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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 June 2007

The Big Dog: Annotation in A2008

Text optionsDoberman's get a bad rap; they're actually very friendly, you just need to get to know them… kinda like the new Annotative Text feature in A2008. This article is intended as a "Meet and Greet". There's more to know about it, but we need to make the introductions, first. We'll do so using an existing drawing with text objects.

Intended to make annotation more "viewport-compliant", a text object with Annotative Text set to "Yes" in the Properties window will automatically adjust if the viewport scale changes. Essentially, you get to specify the text height if it were to be measured in Paper space, and AutoCAD automatically adjusts the text to that height. It's really pretty sweet.

Along the bottom of the AutoCAD 2008 drawing window… and above the Status Bar… is the new Infobar. Along the Infobar are the following items that relate to annotative text in an active viewport:


Lock/Unlock Viewport Unlock it to see how this feature works
VP Scale The recommended method to set the viewport scale for annotative objects in a viewport
Annotation Scale Scale for the text in a viewport; typically synchronous with the VP Scale
Annotation Visibility Typically turned on to see the annotation height change if the VP Scale changes
Add Annotative Scales Turned on if you have multiple viewports using multiple Annotation scales

To follow along with the exercise, you will need text in Model Space and a layout with a viewport. If you would like, you can use Blocks and Tables – Imperial.DWG found in the ..\Sample folder of A2008. I'll be using that to illustrate these fundamental principles.

Begin the exercise from a layout tab with a viewport active.

Instructions to Set Existing Text in Model Space to Be Annotative Text

  1. After activating a viewport, unlock the VP Scale, and toggle on the Annotation Visibility for All Scales and Add Annotative Scales features.
  2. Set the Annotative Scale value to the same value as the current VP Scale. In the sample drawing, the viewport for the Second Floor Plan is 1/4″ = 1′-0″.
  3. Select all the objects in that viewport, then open the Properties window.
  4. MtextIn the dropdown list at the top, select Mtext (or Text), then under the Text heading of the Properties window, set the value for Annotative to Yes. Press Esc to clear the grips of the selected objects.
  5. Viewport updateOn the Infobar, change the VP Scale value to 1/8″ = 1′-0″. The annotative text objects change… then the objects in the viewport update!
    Note: To perform a simple proof of the integrity of the text, in the illustrations, the red box was drawn in Paper space around annotative text in Model space. In the first figure, the VP Scale is 1/4″ = 1′-0″. In the second figure, the VP Scale is 1/8″ = 1′-0″.
  6. To change the height of the text objects in Model space, use the Properties window to select all the text objects again, then change the Paper Text Height to 3/16″. Press Esc to clear the grips on the text objects.

I'll have more coverage on this feature in the months ahead. Hopefully, you feel a bit more advised on the mechanics of annotative text. Less than intuitive, but quite nice once you understand the setup. In the meantime, for additional information, you may want to take a look at the New Features Workshop under AutoCAD's Help menu.

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