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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 May 2005

Effective Xref Layer Filter

The list of layers in an Xref can be annoying. Use this procedure to shorten up the list in the Layer Control dropdown list on the AutoCAD 2005/2006 Layers toolbar.

Instructions to hide Xref layer names
  1. In the Layer Properties Manager, expand the Xref node in the Filter Tree area of the dialog box (the left side).
  2. Click the name of the Xref to display only the layers of that Xref in the layer list.
  3. At the bottom of the dialog box, check the box for Invert Filter to display the layers that are not associated with the Xref. Confirm the box for Apply To Layers Toolbar is also checked.
  1. Click OK to close the Layer Properties Manager, then take a look at the Layer dropdown list. The only layers you see are the ones not in the Xref!

Muliple Xref Tip: For drawings containing multiple Xrefs, click the "Xref" to display the all of the layers associated with the Xrefs.

Note: To see all the layers in the Layer Properties Manager, clear the Invert Filter check box, then click on the All node in the Filter Tree listing.

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