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AutoCAD Tips You Should Know

AutoCAD Tips You Should Know

We all want to use AutoCAD better, more productive, and easily solve problem when we have one. So I compile 100 AutoCAD tips in this article, and I hope can help you. Many of the tips were written by other great CAD bloggers, you may want to follow their blog/site as well. So this is it: the best AutoCAD tips, the rest that many of us miss, and some of them are very rare. If you happen about my age, you might know I pick the name from Helloween compilation album 😉

Create and modify

Tip 1. How to: Create an Arc with Specific Length

arc_length

Everybody knows how to create an arc in AutoCAD. If you need to draw an arc with specific length, do you know how to do it? See this tip how you can create an arc with specific length!

Tip 2. Align Tool: Move, Rotate, and Scale Your Object at Once

Align is often overlooked by many AutoCAD users. Instead of using move, rotate, and scale separately, you can do it at once using this tool.

AutoCAD_align_tool

As Robin Capper said, it’s a forgotten AutoCAD hero! See the animation how to use it in Robin’s post.

Tip 3. How to Control Linetype Scale

We use linetype to control the object appearances. It can be dashdot for center lines, dashed lines for hidden lines, etc. Sometimes we have a hard time to control the linetype scale. And we can’t see the linetype as we expected. It is not that difficult actually.

linetype

See this tip: Controlling Linetype Scale is as Easy as 1,2,3!

Tip 4. 10+ Ways to Select Objects in AutoCAD

pick_thumb

When you use modifying tools, you need to select objects. Selecting objects sometimes can be tricky, especially in quite a complex drawing. This tip have 10 ways how you can use the object selection. Useful for beginners, and some methods might be missed by advanced users. See the complete list!

Tip 5. How to: Create Angular Dimension Larger than 180 degrees

Do you need to create an angular dimension that shows angle larger than 180 degrees like below? You probably have found that you can’t create dimension with angle larger than 180 degrees after selecting those two lines.

dimangular

You can actually… You can create it by selecting the lines’ vertex. Read more, and see the animation how to do it here.

The Best 100 AutoCAD productivity tips in 1 place! Click To Tweet

Tip 6. How to Match Only Selected AutoCAD Properties

MATCHPROP is a great tool to match object properties. I used to draw everything and match the attributes later. It was quicker sometimes (but I won’t recommend you). The most obvious is when we get a drawing that is created with different standard. Sometimes we want to match only some properties between objects. Many of us don’t realize that we can choose which properties to match. I found this a couple years ago, quite late I guess. There is See the options below.

matchprop_properties

Read the complete tip here.

Tip 7. How to Link Cells Between AutoCAD Tables

We can create and use tables in AutoCAD almost as powerful as in Microsoft Excel. We can also use formula and do simple calculation. But do you know that we can use the value from cells in other table?

tableid

See the detail article in JTB World by Jimmy Bergmark.

Tip 8. How to Maintain the Attributes Value when Exploding

Block attributes is a nice tool to have. We can use it to preserve text style and size as annotation block. Drawing title and title block is a good example. The problem is when we need it explode it somehow, we will loose any information we put in the attribute.

exploded attributes

To preserve the values, do not use explode. Use BURST instead.

Tip 9. How to Maximize Your Hyperlinks Usability

Hyperlinks are very useful to provide information for your objects. You can link any object to the manufacturer/support website, technical support email, specification documents, etc. See the tip how to reference to objects using hyperlink here. JTB World blog also has a good basic tutorial how to use hyperlinks.

hyperlink

They even write in very detail tip how to extend the capabilities. You can refer to a specific page in pdf, specific sheet and cell in Excel, etc. Find out the details in this page on JTB World Blog. Murray Clack also gives a tip how you can use hyperlinks to navigate between paper space and model space. See tip no. 12 here.

Tip 10. How to: Enable Snap to Hatch

Old AutoCAD version allows you to snap to hatches. In later version, this is disabled by default to optimize performance. However, if you want to enable this, you still can turn it on in drafting settings.

object_snap_options

This behavior is controlled by OSOPTIONS system variable. Read more here.

Tip 11. Import XY Coordinates from Excel into AutoCAD

coordinate Do you need to draw lines using coordinate from excel file? The best application to do this is Civil3D or other site modeling software. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it using vanilla AutoCAD! Read the details in Shaan Hurley’s Blog.

