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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 August 2014

The CTAB System Variable in a Field

Field textFields were introduced about a decade ago, and their fundamental operation is still the same. I wrote about them on several occasions—the earliest of which was in Michael's Corner July 2005—and I enjoying finding interesting applications for them.

By default, the text of a Field has a gray background, so when I saw some field text in a customer's drawing that wasn't the drawing name or the date, I looked a bit closer. As it turns out, the Field contained the name of the Current tab.

How to Add the Layout Tab Name to a Title Block

  1. Set the desired Layer and Text Style to be current first, then click on your Layout tab of choice.

  2. On the Insert tabData panel, click Field.

  3. System variableOn the left, under Field Names, scroll to the bottom and select SystemVariable.

  4. In the middle section, select ctab.

  5. Click the desired format on the right, then click OK and the name of the current layout tab is attached to your cursor.

  6. If necessary, click Height to change the height of the field text, then place the text.

  7. Double-click the name of the tab and change it, then Regen the drawing to update the field.

Keep in mind that a Field can be added as an attribute, so if you are using attributes in a title block or a border for a layout tab, this would be a great feature to include!

Display background of fieldsNote: Even though the gray color won't plot, to turn off the gray background of a field, go into OptionsUser Preferences tab, then clear the check box in the bottom left to Display Background of Fields.

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