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90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

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Published by: Jos vd heijden on Dec 24, 2009
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90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

Lynn Allen – Autodesk, Inc.


If you want a plethora of power user tips, then be sure join Cadalyst columnist Lynn Allen as she takes you through a whirlwind of productivity techniques that are certain to improve your everyday drawing life. At a tip a minute, you’re certain to discover some AutoCAD features that will remove some of the tedium and boost your ability to meet project deadlines. Be sure to hold on

About the Speaker:
Lynn is the worldwide technical evangelist for Autodesk. She is an AutoCAD expert, with almost 20 years of experience dating back to Release 1. 4. Lynn taught at the corporate and collegiate level for 13 years before joining Autodesk and is a columnist for Cadalyst magazine for the past 15 years. In addition to her many achievements, Lynn has written several books, the latest being AutoCAD Tips and Techniques for Professionals. A sought-after public speaker with a unique comedic style, Lynn is always one of the highestrated speakers at Autodesk University.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

With so much going on in our everyday drawing life we have a tendency to get in an AutoCAD rut. The goal behind this course is to show you a variety of tips that will spark a new awareness and lead you down the road to increased productivity!

User Interface Tips:
1) Workspaces Use workspaces to save snapshots of the user interface

Note: Turning on “Automatically save workspace changes” can potentially cause AutoCAD to close slowly.

2) AutoComplete (Tab to cycle) Use the tab key at the command line to cycle through all of the command and system variable combinations 3) Arrow to move up and down command list. Up and down arrows can take you through previously executed commands. 4) Control+9 to toggle command line on/off. 5) Right Click on the command line to retrieve previous commands from the shortcut menu. 6) Move Model space/Layout tabs Move to and from the status bar via the right click “Hide Layout/Model tabs” option. 7) Easy Move and Copy of Layout Tabs Use Control key to copy layout tabs, simply drag to move them.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

8) Drag and Drop layout tabs to Sheet Set After saving your drawing you can easily drag and drop your layout tabs to the active sheet set. 9) Right Click on Status Bar toggles to quickly change the settings.

10) Status Bar and Tray customization

Set up your status bar for maximum productivity. Right click on any tool and select “Display” 11) Maximizing Viewports Double click on a viewport to open and edit the contents as though you were in model space. No need to worry about accidentally modifying the scale factor and yet zoom and pan all you want. Click outside of the red area to quickly get back to your paperspace layout.

12) SCALELISTEDIT Edit the viewport scale factors and remove those you don’t intend on using. Not only will this speed up AutoCAD but it will make it easier for you to select the right scale factor. Anchored Palettes Anchor your palettes to the left or right of the screen for maximum productivity. Take advantage of their roll-up capabilities


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

13) Clean Screen (or Ctrl 0) Rid your display of clutter (except for the menu bar, status bar and quick access toolbar). Great for client presentations 14) Taskbar to 1 Display all open files at the taskbar by setting the system variable TASKBAR to 1. 15) Customize the Quick Access Toolbar for maximum productivity! (Layer drop-down, SAVEAS)

16) Lock Toolbars, Palettes and Panels

Tired of toolbars moving accidentally – lock them down! 17) Minimize the ribbon for maximum screen space Click on the arrow to minimize the ribbon.

Tool Palette Tips:
18) Quickly create a Tool Palette of your blocks in Design Center


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

19) Drag and Drop blocks to your Tool Palette Highlight a block and use a right click to drag a block to an open tool palette. Your new tool with also remember the layer, rotation angle, scale, etc. 20) Drag and Drop Hatch patterns to your Tool Palette Highlight a hatch pattern and use a right click to drag the hatch pattern to the tool palette. The pattern, layer, scale factor, and rotation angle are also saved with the hatch pattern. 21) Set up tools to automatically scale to your drawing 22) Drag and Drop a dimension to save all the settings and the layer for speedy additions of new dimensions with the same settings. 23) Easily customize your icon with an existing image file.

Layer Tips:
24)Customize your Layer Columns For maximum productivity be sure to turn off any columns you aren’t using. 25)Freeze Columns Use the Freeze Column option from the right click menu to keep a column from scrolling

26) Layer properties per viewport

Using these three columns in the Layer dialog you can assign layer properties PER viewport. 27) Deactivate the Status Column to save time


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

28) Layer States for maximum productivity

AutoCAD gurus use Layers States so they can avoid constantly changing the layer settings. 29) Applying Layer States per Viewport After setting up your Layer States you can apply them to individual viewports.

