewport with low details, while
your left viewport showing high details!

Now look at these viewport. You see same drawing in different viewports, and both
showing different colors and lineweight. How is that possible. Well, that would be
explained on other post. That’s how ‘layer properties per-viewport’ works.

137
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 66. Take Your Drawing to the Next Level with Data Extraction

Again, AutoCAD can be used further than just as drawing tool. You can use the data and
create reports such as schedules, set out points, part lists, and holes table. This is a post
that list how you can use data extraction. Shaan Hurley also give an example to use data
extraction for creating part list.

Tip 67. How to: Quickly Count Your Block

Although DATAEXTRACTION can give very detailed information, sometimes you


need to just quickly count your blocks to give an idea about your design. BCOUNT is
the right tool for this. Brian Benton mention this tip in his blog.

More Data Extraction Tips

I have been posting about data extraction lately, so why stop now right? I posted about
the ATTEXT and the EATTEXT (always makes me hungry). I also posted about the
DATAEXTRACTION command too (this is really nice by the way.) Now I want to talk
with you about a command that is very simple, but can get you basic information very
quickly. It is also the easiest to use. That command is BCOUNT.

BCOUNT counts the blocks in a file and returns that info to you in the command line.
So, lets go!!

Type in BCOUNT, select the objects you want to count, then enter. The command line
will scroll with text, first stating the number of blocks selected, then each block with
how many of each. Very simple. If you need that data, just select it in the command line,
copy, and paste it to wherever you want to.

BCOUNT is not perfect. If you have accidentally inserted a block on top of a block, it
will count both (this is true for all data extraction tools.) Also, BCOUNT won't count
dynamic blocks that have been changed. That means if you insert a dynamic block then
use one of its dynamic options, BCOUNT can no longer count it, so be careful.

That being said, BCOUNT is a good tool to give you a quick idea of how many of each
block you have.

138
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 68. Reporting Hatch Area With Field

Text field is also a useful automation to report almost anything in your drawing. In title
block, you can use title block to automatically show the plot date, file name, etc. You
can also report area using field.

Shaan Hurley wrote a nice tutorial about this here.

Displaying the Hatch Area with a Field in AutoCAD


This is an oldie, but popular goodie and question from this blog.
StarBacks BBQ Floor Space Planning with AutoCAD FIELDS

So I love barbeque. People that know me can attest to this fact and I have cooked barbeque baby
back ribs all over the world, even in Germany where I was paid in fine beer and compliments.
Anyways I wanted to quickly demonstrate a valuable method to show the area of a Hatch object
automatically as well as include the areas in a table, then with a total and when the hatched areas
are changed so are the area values in the table.

So in my faux dream barbeque restaurant “StarBacks” I wanted to show the areas of the
customer dining and bar area, prep and pit area this is where the pit smoking of the
meats is done with fine oak wood smoke, and then the kitchen area.

I use the FIELD command and select Object from Field Category and then select the
Hatch.

139
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now after selecting the Hatch select the Area Property and then format the value to the
decimal and precision you want and insert it.

After doing this for the three areas I now have three Field text objects linked to the areas
of the Hatch objects.

I can create an AutoCAD Table with the TABLE command and then set my titles for the
areas.

140
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Then in the cell I want the areas shown I use the Object from Field Category and select
the Field text and Object property of Contents. Now the cell is linked to the Field text
that is linked to the area of the Hatch. Got it, good.

Of course I would like a total of the entire square footage (or meters for those lucky
enough to make metric their standard). In the cell I right-click and select Insert >
Formula > Equation.

Now it is just like in Excel and I enter A3+B3+C3 and I get the total of those three cells.
I could also use the SUM option.

And there we go after some formatting of the precision to eliminate the trailing zeros I
have a nice table all dynamically updating when the hatched areas update. So when I
stretch the dining or bar area to increase space for more people (inevitable) the areas all
update.

141
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Showing the final floor plan and table. You could use this in so many ways such as
material planning, retail space allocation, and more. Fields are powerful and you can
link them to attributes like lights in a plan and have a table update with the quantity and
type of light including cost from the attributed light block. Fields are powerful.

You can use this same technique for attaching fields to other objects such as showing
the length of a polyline.

Cheers,
Shaan

142
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 69. How to Create Your Own AutoCAD Linetype

AutoCAD already has many linetypes. However, to fulfill your needs or to match local
standard, you might need to create your own linetypes. If you have express tools
installed, it is not hard to do. Read the complete tutorial here.

Creating Your Own AutoCAD Line Type


May 29, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 27 Comments

AutoCAD default linetypes usualy enough for common purposes. But sometimes it’s
just not enough sometimes we need to have our own. The problem is creating custom
linetype can be difficult to do. But if you have express tools installed, creating custom
linetype can be very easy.

I like to use it, even for drawing complex objects. It is easier, faster, dan consume less
hardware resources.

Let’s see this object below.

I actualy use lines to create this bushes. Only three lines. Imagine if you have to create it
by using blocks then copy it several times. Takes more time.
I’m going to discuss how we can make custom linetype easily. But remember, you have
to have the express tools installed on your computer.

143
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you don’t have it, you need to install it first. See how you can add the Express Tools
installation later here. It was for AutoCAD 2002, but still apply for later version.

Creating linetype that contains simple objects


First, I’m going to create a simple one. I draw one line, and one single line text as
shown below.

I’m going to convert those object in to a custom linetype.

1. Access from ribbon or AutoCAD Menu: Express>Tools>Make Linetype. Or if


you are a command line fans, you can type MKLTYPE.
2. Type you line type file name, then click save. This file name is what you’ll see
when you load the .lin file in windows dialog box.
3. Type your linetype name, then press [enter]. This line type name is what you’ll
see in the name list.
4. Type your line type description (optional), then press [enter]. This description
should be able to give you a brief description about this line type.
5. Specify starting point and end point. In this example, I choose left end point of
the line as start point. And somewhere slightly on the right of the text.
6. Select objects. Select them both, then press [enter].

There you go. Change the linetype properties, and try to draw lines, arc, or any other
objects.

Linetype that contains more complex objects


If you have complex object in the definition, the result can be unpredictable. Most of the
time, the definition will be unusable.

144
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

I will create a line type from this AutoCAD sample block. Insert to drawing, and
explode it. To create a line type from this complex geometry, we will have to create a
shape file. Don’t worry, express tool also have an excelent tool to create it.

From AutoCAD ribbon (or menu), choose: Express>Tools>Make Shape. Or type


MKSHAPE then [enter].
1. Type the file name, then click save.
2. Type the shape name, then [enter].
3. Hit [enter] to accept default resolution value.
4. Define the insertion point. This is the as you define insert point in block
creation.
5. Select the shrub, then [enter]. The shape is created.

Now to avoid confusion, delete the shrub.


Type SHAPE to insert the shape we just created. Type the shape name then [enter].
Press [enter] twice to accept default value for scale and rotation. Exactly as you insert a
block.
Now, create a line type from the shape. Follow the steps in creating a simple line type.
Don’t you think this is cool? ;)

The linetype scale doesn’t look right?


If you have problem controlling linetype scale, you might want to see that you can
control linetype scale in 3 easy step! You might need to have several attempts to
comfortably work with it.

145
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 70. Georeferenced Image in Vanilla AutoCAD

This functionality only available for AutoCAD Map, Civil3D, and Raster Design. If you
use vanilla AutoCAD, you can use this free utility. See the details and download it here.

Georeferenced images also in plain AutoCAD.


With the CAD Studio's utility - GeoRefImg - you can automatically place georeferenced
raster files (pictures) also in AutoCAD or Architectural Desktop (this correlation functionality
is by default available only in AutoCAD Map, Civil3D and Raster Design).

Any selected raster image inserted in your drawing (TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, CIT, ECW,
SID formats) accompanied with a World file is automatically repositioned to its proper
position (coordinates), scale and rotation.

GeoRefImg prompts to select objects (images) and then performs the repositioning and
scaling controlled by the World files (TFW, JGW, PGW, GFW, BPW, CTW, EWW, WLD...).
World files are searched in the folders of the original raster file (TIFF, JPEG, PNG...). See
also the Tip 3515.

Just APPLOAD the VLX file and type the GeoRefImg command.

See www.cadstudio.cz/download (free).

The additional command WORLDOUT can create a new world file from a positioned image.

146
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 71. Translate Your Text Object to Other Language

Need to translate your texts to other language? This is a tool that’s design to do that!

See the details and download it here.

How to translate drawing texts to another language?


(DWG translation)
You can use the TRANS add-on utility (see
www.cadstudio.cz) to translate drawing texts to
another language (e.g. with Trados, Wordfast,
Dejavu/DVX, or other CAT tool).

TRANS extracts Text and Mtext entities from


DWG drawings into a text file (you can translate it
using any automated text translation tool or by
human translator) and then puts the translated
texts back into your drawing (to the original
places/positions and with the original properties).
For batch processing multiple drawings (using
script) set the FILEDIA variable to 0.

More information and download from the TRANS homepage. Drag the trans.vlx file into your
AutoCAD session or use the APPLOAD command to load it. Use the TR_WRITE and TR_READ
commands to export and then re-import your drawing texts. (This tool was not tested with double-
byte languages or Unicode.)

The export text file looks like this:

{ID1}
text of the text entity number ID1
{ID2}
text of the text entity number ID2

The gTRANS command starts an automatic online translation of drawing texts using the Google
Translate tool. You will just specify the language pair.

