Saturday, March 22, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 Properties Improvement

We've all gotten used to the fact that if you select multiple objects, then view the listing in the properties box, you'll see "All (#)" in the listing. This is also the case for viewports made from an object. If you select the viewport, you'll get "All (2)" in the properties drop down list. You have to select viewport from the drop down list to access only the viewport properties.

Well in AutoCAD 2009, in addition to all the other improvements, there's one little jewel that you may not notice immediately. If you select a viewport created from an object, you will still be selecting two items (one viewport and one polyline), but the default view in the properties box will be "viewport (1)". If you select the drop down list, you can still access the polyline properties for the viewport.

Way to go Autodesk!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't Plot Those Image Frames Ever Again

Have you ever sent your plot to the plotter only to notice that the frames are visible around the images?

The problem is that if you set the frame visibility off (imageframe=0), then you can't select the image and execute commands on it such as draworder.

So you can spend your time changing the visibility of the image frame on then off, or you can take the advice of Lynn Allen and set the imageframe variable to 2. This will allow the frame to be visible, but it won't plot. This funcationality has even been added to AutoCAD LT 2009.

One more thing before I go. This variable is drawing specific, so you can set it in your template and never have to worry about it again for new drawings created from the template.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Become an AutoCAD Power User #2

Set IMAGEFRAME to 2 to display the image frame, but not plot the image frame.

Hold F3 to temporarily reverse the object snaps setting.

Run xlist to list the properties of an object in an xref.

Set maxsort to a higher number if new layers are no longer being sorted alphabetically. The default value is 200. The maximum value is 32767.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

From Rectangular to Polygonal? No Problem!

Maybe it's just me, but is seems that when your working on drawings that contain multiple layouts, using polygonal viewports increases the regen time on the drawing. Okay, so there's a lot of things that increase regen time, especially if you're using Civil 3D, but I'm only addressing one in particular. (For a more detailed list with recommendations, read Dana's post on civil

Up until last week, I would always create my viewports as rectangular then add a mask or wipeout, if necessary, to place my north arrow and barscale. This method works for objects in paperspace, but if I needed to overlay another viewport, that wasn't the answer. In that case, I had to recreate the viewport, move the new one so that it overlayed the original one exactly (move endpoint to endpoint), then modify the viewport to match the border of the sheet as required.

Well, last week I was shown a new command that really made the process much easier and I've decided to share it with you. The command is vpclip. With this command, you can "convert" a rectangular viewport to a polygonal viewport in seconds. Here's how it works:

  1. While in the layout tab to be modified, begin by entering vpclip at the command prompt and pressing enter.
  2. The command prompt will request that you "Select viewport to clip:". Left click on the viewport that you want modified. NOTE: you must have the layer containing the viewport ON and THAWED to select the viewport.
  3. Next you'll be prompted to "Select clipping object or [Polygonal] :"
  4. If you have already created an object for the new viewport boundary, just left click the object to select it. The viewport boundary will update immediately.
  5. If you want to create the boundary "on-the-fly", just press enter to select Polygonal, then left click each PI of the new boundary. If you forget to "Close" at the end, don't worry, the software will do it for you.

Don't forget that you can use a circle for the viewport boundary as well. Just create the circle in paperspace, then select it as your new "clipping object" when prompted.

Now you can create all your viewports as rectangles, then convert them only when necessary. Hopefully this will help keep your regen time a bit shorter in the future.

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