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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…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published February 2005

Polar Snap

Where Ortho is great for 0, 90, 180, and 270 drawing and editing, the Polar setting provides a method for you to draw at an angle. Standard angles including 45 and 30 can be selected, or you can create your own.

Instructions to Set and Use an Increment Polar Angle Setting
  1. Right-click on the Polar button on the status bar and click Settings to open the Polar Tracking tab of the Drafting Settings dialog box.
  2. Click in the Increment Angle drop down list and select the desired angle. For this example, I'll choose 30.
  3. Put a check in the Polar Tracking On check box, then click OK. (You can also toggle Polar on and off with F10.)
  4. In the drawing area, begin the Line command, then click a start point.
  5. Move the cursor in any 30 degree angle and you'll see a tool tip and a dotted line along the vector you're moving the cursor.
  6. To draw a specific length at that angle, simply enter the distance and press [ENTER].

Heads-up: Unlike Ortho, the Polar tracking feature doesn't lock your cursor into an angle until you move around to the next incremental angle value. If you 'drift' from the displayed angle by a couple degrees, you lose the polar angle tracking and the tool tip and dotted vector will be released.

Note: If you toggle on Ortho (F8), Polar will automatically turn off since they cannot both be on at the same time.

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