AutoCAD

The Devil’s No Longer in the Details

11 Sep, 2012 By: Lynn Allen

Circles and Lines Tutorial: New detail and section view tools in AutoCAD 2013 are easy to use and flexible enough to conform to your CAD standards.


Figure 1. Find the section and detail view tools under the Layout tab in AutoCAD 2013.
Figure 1. Find the section and detail view tools under the Layout tab in AutoCAD 2013.
If you've ever drawn a detail or section view in AutoCAD from scratch — and I'm sure you have — then you know how tedious the process can be, what with all the cross-hatching, excess linework, and double dimensioning. When AutoCAD 2012's model documentation tools were unveiled, I lamented that easier detail and section view tools were still missing. Thankfully, the AutoCAD powers that be heard my plea and granted my wish: The new section and detail view tools in AutoCAD 2013 are simple to use, yet powerful and flexible enough to adhere to your company's CAD standards.

Begin with a 3D model; the detail and section views are automatically generated from that. If you're still stuck in a 2D world, now is the time to add that third dimension! (Convincing you to make the move to 3D is an article unto itself, so I'll just assume you're already convinced.) Once you have your 3D model, it's time to use the model documentation tools that were introduced in AutoCAD 2012. (For more information on that topic, check out my column, "2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models," Cadalyst, Winter 2012.) Create your standard views (top, left, front, etc.) using the ViewBase command, or by selecting the Base tool from the Layout tab on the ribbon. (You will create your detail and section views from these existing views, hence this important prerequisite.)

Figure 2. A section view is easy to create from a top view.
Figure 2. A section view is easy to create from a top view.

Create a Section View

The new Layout tab in the AutoCAD 2013 ribbon contains the detail and section view tools (figure 1).

If you are a ribbon rebel and have turned off the ribbon, you can use the ViewSection and ViewDetail commands. Here you'll find a variety of type options for creating your section lines, such as Full, Half, and From Object. AutoCAD uses the section line to generate the section view.

AutoCAD asks you to select an existing view for sectioning, the two points for the section line, and where you'd like the view to land. Voila! Now you have a fabulous section view and label (figure 2).

Don't worry if you don't draw the section line correctly; it's easy to modify or flip its direction using the grips on the section line (also shown in figure 2).

Modify the Section View

Select the view, then choose Edit View from the ribbon or use the ViewEdit command. AutoCAD displays a variety of customization options such as scale factor, appearance, and the label identifier (figure 3).

Figure 3. Choose Edit View from the ribbon or use the ViewEdit Command to access options for customizing the section view label and appearance.
Figure 3. Choose Edit View from the ribbon or use the ViewEdit Command to access options for customizing the section view label and appearance.

 

If your section view still doesn't meet your standards, you'll find a Section View Style Manager (much like the Dim Style Manager) complete with four tabs of options to ensure your section views are a perfect match (figure 4). Access it via the Layout tab on the ribbon or by using the ViewSectionStyle command.

Figure 4. Use the Section View Style Manager for even more control over the appearance of your section views.
Figure 4. Use the Section View Style Manager for even more control over the appearance of your section views.

Create a Detail View

Creating detail views is similar to creating section views. Select Detail from the Layout tab, and you will see two options: Circular and Rectangular. Select an option, then choose the view to detail, the boundaries of your detail, and the location for your detail. You should find yourself with a shiny new detail view and label (figure 5).

Figure 5. Select the view, a boundary, and a location to create a detail view.
Figure 5. Select the view, a boundary, and a location to create a detail view.

Modify the Detail View

To access a variety of additional options for editing your detail view, first select a detail view, then use the View Edit tool from the ribbon or use the ViewEdit command. This will take you to the Detail View Editor tab (figure 6) where you will find options to add a connection line, switch shapes, edit the label and scale, and more.

Figure 6. Additional options for modifying detail view appearance, boundary, and label are displayed after using the View Edit tool from the ribbon.
Figure 6. Additional options for modifying detail view appearance, boundary, and label are displayed after using the View Edit tool from the ribbon.

To modify the size or location of a boundary, simply adjust the grips, and the view dynamically updates. Super easy!

Of course, the Detail View Manager is full of options to ensure that your detail view matches your company's CAD standards. Make changes using the Detail View Style Manager (figure 7) via the Layout tab or the ViewDetailStyle command.

Figure 7. Use the Detail View Style Manager to customize your detail view settings.
Figure 7. Use the Detail View Style Manager to customize your detail view settings.

Detail and section views don't have to be cumbersome anymore — not with the new detail and section view tools. Give them a try and you'll never encounter the devil in the details again! Until next month, Happy AutoCAD-ing!


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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!
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