For TRADOS: Type the TR_WRITE command in the command line and press Enter. Select the TXT
filename for output. Select the complete drawing or just the parts of the drawing you want to translate
and press Enter (make sure all text layers are on and unlocked). Open the exported TXT file in Word

147
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

and save it as RTF. Translate the RTF file with Trados - do not change the text in parenthesis {}.
Clean the translated RTF file. Open the cleaned RTF file and save it as TXT (text only). Return back
to AutoCAD and enter the command TR_READ. Locate the translated TXT file - the texts in your
drawing will be replaced with the translated text.

Use TRANS version 1.2 or higher for long MTexts.

gTRANS in action:

Using automatic translation via Google Translate


(click to start animation)
See also the YouTube video on using TRANS:

148
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 72. Using AutoCAD Startup Dialog Box

Do you miss the old AutoCAD startup dialog box? I love the startup dialog because we
can choose our template before let AutoCAD create a new file. For the simplest
template, we can choose metric or imperial. If you want to show this dialog box every
time create a new drawing, set system variable STARTUP to 1.

Tip 73. AutoCAD Info in Windows Explorer

Every file has meta data information. The information can be useful to have a quick
look before you actually open the file. You can set the windows explorer to show the
meta data when you choose to view details.

See how to do it here.

http://www.caddmanager.com/CMB/2009/10/autocad-info-in-windows-explorer/

CADD Manager Home>AutoCAD, Tips>Blog article:AutoCAD Info in Windows


Explorer
Oct
22

AutoCAD Info in Windows Explorer


CADDManager on October 22nd, 2009

149
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can add some very basic AutoCAD information to Windows Explorer that might
help you as you try to keep track of what is going on in your firm or project.

Have you ever wondered what version of AutoCAD the file was created in? Have you
ever opened a file that was a newer version than what you have only to get the stark
warning alert that it will not work?

Well this might be just what you need.

You can add DWG Creation software Name and Version in a Windows Explorer
column.

Step one:

Right click on the column heading in a Windows Explorer session.

You will get a drop down check box like above – Select More… this will open a Dialog
Box…

150
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Check the DWG Creator Name and the DWG Creator Version options… You may have
to scroll down to find the. They may be lower on you screen than what is shown above.

Once selected and saved you will see the above columns added to your Explorer
window. These columns will show the version that the file was last saved in and ver
version number (not sure where this might come in handy)

151
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you want tohave all your Explorer views to match what you see, select Folder
Options and the View Tab and click on Apply to All Folders.

152
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 74. Working with DWG Properties

This is the advanced tip of exposing the file meta data. Further more, you can customize
more information to show on windows explorer.

Interested to see more? This is a very nice detailed tutorial how you can optimize this
DWG properties

Propulate tutorial for DWG properties


If you want to work with DWG properties inside and outside of AutoCAD learn how to
use Propulate as it will automate the work to update these properties.

Together with DWG Columns and DWGInfoTip it is possible to see drawing metadata
within Windows Explorer either in one or several columns or as an InfoTip.

In this example you need to have information in one or many blocks with attributes.
Here we have a title block named “Title Block” with several attributes that will be used.

Propulate allows quick, automated population of the Drawing Properties dialog data
fields. This data is seen when using the DWGPROPS command or when viewing the
properties of a .DWG file though the Windows Explorer, outside of AutoCAD. Drawing
Property data can be updated, listed or removed from the current drawing or a
subdirectory of drawings.

Using a predefined template, PROPULATE can fill in Drawing Properties data in entire
directories of drawings. The information that can be applied includes literal strings,
attribute values extracted from specified attributed blocks and lists of attached xrefs,
images and fonts. Example: You have a whole project directory full of drawings that use
the same attributed title block. Using PROPULATE and a customized template you can

153
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

have the attribute values from each title block in each drawing extracted and added to
that drawing's Drawing Properties dialog. PROPULATE can also insert (into the
comment field) a list of the xrefs, images and fonts used by each drawing.

Run the command PROPULATE.

Command: propulate

Default template file: C:\Users\JTB\Documents\template.prp


Enter an option [Active template/Edit template/List/Remove/Update] <Update>: e

Using the option Edit Template opens up this dialog box. Notice the Block Attributes
dropdown at the bottom. Make a selection of what block and attribute you want to add.

In the Template menu select Insert Attribute.

154
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Give the Custom property a name. Here two attributes have been added.

Default template file: C:\Users\JTB\Documents\template.prp


Enter an option [Active template/Edit template/List/Remove/Update] <Update>: u

Update Drawing Properties information from template


Enter an option [Current drawing/Other drawings] <Current>: c

155
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Writing C:\Users\JTB\Documents\AutoCAD Sheet Sets\2 revision test.dwg Drawing


Properties Info.

Running DWGPROPS shows how PROPULATE has updated the custom properties on
the drawing.

One limitation with PROPULATE is that it is not compatible with dynamic blocks.

There is also a bug that makes it impossible to use PROPULATE if the DWG file name
contains commas and possibly other special characters.

PROPULATE can be automated with AutoLISP like this where specified template is
activated and then the current drawing is updated:

(command "._propulate" "_a" "c:\\Users\\JTB\\Documents\\template.prp"


"_u" "_c")

The above can be used to automatically run before saving the current drawing either by
having a special command, menu command or button. Another method is to undefine
the qsave, saveas, save, quit and close commands and redefine them to run propulate
first.

156
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Unfortunately it is not possible to use a reactor to run propulate before saving a drawing
because calling propulate can only be run asynchronized so it in reality is probably run
first after saving the drawing.

So here is an example how the most common commands are redefined to make sure
propulate is run. Add the code below to the acaddoc.lsp file so it is loaded into each
drawing that is opened. SAVEALL and CLOSEALL are not supported here.

(vl-load-com)
(setvar "cmdecho" 0)

(defun propulate ()
(setvar "cmdecho" 0)
(command "._propulate" "_a" "c:\\Users\\JTB\\Documents\\template.prp"
"_u" "_c")
(setvar "cmdecho" 1)
)

(command "._UNDEFINE" "CLOSE")

(defun c:close ()
(propulate)
(vla-sendcommand (vla-get-activedocument(vlax-get-acad-object)) "._close\r")
(princ)
)

(command "._UNDEFINE" "QUIT")

(defun c:quit ()
(propulate)
(vla-sendcommand (vla-get-activedocument(vlax-get-acad-object)) "._quit\r")
(princ)
)

(command "._UNDEFINE" "SAVE")

(defun c:save ()
(propulate)
(initdia)
(command "._save")
(princ)
)

(command "._UNDEFINE" "SAVEAS")

(defun c:saveas ()
(propulate)
(initdia)
(command "._saveas")

157
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

(princ)
)

(command "._UNDEFINE" "QSAVE")

(defun c:qsave ()
(propulate)
(initdia)
(command "._qsave")
(princ)
)

(setvar "cmdecho" 1)
(princ)

More details as mainly found in Express Tools help file.

Command: PROPULATE
Default template file: g:\acad2000\express\template.prp
Enter an option [Active template/Edit template/List/Remove/Update] <Update>: Enter
option

Active template
Specify the template file to be used to update Drawing Property fields.

Edit template
Launches a dialog for creating and editing Propulate template files. See Editing the
Propulate template.

List
Displays the Drawing Properties for the current drawing or directories of drawings.

Remove
Deletes the Drawing Properties from the current drawing or directories of drawings.

Update
Uses the active template to populate Drawing Properties to the current drawing or
directories of drawings.

The following prompt is displayed when selecting the List, Remove or Update options
Enter an option [Current drawing/Other drawings] <Current>:

Current drawing
Applies the selected task to the current loaded drawing file.

Other drawings
Applies the selected task to a user-specified directory of drawing files.

158
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

These prompts are displayed when selecting the Other option


Enter search directory and drawing name: Specify a starting location and drawing name
or wild-card to search
Search subdirectories? [Yes/No] <Yes>: Enter Yes or No to recursively search
subdirectories
For example: g:\project\PG*.dwg will search all drawings whose names start with PG
starting in the g:\project directory

Editing the Propulate Template

Propulate uses a template file to determine what values should be inserted into the
Drawing Property fields of a drawing. The template file must be edited before use to
specify what and where values are applied to the Drawing Properties dialog. You can
create as many different templates as you need however there is only one active
template at a time. The default template file name is template.prp. The easiest way to
edit an existing template or create a new one is to use the 'Edit Propulate Template'
dialog.

File menu options

159
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

New...
Clears all edit fields in preparation for creating a new template. Will prompt a for a new
template file name when the OK button or one of the Save menu options is selected.

Open...
Opens an existing template file.

Save
Saves the template file currently being edited.

Save As...
Saves the template file currently being edited to another name.

Template menu options

Insert Xref list


Inserts the @[XREFLIST] command at the current cursor location.

Insert Font list


Inserts the @[FONTLIST] command at the current cursor location.

Insert Image list


Inserts the @[IMAGELIST] command at the current cursor location.

Insert Attribute
Inserts the value selected in the Block Attributes list at the current cursor location.

Make active template


Sets the template currently being edited to be the default template. This option is
unavailable if the edited template is already the default or if it has not yet been saved to
a file name.

Fill from Current Drawing


Clears all edit fields and fills them with the existing Drawing Properties values from the
current drawing. Useful if you want to create a template based on the current drawing.

