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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 February 2014

Layer Previous

PreviousLayers are the lifeblood in AutoCAD, and efficient management thereof is the key to your own quality of life; specifically, your sanity.

The Layer Previous button can be a real time saver and is, at its core, a Layer-specific ‘Undo’.

How to Use Layer Previous

  1. Open a drawing, then make a new layer [MC_FEB2014], give it a color and make it current; this will be our testing layer.

  2. Change the Color of any other layer in the current drawing, but don't make that layer current.

  3. On our test layer, draw a small rectangle somewhere.

  4. Click Layer Previous and the rectangle remains, but the color of the layer you changed is restored.

  5. Freeze several existing layers, then Rotate the rectangle.

  6. Click Layer Previous and the previously frozen layers are thawed… but the rectangle is still rotated!

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