Circles and Lines: Customizing Your Editing Environment

9 Jun, 2006 By: Lynn Allen

AutoCAD 2007 gives you the power to customize double-click editing commands.

The ability to double click on an object for speedy editing was added several releases ago, much to many users' delight! A simple double click on a text string, for example, allows you to change the text -- no need to think about the proper command you need to execute to get the same results. This little feature represented a significant time saving in everyday editing.

That said, I didn't always agree with the editing command that the Autodesk gods chose to assign to each object. For example, many of us preferred the Ddatte command for editing a block with attributes as opposed to the Enhanced Attribute Editor dialog box. Or perhaps you preferred the new Block Editor? How about that new Maximize Viewport feature that appears whenever you double click on a paper space viewport? Wouldn't it be nice if the choice were yours?

AutoCAD 2007 gives you the choice in the new CUI (Customization User Interface) command that came out in AutoCAD 2006. Now you get to choose which editing command is executed when you double click on an object.

This month I'll show you how to set up your double-click edits to meet your needs. After all, you want to work as efficiently as possible! You CAD managers might want to show this column to your team so they can take control of the reins when it comes to editing (or not!).

CUI Command
You begin by entering the slightly overwhelming CUI command. This one-stop shop for customizing has so many features in it that you might find it daunting at first. During the past year I wrote several articles about the CUI, so if you missed them be sure to visit to catch up.

I can assure you the CUI isn't as scary as it looks. You'll actually find it much easier than tackling the menu system using the old techie methods that only a few of us nerds truly grasped. Now you simply drag and drop, for the most part, to get the desired customization results. To follow along, open the CUI command and select the main CUI file (figure 1). Here you'll find the Double Click Actions along with a list of all the various AutoCAD objects. Underneath each object is the designated editing command.

Figure 1. You can easily change the Double Click Actions in the CUI command.

Below are just a few of the objects and assigned double-click commands:


You'll find that the majority of the objects have the Properties Palette assigned to them. Let's say that as a CAD manager you'd rather not make it easy for your users to edit an attached xref from within another drawing. Currently when you double click on an xref, it brings up the Refedit command -- making it all too easy to edit the attached drawing file. You'd prefer the double click on an xref to bring up the new Xref Manager (slightly less dangerous). This change is easy to make. Simply page down to xref and expand it to see that Edit Block In-place is the assigned double-click command. If you look at the macro on the right of the dialog box, you'll see the Refedit command embedded there (figure 2).

Figure 2. The Refedit command is assigned as the default.

Now it's simply a matter of selecting the editing command you'd like assigned to the xref. I grabbed External References from the command list and dragged it up underneath xref (figure 3). This will automatically replace the previous Refedit command. Now when you double click on an xref, you'll find yourself in the Xref Manager!

Figure 3. Drag and drop the desired AutoCAD command to the double-click listing.

Get Rid of the Maximize Viewport Feature
AutoCAD 2005 added a cool feature that I love, but many others do not feel the same way. When you double click on a viewport, it maximizes it. I have received many emails asking how to put this back to it's legacy behavior of displaying the Properties command. You now can do that with AutoCAD 2007. Trying to figure out this change was a bit trickier for me and required a small amount of customization (more than just drag and drop). You'll notice that Viewport isn't listed underneath Double Click Actions at all! This means you'll have to add it, and then assign the appropriate command.

Right-click on Double Click Actions and select New Double Click Action (figure 4). We're going to add in the viewport object. Change the name and the object name to Viewport (figure 5). Then drag and drop the Properties command up and under your new entry. That wasn't too complicated!

Figure 4. It's easy to add a new object to the list by selecting New Double Click Action.

Figure 5. Key in the object name then drag the new editing command into place.

Now you'll find the Properties command displays whenever you double click on your viewport.

Note: Name is what will display in the CUI under the Double Click Action menu, and the object name must be a valid AutoCAD object type.

You can add as many additional objects as you want, but they must be valid object names. If you aren't sure what the official name of an object is, simply draw one and then use the List command on it to find out. You can also reference the DXF codes (but that can take you down that techie path again).

Most of the double click actions resort to displaying the Properties palette. Here is your chance to really ramp things up by thinking about what works best for you. Would you prefer the option of changing the Pdmode when you select a point? Or for something completely crazy, maybe you'd like to execute a drawing command when you double click on an object. For example, you double click on a circle, and the Circle command is executed. Double clicking on a line executes the Line command, etc. You can always get to the Properties palette by selecting it from the Shortcut menu, so why not expand your horizons?

If you find yourself with some double clicks you're really crazy about, you might want to assign those to the Custom menu, making it easier to migrate them to the next release of AutoCAD. Custom menus are migrated automatically, so consequently you'd have your cool double clicks already installed when you upgrade.

Incidentally, you can now drag and drop commands from the CUI command list to your existing palettes, making it easier than ever to customize your tool palettes. This capability was a huge request after AutoCAD 2006 came out with the CUI command but left out the ability to customize palettes from it. You should set up your tool palettes with your most frequently used commands for quick access.

Take the reins of AutoCAD and start to really customize your editing process. You'll find that you will save time and frustration when you set up AutoCAD to run the way you want it to, not the way someone decided it should.

Until next month -- Happy AutoCAD-ing!

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn on Twitter

Which factor is most important in your selection of a mouse or other input device for CAD use?
Wireless connectivity
3D capability
Programmability/extra buttons
Size/portability/desktop footprint
I just use whatever came with my workstation/was provided by my employer
Submit Vote

Get Your Free Issue of Cadalyst Magazine!