To edit the template file, enter text or one of the special insert options in the
appropriate field. For example, entering Downtown Renovation in the Subject field
would insert the string Downtown Renovation into the subject field of the Drawing
Properties dialog for each drawing processed with this template. In addition to literal
strings like this, there are four special commands that can be used to extract drawing
specific information and insert that data into the Drawing Properties dialog.

Special Insert Commands

@[block.attributeTag]
Extracts the attribute tag value from an attributed block and inserts it in the specified
field.
For example: inserting @[title.drawnby] in the Author field causes Propulate to search
the drawing for an attributed block named title, extract the value of the attribute tag

160
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

drawnby and insert that value in the Author field of the drawings Drawing Properties
dialog. If common blocks are used across a project it is a simple matter to update a large
number of drawings to reflect their specific attribute values.

@[XREFLIST]
Inserts a list of the xrefs currently attached to the drawing being processed. Attached
xrefs are preceded with 'A'. Overlay xrefs are preceded with 'O'. Only works in the
comment field.

@[FONTLIST]
Inserts a list of the fonts currently used by the drawing being processed. Only works in
the comment field.

@[IMAGELIST]
Inserts a list of the image files currently attached to the drawing being processed. Only
works in the comment field.

Example: Entering @[XREFLIST] @[FONTLIST] @[IMAGELIST] in the


Comments field could produce the following:

Xrefs:
A d:\xrefs\1a6
A d:\xrefs\2a6
A g:\project\work\3a6
Fonts:
G:\ACAD2000\support\simplex.shx
G:\ACAD2000\fonts\txt.shx
G:\ACAD2000\fonts\ROMANS.shx
Images:
G:\Acad2000\acadsig.jpg
| JTB World | ^ Top of page
Translate into Français | Deutsch | Italiano | Português | Español | 日本 | 한국의 | 中國
Labels: AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2008, AutoCAD 2009, AutoCAD 2010, AutoCAD 2011,
AutoCAD Architecture, DWG, reviews, Tips and Tricks

161
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 75. How to Set Previous Version as Default When Saving

Do you have different AutoCAD versions in your company? If you do, one problem that
you will find is the file version. You need to save it as to lower version. Sometimes you
forget to do it, and your colleague can’t open it. To prevent that to happen, you can set
AutoCAD to save the files to older version of AutoCAD, by default. In the file dialog
box, select tools>options.

In this example, I set it to AutoCAD 2000.

Tip 76. DWG TrueView: Open and Convert to Any DWG Version

This is the opposite problem from tip 75. What if you have older version of AutoCAD,
but you receive files saved by later version? One file might be easy, you can ask
someone to convert it to old version. What it you have dozens, hundreds drawings?

You can use DWG TrueView, a free DWG viewer. Not only open DWG, you can save
the files to older version. You can also batch convert all files in a folder. Download
DWG TrueView here: http://autodesk.com/dwg

http://www.autodesk.com/products/dwg/viewers

162
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 77. How to Add Your Own MTEXT Symbol

If you right click your mouse when using MTEXT, you will see a contextual menu that
allows you to add predefined symbols. You can add your own symbols or text to that
menu.

To put your own symbols/text, you can use this AutoLISP code here from JTB World.

Free AutoLISP for AutoCAD


More Free AutoLISP and Visual LISP code snippets for AutoCAD

Example how to add personal mtext symbols like below in the mtext editor:

Blog post: Add personal mtext symbols or text snippets in AutoCAD

;;; PersonalMtextSymbols.LSP ver 1.1


;;; Add personal mtext symbols in the right click menu in the mtext
editor
;;; By Jimmy Bergmark
;;; Copyright (C) 1997-2012 JTB World, All Rights Reserved
;;; Website: www.jtbworld.com
;;; E-mail: info@jtbworld.com
;;; Tested on AutoCAD 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009.
;;; Not sure about 2006. 2007 does not support this.
;;; Works in AutoCAD 2012, AutoCAD 2013.
;;;
;;; Remember that you can change the contents to whatever you would
like
;;; The syntax is:
;;; (vl-registry-write key "Name <1,2,3...n>" "<Description>")
;;; (vl-registry-write key "Contents <1,2,3...n>" "<Value>")

163
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

(defun PersonalMtextSymbols ()
(vl-load-com)
(setq key (strcat "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\" (vlax-product-key)
"\\MTEXT\\Symbols"))
(vl-registry-write key "Name 1" "Name")
(vl-registry-write key "Name 2" "Company")
(vl-registry-write key "Contents 1" "Jimmy Bergmark")
(vl-registry-write key "Contents 2" "JTB World")
)

(defun c:PM ()
(PersonalMtextSymbols)
(princ)
)

164
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 78. Using Custom Field

Field is very useful in many cases. Many drawing and object properties can be shown
by fields. However, you might need to create your own field. Brian write this step-by-
step tutorial how you can do it here. Brian uses sheet set custom properties on his post.

Displaying Reoccurring Data in a Drawing Set

I started this off as a CAD-a-Blog QUICK TIP, but it got too long, but, do you ever
need to show the same information, a name, number, amount, etc. on many of your
drawings in a set ? Is that information subject to change through the drawing process?
One way to deal with this is to use fields and sheet sets.

To set it up with sheet sets, open your sheet set manager. Load the sheet set you need.
Right click on the sheet set name. Then open the properties window. At the bottom of
this window is a button, EDIT CUSTOM PROPERTIES. Click it to open the Custom
Properties window.

Here you can add any bit of information to your sheet set. Click the ADD button and fill
it out. Give it a NAME and a default value. Click ok and close all of the windows.

Now go to your drawing file. Edit the text you want the info to show up in. This can be
Mtext, Dtext, Leader Text, Multileader text, or in a dimension. Wherever there is text
you can add a field, which is what we are going to do.

In your text editor, press CTRL+F, or right click and then click ADD FIELD. This opens
the FIELD manager window thingy (I don’t know what it’s actual name is, sorry.) In the
FIELD Category pull down menu, select SHEET SET. This will bring up all of your
field options in that sheet set.

Go to the sheet set (in the Field Names menu), in the sheet set navigation (yes it’s
complicated, but you’ll get it quick enough) browse to your sheet set (it should open up
to the proper one automatically). Then select your field property in the PROPERTY
menu at the bottom right corner, then click ok, ok, ok, etc.

When done, you will see the information displayed in your text. Do that on every sheet
wherever you need it and when the info changes, just go to the sheet set manger, load
your sheet set, open the custom properties again and edit that value. Bingo!! All
instances where your field “links” to that value will be updated.

This is a real quick "how to set it up" kind of a tip. I plan on getting into it more deeply
in later posts.

Happy CADDING!!

165
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 79. How to: Create a New Command in AutoCAD

If you want to learn how to create a new AutoCAD command, this tip could be useful.
This is not an advanced tutorial, but at least can give you a quick look how to do it. This
tutorial use some simple macros, changing the current layer’s properties to ByLayer.
See the tip here.

Creating New Command in AutoCAD


August 12, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

If I’m not mistaken, AutoCAD use CUI since 2006. Not MNU or MNS as it used to be.
CUI (customize user interface) is a XML file. It’s easier to manage. In this post, we
will create a new command to set all properties to ByLayer. This is a request from
my colleague. He likes to override color and linetype when he draw, and want to be able
to reset all of the properties back to ByLayer. By clicking an icon, every properties will
be set to ByLayer.

First you may want to take a look to what I want to achieve. Click here to see
animation.

Let’s do it. First open CUI by accessing menu tools>customize>interface… or by typing


CUI then [enter]. You will see browser like this. If you use ribbon, find it in manage tab,
customization section.

CUI browser is easier to use than creating old AutoCAD menu. There are 3 areas I
would like to highlight

166
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

1. All customization. Here is where you decide where you can access all AutoCAD
tools. Either you want to put it in ribbon, tool bar, right click context menu, and
even double click.
2. Command list. Here is all your AutoCAD commands. When you create a new
one, it will appear here.
3. Properties. Here is where you can change the properties. After creating new
command, you will have to define what it should do.

Let’s start. Right click on command list (2), and select new command from context
menu. Rename it. Give it name ‘All ByLayer’ without quote. You can see the animation
here.

Now, we have created a command. But it doesn’t know what to do yet. We have to tell it
what it should do by typing macro in properties area (3). Type this macro on the macro
field.

^C^C(setvar “cecolor” “ByLayer”) (setvar “celweight” -1) (setvar “celtype” “ByLayer”)

^C^C will cancel everything. Similar to pressing [esc] twice. Then we tell AutoCAD to
change current color to ByLayer. Then current lineweight to ByLayer, and finally
current line type to ByLayer.

Give a description that makes sense. This is optional.

We have created a new command, and give instruction what it should do when it’s
executed. But AutoCAD doesn’t know yet, where you want it can be accessed. Now
find it in command list. We named it ‘All ByLayer’ before.

Click and drag it to the place where you want it appear. In this example below, I put it
on my layer toolbar. You can also put it on right click context menu (more about this
later) or double click!

Click OK on this CUI browser to finish our work. Now take a look on your layer
toolbar (or anywhere you put it before). Is it there? Try it!

You can place it anywhere you want to. In this post, you can add the new command to
right click (or we call it contextual menu).

Not so hard right? Learning macro is one thing, but creating customization with CUI is
a lot easier than MNU or MNS. Good luck!

167
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 80. How to: Add Command to Contextual menu

Now that you know how to create a new command, how can we add it to contextual
menu? We want to select objects, right click, and see the tool. If you want to know how
to do it, read this tip here.

