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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 2014

Automating the Application of a Viewport Scale

I've had this question more than once, so I'm finally getting around to it.

If you have a specific scale that you need to consistently apply to a viewport, drawing after drawing, let's make a button on the Quick Access Toolbar to apply that scale.

Two Procedures Required

First, we have to get the numeric equivalent of the plot scale. It's pretty straightforward for Engineering scales, but the Architectural scales are less intuitive. Solution: VPSCALE

Once that value has been acquired, we'll use the (very) old fashioned Zoom command with the XP option.

I'm using the drawing Floor Plan Sample.DWG located in AutoCAD 2015's ..\Sample\Database Connectivity folder. If you have an earlier version of AutoCAD, the drawing is in the same folder, but it's called Db_samp.DWG.

How to Acquire & Apply a Consistent Viewport Scale

  1. Viewport ScaleOn the Layout1 tab, double-click in the viewport, then set the plot scale to 1/32″ = 1′0 from the Plot Scale list on the Status bar.

  2. Enter VPSCALE, then hit F2 to flip to the Text Window and you see the following:

    Command: VPSCALE
    PS:MS == 1:384
    Viewport Scale: 1/32″ = 1′-0″

    Note: The key ingredient here is the value for PS:MS - 1:384

  3. To test our procedure, zoom into any area in the drawing.

  4. Enter ZOOM, then enter 1/384XP… and notice that the Plot Scale value on the Status bar is 1/32″ = 1′-0″!

  5. To add a button to the Quick Access Toolbar, enter CUI to open the Customize User Interface.

  6. In the Command list, find the command ‘Viewports, Single Viewport’, then right-click on it and click Duplicate. This effectively accomplishes a Copy + Paste in one click.

  7. Under Properties, modify the properties to something similar to what you see here.

    For the Macro, enter ZOOM;1/384XP

    Properties dialogue box

    Note: The semi-colon means ‘Press ENTER’

  8. Under Button Image at the top, click Edit, turn on the Grid, then edit the button image.

    Button image editor
  9. When you're finished with your button-top, click Save and enter a name. Then click Close.

  10. Drag to QATTo add this button to the Quick Access Toolbar, in the top left quadrant of the CUI, expand Quick Access Toolbars, then expand Quick Access Toolbar 1 to display the current content of your Quick Access Toolbar.

  11. Now drag and drop your new Viewports, 1/32″ command up into the Quick Access Toolbar command list.

  12. Click OK to save your edits and close the CUI.

Now create a new layout tab, double-click in the viewport, then hit your new button to assign that viewport scale!

Bonus Round: You may also notice the ZOOM command has a Center option. Hmmm, I wonder if that can be incorporated into the above macro…

Merry Christmas! - The first person to email me the solution to the Bonus Round will receive a PDF version of my book, The AutoCAD Workbench, 2nd Edition!

Hint: You may need to reference the Power Tool article in November 2007.

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