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AutoCAD Tips & Tricks

Today'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.

Today's tip is by CADgirl

Yesterday'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.

Yesterday's tip was by David Watson

Saturday's Tip

Trim Up

TrimmingOften, you find yourself using the Trim command to tidy up loose ends of lines. If this is the case, don't bother selecting cutting edges, just use the "select all" option.

Start the Trim command, ModifyTrim from the pull-down menu or TRIM from the command line. At the prompt, simply hit Return (Enter) to accept the <select all> option.

Now, just pick the line ends you want to remove.

Saturday's tip was by Mr T

Friday's Tip

Offset to the current layer

Offset command Layer optionWhen you use the offset command, the new object always ends up on the same layer as the source object. That's the default option but you can have objects offset to the current layer.

Start the Offset command, ModifyOffset from the pull-down menu or OFFSET from the command line. At the prompt, enter L for "Layer" and then C for "Current". Now, each time you use Offset, objects will be created on the current layer.

To set Offset back to the default, use the same sequence but enter S for "Source".

Friday's tip was by JBullseye74

Thursday's Tip

AutoCAD's Spell Checker

Check SpellingYou can spell check one or more blocks of text using AutoCAD's in-built spell checker. Select ToolsSpelling from the pull-down menu or just type SPELL at the command line. When prompted, select as many blocks of text as you like and then hit Return (Enter). What you get is the Check Spelling dialogue box, which works in exactly the same way as the spell checker in Microsoft Word.

Thursday's tip was by StykFacE

Wednesday's Tip

Copy and Move without commands

Right-click menuYou can copy or move objects without using any commands!

To move an object select it once, then click and drag it (not the grips) to move it to wherever you want. Release the mouse button to drop it.

To copy an object, select it once, then right-click and drag it. When you release the mouse button, you are presented with a menu, allowing you to Move, Copy or Paste as Block.

Wednesday's tip was by hotrodz0321

Tuesday's Tip

Moving vertically in 3D

Moving vertically

Moving objects vertically always used to be a bit of a chore with AutoCAD, usually involving some relative coordinate entry for the Z direction or maybe the .XY filter. Fortunately, AutoCAD 2007 introduced a new command that makes moving objects vertically a snap.

3D Move ButtonYou'll find the 3D Move button on the Dashboard or Modify3D Operations3D Move from the pull-down menu.

As with the normal Move command, you're first prompted to select objects. Once a selection is made, the cursor changes to the move grip tool. Now, pick any point on the base plane to fix the move grip tool at that elevation. Next, hover your cursor over the blue axis handle (Z axis) until it changes to a gold colour and left-click. This has the effect of constraining movement in the z direction. All you need do now is enter the distance you want the object to be moved or use the mouse to pick a distance.

Tuesday's tip was by David Watson

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