Adding Command to Your Right Click


August 12, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 5 Comments

We have discussed how to add new command to AutoCAD. We added it to toolbar. Now
let’s discuss how to add it to context menu. We want this command appear when we
select particular type of object. This is what a contextual menu all about, right?

This time we will create a command to automatically convert line(s) to polyline. This is
not something new. I’ve seen a lot of people have discuss it in forum or blogs. One of
them is in Autodesk evangelist, Lynn Allen blog. But we are going to do it slightly
different: put it to our context menu.

Open your CUI browser. You might want to read the previous post about creating a new
command before you continue.

Right click on command list area, select new command from context menu. Rename it.
Let’s call it Line to Pline. Or if it’s sound ridiculous to you, you can use another name
that suit you.

Now in properties area, macro field, type this value:

^C^C_pedit;;;^C

A little explanation:

 ^C is similar to pressing [esc], pressing [esc] twice will cancel a running


command (if any).
 PEDIT is activating polyline edit tool.
 ;;; means you press [enter] three times. ; will execute [enter]

168
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

In Lynn’s blog she use ^C^CPEDIT;y;; It would work fine too. What’s the difference?
Let’s compare to what we do.

 ^C^C is just the same to what we do.


 she use PEDIT instead of _PEDIT. Mostly using either one of it works fine.
Adding underscore is an AutoCAD convention so this macro can be used by
AutoCAD in any other language. If you use English, then there’s no difference
with or without underscore.
 She use Y after the first ; If you activate PEDIT and select a line or arc, then
AutoCAD will ask you: Object selected is not a polyline Do you want to turn it
into one? <Y>
By default the answer is yes. So pressing [enter] without typing Y will return the
value of Yes. She decided to make sure AutoCAD will accept yes as the answer,
so add Y then [enter] to do this.

Not different at all, aren’t they?

Now we have done with creating command. Now we have to define a new shortcut
menu. Look at customize section. Find shortcut menus group. Right click on it, and
click new shortcut menu. Rename it to Line Object Menu.

What are we doing? We define a condition, when this menu should appear. We want this
menu appear when we select line. But it won’t appear when we select other type of
objects. We have created the menu, but haven’t define the condition. Now we add this
condition on properties section, aliases field.

169
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Click ‘…’ button on this field. Use it, don’t type directly on the text field. Type on each
line as follow:

 OBJECT_LINE –> this will enable your menu appear when you select a single
line
 OBJECTS_LINE –> this will enable your menu appear when you select
multiple lines

Adding both of them will enable your menu to appear on both conditions.

Click OK. You will see your aliases as below. You might have different ID than mine
(mine POP520), but that’s not a problem.

Now, drag and drop our new command to this shortcut menu.

Click OK to close your CUI browser. Now try to draw some lines. Select it, then right
click. See if it shows up in your context menu.

Kinda fun, isn’t it?

170
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 81. How To Create A Ribbon Panel

Now you can create a new command on toolbar, new command on contextual menu.
How about creating a ribbon panel? If you do love using ribbon, then you would like
you have your new command on ribbon. See Brian’s tip how to create a ribbon panel.

AutoCAD 2009 – Customize Ribbon Panels

The AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon panels can be customized. If you are familiar with the CUI,
then this should be easy enough for you. If not, it is still quite simple. Let’s go.

Open the CUI (type in CUI or right


click a panel, toolbar, etc. and click the CUSTOMIZE item.) Make sure you are working
on the workspace you want to customize. Scroll down the CUI until you get to the
Ribbon Panels. Expand the Ribbon Panel list. Now you can edit an existing panel, or
make a new one.

Editing a Panel. Expand the panel you want to customize. To remove an item in the
panel, select it, right click and pick the remove option. To add a new (well, anything
new really) panel, row, sub-panel, flyout, or separator, right click the panel name and
select the item you want to add. To add a command, go to the command list, find the
command you want to add, click and drag it to the desired location on the panel. Easy
enough.

Creating a New Panel. Right click a panel, and then pick the NEW PANEL option.
Name the panel and start adding your items just like you did when editing an existing
panel.

Most of the items in a panel are pretty obvious, like Panel Separator. It provides a space
that separates items in the panel. Flyout creates a flyout, similar to the flyouts in tool
bars. A ROW, is just that. It provides a place for your commands to go. You can have
one row or more, just add them. When adding a command to a row, drag it to the side of
the row and drop it there.

171
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Sub-Panels are a little different. A sub-panel has to go into a row. You can’t place them
directly into the panel like you do a row. The sub-panel creates an area in a row to group
commands in. Take a look at some of the existing panels to get a good idea of how they
work. Sub-panels can have rows in them too.

When you are finished customizing your panel, make sure you put it in a TAB,
otherwise it won’t show up anywhere in the ribbon.

Happy CADDING

Tip 82. How to Use Local Help File as Default in 2011 Version

AutoCAD 2011 (and other Autodesk products) now use online help file as default. For
some reason, you probably don’t like it. You can change the default help file to local
help file. It is still using html file, but at least it always use local file. See How to: Set
Local Help File as Default in 2011 Version If you still don’t like the html help file and
want to use the old chm style, see the tip from Shaan Hurley here.

AutoCAD 2011 CHM Based Help Files Available for Download

With the release of AutoCAD 2011 we replaced the CHM (compiled HTML) based
Help system with an online browser based HTML based Help system which you can set
to default to online or offline mode and also select your browser of choice.

Based on customer feedback, the search performance is not equal to that of the old Help
system at this time so we are providing the CHM files for download. It is a 172MB
download and currently will not work on 64bit Windows 7.

We will be working to improve the current AutoCAD 2011 online Help to improve the
search capabilities as well as add new features to the new online Help.

AutoCAD 2011 CHM-Based Help

AutoCAD 2011 online Help

AutoCAD 2011 Help in PDF format

172
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Also check out and participate in the AutoCAD Wiki based Help Beta
AutoCAD Wiki Help Beta

173
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 83. How to: Label Coordinate in AutoCAD

This is a tip how you can use dynamic block and field in vanilla AutoCAD. You can
easily place an annotation block to label your coordinate. It is very easy, and you only
need AutoCAD to do it! This is quite popular tip in CAD Notes.

Read how to do it in How to: Label Coordinate in AutoCAD

How to: Label Coordinate in AutoCAD


November 9, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 72 Comments

I had this question several times: can we automatically label our coordinate in
AutoCAD? If you are Civil3D user, then you most likely will suggest them to use C3D.
But can AutoCAD actually do it? YES!

I saw many people use AutoLISP to do that task. It works great. But sometimes you
may want to have your own labeling symbol and format. So, why not using field?

Creating a reference object

First, we need to create an object as a reference point. It can be a point, a circle, or any
symbol you want it to appear. I use this symbol.

I prefer to use point or circle. We can easily use the point position or circle center.

174
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Creating an Attribute Definition

After we have the reference object, we need to define an attribute definition. You can
activate it by clicking it on your ribbon, home tab, block panel.

Or simply type ATTDEF then [enter].

Let’s define our attribute. Give the attribute tag, prompt like below. In default field, type
‘X Y = ‘ then click insert field.

Change the field category to objects, and in field names, select object. Click select
object button to define the object type. Select the circle, don’t select anything else!

AutoCAD will list all available properties. Select center (or if you use point, select
position). Because I only use it in 2D drawings, I don’t need it to display Z value. I turn
it off. Change the format if necessary.Click OK.

175
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Click OK again to close the define attribute dialog box. Place your attribute definition in
desired location.

Optional: Define Adjustable Leader

If you don’t want to have leader in your coordinate label, you can skip this step.

I add a line that will be used as leader.

Create the Block

Now we can define the block. Click create from ribbon, block panel.

Select all the objects, and define the center as insertion point. Activate Open in Block
Editor on lower left of this dialog. We are going to add some ‘dynamic’ functionality.
Click OK.

AutoCAD will show the edit attribute dialog. We don’t want to modify it as it is updated
automatically. Just click OK.

176
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Add the Control Grip

What we want to do is adding a grip control, so we can modify the text (and optionally
leader) placement. In block authoring palette, activate the point parameter.

Now place it where you want the grip appear.

Now activate the stretch action.

Select the point parameter, create the stretch frame like below, and select the line and
attribute definition. [Enter] to end it.

Now we are done! Save this block and close block editor.

Using the Label

How we can use the label? Just insert the block, and click on the point you want to show
the coordinate. After you have one of the block in your drawing, you can copy it and
place it on several points you wanted.

Because we add a control grip, we can move the text and leader position!

177
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Because we use field, if you move your points, the value will be automatically updated!
Very cool, isn’t it?

Why Attribute Definition? Why not Just Use Text?

You might ask this: why not just use text with field? I know we can insert field within
text, single or multiline. But it doesn’t work. You may want to try it by yourself.

Apparently the field will consider the reference point always at 0,0,0 when you create a
block. It works if you don’t create a block from them, but I believe you want to use it as
reusable content, aren’t you?

Tip 84. How to: Report Multiple Coordinates in a Block

This is similar with tip 83. The challenge here is having more than one set out points
and report them from a block. The example is extracting set out points from a Gully.

Read this tip: Reporting Multiple Coordinates in A Block

Reporting Multiple Coordinates in A


Block using Attribute Extraction
December 23, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 3 Comments

I found this thread this morning in CADTutor Forum. I found it’s interesting and trying
to figure how it can work. This is how I do it.

The problem is, Manish wants to extract coordinates from 3 points inside a block, using
AutoCAD data extraction. If we want to report one point, it would be easy. Just extract
the insertion point. This is how his block looks like.

