2011-05-23

AutoCAD Bible Winner - Tips and Tricks

The winner of the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2011 Bible is: Nancy Eaton!

A photo of the impartial party drawing the winner from the names of the tipsters:

Thank you to all who participated! I hope everyone enjoys your tips.


Tipster: Nancy Eaton
Product: AutoCAD

For polylines I change the command string in the tool properties to make the appropriate layer current (command CLAYER) so I don’t have to pick the tool again to draw another polyline. Notice that “Use flyout” has to be set to “No” otherwise you can’t change the command string:
^C^C_CLayer;layername;_pline


If the layer isn’t in the drawing or you end up using a lot of drawings that have old standards you can make the layer and set the layer color in the tool properties command string:
^C^C_layer;make;layername;color;color;layername;;_pline


Tipster: Shaoib Azeem
Product: AutoCAD

Today I would like to submit a Tip which is my favorite and I use it mostly. This tip is about Embedded Images.
It means all the inserted images can be parts of a drawing without using external reference.

1 - Open your drawing in which you want to insert the image.
2 - Go to the Main menu then click on "insert tab" it will give you drop down menu then  go to OLE Object,click it.
3 - Here is a box which shows you many options. Select "bitmap image" under Create New radio tab button.
4 - After selecting that "paint" will open.
5 - Click "edit" then click "paste from" and select your desire file.
6 - Save your file as "24 bit bitmap" format.
This image will be a permanent part of your drawing without using external reference.
(click to enlarge image)

Tipster: John Loudermilk
Product: AutoCAD

Use the "@" symbol to get the last point (i.e. while using the line command).

Tipster: Dan Crimmins
Product: AutoCAD / Map 3D

When one of your standard drawing templates will not quite do for the drawing you are starting, try creating your new custom Layer Names as follows:  
Open Layer Manager.  
Rt-Click on any existing layer name and select, “New Layer”. I find that this approach is faster and easier than using the “Create Layer” icon at the top of the pane.  
Next, type in the name of the new layer and hit “enter” twice.  
The double “enter” will  1. save your new layer name, then 2. shift down a line for entering the next new layer name.

Tipster: Jason
Product: Unspecified

I've used a nostromo speedpad for years. It allows me to have multiple key configurations. 
One is set to standard asdfg etc. another is set to snap points, and the third is for running uncommon commands. 

For instance, stretch polygon is one button. Its a bit of an investment, but pays for itself rather quickly in the time saved when drafting.

Tipster: Mark
Product: Unspecified

Use SNAPSTYL and the F5 key with ORTHO on to draw nice 2D isometrics.

Tipster: Greg Silva
Product: AutoCAD

Have you ever wished your block had multiple insertion points?

You can create the block or edit the block with the bedit command.

Use the point parameter from the Block Authoring Palette and insert one at each location you would like an extra insertion point.

Close the bedit workspace and now when you insert that block you can use the Ctrl key to switch between insertion points.

Tipster: Greg Silva
Product: AutoCAD

Have you ever needed a list of all the layers in a drawing? Maybe just to create your standards.
Well there is a very easy way to get an excel spreadsheet of your layers and their properties.
Bring up the layer dialog box anyway you want (for me it's still typing "layer" at the command prompt. Sorry, I am old school).

Make sure you select something in the layer dialog box to make it active and use the ctrl "A" to select everything. All the layer names and properties should now be blue.

Now use the Ctrl "C" to copy everything to the clipboard.

Start Excel, select the first cell and use Ctrl "V" to paste the contents of the clipboard into the spreadsheet.

You now have a complete spreadsheet with all the layer names and properties of each layer.

Tipster: Randal Fernandez ("Randal of the Hill People")
Product: AutoCAD (and verticals)

When using a vertical product such as Map, Civil 3d, Architectural, Utility Design (and probably the others as well), the default install typically doesn’t have the menus you want. The plain vanilla toolbars and menus are likely missing. Sometimes there is a workspace pre-configured to “Classic” or similar, but I like to customize. I want my menus, my way. Here’s a short description of my process:

1: Using the Customize User Interface (CUI), on the Transfer tab, create a new custom CUI file on the right side. On the left side, use the open button to locate acad.cui (the location varies by product and OS).

2: Copy your favorite menus, toolbars, and (maybe) ribbons to your new CUI file. *IMPORTANT: I rename the menus (A-File, A-Modify, etc) so I know which menus come from my cui file, and to prevent duplicates and general weirdness. Save the new CUI file.

2a: You can open other CUI files to copy menus into your new CUI file. With Civil 3d, I have some Design and Survey menus available at all times with a D- and S- prefix.

3: On the Customize tab, on the left side choose the “All customization files”. At the bottom of the list, right-click “Partial CUI Files” and choose “Load Partial Customization File…”. Select your newly-minted CUI file, and it will load at startup.

4: Finally: create a new Workspace and choose the menus, toolbars, and ribbons you want active; obviously you want everything from your new CUI file, and maybe a few other things. Save that workspace, set it current, apply, and close.

5: Spend the next 15 minutes rearranging the toolbars where you want them, then save your workspace again, overwriting the current settings. I also might go back into the CUI window and streamline the menu commands a little, deleting unnecessary or duplicate menu items. Again, SAVE YOUR WORKSPACE every time you make changes, or Save As if you want to test out changes temporarily.

You still have the factory-set workspaces in case your manager says “why doesn’t your screen look like everyone else’s?”, but then you can turn it back so you can get your work done faster.  :-)

Tipster: Angela
Product: Any
I was taught, during my time at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, to save my AutoCAD projects as a PDF. 
Do this by pressing the print button (or CTRL + P), and where it asks for which printer you want to use, you would scroll down to 'PDF' and select, then print.

If PDF is not one of your printer options, download a program like PDFCreator for free.
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