30) SETBYLAYER command This is a fantastic command to set any object (including those within nested blocks) back to BYLAYER!


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

Misc. Layer Tips:
31) Layer Translater (LAYTRANS)  Great for mapping layers from one naming convention to another

32) LAYWALK (View layers individually)

Use the LAYWALK command to quickly view individual layers 33) LAYDEL (Delete even the most stubborn layers!) Use this fantastic Express Tool to delete any layer (except for 0 and defpoints) 34) LAYISO – Isolates layer(s) for easy editing. AutoCAD 2008 and above allows you to fade the other layers so you can see the objects on the other layers but not accidentally modify them.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

35) Autodesk Seek Use the DC Online tab in Design Center to easily get to the content on Autodesk Seek (or just select the Autodesk Seek button in AutoCAD 2010)

Autodesk Seek www.autodesk.com/seek


© 2005 Autodesk

36) JOIN command (Glue) Use the Join command to glue together polylines, lines, arcs, elliptical arcs and splines. Join two lines together that are collinear, even if there are gaps between them. Join different types of objects together if there are no gaps. Join more than one arc, even with gaps, as long as they lie in the same imaginary circle. You can even use the JOIN command to turn an arc into a circle. 37) OVERKILL This Express tool is a great way to delete duplicate objects and clean up your drawing. OVERKILL removes unneeded objects by deleting duplicates and combining line and arc segments that overlap. There are multiple settings to ensure you get just the results you want.

38) JPGOUT, BMPOUT, PNGOUT, TIFOUT These nifty commands commands make it easy for you to turn your drawings into graphics 8

90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

files. 39) Print to a graphics file via the Plotting Wizard Use the Add-a-plotter Wizard to have great control over creating a graphics file.

Select “Edit Plotter Configuration” to control the resolution. 40) CHANGE command to shorten/lengthen Use the age-old CHANGE command to quickly lengthen/shorten line segments to a specific point (Ortho on) 41) Highlight objects and use a right click to Move and Copy

42) Speedy Array (Control key) Select objects, select a grip, C for Copy and hold the Control key down to do a quickie array! 43) Shift to turn Ortho ON Any time you want to temporarily toggle the Ortho on/off you can do so by holding down the Shift key 44) Speedy Trims/Extends Hit an extra enter to turn the entire drawing into a cutting edge (objects don’t highlight though!) 45) Fast Corners using Shift in FILLET command Use the Shift option in the FILLET command to quickly square off corners.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

46) FILTERS command Go directly to the undocumented FILTERS command to quickly delete excess layer filters.

System Variables:
Set PEDITACCEPT to 1 to avoid the irritating “Do you want to turn it into a polyline” question. 48) IMAGEFRAME (set to 2) DWFFRAME, PDFFRAME, OLEFRAME, XCLIPFRAME and DGNFRAME (or FRAME in AutoCAD 2010) When set to a value of 2, these commands display the frames but do not plot them. Note: FRAME set to 3 indicates varied settings and no override 49) OSNAPZ to replace Z Value with Current Elevation When snapping to objects with different elevations, you may want the current elevation to be used for the Z value. Set OSNAPZ to 1. 50) PLINEGEN - Sets how linetype patterns generate around the vertices of a 2D polyline.

51) WHIPARC to 1 for smooth arcs and circles (forget dealing with VIEWRES!) 52) Set HATCHGAP to a value other than 0 so you don’t have to search for holes in your hatching.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

Attribute Tips:
53) ATTDIA to display dialog box for attributes If you prefer a dialog box when inserting blocks with attributes set ATTDIA to 1. 54) ATTMODE to display all visible and invisible attributes Set the system variable ATTMODE to 0 to make all the attributes in your drawing invisible. To display them as originally created set to 0 and to turn them all on regardless of their settings set ATTMODE to 2. 55) ATTREQ – Suppresses the attribute prompts and uses the defaults When you are in a rush and want to use the defaults for your attributes you can set ATTREQ to 0. 56) Move locked attributes with –ATTEDIT 57) BURST – Explode blocks without losing their assigned attribute values.

58) Default Template File for QNEW Use the Files tab to set a default template file for starting new drawings. This will eliminate you needing to select a template file each time (use the NEW command if you want to select a different template file).

