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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…

December - Making it Happen at Autodesk University 2014!

The annual event is always pretty stunning. Thousands of people with the full gamut of skill sets (and then some!) milling about Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on a mission to, basically, kick it up a notch. As this goes to press, I have practiced my hands-on Lab a few times and have worked out the missteps, made the appropriate notes, and have the timing down pretty well.

This final offering for 2014 includes some customizing, as well as a couple features that have been around for quite some time, but I had never thought about them until they were brought up by a customer… which is what has driven these topics for the last 12 years!

With an eye toward a more productive 2015, we have…

…A tip on automating the repetition of a viewport plot scale with the click of a button.
…Some old fashioned display tricks you may find interesting
…An option worth considering if your drawing ‘disappears’ when you Zoom/Extents
…How to keep track of the time you spend in a drawing

Thank you all for your continued interest in Michael's Corner. It was a good year for me with 21 new customers and another country added to my ‘Trained In’ list bringing the total to eleven! The first quarter of 2015 is shaping up nicely already with my calendar already booked into mid-March.

Wishing you all a relaxing and joyful Christmas season and a promising New Year!

This month's articles

Automating the Application of a Viewport Scale
Pan and Zoom Antiques
Zoom Extents = Air
Drawing Information

From the Vault

Originally published December 2014

Automating the Application of a Viewport Scale

I've had this question more than once, so I'm finally getting around to it.

If you have a specific scale that you need to consistently apply to a viewport, drawing after drawing, let's make a button on the Quick Access Toolbar to apply that scale.

Two Procedures Required

First, we have to get the numeric equivalent of the plot scale. It's pretty straightforward for Engineering scales, but the Architectural scales are less intuitive. Solution: VPSCALE

Once that value has been acquired, we'll use the (very) old fashioned Zoom command with the XP option.

I'm using the drawing Floor Plan Sample.DWG located in AutoCAD 2015's ..\Sample\Database Connectivity folder. If you have an earlier version of AutoCAD, the drawing is in the same folder, but it's called Db_samp.DWG.

How to Acquire & Apply a Consistent Viewport Scale

  1. Viewport ScaleOn the Layout1 tab, double-click in the viewport, then set the plot scale to 1/32″ = 1′0 from the Plot Scale list on the Status bar.

  2. Enter VPSCALE, then hit F2 to flip to the Text Window and you see the following:

    Command: VPSCALE
    PS:MS == 1:384
    Viewport Scale: 1/32″ = 1′-0″

    Note: The key ingredient here is the value for PS:MS - 1:384

  3. To test our procedure, zoom into any area in the drawing.

  4. Enter ZOOM, then enter 1/384XP… and notice that the Plot Scale value on the Status bar is 1/32″ = 1′-0″!

  5. To add a button to the Quick Access Toolbar, enter CUI to open the Customize User Interface.

  6. In the Command list, find the command ‘Viewports, Single Viewport’, then right-click on it and click Duplicate. This effectively accomplishes a Copy + Paste in one click.

  7. Under Properties, modify the properties to something similar to what you see here.

    For the Macro, enter ZOOM;1/384XP

    Properties dialogue box

    Note: The semi-colon means ‘Press ENTER’

  8. Under Button Image at the top, click Edit, turn on the Grid, then edit the button image.

    Button image editor
  9. When you're finished with your button-top, click Save and enter a name. Then click Close.

  10. Drag to QATTo add this button to the Quick Access Toolbar, in the top left quadrant of the CUI, expand Quick Access Toolbars, then expand Quick Access Toolbar 1 to display the current content of your Quick Access Toolbar.

  11. Now drag and drop your new Viewports, 1/32″ command up into the Quick Access Toolbar command list.

  12. Click OK to save your edits and close the CUI.

Now create a new layout tab, double-click in the viewport, then hit your new button to assign that viewport scale!

Bonus Round: You may also notice the ZOOM command has a Center option. Hmmm, I wonder if that can be incorporated into the above macro…

Merry Christmas! - The first person to email me the solution to the Bonus Round will receive a PDF version of my book, The AutoCAD Workbench, 2nd Edition!

Hint: You may need to reference the Power Tool article in November 2007.

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