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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 December 2015

Layer State on the Quick Access Toolbar

The Layer States pulldown menu was moved to the expanded Layers panel beginning in AutoCAD 2015, so that means an extra click to get to the list in a timely manner. Sounds like we need a button!

Prerequisite: Thaw, turn On, and Unlock all the layers in the drawing, then create a layer state called "ALL LAYERS". [For more on Layer State fundamentals, see Michael's Corner February 2007]

How to Restore the ALL_LAYERS Layer State from the QAT

  1. Launch the CUI, then expand Quick Access Toolbars, then Quick Access Toolbars 1 to display the current content of the QAT.

  2. Under the Command List, navigate to Layer State Manager, then right-click on it and click Duplicate. The highlighted command is the copy, so we can edit that one.


  3. Under Properties, give the button a Name and a Description similar to that shown. The description is essentially the ‘Tool tip’.

  4. In the Macro, delete what's there, then enter the following:

    ^C^C-LA;A;R;"ALL LAYERS";;;

    Here's what the Command String means:

    ^C^C Cancel; essentially hits the ESC key
    -LA Launches the command line version of the Layer command.
    ; Press <Enter>
    A The Layer StAte option of the Layer command
    R The Restore option

    Note: Since pressing the spacebar is the equivalent of pressing [Enter] on the keyboard, if your layer state name has a space in it — as in our example of ALL LAYERS — the quotes will force AutoCAD to read the entire name of the layer state.

  5. To modify the button image, click Edit to open the Button Editor.

    Button image

  6. After making the desired edits, click Save, then name this button image All Layers Button, then OK. Click Close to close the Button Editor. In the Command list, you will see your new command Layer State: All layers.

  7. Drag and dropTo add it to the Quick Access Toolbar, drag your command up into the list of commands under the Quick Access Toolbar 1 header, as shown in the figure.

  8. Click OK to apply your changes and close the CUI.

To test your button, you may want to turn some layers On/Off or restore a different layer state, then try it.


What if you don't have a layer state named All Layers but you want to turn see all the layers of your drawing?

Replace the above button Macro with the following:


This routine will Thaw any layers that are Frozen, then turn ON any layers that are OFF. Hopefully you're seeing a pattern here and may have some ideas on other buttons you can make to automate those pesky layer tasks!

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