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Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.

This month…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published February 2004

Template Fundamentals

This month's article on AutoCAD 2004's Qnew feature requires that you have a template. So just in case you've never created one, this should help.

The following is a list of things you may want to consider setting up in your template:

Units AutoCAD's default is decimal, so this is your first stop if you're using feet-inches.

Limits You probably need an area bigger than the default 12" x 9" most of the time.

Layers What layers would you like have available as you begin every new AutoCAD drawing?

Linetypes What linetypes would you like to have pre-loaded for each new drawing?

Dimension Style Set 'em up in the template and they’ll be there every time.

Text Style Create as many text styles as you will need in your drawings.

Blocks If you insert a block, then Erase it, the block definition will still be there. [See May, 2003]

Typically, I recommend that you leave out predefined Layouts from the template. A more efficient approach to accessing predefined Layouts would be to use DesignCenter and bring in the desired Layout(s) from a specific .dwg in which you have created several Layout tabs for your various output devices and sheet sizes.

Creating the .dwt file

Once you have configured the drawing, go to File/Save As and change the Files of type setting to AutoCAD Drawing Template file (*.dwt). AutoCAD automatically jumps to the default \Template folder at which point you can name the file (.dwt).

To test what you did, close the template and those of you with AutoCAD2004, follow the procedures mentioned above in the Qnew review. Those of you with virtually any other version, including LT, when you launch a new drawing, click on the Use a Template button from the Create New Drawing dialog and select your template from the list.

That should save all kinds of time!

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