The discovery this month is a result of an email I received on the day I was writing this article and it had to do with taking X,Y data points that were in Excel, then getting them to create a drawing. Take a look at the Odd Spot for that one. As for the recovery, Workspaces have been around for several versions and I'm just now getting to their coverage, so thank you for your patience on that one.
This month's Power Tool is a long one since it involves a Dynamic Block… but I had a really great time making a video for you to replay! And there's a reminder in Basics about the Taskbar variable; not something I use, but you may be interested in it if your more of a mouse person, than a hot key person.
Spring seems to be taking its good ole time getting around the corner here in Kentucky, but I get to spend some quality on the riding mower.
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Blessings to one and all,
The Workspace feature has been around since A2006 and although I have trained on it, this is the first time I have written about it; my apologies. Workspace definition (per the Help menu): Workspaces are sets of menus, toolbars, palettes, and ribbon control panels that are grouped and organized so that you can work in a custom, task-oriented drawing environment. (In this image from AutoCAD 2010, I like how they've added the name of the current workspace beside the Workspace Switching icon on the status bar.)
Ribbon Note: The Workspace named 2D Drafting and Annotation provides several Ribbon panels and tabs containing common features needed for 2D drawings. The Workspace named 3D Modeling provides 3D-related features on the Ribbon. Both of these are good starting points, then you can refine the Ribbon a bit more, then saved it as another Workspace.
Cautionary note: I would first create a workspace of your current menu, toolbar, etc. arrangement so you can return to that condition when we're finished ‘experimenting’.
The following procedure has been used on A2008, A2009, and A2010. If you have A2006 or A2007, there may be slight differences, but the idea is the same.
To save your current workspace by name in:
A2008, go to the Tools menu, then click. Enter a name for the current workspace, then click Save.
A2009/A2010, click the Workspace Switching icon on the right half of the status bar, then click Save Current As. Enter a name for the current workspace, then click Save.
Note: In A2008, you may find the Workspaces toolbar helpful in making your selection(s).
Now, configure the position of your toolbars (or the panels and tabs of your Ribbon) to suit your way of working. To turn off panels or tabs on the Ribbon, right click on any panel and you see an item for Tabs, as well as Panels.
When I was training the folks in Angola on A2008 (which doesn't have the Ribbon), we made a workspace with 2D-related toolbars and one with 3D-related toolbars.
Repeat Step 1 for your respective version, then save the workspace as CT-May09.
To test your workspace, set some other workspace to be current, such as 2D Drafting & Annotation – in A2008 from the Workspaces toolbar, or in A2009/A2010 from the Workspace Switching icon on the status bar.
Now select your newly created workspace and you should be good to go!
There are a lot of Dynamic Block samples on the Tool Palettes, but sometimes I just want to know how to make my own, (thereby enabling me to more accurately edit existing ones).
Here are the instructions on creating a dynamic block that moves the text, while stretching the block geometry. Click here to go to the AutoCAD Stuff page of my website where you can download the DynaDoor and DynaLabel drawings. Insert those into any drawing and they are good to go. For my initial coverage of the dynamic block feature, take a look at the lead article of Michael's Corner, July 2006 to learn how to add multiple visibility parameters to a dynamic block.
Tip: For those of you with a block source drawing containing blocks for your tool palette, insert these dynamic block drawings into that source file, save it, then drag them onto your tool palette. See Michael's Corner, Basics, March 2006 for more information on the importance of the block source drawing for tool palette blocks.
I received an email from a friend of mine at Nicholson Construction asking if there was an easy way of taking coordinates out of Excel and creating a drawing from those values, rather than inputting them, one set at a time. Yes, actually, there is… and it is amazingly simple if we create a script (.SCR) file.
Prerequisite: The X and Y values need to be in a single cell in the format of X,Y for this to work. If X and Y have their own column, you will need to make the necessary adjustments to get them to X,Y format.
By default, when you have AutoCAD open, you see one AutoCAD icon on the Windows taskbar, regardless of how many drawings you have open, as you see in this first image.
For those of you who want to see icons displayed along the Windows taskbar for all the drawings you have open, you will be happy to know the AutoCAD variable of… well, Taskbar… can make that happen.
Set the TASKBAR variable to <1>, then, when you have more than one drawing open, you will see an icon for each of the open drawings.
A Bit of Bar-B-Q Trivia: During the 1940s and early 1950s, George Stephen worked for Weber Brothers Metal Works, outside Chicago where he gained experience in shaping and fabricating metal parts, including dome-shaped buoys for use out on Lake Michigan. An avid barbecuer, he became increasingly frustrated with the uneven and uncontrollable flame of the open brazier grill he used at home. While at work, his grilling experience merged with his skills as a metal worker. "We were making dome shapes at the shop," Stephen once said. "I took one of the domes, drilled some holes in the bottom and lid, welded supports to hold two wire grates, and gave my strange looking kettle-shaped grill a try. It worked great." So began the storied and far-reaching history of the Weber Grill. www.weber.com
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