Modifying the Block

If you want to try this, you can download the original file from the forum.

178
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The 3 small circles are the set points we need to extract the coordinates. Open the file,
and open the block in block editor.

Similar to what we did in labeling coordinates, add attributes that show the coordinates
of each point. Refer to the tutorial to create them. Yes, you need to create 3 attribute
definitions.

Tips: You can set the attribute to invisible, because we only need it in data extraction.

After you finish, save the block. Try to make several copies of the block. Change the
Gully number, but DON’T CHANGE the coordinate values.

We are done with the block, and now we are going to test it in data extraction. Don’t
forget to REGEN or save the file. Fields will not update unless we REGEN, save, or
plot it.

Extracting Data

If you are not familiar with data extraction, read this tutorial and this tutorial to get
familiar with it.

Page 1 – Begin

Just click next. Type the data extraction setting name as you wish. Save it.

Page 2 – Define Data Source

By default, it will use your opened data. Just click next again.

Page 3 – Select Objects

179
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

We only want to report the blocks data. So uncheck everything except the block name
(GULLY_A). Click next.

Page 4 – Select Properties

Uncheck everything in category filter, except for attribute. Now only the block
attributes left in the properties column. Check them all.

Page 5 – Refine Data

You should see the preview of our data.

180
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Troubleshooting
Tip 85. AutoCAD Installation Troubleshoot

Having problem installing AutoCAD? Then you are not alone. Installing AutoCAD
mostly is easy. But there are many prerequisite that installed before AutoCAD
installation. Most of the installation failure happen at that stage. You may want to check
everything before start installing AutoCAD. Or you can check this list when the
installation fail. Read the installation check list here.

AutoCAD Installation Troubleshoot


February 10, 2010 by Edwin Prakoso 4 Comments

Yesterday, I had a call from our customer that fail to install AutoCAD. They send me
the screen capture and it shows error code 1406.

Without checking it further, I send this Autodesk support page link. After following the
suggested steps, the installation still fail. So I went there and check it myself. It is kind
of embarrassing what happen. Installing AutoCAD mostly is easy, so it kind of make me
jump into unnecessary conclusion. So I make this check list to remind me the steps I
should do to ensure I can install AutoCAD without unnecessary problem.

AutoCAD Installation Checklist

Check the System Requirements

181
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This is the most basic thing to do. But mostly I just put the DVD in, and run setup.
When there is an error warning, then I check it. Don’t make the same mistakes as I do.
It is important thing to do. You can read what happen to me when I ignore this at the
bottom of this post.

Login as Administrator

This is obvious. If you don’t have administrator privilege, then you can’t install
anything on your workstation. Windows will also show you a warning and ask you to
login as admin.

Close Anti Virus and Anti Spyware

Many anti virus and anti spyware cause problems with installation. The common
problem is they block the admin privilege, and your installation may fail. Close them
before you start installing!

Clean the Previous Installation

If we have a previous installation, and we are no longer using it, it is wise to clean the
installation first. This will remove any problem that may occur because the previous
installation. Clean your files and registry just like your computer never knew AutoCAD
before. You can do it by following these steps.

When There is Still Problem

Even after you follow the steps above, problems still may occur. You can check the
error code and get the solutions from Autodesk support page. If you can’t see the error
or the available guide don’t solve your problem, then you might want to submit it to
Autodesk.

Don’t forget to check the installation log to see the exact and detailed error message. It
will help you to find the problem when doing research. You can find installation log in
temporary folder.

To find the temporary folder, press and hold Winkey (the one with windows logo on
your keyboard) then R. In run dialog, type %TEMP% then enter.

182
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can find installation log there. Open and find the error message.

My Mistakes

What happen to me yesterday is quite embarrassing. I fail to check the 1st and 3rd item!
I always update my PC regularly, but it doesn’t mean every body do that. I only check
that they have Windows XP SP2, but I fail to check the internet explorer! AutoCAD
2010 requires IE7, they still have IE6. IE is not everyone’s favorite, so they may not
upgrade it regularly.

When I tried to upgrade to IE8, it always failed. After spending hours following many
steps in Microsoft support page, we finally try to close Kaspersky before try to install
again. And it worked! Anti virus and anti spyware are not always your best friends.
They may close your admin permission. Sadly, in Autodesk support page and Microsoft
support page do not mention anything about closing anti virus.

After we succeeded installing IE8, we directly install AutoCAD. It worked! However,


after installation finished, AutoCAD immediately close. So I remove AutoCAD with
clean uninstall, and reinstall it. Finally it worked! I suspected the previous installation
trial and error kind of mess up the registry or corrupted some files in AutoCAD folder.
And they have several versions of AutoCAD folders. The application is longer exist
because they have upgraded it, but the folder and registry still there. If we no longer use
the old versions, then it is a wise decision to clean them all before start installing the
new one.

If only I follow the checklist, then I won’t waste my time trying to install, uninstall, and
reinstall it. I have necessary experience with AutoCAD installation problem. But
because mostly it is too easy, I forget to follow the steps anymore. Fail! I hope this will
reminds me for later problems. And I hope if you have problem, it can help.

You may not installing AutoCAD by yourself. Knowing this, probably will help your IT
guy/girl when they have problem.

183
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 86. Troubleshooting AutoCAD Graphic Issue

Every year AutoCAD configurations get more complex. For example, one large jump in
complexity happened in AutoCAD 2007 when Autodesk introduced Hardware
acceleration. This is a check list of troubleshooting AutoCAD crashes that could be
graphics related. See the information here on Between the Lines.

Troubleshooting AutoCAD Graphics Issues

Randy Young, the Graphics System Software Quality Assurance Engineering lead guru
for the AutoCAD Team wrote an excellent article on solving the worlds troubles, well at
least AutoCAD Graphics related ones. Tom Stoeckel of AutoCAD Support posted it to
the Without a Net Blog. Checking Your AutoCAD Graphics

I am also publishing the article here due to the value it has in troubleshooting AutoCAD
crashes that could be graphics related.

Every year AutoCAD configurations get more complex. For example, one large jump in
complexity happened in AutoCAD 2007 when we introduced Hardware acceleration.
As new features are introduced – such as the new Advance Material Effect, and Smooth
line display in AutoCAD 2011 – we become more and more dependent on the support of
our hardware partners. Prior to AutoCAD 2007 we only had a dependency on the
operating system, but since then we have also become more dependent on graphics
cards and drivers. Each new level of dependency brings new potential for
interoperability issues. To cut down on the complexity of these dependencies and
improve user experience we have created a hardware certification program within the
AutoCAD team that is located at this site:

Graphics Hardware List

Reason:

As we find drivers that have issues such as the ones in this posting, we have begun
blocking hardware acceleration for them to protect users from losing productivity or,
worse yet, unsaved data.

Process:

To check if you have the latest certified driver you can either go to the AutoCAD
certified hardware web page (http://www.autodesk.com/autocad-graphicscard), and/or
you can check in-product.

To check in-product see the steps below:

Note: You must be an administrator for Microsoft® Windows Vista® & Windows 7
operating systems, and have User Account Control (UAC) disabled.

1. Type “3DCONFIG” at the command line and hit “Enter”.

184
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

2. Click the “Check for Updates” button (Highlighted in blue in the image below)

Note: This button checks for updated versions of the graphics card and driver database
that is used for performance tuning.

3. If there is an available update it will ask you if you want to replace it by clicking
“Yes”.

4. After it is updated you will get a message that says “Your Performance Tuner File is
Up to date”, then click “View Tuner Log” button.

5. The View Tune Log will show you if you hardware is certified, it will also show you
your current application driver, an example is shown below. If your current driver says
anything other than Software or AcadDM10.hdi, i.e., nvgl10.hdi, please see these links
(Link1 & Link2) and switch your driver back to the Autodesk Driver.

185
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

6. If your system shows you do not have the latest certified graphics card driver, you
need to go to the certification site (http://www.autodesk.com/autocad-graphicscard) to
download the latest version. To download the latest version click the little blue arrow
next to the corresponding driver for you hardware and operating system.

By keeping your system up to date with the latest driver you will avoid losing both
productivity and potentially unsaved work. If you have any questions see the FAQ site
and if you have any issue not on the FAQ please feel free to send us a message at the
feedback link.

Good luck on your next project,


Randy Young
AutoCAD Test Development

186
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 87. AutoCAD is not Accurate

If you work on a large drawing or draw objects far away from 0,0,0; you might find out
that your drawing is no longer accurate. To solve this problem, you can try to reduce the
coordinate number by do the following:

1. If you don’t need to use global coordinate for your model location, then move
your model closer to 0,0,0.
2. If you need to use global coordinate, consider to use larger unit (m or feet, or
even larger. This occur mostly in mm unit)
3. You can also consider to draw your model at 0,0, and use global coordinate in
master plan only. Place your model as external reference (XREF) using global
coordinate in master plan.
4. Another good workaround suggested by Dave Wolfe: We can draw the model at
0,0. Then create a saved UCS to define project location. Anytime you need to
retrieve coordinate for project location, you can activate the saved coordinate.

Tip 88. Fixing AutoCAD Ribbon

Sometimes ribbon is just broken and you will see only this text: The ribbon does not
have any tabs or panels currently loaded.

If you see that error, this is a tip how you can fix your ribbon in JTB World.

Ribbon problem solutions for AutoCAD


How to fix a broken Ribbon? It can certainly be a pain with such a problem in
AutoCAD and it doesn’t heal by waiting like when a rib is fractured.

