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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 - In Five…

Yes, that's the countdown. Since 2003 it's been a treat to bring you monthly — and more recently, bi-monthly — insights to this endlessly exciting (and sometimes frustrating) wickedly-powerful software.

That said, it's time to direct my efforts elsewhere, so this will be my last year and there will be four more issues after this one. I'm leaning toward a ‘Final Edition’ of The AutoCAD Workbench, but I have yet to decide if and when that may be available.

In the meantime, here are a few things I thought would amuse, educate, and entertain…

…Introduced in A2016, the DIM command can be quite the time-saver.
…When making extensive edits, this Move Previous LISP routine may come in handy.
…Now that you're used to the ‘new’ File tabs at the top, here's how you can suppress that perpetual Start tab.
…Another quick tip on copying items on your Tool Palette.

Now, repeat after me: “We're just another day closer to Spring!!”

This month's articles

The DIM command
LISP for Move Previous
Start Tab
Tool Palette Basics

From the Vault

Originally published June 2006

Bargain tips and tricks I

Hatch Dialogue BoxOpen BoxEstate Items


A couple of very useful options were included in the Hatch routine over the last few versions. Specifically the ability to create separate hatches as well as the ability to specify a start point for the hatch. The latter can also be accomplished using Snapbase, but the separate hatches feature is pretty fine.

Instructions to Specify a Hatch Origin
  1. After setting your hatch type and scale, in the Hatch Origin area, check the box for Default to Boundary Extents. In this example, I'm adding a lay-in 2' x 4' ceiling so I selected the Center option from the drop-down list.
  2. Click the Add: Pick Points button, then click within the area to be hatched or use the Add: Select Objects. The example illustrates two hatch patterns in the same area; one set to 2' at 0 degrees, then the other pass was 4' at 90 degrees.

Note: If you are adding a 2' x 4' lighting fixture to the ceiling grid and need to snap to the intersection of the hatch patterns, you will need to go to Options and make sure you clear the check box for Ignore Hatch Objects. The default is On.

OptionsWhen the Create Separate Hatches box is checked, a single hatch procedure will result in each hatch area being recognized individually.


The WBLOCK Command

Prior to the introduction of DesignCenter, virtually every AutoCAD user knew how to create a DWG using the Wblock command. They could then use the Insert button to insert that DWG into any other DWG. It is still an important command, especially if you simply want to create a DWG of the floorplan so you can Xref it back in.

Instructions to Create a DWG Using Wblock
  1. After configuring the layers to be selected, at the command line, type W to open the Write Block dialog box.
  2. Similar to using the Block command, select the objects, then specify a Base Point. If the selected objects are to be Xref'd into another drawing, you may want to consider leaving 0,0,0 as the base point.
  3. At the bottom of the dialog box, under Destination, click the browse dots then navigate to the folder where you will be saving the DWG, then name it.

One of the side effects of Wblock is that the draw order of all objects is reversed. Objects drawn most recently, appear as though they were drawn way back at the start of the drawing. This isn't of much importance these days, but in the days before it was possible to control the display order of objects, this was a really neat trick.

Uses for Grips

I recently came across some users that turned off the grips! That's nigh on to sacrilegious, but then I got to thinking, well, maybe that's not a bad idea. So I started a list of why grips are a good thing and came up with the following:

  • Change Wipeout Geometry
  • Adjust size of Image frames (when frames are on)
  • Sizing of viewports
  • Moving Attributes
  • Connect geometry at grip locations
  • Adjust Arcs
  • Adjust Dimension definition points (Defpoints) and dimension line placement

In the meantime, I would be very interested in hearing where or when you use grips. I'll post your replies in July.

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