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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.


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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 2010

Adding Another Row to a Panel on the Ribbon

The Draw PanelIt's time to take our Ribbon customization up a notch, so I figured we could customize a panel to have more than just a single string of commands. This question came up in my recent training at ethos in Phoenix as we were heading to lunch. I hadn't really investigated it before, but the three of us figured it out, so I wanted to pass it along.

Before you begin, you may want to review the fundamentals of adding a tab and a panel to the Ribbon that was covered in Michael's Corner in August 2009.

To understand what we're aiming for, on the Draw panel [Home tab] you see a large icon for the Line command, then three additional rows of more commands. How do they do that? The three rows are called ‘Sub-panels’, and here's how it works.

How to Edit the Appearance of the Tools on Your Tab

Partial Customization Files
  1. Open the CUI.

  2. Expand Partial Customization Files, expand CUSTOM, expand Ribbon, then expand Panel. In this exercise, I have a Tab named My Workbench and a Panel named MC_Custom. (The Cool Tools panel is what I developed in the exercises in The AutoCAD Workbench.)

  3. Click on the first tool in Row 1 of your custom panel (in this exercise, ‘3D Adjust Clip Plane’) to display the Properties pane on the right.

  4. Under Appearance, click the Button Style item, then click the dropdown to display the four options.

  5. Click Large with Text (Vertical); this is the style used by the Line command on the Draw panel.

    Button Style
  6. To add a ‘stack’ of tools to your customized panel, right-click on Row 1, then click New Sub-Panel and you will see Sub-Panel 1 with an unnamed node below it. That's the first row of that Sub-Panel.

  7. Drag a command up from the Command list and release it next to the unnamed node below Sub-Panel 1.

  8. Right-click on Sub-Panel 1, then click New Row (not Sub-Panel) to create another unnamed node.

    Adding a new sub-panel

    Note: Curiously, the nodes below a Sub-panel are not numbered ‘Row 1’, ‘Row 2’, etc. until after you have closed and saved the CUI, then re-opened it.

  9. Drag the panelAdd another tool to the unnamed node under the Sub-Panel. Repeat as needed.

  10. Finally, drag your panel up and release it beside your custom tab.

    Note: If you are editing a panel that is already associated with a tab, you do not need to re-assign it to that tab.

  11. Click OK to close and save your edits to the CUI, then click your new tab to see the arrangement!

Gold Star Tip: For your reference, the two figures here are my custom Panel and the CUI that drives it.

The final panel

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