If you find yourself in a situation where you see the text “The Ribbon does not have any
tabs or panels currently loaded.” and don’t know how to restore the Ribbon and menus
here are some tips. It might be because you have done some customization in a wrong
way to accidentally deleted all workspaces or messed up something else.

187
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

I’ll try to come up with a solution here.

The easiest method is to click on the black down arrow and click on Workspace.

Then select one of the workspaces from the Workspace dropdown.

Another method is the following:

Run the command WSCURRENT and you might find that it has an empty value. This
indicates that something is wrong.

Command: wscurrent
Enter new value for WSCURRENT <"">:

Run the CUI command.

If there are no Workspaces existing

try first to use Restore ACAD.CUIX and if that does not work try Reset ACAD.CUIX.

188
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now this is what it look like when there are Workspaces but none current.

Right click on any of the Workspaces and select Set Current.

Close CUI.

If the Ribbon still is missing run the RIBBON command.

If Express Tools menu is missing run the EXPRESSTOOLS command.

If the Ribbon is missing next time you start AutoCAD you probably need to show it
again and then save the workspace using WSSETTINGS command.

See also Restore lost workspace, menus and profile in AutoCAD Architecture.

Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite remedy.

189
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 89. Enabling/Disabling Multi Processor in AutoCAD

Have you used your Workstation multi processor support for AutoCAD? Not sure? See
how to control the system variable in Xanadu.

Using multiprocessing in AutoCAD.


All Autodesk's CAD products based on AutoCAD 2000i, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,
2008, 2009 and higher are multi-threaded, display operations run on multiple processors.

The WHIPTHREAD variable controls the way how AutoCAD uses the second processor (or
core) for display operations.

 0 - use only a single processor (as A2000)


 1 - regen done on multiple CPUs
 2 - redraw done on multiple CPUs
 3 - both regens and redraws done on multiple CPUs

Multi-CPU and multithreading systems are used by AutoCAD also for other operations, e.g.
for the mental ray rendering (2007 and higher), background publishing, xref loading, or for
background loading of .NET Framework.
Intel processors with the hyperthreading (HT) and dual-core technology are considered by
the operating system as multiprocessor PCs.

190
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 90. How to Improve Sheet Set Manager


Performance

If you feel your sheet set manager (SSM) has a


performance issue, then this might be able to help. Read
the complete tips to improve Sheet Set Manager
performance.

Sheet Set Manager performance tips


A slow Sheet Set Manager (SSM) makes no one happy. So these tips are welcome both
for AutoCAD users as well as the verticals like AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD
MEP that has the Project Navigator.
 Increase the network speed.
 Limit the number of sheets in the sheet set.
 Limit the number of users on the network that are accessing the same sheet set
 Increase the SSMPOLLTIME system variable to lengthen the time between
refreshes. The default refresh time is 60 seconds, but you can increase it to a
maximum of 600 seconds (10 minutes). Note: The system variable,
SSMSHEETSTATUS must be set to 2 for the timer to operate.
 Turn off automatic refreshing of sheet sets completely by setting
SSMSHEETSTATUS to 0 (in this case, refreshing must be done manually).
Making this (or the previous) change for all the users on a network may help
minimize the amount of traffic to and from a DST file.
 Turn off the Offline Files setting if it is enabled on your Windows operating
system. If this setting is active, the Sheet Set Manager may include offline
folders when polling for information during a file search. Note: The SSM does
not explicitly poll offline folders; this is a result of the Windows functions called
when a file search is performed. To turn off Offline Files, follow these steps:
o In Windows Explorer, click Tools menu.
o In the Folder Options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab, and clear the
Offline Files check box.
 Check how frequently fields are refreshed. If your sheets contain a lot of fields
and they are refreshed often, this will negatively impact sheet set performance.
Check the FIELDEVAL system variable or the Options dialog box (User
Preferences > Field Update Settings) and adjust how often the fields are
evaluated.
 Close the DST file if you are not using it. This is different from simply closing
the Sheet Set Manager. You need to right-click the sheet set name at the root of
the SSM tree and select Close Sheet Set from the shortcut menu.
 Disable background publishing.
 Turn off SSMAUTOOPEN to prevent the automatic opening of a DST file when
you load an associated drawing.

Knowledge Base document: Improving performance of Sheet Set Manager


Previous post on SSM performance.

191
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you further want to enhance the speed of working with SSM take a look at
SSMPropEditor.

Tip 91. Clear ‘Sticky’ Sheet Set From Recent Document List

Even if you select “Clear Recent Document List” the Sheet Sets comes back to Recent
Documents in the Menu Browser after a while. They actually comes back if you run the
Sheet Set manager (command SSM) and have anything in that SSM Recent list. A side
effect is that today’s date is used even if you have not even used that Sheet Set for a
long time.

If you have problem getting rid of the AutoCAD sheet set from recent document list, try
this tip.

Clear sticky Sheet Sets from Recent Documents List in


AutoCAD
I’ve thought about posting this for a while and was triggered by a question in
Autodesk’s discussion group for AutoCAD 2009.

Even if you select “Clear Recent Document List” the Sheet Sets comes back to
Recent Documents in the Menu Browser after a while. They actually comes back if
you run the Sheet Set manager (command SSM) and have anything in that SSM Recent
list. A side effect is that today’s date is used even if you have not even used that Sheet
Set for a long time.

There are three locations AutoCAD 2009 uses for the Resent File List that is related to
Sheet Sets (DST-files).

To completely clear also the Sheet Sets you would need to first clear the Sheet Set
Recent List.

The Sheet Set Recent List is saved in the profile. This is used if you click on Recent in
Sheet Set Manager. Only edit this file when AutoCAD is not running.
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2009\R17.2\enu\Support\Profiles\FixedProfile.aws

In recent versions the settings are saved here instead:


%APPDATA%\Autodesk\AutoCAD
2014\R19.1\enu\Support\Profiles\<Profile>\Profile.aws

192
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

<Profile> is the name of the AutoCAD profile. Default is “Unnamed Profile”.

AutoCAD 2009\R17.2\enu are parts of the path that is different depending on


AutoCAD version, vertical and language.

Right now there is is a bug in AutoCAD 2009 that makes it impossible to select any of
the recent Sheet Set files because the menu collapses the second it opens. Not sure why
this comes or how to fix it. Could be related to that I have so much on my machine like
older AutoCAD versions, etc. Any solution to this problem?

The aws files are XML files and can easily be edited using the Microsoft freeware XML
Notepad or even plain Notepad. Make sure you have a backup of the aws file in case
you unintentionally do something that corrupts the aws file.

Search for MRU_FILES and delete the MRU_FILE “folders” that you don’t want to
keep.

193
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

After that you can select Clear Recent Document List and it will be completely cleared.

194
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Here is the registry location for Recent Documents:


HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R17.2\ACAD-
7001:409\Recent File List
This location is cleared if you right click on one of the recent documents.

195
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Here is the History location that is used if you click on History in the Open Sheet Set
dialog box from the Sheet Set Manager:
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2009\R17.2\enu\Recent\AcSmNavOpenSheetSet

196
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Wondering what %APPDATA% is?


In XP: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data
In Vista: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming

Another tip is to group the recent list by type instead of group by date and the sheet set
will show at the bottom. Update: Rick Moore informed me that this is not always the
case. It seems like the type that is last used is what is on top using Group by Type. But if
you have SSM to automatically open when you start AutoCAD the sheet sets will be on
the top when you start AutoCAD.

A tip that is a bit related is that you can set the number of recently-used files in the
Menu Browser to anything between 0 and 50. You find it in Options>Open and Save.

197
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

This logic also applies to AutoCAD verticals like AutoCAD Architecture and some of it
probably applies to older AutoCAD versions like where the Sheet Set recent history is
located.

If you have read this far you probably use the Sheet Set Manager and I recommend you
take a look at SSMPropEditor that will make your life easier by allowing you to edit
Sheet Set Properties on multiple Sheets at a time

Tip 92. Open File Dialog is Missing

Have you ever find when you try to open or save file, you don’t see the dialog box?
Instead of dialog box, you see the text below on command line or dynamic input.

The problem is system variable has changed. Type FILEDIA in command line then
press [enter]. Enter value 1 then [enter] again. You should now see the open file dialog
box back to normal.

Tip 93. Open Multiple Documents in A single AutoCAD Session

AutoCAD can open multiple files in one AutoCAD session. We expect that AutoCAD
will open another file in opened session when you double click a DWG file in Windows
Explorer. But what if every time we double click a file in explorer, it will open the file
in another AutoCAD session? To make AutoCAD open the file in one session, you need
to set the system variable SDI to 1. If it still doesn’t work, try this tip from a discussion
in CADTutor Forum.

http://www.cadtutor.net/forum/showthread.php?18461-Opening-more-than-two-files-at-
a-time.&highlight=multiple%20session

198
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 94. Speed Up the Print Process

AutoCAD 2008 introduced to us BACKGROUND PROCESSING for plotting. The


theory behind it is that it will free up your computer while printing so that you can
continue to work. It sounds good. I like it when I am publishing something or batch
plotting through the sheet set manager. The problem is that when you print behind the
scenes, it takes longer. It takes longer because the computer is processing the printing,
and processing your work. So I tried it. I switched it off and WOW!! The old printing
speed returned. I have kept it off and my printing is much faster. See the complete tip
from Brian how he optimize the printing speed.

