I want to start weaving some AutoCAD 2008 bits into the Corner, beginning with a quick overview of the Leader Style feature along with the small but integral feature of a much more intuitive method to copy and move layout tabs. The other two articles cover my favorite area of palettes. I apologize for not telling you how to export a tool palette until this month. I've been sharing this with my customers for months but just recently realized I never put the "how to" up here. Those of you who like to customize should be able to put good use to the Power Tool I have for you this month, too.
Now, go out there and be an inspiration to others!
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Blessings to one and all,
AutoCAD 2008 added another item to the Styles toolbar, Multileader Styles. If you've used AutoCAD's Leader command (technically "Quick Leader") from the Dimension toolbar, you have a general idea of how leaders work. The following is a quick introduction to the elements of the new Multileader Style.
Generally intuitive features here that are common in the Quick Leader's Settings dialog box.
Not so obvious: Break size enables you to specify the size of the break opening when you use the Dimbreak command (new to A2008).
Constraints: Consider keeping the Maximum Leader Points to the default of 2.
Landing settings: Automatically Include Landing is a good thing and a Set Landing Distance of 1/2″ is good to start.
Scale: Where the arrowhead and text for a Quick Leader was fully dependent upon the Dimscale of the current Dimension Style, until you learn more about the Annotative scaling in A2008, it would be best to use Specify Scale. For small floorplans, begin with a scale between 24 and 48.
Multileader Type: The Block option is pretty cool and enables you to see the…
Block Options: Choose from the array of Source Block items. As you click on each of the various options, you see the result in the preview screen.
After making your settings, click OK, then confirm your Multileader Style is current and click Close.
Bonus Points - Click on the multileader to see the grips that enable you to finesse the leader to make it just the way you want. Pretty slick.
As you know, I just love palettes. You also know it can be pretty aggravating to launch the Mtext command then have to change the Height because you're now in Paper Space and the last place you added text was Model Space.
The key player in this process is the variable TEXTSIZE with which you can specify a text height before you run either Mtext or Dtext. So, if we can automate the setting of that variable, then launch the Mtext command, we're good to go!
Here's what it means:
|^C^C||Cancel; effectively hitting the Esc key a couple times before it launches the macro.|
|Textsize||The name of the system variable that stores the text height the next time you use a text command.|
|;||The semi-colon means "press Enter".|
|0.125||Given in decimal so it will be recognized in drawings with either Architectural and Decimal units.|
|_mtext||The underscore means to use the English-language version of the command; you can leave it out.|
Bonus Points - Create a layer on which you want the Mtext to be placed, then go back into the Properties dialog box for each of those Mtext buttons on the palette and make the necessary edits to the Layer property and set the Color to ByLayer.
The method to copy an existing Layout tab is a bit less than obvious but it has been made significantly better in AutoCAD 2008.
That was then, this is Now…
If you want to share palettes with others, here are a few things to remember:
First, of the four object types you can add to a palette… blocks, hatches, commands, or macros… only blocks require maintaining the integrity of the Source file from which the block is accessed (see March 2006).
Next, there are only two players in the blocks-on-a-palette game: The source file and the palette itself. Breaking it down, if the source file is on your company's network (optimum) then anyone else that has access to that network will be able to use a block from the palette you will export.
At this point, any one of your co-workers can then go to the Customize dialog box, then right-click in the list of palette names and click Import and navigate to the location of the .XTP file.
Leaning Eiffel Tower - As you know, heat expands steel… which means (on those occasional sunny days in Paris) with all that steel, the Eiffel Tower actually leans away from the sun.
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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.