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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 March 2007

Aligned and Rotated Dimensions

Properties panel

When the Properties window is open and you select a dimension, you may have seen the dimension identified as an "Aligned Dimension". Then another time, you'll click on a dimension that looks virtually identical, but it's identified as a "Rotated Dimension". What's the difference?

Aligned Dimension

Aligned Dimension

The dimension line of the Aligned Dimension is always parallel to the points identified to be dimensioned (Definition Points or Defpoints).

If you click on the dimension, then click in one of the definition point grips and reposition the grip, the dimension line rotates to accommodate the new position. It continues to be "aligned" with the definition points.

Rotating a dimension

Rotated Dimension (created with the Linear dimension tool)

Linear Dimension

When you point two points that are not orthogonally-oriented, if you position your cursor to the left or right you will get a vertical dimension. If you position your cursor above or below the points specified, the result will be a horizontal dimension. In other words, the dimension line is automatically rotated to maintain a horizontal or vertical dimension.

A rotated linear dimension

Mystery solved!

Specify dimension

Final (cautionary) note: Another reason why a linear dimension is referred to as a Rotated dimension in the Properties window is because, after specifying the points for the dimension, you have a Rotated option. This enables you to specify a rotation angle for the resulting dimension… and the dimension will be the distance between the two points PARALLEL TO the resulting dimension line; the angle of rotation. For this reason, I would suggest that you use the Aligned dimension to accurately dimension angled geometry.

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