Quick Tip – Slow Printing

If you are using AutoCAD 2008 or even AutoCAD 2009, you might have noticed the
printing seems to move a little bit slower. Here is a quick tip on speeding up your
printing.

AutoCAD 2008 introduced to us BACKGROUND PROCESSING for plotting. The


theory behind it is that it will free up your computer while printing so that you can
continue to work. It sounds good. I like it when I am publishing something or batch
plotting through the sheet set manager.

BUT (there’s always a but in there somewhere), when I need to print single sheets, I
don’t like it so much. What often happens to me is that I have two to three drawing files
open and I want to print them. They might be from different drawing sets or whatever.
The point is that I can only print them from the DWG files, one at a time. The
background processing printing won’t let me print the second file until the first one is
finished. So what’s the big deal?

The problem is that when you print behind the scenes, it takes longer. It takes longer
because the computer is processing the printing, and processing your work. So I tried it.
I switched it off and WOW!! The old printing speed returned. I have kept it off and my
printing is much faster.

I usually don’t encourage people to turn off new features, because I want all of us to
give them a chance. But this one works better for me when it is off. Perhaps the speed is
not an issue (and even for me it isn’t always an issue) for you, and that’s ok too.

To turn it off, open up the OPTIONS (type in OP at the command line). Go to the PLOT
AND PUBLISH tab. Near the left center area there is the option to toggle on/off
Background Plotting. You have the ability to turn off Plotting and/or Publishing. I left
the publishing on but turned the plotting off. Set it to fit your needs.

Happy CADDING.

199
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 95. Mouse Pointer is not Moving Smoothly

Do you ever find your mouse pointer not moving smoothly and jumping all around? If
you take a good look, the pointer is actually snapping to drawing grids, and jump to the
next grid intersection. You probably turn on the grid snap by accident. Press [F9] or turn
it off from drafting settings.

Learn and knowledge update


Tip 96. A Simple Guide: 12 Steps to Master AutoCAD

Learning AutoCAD can be difficult when you try to learn by yourself. This tip has 12
steps you can follow to learn until you finally mastering AutoCAD. Do not rush it. No
body can become a master in anything overnight! Read A Simple Guide: 12 steps to
Mastering AutoCAD

A Simple Guide: 12 steps to Master


AutoCAD
July 21, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 26 Comments

Many people think that learning AutoCAD is difficult. Actually it’s not. Yes, there are
many things to learn. But AutoCAD is not difficult.

The key is you need to learn one step at a time. Learn to walk before you learn to run.
You need to understand the concept of each step, then you will be an AutoCAD guru.

This is not a tutorial, but what do you need to achieve before you can master AutoCAD.

200
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

1. Getting Started

© tarasov_vl – Fotolia.com

First, you have to be familiar with the interface. Of course.

AutoCAD Interface

AutoCAD interface now is easier for new users. I know many AutoCAD veterans hate
ribbon and other interface enhancements. But honestly new and occasional users say
that they like the new interface. Learn how you can access and activate drawing tools,
modify tools, and any other tools. If you already familiar with Windows application,
then this won’t take too long. AutoCAD is an Windows compliant software, so should
taste the same.

Navigate the drawing

Now try to open any drawing. If you don’t have it, start with a sample file. I always
teach this first: navigation tools. Try to navigate through your drawing. Pan, zoom in,
zoom out, and then zoom extend. Get familiar with navigation tools. Then it will be
easier for you later when you start learn how to draw.

Now you can start to create a new drawing and try to draw.

201
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The rule is: create a new drawing using appropriate template. If you draw with metric
units, don’t use imperial templates!

2. Drawing Tools

After you get familiar to AutoCAD interface and its navigation tools, now it’s time for
you to learn how to use drawing tools. I know some instructors teach students how to
use each drawing tools. But if you don’t get the concept, then you will forget it the next
day. The next week at best.

How AutoCAD tools work

Drawing tools are very easy to use. Most basic tools name describe what they do. Line
tool will draw a line, rectangle tool will draw rectangle. Easy, right? What you have to
understand is, every tool might have different way to be used. It’s difficult to remember
all of the steps in each tool. That’s what command line is for (or you can use dynamic
input).

Command line is just like a road sign, it will guide you so you don’t get lost. Try to
activate a drawing tool, like a line.

Command: _line Specify first point:


Specify next point or [Undo]:
Specify next point or [Undo]:
Specify next point or [Close/Undo]:

After you activate the line tool, then AutoCAD will tell you what to do: specify first
point.

Define your point by clicking in the drawing area, then it will ask you again: specify
next point. Just click any where in your drawing area, don’t worry about the size or
precise coordinate yet.

202
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Now let’s try for circle:

Command: ARC Specify start point of arc or [Center]: C


Specify center point of arc:
Specify start point of arc:
Specify end point of arc or [Angle/chord Length]:

After I activate circle, AutoCAD will tell me to specify a start point, and give an option:
I can switch from specifying a start point to a center point. This time, I type the capital
letter in the option, C, to switch to specify center point. Then AutoCAD ask me for
center point, start point, then end point consecutively.

Follow command line, then you should be OK. Even for you who have used AutoCAD
for years, you should be watching command line sometimes. Especially when you use a
new version, try to find if there is any new option there.

3. Precise Input
After you get familiar with using drawing tool, then now you should get familiar with
precise input. Precision is one of the advantages of using CAD. And your drawing is
useless if it’s not precise.

At this time you will learn about global and relative coordinate, then snap tools. After
finishing this step, you will be able to draw precisely.

I will not discuss this further in this post, may be I will write more in separate post.

4. Modify Tools
Next step: modify tools. There are many modify tools. But same as drawing tools, it’s
name should describe what they do. Or at least they icon will describe more. And you
can just let your pointer above the icon, and let the help tool tip expand and explain
more.

203
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

You can also try to activate the tool, then press F1. It will open help file with related
topic. Many Windows users don’t realize this. They open then search the help file. And
sometimes can’t find what they are looking for.

Same rule applies here: keep watching the command line!

5. Object Selection
After you playing with the modify tools, now you should learn about object selection.
You will need to select objects when you modify or manipulate them. Selecting one
object is peace of cake. But if you have a complex drawing then you should learn more
tricks.

I have written about this before. When you get to this step, may be you want to read
more advanced object selection here.

You can use noun-verb or verb-noun selection to modify objects. But (I think) the
default is verb-noun selection, contrary to Windows default: noun-verb selection.

6. Annotation and Styles


Ok, now you can draw, you can modify your drawings. Next step: creating annotation
and understand using styles.

What is annotation? Everything in your drawing that’s not categorized as geometry. It


can be text, hatches, dimensions, tables, etc. Using annotation tools should be easy, after
what you’ve been through from step 1-5.

204
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

The problem in this step might be setting up the annotation styles and scales. Styles are
used to define how your annotation will look like. There are a lot of option in styles, but
what usually confusing is options related to the scale. What size I should create my text,
so I can read it clearly when it’s plotted? What size are my dimension arrows should be
set?

Thanks to Autodesk, now you can set this quite easily using annotation scale.

If you work in a company that has establish a drawing standard, you might not need to
set styles any more. Simply use a template that already has all the styles, then use it.

7. Drawing Management
After learning AutoCAD from step 1-6, you should already be able to draw with
AutoCAD.

Now you need to learn to be more productive. Remember, drawing with AutoCAD is
not just about how fast you can finish the drawing. But your drawing is also need to be
easy to be modify. Not only by you, but also by your team member. You need to manage
your drawing and objects inside it.

205
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

In this step you will learn about layers, layout, and may be sheet sets if you want to go
further.

If you want to learn AutoCAD Sheet Set, you may want to purchase our Sheet Set e-
book here.

8. Reusable Content
If you see an AutoCAD drawing, many objects are repetitive. You can see symbols,
standard parts, common objects and many more.Yes you can copy it multiple times, but
we want to be more productive.

Block is very important to help you working with repetitive object. Not only it’s
reusable, but block definition allows you to mass update your drawing.

206
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

If you want to go further, block also allows you to add attributes as block ID. And block
allows you to report any block’s properties. You can create schedule easily. Or report
multiple points coordinate.

If you want to learn about block from very basic to advanced, you may want to review
our e-book here: AutoCAD block best practices.

9. Manage your Standard


Every body have standard in their drawing, even you don’t realize it. It is a good
practice to have them compiled in your templates. Further more, to maintain your
standard, you can use cad standard. You can also have your reusable content to manage
your drawings standard.

Having standard will be easier for you and every body who is working with you. And
you will become more productive after implementing your standard.

10. Design Collaboration


You will work with the others for sure. You might be have to work with your partners in
your company. It’s a waste of time if they have to wait until you finish, close your file,
then they continue your drawings. Or worse, they copy your file, and work separately
with you. It’s difficult to track changes if you do this.

You can work simultaneously with your partners if you divide your design in to
separates files, then use reference or underlay. Because they are separate files, each of
them can be opened by different person. Separating file will also keep your files simple,
avoiding you from the killing ‘fatal error’ message. More complex your file, more
chances it will get corrupted.

Learn about XREF. And may be you want to implement centralize database with
Autodesk Vault.

11. Develop Your Own Workflow


I saw AOTC (Autodesk Official Training Course) a few years ago. When I was still
working in ATC. I think it’s too general. But what can you expect? AutoCAD is a
general CAD application. If your instructor have architecture background, he/she might
teach you to draw with his/her workflow. It might not be suitable for you who work in
different industry. A good Autodesk Official Training Guide (AOTG – that’s what they
call it now) sample is AutoCAD 2011 No Experience Required by Donnie Gladfelther.

