CADTutor

AutoCAD Tips and Tricks

This week's tips

Our community members love sharing their knowledge. Many of them have years of experience and have solved many CAD problems across a range of industries. These tips are just as useful whether you're just starting out with AutoCAD or whether you're a seasoned professional always willing to learn new skills.

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Today's Tip

Cycling through grip modes

Grip Mode CyclingWhen you have a grip selected, the normal mode is to stretch the selected object and AutoCAD displays ** STRETCH ** on the command line to let you know. But did you know that by hitting Enter you can cycle through the other grip modes - move, rotate, scale and mirror?

This is a really efficient way of working and means you can spend less time clicking the buttons on the Modify toolbar and more time editing.

This tip was submitted by dbroada

Yesterday's Tip

Fillet solid objects

Fillet SolidsThe Fillet command can be used to fillet solid objects as well as just the usual 2D stuff. Not only does the Fillet command fillet edges but it also correctly mitres the corners where two filleted edges meet.

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Monday's Tip

Convert to solid

Convert to solidYou may still have some old 3D drawings where objects have been constructed from rectangles, circles or closed polylines which have been given a thickness. Well, you'll be glad to know that you can now convert these objects to solids with one simple command. You'll find the Convert to Solid command at Modify ❯ 3D Operations ❯ Convert to solid or simply type convtosolid at the keyboard.

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Sunday's Tip

Lock your viewports!

Display lockedThe zoom factor of your viewports is crucial because it affects the plotted scale of your drawing. So, once you have set your viewport scale, it's a good idea to lock your viewport so that you don't inadvertently change it. To lock a viewport, select it in paper space by picking on its boundary and then right-click anywhere within the viewport. Select "Properties" from the right-click menu and the Properties panel will appear. In the "Misc" section, click on "Display locked" to activate the pull-down and set the value to "Yes".

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Saturday's Tip

2D Drawings from your 3D Models

Flatshot

Over the years, there have been various methods of creating 2D drawings from 3D models in AutoCAD. In the early days, we used export to DXB, a file format that is no longer supported. Then came the FLATTEN command. Now, there's a new command that's better than previous methods.

The FLATSHOT command creates a 2D block object of any view that includes 3D solid objects. There are a number of options including show/hide obscured lines and independent control over the colour and linetype of foreground and obscured lines. Flatshot works by projecting the lines of your current view, not UCS, onto a plane. This is a little more versatile than Flatten and doesn't seem to skew the dimension of the object, which Flatten is notorious for. It also has the advantage of leaving the original object as is. The only downside is that it seems to have problems with perspective views. Parallel projection views work perfectly.

This tip was submitted by CromCruithne

Friday's Tip

Maximize your work area

Clean ScreenYou can use Ctrl+0, or go to Tools ❯ Clean Screen, or click the faint blue square icon at the very bottom right of the AutoCAD program window to maximize your entire work area. The only thing that will show is your top Pull-down Menu, your Command Line, and/or your Layout Tabs, maximizing the drawing area as much as possible. Of course, you could also turn off the command line and just work with Dynamic Input if you wanted to be even more minimal. These command options work as a toggle, so simply repeat the action to restore the full interface.

If you are a customized keyboard command type of person, the command is CLEANSCREENON and CLEANSCREENOFF so you can easily add it into your ACAD.PGP file complete with your personal Command Alias.

This tip was submitted by StykFacE

Thursday's Tip

Layer States and Viewports

Did you know that Layer States can be saved and used to control visibility of layers per viewport? If you create and save a couple of layer states within an active viewport, you can then toggle them back and forth without affecting any other viewports, or model space. The changes only occur within the active viewport.

Try this:

Create a bunch of random objects in model space on different layers. Now switch to paper space and create two viewports so that you can see all the model space objects in both viewports. Now activate one of the viewports and open the Express Tools LMAN layer states manager. Create and save a new layer state. Now close LMAN and freeze some of the objects within the viewport. Open LMAN back up and create another new layer state. All of this must be done within the active viewport. You can now toggle back and forth between the two layer states within the active viewport without affecting model space or any other viewports. You can also switch to another viewport and use the same layer states on it, or create new ones.

This tip was submitted by Cad64