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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 2011

Mechanics of AutoCAD WS

AutoCAD WSOK, this is pretty cool, but you'll have to work with it a bit to get the hang of it.

The ability to 'share' drawings with others in the field on their iPad/iPhone is very intriguing. To see how this works, you will need someone else with which to share your drawing, and each of you will need an AutoCAD WS account. (This may be the account you created when you installed a recent version of AutoCAD; mine was.)

My investigation involved the AutoCAD WS website, AutoCAD 2011, and my iPhone 3 with the free AutoCAD WS app.


  1. Go to the AutoCAD WS download site [] and download and install the AutoCAD plug-in for your version, AutoCAD 2010 and 2011 (or AutoCAD LT). After installing the AutoCAD WS feature, when you launch AutoCAD, you will have an Online tab with all the requisite panels. (AutoCAD LT 2011 Ribbon shown here.)

    Online Tab
  2. Go to and login or create a new account. Those with whom you want to share your drawings will need an account, too.

    Note: Although the sharing of files can happen using non-mobile devices (stationary devices?), to use AutoCAD WS on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, download the app from the App Store. []

In the following process, I share a drawing with a mobile device, they edit the drawing, then upload it back to me.

Logistics for Sharing a DWG using AutoCAD WS

  1. Create a drawing.

  2. Click Share Drawing [Online tabShare panel] and the Login screen will come in to login to your AutoCAD WS account. (see prerequisite B, above)

  3. Share a File Dialog BoxThe Share a File dialog box opens (shown here).

    Enter the email address of the account you want to share the drawing with (the mobile device in this scenario), and any pertinent message, then click Share.

  4. On the target system (if the individual has logged in), when they launch the AutoCAD WS app, the shared drawing uploads automatically.

  5. Using the available menu items for the mobile app, the recipient can select from a variety of features, including Add Text, Move, Scale, Rotate, and Erase.

  6. Recently UpdatedWhen finished, the recipient clicks Done which, essentially, releases the drawing to the originator of the drawing (or another collaborator in the field).

  7. To download the drawing to your computer from the person in the field, you will need to login to the AutoCAD WS site. (see prerequisite B, above)

  8. Once you're logged in, the Messages page lists the drawings that were recently updated.

    Drawings Node
  9. In the left panel of the AutoCAD WS screen, click the Drawings node.

  10. To download the shared drawing, select the drawing, then click Download, then specify file type - DWG, DXF, or ZIP (for Xrefs) - then the format - A2010 to R14(!) - then the file location.

Download Drawings

Those are the very fundamental nuts and bolts to this great tool. Although I knew about it, I really needed to find out how to make all the necessary connections. I hope that helped!

Powerful Drawing Editor within the AutoCAD WS Site

As you saw in the last figure (above), after selecting the drawing file, you also have an Open option. The Open feature enables you to open a shared drawing on any computer that doesn't have AutoCAD (but is logged in to the AutoCAD WS site).

Edit Block

The drawing Editor within AutoCAD WS has an amazing array of AutoCAD commands, too numerous to mention here, including the ability of editing a block! This is worth the effort in and of itself!

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