59) QTEXTMODE – to speed up drawings with lots of text Turning on QuickText will convert your text to rectangles (Display Tab)


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

60) Hidden Messages Turn those hidden message back on in the System tab in OPTIONS.

61) Right Click Customization Configure your right mouse button to do BOTH a shortcut menu and an enter in OPTIONS (user preferences tab)

62) Speed up your Annotative Scaling Turn off “Maintain Visual Fidelity” while you are drawing. Turn it back on right before saving to a lower release number.

63) ISAVEPERCENT - the higher the number (100 max) the faster your saves!)


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

TEXT Tips:
64) Easy Copy and Paste from WORD Copy the text to the clipboard, drop it into the MTEXT Editor. 65) Control the Text Sample string with MTJIGSTRING 66) Two fast means of exiting the MTEXT Editor: Click outside of the dialog box or Control+Enter 67) Automatic Columns in MTEXT

68) TEXTTOFRONT command Bring all of the text to the top of the draworder with the TEXTTOFRONT command. 69) Creating multiple lines of single line text (DTEXTED set to 2) Picking in other locations throughout the drawing while in DTEXT makes it easy to create many single text strings at one time. 70) Use FONTMAP to map a complex font to a simple font. example: romans.shx;arial.ttf

Table Tips:

71) AutoFill AutoCAD Tables Use AutoFill to do automatic numbering in Tables.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

72) Tables wrap automatically over multiple columns (as long as Table Breaks are enabled…) 73) Hard Enter (linefeed) with Alt+Enter inside of a table cell

Misc. Tips:
74) Get the Dimscale value quickly in Properties (under Fit)

75) Customize Quick Properties to display DIMSCALE Set up QP so a simple click will show you the DIMSCALE for a dimension. 76) Create smaller PDFs with DWF Create a DWF file out of your drawing first…then create a PDF. Files will be half the size! 77) Inverse XCLIP and dynamic grips Use grips on clipped XREFs to dynamically change the clipping and to invert the XCLIP.


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

78) Fade External References

79) Use OSNAP Tracking to quickly find the center of a box (in fact – use Object Snap Tracking to make your life much better period!)

Keys, Keys, Keys
80) Control+R to cycle through all of your viewports 81) Control+A to select all the objects in your drawing 82) Shift+Spacebar to select stacked objects 83) Tab to cycle through object snaps 84) Navigate through layouts with Control+PageUp and Control+PageDown 85) Hold down right mouse button to clear grips 86) Shift for more than one hot grip

87) Control+Tab to cycle through open drawings


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

Dimensioning Tips:
88) QDIM This fantastic underused command can help you knock out dimensions in no time 89) DIMBREAK Your drafting instructor warned you about the dreaded crossing dimension lines didn't he! We go to great length to break our dimensions to avoid such a travesty. We end up exploding the dimension (bad, bad, bad!), and then breaking it manually. DIMBREAK to the rescue! The process is simple. You select the dimension that you want to break and then the dimension(s) that are on top of that dimension. AutoCAD does the rest for you!

90) DIMSPACE to evenly space baseline dimensions Use the friendly DIMSPACE command to correct baseline dimensions which are not equally separated. 91) DIMSPACE to even out continuous dimensions You can also use DIMSPACE to correct continuous dimensions that don’t line up! 92) DIMTMOVE

0 Moves the dimension line with dimension text
1 Adds a leader when dimension text is moved 2 Allows text to be moved freely without a leader

Almost there!
93) SELECTIONANNODISPLAY to 0 that magically turns off ghosting with annotative objects


90 AutoCAD Tips in 90 Minutes

94) Set INDEXCTL to 3 if you work with an excess of clipped xrefs (or XREFs in viewports)to speed things up. This turns on layer and spatial indexes. AutoCAD will read in only the objects that are inside the clipped area (or inside a viewport). 95) FILTER command for serious object filtering!

96) Missing dialog boxes Alt+spacebar Key in the command that is invisible, then hit Alt+spacebar plus “enter” to get the dialog box on your cursor. You should be able to retrieve it at this point. If not – use the arrow keys to drag it into sight (usually left arrow key). 97) IMAGEQUALITY – set to Draft for faster loading images (back to High to print) 98) Use Autodesk Design Review to compare two different drawings. www.autodesk.com/designreview 99) Visit my blog: www.autodesk.com/lynnallen to get your questions answered. 100) Go to Autodesk University 2010!


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