Over the last few weeks I have been fixing over 100 drawings for a customer and in so doing, have come across several features that I'd like to share with you all. If you do repetitive procedures, having a "button" or tool to hit can be very efficient, especially if that tool combines several commands. This month I'll introduce custom toolbar fundamentals and we'll see where we go from there. We take a look at the semi-related feature of Profiles, as well as how to save some time when you launch AutoCAD and want to begin with your own template and newly-created Profile. Hopefully there will be a few insights here to take your AutoCAD "up a notch".
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Blessings to one and all,
When you create a toolbar from within AutoCAD, it is automatically saved to the acad.mns file, not in acad.mnu. Therefore, it is a REALLY good idea to backup all menu files (*.mn?) before creating your own toolbar.
Note to AutoCAD 2004 users only: The acad.mns default location is (take a breath):
C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2004\R16.0\enu\Support.
Tip 1: To get a vertical bar between tools, drag one tool just a slight bit away from the other one.
Tip 2: To COPY one tool from an open toolbar, hold down the Ctrl key while you drag 'n' drop. However, this only works if the "Customize" dialog box is open.
The Windows Start button enables you to select the programs you wish to launch, but there is a faster way to do it.
To setup a shortcut key to launch AutoCAD, do this:
1. Right-click on the Desktop AutoCAD icon and choose "Properties" from the context menu.
2. Click in the Shortcut key area, then enter the letter you would like to use to launch AutoCAD. In the example, you see that AutoCAD 2004 will launch with a combination of Ctrl + Alt + 4. If you want to change it, backspace and put in a different one.
Tip: You can assign a "Shortcut key" to ANY application icon on your Desktop. You may want to consider Ctrl+Alt+W to launch Word, X for Excel, P for PowerPoint,… and F for Freecell!
There are two other useful settings called "switches" that you can add to the launching of AutoCAD.
/t Notice the lower case "t". After the forward slash "switch", type the name of the template file you want AutoCAD to use when launched. If the template name contains a space, put the name in quotes.
/p Notice the lower case "p". Type the Profile name AutoCAD is to use on startup. For best results, put the profile name in quotes.
To automate the folder in which AutoCAD "looks" when you Open or Save, enter the path and folder name in the Start in: field (in quotes).
Tip: The REMEMBERFOLDERS variable must be set to <0> for the "Start in" folder to be enabled.
Sometimes you need a hatch pattern to begin at a certain point. Other times, a line in the hatch is "too close" to the profile of the shape or object being hatched and compromises the clarity. To specify the origin point of a hatch, use the SNAPBASE command. Although this command, as the name suggests, enables you to specify the origin of the increment snap (F9), it also specifies the hatch origin as indicated in the figure.
The key to working with profiles is to remember that AutoCAD is 'recording' all the changes you make to the current profile… so think before you make the changes.
Choose Apply & Close and you will see the name in the list… but it's not current.
Since there is always a possibility that you may mistakenly modify this profile, the next thing you should do is make one that you will use as your "working" profile. This will allow you to retain the integrity of the original if something happens.
Tip: If you're going to make a change to the toolbar or screen settings, confirm which profile is current before you do so.
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Note from Michael: I want to thank all of my customers for continuing to retain my training services (some for over two decades!) and let you know your donations do not go to me personally, but to the ongoing maintenance of the CADTutor ship as a whole and to support the yeoman efforts of my friend and CADTutor captain, David Watson, to whom I am grateful for this monthly opportunity to share a few AutoCAD insights.