Eleven Efficiency Boosters for AutoCAD23 Jan, 2014 By: Lynn Allen
Circles and Lines: High-profile features are nice, but these subtle improvements will really enhance your productivity.
Figure 1. The Layer list on the ribbon now extends the full height of the user's screen.
The big, shiny new AutoCAD 2014 features may get all the attention, but you and I know that it's often the more subtle enhancements that turn out to be the most valuable. Remove just one step from a process you do all the time, and you'll notice an instant bump in productivity. In this edition of "Circles and Lines," I'll cover some of the less flashy, but still valuable new features inside AutoCAD 2014.
1. Draw arcs clockwise. For as long as I can remember, AutoCAD has preferred to draw arcs counterclockwise. That was the way of the world — and we all just dealt with it! In AutoCAD 2014, changing the direction of an arc is as easy as holding down the Control key.
2. Fillet an open polyline. Have you ever tried to fillet an open polyline to itself? It was impossible — until now! AutoCAD 2014 is more than happy to let you do this, the end result being a single closed polyline.
3. Nicely numbered layers. AutoCAD has also learned to count! You'll find that numbered layer names are now listed in their natural order, such as 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 21, and 25, as opposed to listing them as 1, 10, 2, 21, 25, 4, and 5. And if you're wondering whether there is a system variable to control this feature (for those of you who've already succumbed to AutoCAD's inability to count), I'm afraid not. Maybe that will come in the next release.
4. Longer Layer drop-down list. Are you tired of scrolling through a long list of layers when you use the Layer drop-down list on the ribbon? You'll find that AutoCAD 2014 has expanded the Layer drop-down to fill the entire height of your screen (figure 1). This change provides you with easier access — but sadly, you won't burn as many calories.
5. Merged Layer Merge. Layer Merge was a popular Express Tool that grew up to become a full-fledged AutoCAD command a few releases ago. Now you'll find that Layer Merge is fully incorporated into the Layer Properties Manager (figure 2). If you aren't familiar with LayMrg, it's used to merge one or more layers onto a destination layer. The layers that were merged are then deleted. It's an awesome time-saving tool!
Figure 2. Layer Merge can now be found in the Layer Properties Manager.