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Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.

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This month…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published June 2005

DesignCenter - Part I

DesignCenter has been a vital part of AutoCAD since A2000 and, unfortunately, enjoys relative anonymity among users. I'll introduce it here and show you a few additional features next time.

What Does It Do?

Using an interface similar to Windows Explorer, DesignCenter lets you navigate to any accessible drawing where you can view - and select - that drawing's named objects: Blocks, Dimstyles, Layers, Layouts, Linetypes, Tablestyles (A2005), Textstyles, and Xrefs.

How Do I Get a Drawing Into DesignCenter?

Your drawings are 'in' DesignCenter by default. DesignCenter is essentially an enhanced Windows Explorer for AutoCAD drawings.

How Do I Use It?

One way to effectively use DesignCenter is to access your favorite Dimension Style or Text Style for use in a drawing you just received from someone else.

Sidebar: A Template is what you need to begin a new drawing with your desired units, layers, linetypes, etc. loaded and ready to go. Please note that DesignCenter only displays .DWG files, not .DWT files. Therefore, begin a new drawing using your template, then save it as Master.dwg so it will be accessible in DesignCenter.

If you have a Master drawing containing your favorite named objects, use this method to copy the necessary elements into the current drawing.

Instructions to Copy a Dimension Style from Another Drawing
  1. Open the drawing in which you need to use your favorite dimension.
  2. Click the DesignCenter button on the Standard toolbar or use CTRL+2.
  3. Navigate to your "Master" drawing or any drawing containing a Dimension Style you would like to use.
  4. Expand the .DWG to display the list of named objects, then click on Dimstyles.
  5. From the list on the right side of DesignCenter, you can either double-click the one you want, or simply drag it into the drawing.

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