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Michael BeallMichael’s Corner #116
August 2012

Winning in London

by Michael Beall

I can only imagine that living, literally, ‘down the lane’ from an Olympic venue is nothing short of thrilling, so I'm sure our intrepid keeper of the CADTutor site, David Watson, found the London Olympics both inspiring and exciting. Although I'll do my best to keep Olympic references in check, this month's collection is a bit heavy on the ‘selection’ procedures in AutoCAD… as in selecting the best AutoCAD ‘athlete’ so you can be the most productive.

Our events this month include:

…A practical application for the Selection Cycling feature
…Settings to make Select Similar more specific
…Another solution to the ‘Disappearing Cursor’
…Negotiating the hurdles of REGENAUTO & SNAPANG

Hope these insights provide a bit of a boost so you can excel in your field… or track, or arena, or pool, or court, or…

PS — Just so you know, editing is complete on the first chapter of the 2nd Edition of The AutoCAD Workbench, and I'm about halfway through the second chapter. Those are the biggest chapters, so I'm hoping to have it published by October 1!

If you would like to contact me directly, you can do that also.

Blessings to one and all,

Selection Cycling Application

Selection Cycling toggleWhen I covered Selection Cycling in April 2010, I wasn't real pleased with the effectiveness of the example I used in the exercise. Last week I encountered a situation where I had to use SC in order to get the job done.


* Solid, transparent hatch within a room to designate the department
* Text and other objects under the hatch


The Goal

* Bring the text above the hatch — using Draw Order — but leave the furniture below the hatch.

The Goal

How to Select an Object with Selection Cycling

  1. Turn on Selection Cycling.

  2. Hover over the objectsHover over the objects to bring above the hatch and two, blue, overlapping boxes appear at your cursor indicating there is more than one object under your cursor.

  3. Click the text to display the Selection dialog box, then click the item to be selected. Repeat as necessary. In this exercise, I selected both the Text and the Mtext.

    Click to display the dialog

  4. After making the desired selection, right-click, then click Draw OrderBring to Front.

  5. You may need to Regen your drawing, but you now have a 'hatch sandwich' – a transparent hatch in the middle, furniture below, and text above!.

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Power Tool

SELECTSIMILAR on the Command Line

LayerCovered in the Basics, May 2011 (with a nice video tutorial, thank you, David!), the Select Similar feature is a powerful selection tool, but not a lot of folks know there are options. There's no arrow from the shortcut menu or anything that would indicate that there even ARE any. (And that sounds like a great idea for next month's Power Tool; adding a flyout to the shortcut menu item).

Select Similar

For example, if all the furniture of your drawing on the same layer, such as A-FURN, when you select a chair, then use Select Similar… all the furniture is selected because the default setting for that feature is Layer.


Type the command — SELECTSIMILAR — then enter SE for the SEttings option and you see this dialog box. They're all pretty straightforward, and here's the Help menu's explanation of the last two…

Object style
Considers objects with matching styles (such as text styles, dimension styles, and table styles) to be similar.

Considers referenced objects (such as blocks, xrefs, and images) with matching names to be similar.


Bottom Line

In the furniture example, above, the solution would be to check the box for Name, and you would get a selection as you see here.

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The Odd Spot

Disappearing Cursor, Part II

Shortly after I published my first solution [February 2012], I got an email with the identical situation — cursor visible on the Ribbon, but not in the screen, and the Visual Style was not the problem.

Drafting SettingsWhen I got the same question from a third customer, I called 'em. Long story short, her snap spacing was uncommonly large.

Application of the Logic

  1. We will frequently reach for F8 to toggle on Ortho… but miss.

  2. F7 toggles the Grid on and off — a visual response that is easily noticed. F9, however, toggles the Snap which is not so easily noticed.

  3. Therefore, if your snap increment is set to a value that is larger than your current display, your cursor won't move because there's no snap point — or maybe very few — in your display. Hit F9 to toggle of the SNAP… and see if the cursor loosens up a bit.

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The Basics

Regenauto & Snapang

Regen alertYou're flying through your day and you open that last drawing from your contractor… and you get this AutoCAD Alert about a Regen. Really?


Many years ago, before the days of umpty-ump gigs of RAM and screaming graphics cards, large drawings would literally take 60 seconds or much more to regenerate. The REGENAUTO variable was introduced to let us know it was going to need some time to regen. The variable is still around, so if you open a drawing and see this alert, set the REGENAUTO variable to ON, and get on with it.


Have you ever seen ‘skewed’ crosshairs even though the UCS was set to <World>? Everything is drawn and edited according to the UCS condition, but crosshairs are wonky.

The culprit: SNAPANG. To ‘straighten’ the orientation of the crosshairs so they are parallel to the UCS, set the SNAPANG variable to 0. Curiously, this variable is not in Options and can only be modified from the Command line.

Before and after

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Left Field

Hemi– Demi– Semi– Quaver
hdsqMusic has always been part of our lives, and for me it's always been singing; ever since 2nd grade church choir. My best friend and roommate in college was at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and his brother played a mean harp.

Somewhere along the line, the term ‘Hemi demisemiquaver’ came into our conversations, and I heard it again recently on a British comedy on Netflix, so — in keeping with our London theme — I thought I'd bring you non-music Majors up to speed, as I was when first heard it 30 years ago.

1/8 note = Quaver
1/16 note = Semiquaver
1/32 note = Demisemiquaver
1/64 note = Hemi demisemiquaver

(The rather laconic American terms are on the left, the Brits actually came up with the more elegant quaver bits)

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