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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…

June - Once Upon a Time

The Explode buttonMaybe it's because I'm just older (old!?), but I sure do miss the dynamite on the Explode button. Oh, wait here it is now! Really?

While Autodesk keeps putting new stuff in, I just want to make sure you know how to use the old stuff as efficiently as possible before moving on. To that end, I have a rather eclectic collection of customization bits that can be applied to all currently supported versions of AutoCAD. (How was that for being vaguely specific on where this tricks will work!?)

…Tweaking the Double Click Action to launch the earlier Edit Attributes dialog box.
…Putting the dynamite .BMP back on the Explode button.
…Viewing the Properties of the current Workspace.
…Modifying the plot scale list displayed when choosing a plot scale for a viewport.

When it's all said & done, however, it's all about economy of movement, productivity… and going home a wee bit sooner.

Hope you enjoy these!

This month's articles

Set ATTEDIT as the Double-Click
Original Explode Button
Properties of the Workspace in the CUI
Shorten the Plot Scales List in a Viewport

From the Vault

Originally published May 2004

EXPRESS: Layer Walk

We've all had this happen: You open a drawing you have received from an associate/contractor/customer and only a few layers are displayed. Then you open the Layer Properties dialog box to discover there are quite a few more layers in the drawing that are either Off or Frozen.

The Layer Walk utility will display the content of the drawing's layers one at a time, even if the layer is Off or Frozen. It even works on drawings with Xrefs. Very cool.

To see how Layer Walk works, open a drawing, then turn Off and Freeze a few layers. Now take a look at some of the following features:

  1. Click the Layer Walk button to open the dialog box, and then size it to display several layers (In the examples I'm using 8th Floor Furniture.dwg that comes in the Sample folder of A2004 & A2005). Layers that are highlighted in the listing are On in the drawing. Layers that are not highlighted are either Off or Frozen.

Notice the "Restore on Exit" check box at the bottom. If this is checked, when you click Close, AutoCAD will restore the layer state to what it was prior to launching Layer Walk.

  1. To retain the current layer condition (On, Off, Frozen, Thawed, etc.), right-click in the listing and select Save Layer State from the shortcut menu. Enter a name that reflects the current condition. If this is the first time you have seen the drawing, name it ‘Received It Like This' or something similar.
  2. To review the contents of each layer, scroll to the top of the list and click on the first layer listed (possibly Layer 0). Don't panic when all the objects disappear. You can either click on each layer in the list, or use the Down arrow on your keyboard to step thru the listing. Notice when you get to a layer that is Frozen, the Layer Walk routine will display the geometry contained on that layer.
  1. To display only the layers of an Xref, click in the empty edit field at the top of the dialog box and enter the first few letters of the Xref name, then an asterisk, and press <ENTER>. In the sample I'm using, 8th* will suffice. All of the geometry for the Xref is displayed and the listing only displays those layers. At this point you may want to use that Save Layer State feature and name the current layer condition.
  2. The Inspect item on the shortcut menu shows how many layers are in the drawing, the number of layers selected, and the number of objects on the selected layers.

Note: After you have completed your tour of the Layer Walk dialog box, to view a layer state that you saved (per step 2 above) click the Layer Manager button on the ET: Layers toolbar to open the Layer Manager dialog box where you will see the name of the saved layer state. Select the name in the list, then click Restore to restore that layer condition. (You could also double-click the name to restore the layer state and close the dialog box).

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