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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…

August - Quick and Easy Customizing

CAD Trainer Guy coming to Manila!

If you would be interested in some onsite, hands-on, AutoCAD training, please contact me directly for more information about my upcoming visit. I will be in the Philippines on October 1 & 2 [W/Th]. You can also check out my Training Menu at my website.

One of my new-to-AutoCAD students nailed it this week, "I now realize just how much you can do with AutoCAD!" What's even more exciting is the relatively easy customization you can do if you know where to look… so here are a few places to turn your attention!

…Add a System variable to a Field on your Layout tab
…Assign an object snap to a Function key
…Display a toolbar in the Ribbon workspace of AutoCAD 2015
…Use the Copy option when you Rotate objects

I hope you have all had a grand summer. The highlight of ours was our son Joshua's graduation [BFA, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production from the Art Institute in Cincinnati], so if anyone works where you could use a Production Assistant, please let me/him know!

Keep up the good work!

This month's articles

The CTAB System Variable in a Field
Add an Object Snap to a Function Key
Add a Toolbar to AutoCAD 2015
Rotate with the Copy Option

From the Vault

Originally published September 2004

Polar Coordinate Entry

If you've worked with AutoCAD for more than a day, you have probably encountered the need to draw a diagonal line to a specified distance. Polar tracking is useful if you need to draw or edit in one of the default angles such as 30 or 45, but what if you need to draw a line (or Move or Copy) at a unique angle such as the 12 degree angle shown in the top figure?

In the next illustration, the dot indicates where the Line command was started. At the prompt to specify the "Next point", the following value was entered: @8.5<-12 …which breaks down as follows:

@ - You're telling AutoCAD to go from where you're at, essentially.

Distance - Enter the length of the line segment.

< - The less-than sign is the closest thing on the keyboard to that angle sign you used in 7th grade Geometry class. It precedes the angle value entry.

Angle - This is based upon the Cartesian coordinate system of 0 degrees at horizontal and positive being CCW.

When entering the angle value, you can enter a negative value for a clockwise angle definition.

Tip 1: If the length of the line needs to be edited, use the Lengthen command rather than drawing the line again at the proper length.

Tip 2: If you find it difficult to remember which symbol should be used as the polar cordinate seperator (< less than), consider that normal (cartesian) coordinates use the comma. For a polar coordinate, think Shift+comma.

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