Tell the Bugmeister About Your AutoCAD Annoyances (Bug Watch AutoCAD Tutorial)

31 Aug, 2007 By: Steve Johnson

Disappearing dashboards? Double-click, he says.

Disappearing Dashboard (2007 to 2008)
Does your dashboard go blank from time to time? I've seen this happen and seen other people complain about it, but I don't know what triggers it, and I'm looking for clues. I have my suspicions about CUI files that have been migrated from earlier releases and also about user environments that have not been saved to a workspace. If you know something more solid than this, please let me know about it, and I'll report back.

Workaround: Prevention is better than cure, so save your workspace now while your dashboard is healthy. That way, if your dashboard goes blank, you can restore that workspace, rather than having to repeatedly right-click on the dashboard and use the Control Panels menu item to bring back the panels one at a time.

Annoyance Watch
What annoys you most about AutoCAD? I plan to dedicate a future "Bug Watch" column to those little things in AutoCAD that aren't actually bugs but that still irritate the heck out of you. Annoyances tend to be longer-lived than bugs because there appears to be less incentive for Autodesk to kill them. So let's make a small change for the better by exposing a few of these critters to the harsh light of day in the hope that they don't survive the experience. I'm hoping to fill a column with the most unpopular of your AutoCAD irritants, so if your favorite CAD software irked you today, please let me know about it.

In anticipation of your contributions, here are a couple of relatively trivial items that just barely cross the line that separates bugs from annoyances.

Double-Click Doublethink (2000i to 2008)
Double-click on a text object to edit it and then have a look at the property toolbar controls. They almost all change to match the properties of the object you're editing, as you might expect. The layer control doesn't cooperate in this way, however. Instead, it briefly flashes to the edited object's layer, then back again to the current layer. So the layer control's color swatch and the color control's swatch are at odds with each other. For example, let's say the current layer is A, and it is red. You have a text object drawn using color ByLayer on layer B, which is yellow. Double-click on it, and you will see something like this:

The layer control shows red, and the color control shows yellow and ByLayer. One of them must be wrong.

In AutoCAD 2006 and later releases, after double-clicking the first text object, you are left in the Ddedit command and can pick other annotation objects with a single click. If you do so, the properties controls stay as they were for the first object, so they represent neither the current properties (with the exception of the layer control) nor the properties of the object being edited.

To add to the mix, if you double-click a block to edit its attributes, all of the properties controls show the current properties after briefly flashing up those of the selected object. In AutoCAD 2006 and later releases, you can double-click on an attribute-free block to edit its block definition. In that case, you see the same mixture of current and object properties that you get when editing text, but that lasts only until you've gotten past the dialog boxes into the block editor proper.

Interestingly, this situation does not apply to double-click editing of Mtext in any release, because the edited object's properties are displayed correctly.

When editing Mtext, the layer control gets it right.

However, the Mtext editor has its own properties display bug that makes up for this uncharacteristic correctness. See the Color Conundrum section below.

Workaround: None known.

Color Conundrum (2006 to 2008)
Back in Release 13, a bug in the Mtext editor made color ByLayer incorrectly indicated as white. That bug was fixed in Release 14, and AutoCAD's various versions of the Mtext editor correctly displayed the color associated with ByLayer -- until AutoCAD 2006.

Let's say the current layer is A, and it is red. You have an Mtext object drawn using color ByLayer on layer B, which is yellow. Double-click on it. In the editor, a small color control shows the color of the object. This control incorrectly shows the color as red, rather than yellow. Select the control, and you will see that the color swatch associated with ByLayer is the current layer's color, rather than the color of the layer of the object being edited.

The Mtext editor's color swatch shows ByLayer as red, when it's really yellow.

Workaround: None known.

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