Longing for the Good Ol' Days

23 Feb, 2006 By: Joe Cowan

An AutoCAD traditionalist tells how to restore some of the 2005 in AutoCAD 2006

Software upgrades have their ups and downs. Like just about anything new, a software upgrade, with all its new features, can be like a new toy to a child. But those same new features can also present challenges -- the learning curve, for example -- and occasionally can be downright troublesome.

Such is the case with a few of the new bells and whistles in AutoCAD 2006. As a CAD manager, I hear remarks from users such as, "Make it look like AutoCAD 2005," "I don't need a light show to do my work," and "Why are things flashing at me?" If you're in this camp, take a look at my tips for how to turn off a few of the most bothersome new features.

Transition Effect When Zooming. One very noticeable new feature is the transition effect when zooming. The AutoCAD system variable VTENABLE is the control for this new feature. VTENABLE has a range of 0 through 7. The default setting for VTENABLE is 3; to turn it off, change the setting to 0. I don't care for the effects of the other settings either, but if you're curious, it's easy to explore this on your own.

Hover Highlighting. Another new feature is that nifty highlighting that happens every time your cursor moves over an object. I understand the purpose of this feature, but I don't like it. The AutoCAD system variable SELECTIONPREVIEW is the control for this one. The default setting is 3, which is the "All On" setting. Again, 0 is off. Setting it to 2 is beneficial also; this activates highlighting only when you are in an AutoCAD command.

Colors, Crossings and Window Displays. My last tip lumps together three system variable settings: SELECTIONAREA, CROSSINGAREACOLOR and WINDOWAREACOLOR. SELECTIONAREA has a default setting of 1, and this is the on position for the colors that display in the crossing and window selection boxes. As you might guess, my favorite setting is 0. WINDOWAREACOLOR and CROSSINGAREACOLOR have different initial settings, but you can change them to any number between 0 and 255 -- yes, that's correct, any one of the AutoCAD system colors. But remember, if SELECTIONAREA is set to 0, no color will appear at all. Instead, AutoCAD 2006 will display just the plain old crossing and window boxes -- like it should.

About the Author: Joe Cowan