Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 22)18 Jun, 2007
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This Week's Software Tips
Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, we'll send you a Cadalyst t-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and award a $100 gift card to its author. Please submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit) and tell us which software version you use. By submitting any tip or code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute that tip or code in print, digitally and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to the code; published code is not to be used for commercial purposes.
Shortcut to Frequently Used Path
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol agrees this is a handy tip, with one caveat: Unfortunately, some companies use a CAD launch program to open drawings. (This is more common where settings are heavily customized.) This is a separate software package that creates certain settings before a drawing is opened. If your company still allows drawing access from Windows Explorer, then double-clicking is an option. If you use drawings in sets, then the Sheet Set Manager is the way to go.
"I also find the Pickfirst toggle efficient because there I don't use the Esc key as much to deselect the hatches, saving a few seconds for each hatch selection."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: One Patroller explains, "You're referring to associative hatching that came out with AutoCAD Release 13. It's more flexible than standard hatching. When the hatch boundary is reshaped, so is the hatch pattern. You can use the Boundary and Region commands to calculate areas, and you can use Fields to monitor area changes. If the area in question contains a lot of interference, copy the boundary lines to a separate part of your drawing and perform the needed operation. Also, if you prefer the original style of hatching on a boundary that has already been associatively hatched, observe the following: Click the hatch and open the Properties dialog box. The selection drop-down box shows Polyline and Hatch. Select Hatch. Near the bottom of the Properties box, you'll see an option to discontinue the associativity (Yes/No). The HPASSOC system variable controls new Hatch Pattern associativity (0 = non-associative, 1 = associative). It's a good idea to change the PICKFIRST variable; just don't forget to change it back when finished."
Another Patroller adds: "Using the Hatch (or Bhatch) command to hatch an area, or areas, to derive information is a fine idea. Having the information pop-up in the Properties palette is OK, although the List command and Area Object selections also work if all you need is square feet measurements. The Pickfirst toggle is also a good tip, especially because users who don't typically work this way may not remember it."
Get a Grip
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: One Tip Patroller, who notes that the tip also applies in AutoCAD 2006 LT (at least), says, "This tip is a benefit for those users who use grips a lot and a good reminder for those who don't use them very often." He continues, "I personally don't like the paste-as-block (or copy-clip) block creation modes. When I'm creating a block that I plan to use in more than one drawing, I generally prefer to be much cleaner and precise in my block creation." The other Patroller points out that although the mouse button Move options are handy, they don't allow for a basepoint like the Move command does.
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol finds this to be a great tip for accessing drawing information without opening the drawing in question. One Patroller adds, "It's especially useful for coworkers who don't have AutoCAD but have access to the company server. An additional helpful tip: Words listed here are seen when a user searches through Windows Explorer using the 'A word or phrase in the file:' search field."
The second Patroller adds, "This is an interesting and potentially very useful tip -- although like any annotation tip, its usefulness varies as the organization increases in size. In my current 40-person firm, we still can't get users to follow the established project file nomenclature standards, making this unusable. On another note, I like the applicability to the Sheet Set index table."
Follow-Up: Text Styles
MicroStation Tip: A Forward Slash Followed by a Number
Answer: The \ in front of a number is telling MicroStation that an ASCII numeric code follows. To avoid this, use a \\ (double slash) in front of the number.
Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Tip Patrol before publication. Use all tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. We're sorry, but editors and Tip Patrol members cannot provide assistance with technical problems; please refer to Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry-Help discussion forum.
Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Don Reichle, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda and Billy Wooten.
Deals & Freebies
Special Pricing for Rapidform and Handyscan 3DT
Opportunities & Honors
Mastercam Names "Innovator of the Future" Winner
VectorWorks Users Win ASLA 2007 Professional Awards
Samsung Electronics Receives Grand Prize in Innovation Awards
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Books & Training
New Textbooks Cover Design with AutoCAD 2008 and Revit 2008
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General Software: XL2CAD 4.1
General Software: RxViewServer R9.0
AEC: Round-Trip Engineering
CAE: Composites Modeler for Abaqus/CAE
CAE: Virtual.Lab Fast Trim
CAE: PAM-CRASH 2G
Facilities Management: Proliance Starter Pack
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Second International Conference on Rapid Manufacturing
23rd Annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference
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In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD video tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!