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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…

February - Second Fiddles

We all have our ‘lead guitars’ in AutoCAD; for some it's Blocks, for some it's Polylines, and on it goes. In this offering of Michael's Corner, it looks like most of these tricks would play second fiddle to the big dogs, but they are equally powerful and have a sound of their own. And for the most part, these all came up in the training I did up in Port Huron, MI for a group of users from Semco Energy. We had a great three day session, and I'm heading up there soon for our Level II session. So hats off to the team in the cold northern climes of east Michigan!

Here's what you'll find when you scroll down…

…How to overlap viewports and fade the viewport layers with a Transparency value
…How to apply a Background Mask to Dimension text. You'll be surprised.
…How you can toggle Ortho On and Off… without toggling Ortho On and Off
…How AutoCAD 2015 will now snap to a user-specific Polar increment… for all values of that increment!

I hope you're all staying healthy… and have even checked off a few things on your To-Do list for 2015.

Keep up the good work!

This month's articles

Transparent Viewport Layers
Mask Dimension Text
Ortho Shift
User Increment Angles for Polar (new in 2015)

From the Vault

Originally published March 2011

Drawing With Surveyor Units

Surveyor's UnitsI was training some folks at Cummins Engine Plant in Indiana, and one of the guys brought in a surveyor's plan for his property and was wondering if he could take the distance and bearing values from the site plan and ‘key them in’ to AutoCAD.

So if any of you have a site plan of your property - or the site of your future construction - here's how this works.

Drawing Units Dialog BoxIf you turn on the DYN button, you can enter the values directly if you know the syntax used for Surveyor's Units. The Surveyor's Units are found in the Drawing Units dialog box [Format menuUnits], but it's not necessary to set that Angle Type if you use Dynamic Input as I present in this exercise.

How to Draw with Surveyor's Units

  1. Dynamic InputBegin a new drawing, then turn on Dynamic Input (DYN button) on the Status bar.

  2. Launch the Line command, then specify the first point.

  3. Enter the following value: @50.71′<N80d04′30″E

    Dynamic Input Format

Breaking it down…

@ After specifying the start point, @ says the following values are to go from where you're at.
Distance Enter the distance for that section of the property line (or road or culvert center line, etc.)
< This says the angle or bearing value is to follow…
Bearing Enter the bearing values in the proper format for Surveyor's Units shown in the example, above.

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