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AutoCAD Tips & Tricks

Today's Tip

Who is using that file?

If you are unable to open a drawing for editing (read-only) because it is in use, and want to find out who has it open, start a new drawing, or go to a drawing you have open and type WHOHAS at the command line. Browse to the drawing file using the file dialog box and double-click the filename (or select the file and click the Open button). A small message box will appear, showing who is using the file, the name of their PC and when it was opened.

File open information

Today's tip is by LElkins

Yesterday's Tip

Do you want to turn it into one? <Y>

When using PEDIT and selecting an object which is not a polyline you will get a message asking if you want to turn it into a polyline. This can be quite annoying if you're having to create closed polylines from a bunch of lines. To stop getting this message, type PEDITACCEPT and press Enter. Then type 1 and press Enter. This will automatically answer "yes" to the question in future.

Yesterday's tip was by LElkins

Monday's Tip

Bring recent commands to the command line with the "Up" cursor key

Use the "Up" cursor (arrow) key on the keyboard to scroll through recently used commands on the command line. When you find the one you want, hit the Enter key to start that command.

Command Line

You can also use the "Down" cursor key to scroll in the oposite direction.

Monday's tip was by GE13579

Sunday's Tip

Salvage a corrupted drawing

So, you opened a drawing only to find it has been corrupted. You've tried Recover but to no avail. Now what?

As a last resort, open a new drawing and then insert the corrupted drawing into the new one (InsertBlock…). The insertion will only bring in the main (Model Space) components of the corrupted drawing; this trick does not recover any paper space objects. Hey, I didn't promise a miracle but it sure beats losing the drawing altogether now, doesn't it?.

Sunday's tip was by ReMark

Saturday's Tip

Repeat for Efficiency

Sometimes, you may find yourself having to use the same command repeatedly. This can be a pain, unless you are aware that the previous command can always be repeated by hitting the Enter key on the keyboard or by using the right-click mouse button and selecting the name of the command you just used. Both these methods are more efficient than repeatedly finding a command on a toolbar or from a pull-down menu.

Recent Input

What's more annoying than having to repeat a single command (and more common) is having to repeat a sequence of maybe two or three commands. Obviously, you can't use the "Enter to repeat" trick. However, the right-click menu has another option that can help in these situations. Below the name of the last command used, is a menu option that says Recent Input. If you select this option, you will see a list of all the commands used in the current drawing session, with the most recently used at the top.

Using this method, you can repeat any sequence of commands without having to return to a toolbar or pull-down menu.

Note: This function is controlled by the INPUTHISTORYMODE variable.

Saturday's tip was by Lazer

Friday's Tip

Clear that 3D clutter with Orbit

When 3D drawings get complicated, it may become difficult to view a particular object in your drawing because it's being crowded by other objects. Here's a neat trick that will help you solve this problem.

Select the object or objects you're interested in before starting the Orbit (3DORBIT) command. When you start the Orbit command, all the other objects in the drawing will become invisible and your selected object can be seen alone. The other objects become visible again as soon as you exit from Orbit.

Hide with Orbit

This technique can also be used to ensure that the selected object always appears in the center of the scene when orbiting. It is also possible to select the center point of rotation without having the other objects disappear - use the 3DORBITCTR command.

Friday's tip was by CADgirl

Thursday's Tip

Command line in a window (F2)

The command line can be very useful, especially for beginners because AutoCAD often gives useful prompts which helps when learning how to use some of the more complicated commands. The command line is also used by AutoCAD to report information back to the user, but sometimes that information may run to several lines of text, and disappear from view. A good example of this is the Distance command (you can run this from the keyboard by typing DIST). The problem is that by default, the command line is only two lines high and so if you use the Distance command, you don't even see the distance reported to the command line.

One way round this problem is to increase the depth of the command line to show more lines but this takes up valuable drawing area. A better solution is to display the command window using the F2 key on the keyboard.

Command Line

As you can see above, the command window also allows you to scroll back through the command line so that you can review your recent drawing history.

Thursday's tip was by David Watson

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