After using AutoCAD for a while, you will be able to develop your own workflow. It
will suit you, and you will become more productive. Don’t stuck with what your
instructor teach you, and obviously don’t stuck with what I say.

12. Keep Practicing

207
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Practice makes perfect. You will get better with a lot of practice. AutoCAD master are
they who use it intensively. I think no body will disagree with this. Try to actually
drawing a project. Don’t just drawing lines with no meaning.

If you don’t have a project yet, find a sample then draw it. You will find problem when
you actually use it.

Become an AutoCAD master is not only about knowing everything in AutoCAD. You
need to use the right tool for your workflow. If there are anything else you want to add,
please do. You can write in comment and I will add them here. You will be credited.

208
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 97. Ten Ways to be More Efficient at AutoCAD

While tip 96 talks about the steps to learn AutoCAD, Brian Benton shares a tip to learn
to be more efficient or productive with AutoCAD. It is a nice guide after you follow tip
96. But don’t jump to this tip if you just starting to learn! Read Ten Ways to be More
Efficient at AutoCAD

Ten Ways to be More Efficient at AutoCAD

After 15 years of experience using AutoCAD and other Autodesk products, I


have put together a list of ten tools and methods (not in any particular order)
anyone can use to be more efficient in AutoCAD.

 Keyboard Commands - pgp file


 Templates - star with dwt files
 X-ref and Data Reference - why do things twice
 Sheet Sets - organize your work
 Fields - change your data globally
 Dynamic Blocks - minimize your library, make quick changes
 Tool Pallets - find it, drag it
 CUI - put your tools where you want them
 Standards - keep everyone on the same page
 Drafting Tools - classic osnaps, tracking, and more

There are so many things, steps, and tricks and you can use and take in order to make
your design documents more quickly and accurately. I have come up with these ten
basic concepts that I will delve into more deeply in future posts.

It is my experience that CAD users need to work less, not faster, to increase accuracy
and to decrease drafting time. Let me explain the theory here. The less I have to do, the
quicker I can get it done. What I mean is that use the tools in AutoCAD to automate
your work. The above tips focus on this concept.

I do not mean for drafters to do less work, well, ok I do. The only way to draw faster is
to move the mouse less, click less, pick less, and type less. One other tip is to be a two
handed drafter. Keep one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse. Forget toolbars,
menus, ribbon, etc. and enter your commands with one hand on the keyboard while
positioning your cursor with the other. If you take the time to move the mouse, click,
move it again, click, and then start working you have wasted much time. BUT if you
move and type at the same time, eventually you will get your work finished sooner.

This is one way in which AutoCAD users can work more quickly. I will take a look at
my other ideas later on.

But before that starts, what do you think? What do you feel is the number one thing
AutoCAD users can do to be more efficient? Why? What do you do? How do you use it
in your day to day routine?

Happy CADDING.

209
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Tip 98. How to Stay Up to Date with AutoCAD

This is a guest post by Ellen Finkelstein on CAD-a-Blog. This post shows you many
channels and resources you could follow to stay up to date with AutoCAD. There are so
many of them, either online or offline. Read How to stay up to date with AutoCAD

How to stay up to date with AutoCAD

I have a treat for you today. Today's post is guest written by Ellen Finkelstein. She is the
author of several AutoCAD books, including the AutoCAD 2008 Bible. Her latest, the
AutoCAD 2009 Bible will be available soon. She has also written several books on
PowerPoint and other topics. Here are some links to Ellen's website and blogs.

http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com
AutoCAD Tips Blog
PowerPoint Tips Blog

Thanks Ellen for sharing with us.

How to stay up to date with AutoCAD


AutoCAD is a complex program and it's crucial for your work. Obviously, the better
you know how to use the program, the quicker and more accurate your drawings will
be. This is where the importance of education comes in.

Education has two parts:

 Learning more about the base AutoCAD features that you use, or could use.
 Keeping up with new releases as they come out

Some organizations upgrade only every few years. I sometimes get e-mails from people
who are upgrading from R14 to R2008! But many upgrade every two or three years,
which means that education is a regular feature of the job.

Autodesk has a subscription program in which you pay an annual fee and automatically
get every new release. Additional benefits are "extensions" (new features released
between major releases), e-learning tools, and Web-based support. While companies on
the subscription program get each release as it comes out, they don't necessarily install
and use it. But they generally upgrade more often than companies not on the
subscription program. Even with the e-learning tools, retraining becomes a feature of
life.

How can you learn as much as possible about AutoCAD and also keep up with new
releases?

Basic learning resources

210
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

When you first learn AutoCAD, it may be from your dealer, from a book, or from on-
the-job training. But it's never enough. Why?

1. You forget a lot of what you learned, because you don't use it every day.
2. New tasks arise and you need to discover the best method of completing them.
3. There's always pressure to be more competitive, which completing tasks more
quickly. Therefore, you need to regularly incorporate new customization and
automizing techniques.
4. Problems arise, whether due to the melding of drawings from many sources,
network issues, having to incorporate multiple software applications, etc.

Here are some resources when you need to learn a new feature, answer a thorny
question, or just find a better way:

1. Your peers: If others in your organization use AutoCAD, ask them first. They
may have figured out what you need to know.
2. Books: Always have a good reference book on hand. The answer may be as
simple as looking in the index or table of contents. (Shameless plug: Look on the
right for links to my books.)
3. Discussion groups: The Autodesk AutoCAD discussion group is very active and
will often give you an answer within an hour or two.
4. User groups: There are many AutoCAD user groups around the country and the
world. Go to AUGI (Autodesk User Groups International) to search for the one
nearest you. Their site is also a great source of support.
5. Courses: Many colleges, especially community colleges, offer courses in
AutoCAD. The schedules are often geared around working people, so you can
take them in the evenings or on weekends. Bonus: The teacher and other
students can become a permanent networking resource. You can also purchase
video courses.
6. Events: Autodesk University (annually) and CAD camps (several times a year)
are great learning opportunities that offer classes specialized by discipline.
7. Newsletters: Several newsletters, including mine (AutoCAD Tips Newsletter),
offer regular tips, techniques, and articles. Subscribe!
8. Web sites: There are loads of Web sites, too many to mention. Just start
searching and you'll find many. They have free code to download, free tips, and
lots more.

Updating your skills

There are several things you can do to specifically help you with new releases. Most of
these are time-dependent, matching the cycle of the new software:

1. Beta programs: You can apply to participate in the AutoCAD beta program,
which evaluates the software before it's finalized. You need to have some time to
commit to this, as you're usefulness is related to the amount of testing you do
and comments you submit. You'll learn the new features before they go to
market, giving you a jump on the training process.
2. Upgrade training: Most dealers offer upgrade training for each release. Ask your
dealer about it.

211
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

3. New feature articles: Just after a new release comes out, many sites and
newsletters publish a description of the new features. For example, you can find
my list of 2009 new features here.
4. If you're a subscription member, you'll have access to e-learning content for the
new release.

Succeeding in the AutoCAD world means being a perpetual learner. Hopefully, this list
will help you find the best learning tools.

Tip 99. New Features Workshop

Do you update (I would say UPGRADE, but new doesn’t guarantee better) your
AutoCAD software regularly? Or do you update it in intervals? Regardless, it can be
difficult to know and understand what the new version has to offer. There is a built in
tool inside of AutoCAD that will help you know and understand the new features and
improvements in AutoCAD. It is called the New Features Workshop!

Tip 100. Using Info Center to Follow Your Favorite CAD Resources

The last one. We spend most of our time using AutoCAD (well, some of you do). When
we get busy, we miss the updates from our favorite CAD resources. Don’t be! The good
thing about web 2.0 technology is RSS. We can see the updates using RSS readers, or
even AutoCAD! If your computer connects to internet, do you notice the pop up from
info center on your right screen? It is the updates from predefined resources!

See how you can Use Info Center to Notify RSS Update.

Using Info Center to Notify RSS Update


September 3, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 1 Comment

212
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

Have you noticed that you consistently see a pop-up message on the top right of your
Autodesk Applications? Either it’s Revit, AutoCAD, Inventor or others. It’s the
communication center. If you are connected to internet, then communication center will
automatically check if there’s any new information available.

This is not my original idea, I saw someone (sorry I forgot who it is, so I can’t give him
credit for this idea) tweets saying that he is enjoying seeing news update from info
center. Why not? AutoCAD users (and other CAD users) spent most of their time on
their CAD apps. Seeing updates without opening other apps will be fun! Either news
updates, or CAD Notes updates!

Click on communication center.

The communication center will open. Click on AutoCAD Info Center Settings. It’s on
communication center title bar, right next to close button. There are some settings that
you can play around. But let’s go straight to RSS Feeds.

You will see a default list of RSS subscriptions. You can add, remove, or simply turn off
subscriptions you don’t want to follow. And you can add new subscription. For
example, you can subscribe to CAD Notes blog RSS. Click add, and paste RSS link to
the text field.

After you finish, you will be notified if there are any updates on blogs you are
following. Or, you can click on communication center, and it will show you latest posts
from those blogs.

213
100 Autocad Tips You should Know

How can you get the RSS link? You can open a website you want to follow. Find the
RSS icon. Almost all major sites and every blogs have RSS link. Right click on the icon,
and select copy link address (may be different for different browser, I use Chrome).

Now you can still following updates from your favorite blogs and websites without
leaving your AutoCAD! I hope you add my blog :)

214