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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 November 2003

Tool Time: Kick 'em Up a Notch

Making a Power Tool
  1. To make your own tool open the "Customize" dialog box, then choose "User defined" at the bottom of the Categories column.
  2. From the Commands column, drag the "User Defined Button" onto your toolbar.
  3. Click on the blank tool on your toolbar and the Customize dialog box automatically switches to the Button Properties tab.
  4. Enter a Name and a Description for your tool. The Name is for the tooltip; the Description will be displayed on the status bar.
  1. In the Macro area, type the name of the command you want to run with this tool.

Tip: When writing the macro for a custom tool, the semi-colon ";" means <Enter>.

^C^CVpoint;-4,-5,1;Z;.5x;Hide

This routine:
Cancels any currently running command (^C^C), then…
Issues the Vpoint command, then…
Enters the x,y,z values of -4,-5,1 then…
Launches Zoom, then…
Specifies a reduction of 50%, then…
Launches Hide.

  1. To create the button, click the Edit button under the empty button image to open the "Button Editor" dialog box.
  1. Turn the Grid on, grab a color, pick a tool and off you go. If you make a small mistake, click Undo. Click Clear if you want to start over.

Tip: When you're finished with your graphics, click Save As, navigate to the desired folder and give this .bmp a name that you will understand.

  1. After saving the button image by name, click Close to close the Button Editor.
  2. Choose Apply at the bottom of the "Customize" dialog box, then Close out of the Customize dialog and you"re finished!

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