Regardless of the state of the world's economies these days, those of us on the CAD crews still have to be efficient and get the job done. In an effort to support those efforts, I thought I'd take a look at the Action Recorder which can really make repetitive tasks go quickly. I would love to hear how you are using this new A2009 feature, so send me a quick email on the series of commands you're automating.
In the remaining articles, we take a look at an extremely clever use for Alternate Units in a dimension (thank you, Alaska), as well as how to edit the cells in a Table (a question from one of our loyal readers). In the Basics section I am answering a question that typically comes up in training as I'm covering layer states, and that is how to edit a layer state if the layer condition of that state needs to be modified. This was a fun bunch of features to cover.
Wishing all of my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving and may we always remain thankful for the many blessings the good Lord has bestowed upon each one of us.
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Blessings to one and all,
This has potential. As you know, I'm a big palette fan and the Action Recorder could easily be a feature that could work hand in hand with the tool palette; albeit with "little brother" status. The Action Recorder is a more user-friendly method of, essentially, creating a batch file or script to run a series of commands.
I am also making a concerted effort (OK, maybe it's just a lame effort) to acquaint myself - and as a result, you all - with the Ribbon of AutoCAD 2009. To play along (so to speak), you will find the Action Recorder panel at the left end of the Tools tab of the Ribbon.
In this exercise, I'm going to take the procedure we automated with Custom Button #9 (September 2008) which runs Enclose Text With Object, and show you how to automate the use of that command using the Action Recorder.
When creating macros, you always need to consider the fact that the defaults may be changed the next time the macro is run, so even though you may want to press Enter to accept the default, it's best to enter the desired value, regardless. (I learned this over 20 years ago when rubbing elbows with the programmers of CADVANCE. Email me if you've ever used it, we'll reminisce.)
Action Recorder Shortcomings: Once an action macro has been recorded, there's no (apparent) method of editing that macro to include some action or command you may have omitted. Also, if the procedure being recorded creates objects (as in the process above), you can record the creating of the layer in the macro, but at the completion of the macro, there isn't a method to restore the previous current layer. This differs from how a button on a tool palette works wherein you can specify the properties of the resulting object(s) - Layer, Linetype, Color, etc. - without changing the current layer.
All told, the potential of the Action Recorder is quite substantial and I have seen applications where it can be used to reset Scale Lists, Purge and Audit drawings, etc. I'll be watching for opportunities to use the Action Recorder and will probably bring those to you as a Power Tool.
To me, the Alternate Units feature of a dimension style was used to display Metric equivalents of a dimension. But that was before one of my customers in Alaska showed me this amazing tidbit.
The following process presumes you have created a Dimension Style with the Unit format set to Architectural on the Primary Units tab.
One of our subscribers emailed me regarding copying cells between tables or within the same table. I hadn't really given that much thought, but in the following exercise, I'll take you through that process. These instructions presume you have a drawing open that has a table in it. In August of this year I dedicated the entire Corner to coverage of Tables in AutoCAD 2009.
AutoCAD 2007 - If you selected and copied, say, 7 cells, you will then need to select 7 cells in order to see the Paste option when you right-click.
AutoCAD 2008 - If you selected 7 cells in this version, say, columns A thru G, you must click in cell A of the target row before you right-click and use Paste… because A2008 will allow you to paste the contents pretty much anywhere it has the proper number of cells. I.e., it will populate the table from the cell you initiate the Paste feature.
AutoCAD 2009 - If you selected 7 cells, you will only see the option to Paste if you click in the correct cell in the target row. If you selected columns A thru G to copy, you must initiate the Paste in the A column. It will then populate the cells according to their original Row/Column position.
Note: If you have selected 5 cells in Table XYZ and wish to paste them into Table 123 which has 7 cells, it is advised that you initiate the paste from the leading cell (left most).
Layer states continue to be a popular topic of discussion in my training sessions around the country and I noticed that I have not previously covered how to update an existing layer state in a drawing. If you have, for example, saved a layer state named "Panel Plan" in which only the workstation panels are displayed, and then add electrical components, new layers have been introduced to the drawing and you need to update the Panel Plan layer state to include the duplexes and wire management.
Back in February 2007, I covered Layer States as they were in AutoCAD 2006 and the dialog box has remained unchanged since then, save for the fact that you may now access the Layer States Manager directly from the Layers toolbar, beginning with A2007.
Before beginning the following exercise, open a drawing and save a Layer State (see February 2007 if needed).
To confirm that your layer state has been saved, change the layer condition by turning on or off some additional layers. Now launch the Layer States Manager and double-click the edited layer state name (which essentially selects and Restores that layer state). If your drawing returns to the condition at which you saved the layer state, it worked!
Word Origins - In the 18th century, silhouettes (shadow profiles traced and cut from black paper) were a popular alternative to costly portraits. The word took its name from the French controller general of finance, Etienne de Silhouette. During the Seven Years War against England, he tried to raise revenues by heavily taxing the wealthy. Victims of his high taxes complained and used the word silhouette to refer to their wealth being reduced to a mere shadow of what it once was.
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