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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 2006

Bargain tips and tricks II

Open BoxFix-It Table

Unrecognized Fonts (.SHX files)

If you receive drawings from someone and there is a dialog box that pops up regarding a .shx file, in the lower left corner of the that dialog box is the name of the file AutoCAD is unable to find. Chances are it's a bigfont, too. So here's what you do.

Instructions to "Create" an Unrecognized Font
  1. Identify the name of the .SHX file that is not recognized.
  2. In Windows Explorer, navigate to <Install Drive>:\Program Files\AutoCAD xxx\Fonts
  3. Copy the file named Bigfont.shx to the same folder.
  4. Scroll down to "Copy of Bigfont.shx" and rename it to the name identified in Step 1 above.

Now when you re-launch AutoCAD and open that drawing, AutoCAD will see the font and open the drawing without the dialog box. You should do that for a font called "Special.shx". That's one that seems to have a life of its own and is not part of the AutoCAD Font collection.

Another option is to set the value for Fontalt to Simplex.shx. That will substitute the Simplex font when AutoCAD can't find the one it's supposed to have with that drawing.

Toggle Frames

Images and Wipeout objects have frames. Each object has its respective procedure to turn the frames on or off. ModifyObjectImageFrameOFF or DrawWipeoutFrameOFF. Don't do that anymore. If you need to toggle the frames for images and/or wipeouts on and off, use the variable TFRAMES.

Turn Attributes Into Text

The command is actually called Burst but it's on the Express menu under Blocks as Explode Attributes To Text. As shown in these three figures, the first illustration shows the attributed block including room name and number. If it's exploded, you see all the attribute definition tags. If, however, you use the Express tool, you get something a little less wacky and retain the integrity of the values for the visible attributes.

Instructions to Convert Attributes to Text
  1. On the ET: Blocks toolbar, click Explode Attributes to Text, then select the attributed block. The result is a collection of Dtext which can then be edited as necessary.
  2. Use Quick Select to select the text with the same content, or any other method you would like, then erase them.
  3. Use ExpressTextConvert Text To Mtext to convert several lines of Dtext into a single Mtext object.

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