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AutoCAD Productivity Articles - 2003


December - AutoCAD Stocking Stuffers

Here are a few AutoCAD treats you may find useful and fun. The Plot Stamp Alternative has proven to be very useful for a number of my customers. And since most of us don't work in a vacuum and just happen to receive drawings from others, Maxactvp and Object Cycling are a couple features that could save some very frustrating moments. The grip copy and rotate combo may prove useful to some of you, too.

Plot Stamp Alternative
Grip Copy and Rotate
Cycle Through Stacked Objects

November - Automating AutoCAD 2

This month follows up with the next level of tool-making in which you create your own tool, button image included. It's quite fun, really, and once you have learned the key features of this customizing procedure, you will find many opportunities to give it a try. I also have included another real-time application involving the fundamentals of paper space, along with some insights into what I refer to as the poor man's document management utility: Hyperlink. For those of you needing to run area calculations, take a look at this month's Basics section. Carry on!

Tool Time: Kick 'em Up a Notch
Hyperlink for document management
Remember Tilemode?
Area Additions and Subtractions

October - Automating AutoCAD

Over the last few weeks I have been fixing over 100 drawings for a customer and in so doing, have come across several features that I'd like to share with you all. If you do repetitive procedures, having a "button" or tool to hit can be very efficient, especially if that tool combines several commands. This month I'll introduce custom toolbar fundamentals and we'll see where we go from there. We take a look at the semi-related feature of Profiles, as well as how to save some time when you launch AutoCAD and want to begin with your own template and newly-created Profile. Hopefully there will be a few insights here to take your AutoCAD "up a notch".

The Garden Variety Toolbar
"Auto-Launch" AutoCAD
Hatch Base
Profiles for Performance

September - Who needs Rectangles?

Do you ever get tired of rectangular viewports? Seriously, life does not hand us tidy, rectangular drawing environments. This month I thought I'd review a couple old tools that have been around since the release of A2000 but that are under the radar for most users. We'll also take a look at a Trim/Extend treat that may increase your productivity, along with a command "modifier" you may be interested in. Veteran users may pick up a trick in the Basics section, too, as I take a look at some important "recovery methods".

Irregular Shaped Viewports
Many with Multiple
Easy Edges

August - Something for Everyone

This month's features have come from questions I encountered over the last few weeks. This month I have a solution for an easy way to create walls or other parallel line applications, tell you how a non-continuous linetype could be affected by something other than the LTSCALE factor, explain why blocks have weird names sometimes, and let you in on the startling ability to select objects in some fashion other than a rectangle all the time. There's sure to be something in here for everyone.

Quick and Easy Parallel Lines
Lyin' Type Scale
Select the Right Stuff

July - Extractions and Odd Angles

Continuing from last month's column on assigning attributes to blocks, this month Michael reviews the Attribute Extract feature that has superceded the need to make your own attribute template file. You also will discover where Autodesk hid the Group toggle feature as well as how to more effectively edit and work in drawings that have odd angles. In the Basics this month you will gain some insight into the One-Two punch of subdividing linework with Point objects.

Extracting Attribute Data
Extending along Odd Angles
Group toggle change
Subdividing Your Linework

June - Attribute! - bless you

In keeping with a few block-related articles, this month Michael gives a few attribute insights for those of you looking to understand them a bit more. For those of you working with drawings from the outside, you may find the Rename dialog box to be of interest. It has been around since R11 but relatively unknown or rarely used. It's very useful in renaming Xref layers or blocks. Rounding out this month is some information on a Fillet variable, along with an introduction to Named Views, another under-appreciated feature that's been around awhile.

The Fundamentals of Attributes
Offset Corner Types
Saving Named Views

May - Blocks Away!

To follow up the "Obscured" variables from last month, this month we take a look at a couple other features in AutoCAD that have 3D applications. In the Basics section you'll learn about some "special characters" that can be added to single-line text for commonly requested formatting. We begin this month with some technical insight into AutoCAD's Block tables that may answer some questions for which you had yet to nail down an answer.

Coming to Terms with Blocks
Isolines or Facetres?
Special Text Characters

April - Reference and Obscured Variables

Receiving drawings from outside (or even from others within your own company) can be a wee bit aggravating sometimes. This month covers the Reference option in the Scale and Rotate commands that might give you a bit more leverage in your productivity. You'll also find out about a buried feature called BASE, that enables you to assign a basepoint to a drawing. And if you've always wondered if you can set up AutoCAD to 'see' the hidden lines in another format, AutoCAD 2002 has the answer. You may also pick up a trick in the Basics section where we cover text justification.

Scale & Rotate
Obscured Variables
Establish your drawing BASE
Text Justification

March - Geometry Calculator?

This month Michael takes a look at a couple productivity features of AutoCAD, the Quick Select window and the little-known Geometry Calculator. Quick Select can be used with a wide range of user-specified criteria and comes in handy particularly when you are working on someone else's drawings. The need for the Geometry Calculator is less frequent, but when the time comes, you'll be glad to have it. Additionally, we get the third of three installments on the fundamentals of Raster images as well as an Odd Spot with some insight on the tooltip for hyperlinks.

Quick Select
Midpoint between Your Choice
Oh, that tooltip
Raster Images 301

February - Lisps 'n' Scripts

This month, Michael looks at two methods of AutoCAD automation that all users should become familiar with. The smart use of Scripts and Lisp routines are key to having AutoCAD behave just the way you want it to. There are great productivity gains to be made by setting variables automatically with scripts and by automating common tasks with lisp. Michael also continues his exploration of raster images in AutoCAD.

Lazy Lisp
Variables in a Script
Hold onto that Hatch
Raster Images 201

January - Introducing Mr.Beall

By way of introduction, my name is Michael Beall and several years ago I contacted David Watson to thank him for recommending my book "AutoCAD R14 for Beginners" to the AutoCAD users at University of Greenwich. Since that time we have stayed in touch and just recently David invited me to contribute to his CAD Tutor website. "Michael's Corner" will be my monthly contribution to the AutoCAD-literate with the intent of making you "quicker, better, smarter, faster" or simply more informed.

Creating Custom Linetypes
Black and White and Back
Move + Copy Control
Raster Images 101

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