Tip 12. Change Your MText to Lower Case or Upper Case

You might made a mistake and want to change the text case… either to lower case or upper case. Do you need to re-type it? No way! It is easy to do.

change_case

  1. Right click in the editor and select the CHANGE CASE option.
  2. Alternatively, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + U to set the text to upper Case OR press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + L to set the text to lower case

Thanks to Brian for the tip!

Tip 13. Group When You Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated!

If you need to modify object together, selecting them could be tedious. Especially when your drawing is quite complex. Block is an option. However, working with blocks mean that we need to edit in as a whole. Group might be more appropriate for this purpose. There are some benefits that you can get by using groups when you think block is not the right solution. See below. Block will only allows you to have one grip point, unless you create dynamic block. Groups will maintain the original objects’ grip, but you can easily select them in one click.

group

See Brian’s tip about group in this article. And that is a funky title Brian!

Tip 14. Eleven killer AutoCAD macros for viewport

Do you work with viewport and layout? Paul Munford shares eleven great macros to make you even more productive with viewports! Read all the eleven killer macros here.

Tip 15. Get the Most of Multiline Attributes

AutoCAD now allow us to use multiline attributes. This of course will take many advantages from multiline text (not all), not just using simple single line text!

  1. Now we can use text mask.
  2. Now we can create stacked text in attributes.
  3. And more multiline advantages!

Note: To enable stacking in block attributes, we need to change the system variable ATTIPE to 1.

This tips was submitted by Murray Clack in our contest before.

Tip 16. The Forgotten Dimension: DIMROTATED

Do you ever have problem when dimensioning when the objects are staggered? Using DIMALIGNED can’t do this. A great tip from Murray mention that we can use DIMROTATED. See the comparison between DIMALIGNED and DIMROTATED below.

dimrotated

There is no documentation or toolbar about it. It might be forgotten, but I’m sure you will find it really useful! This tips was submitted by Murray Clack.

Tip 17. Fillet and Chamfer for Quick Modify

OK, you know what are fillet and chamfer for. Do you know that we can use fillet and chamfer to quickly modify objects?

  1. Trim and chamfer can be used to quickly create a corner. Use 0 as the radius (or chamfer distance). They will extend or trim the lines. Hold [shift] to override the radius/distance to 0 temporarily.
  2. The method above will join the lines as polyline, if one of them is a polyline.
  3. Use fillet to create arc to close parallel lines, regardless on the radius defined.

Tip 18. Align Texts Using Quick Properties Palette

qp-text-pos-tn

Do you hate quick properties palette? Don’t! I know that many users immediately turn it off because it makes AutoCAD slow and when the palette appears, it can block your view. However, you should consider using it after read this tip. You can use it to quickly align texts using quick properties palette. See  this nice tip on CAD Forum.

Tip 19. Filter Objects Using Quick Properties Palette

qp-filter-tn

Another reason to use quick properties palette. We can use it to quickly filter our selection. Orhan Toker shares this nice tip on Daily AutoCAD.

Tip 20. How to: Create Multi Colored Line

Do you need to create a line that has multi color like below? It looks impossible, but yes you can make it!

mcmline

A nice trick by Vladimir Michl. See how to do it here in Xanadu!

Tip 21. How to: Convert Spline to Polyline

Do you need to convert your splines to polyline? The easiest way is if you have express tools installed. You can use FLATTEN to quickly convert them. However, there are more ways if it fails. See the other ways to do that in CAD Panacea.

Tip 22. How to: Modify Objects With Non-Uniform Scale

This is a challenge for me before. I tried to create a circular railing. In elevation view, it should be getting tighter like below.

non-uniform_scale

The solution is quite simple. But it’s a boring repetitive task. You need to create the railing panel as a block, then insert it with different scale on one axis. See the complete explanation here.

Tip 23. How to: Create 2D Isometric Drawing in AutoCAD

isometric drawing

AutoCAD has a setting that allows you to draw 2D isometric diagram. You can activate the ‘isometric mode’ by changing the snap grid style. See the details how to set it in this post: Isometric Drawing in AutoCAD

Tip 24. How to Create Isometric Text and Dimension

isometric dimension

In tip 23, you know how to create isometric drawing. But do you know how to create isometric text and dimension like above? See how you can do it in AutoCAD Isometric Text and Dimension

Tip 25. How to: Create Isometric Dimension Arrow

dimension arrow

Many people may not notice about this one. See the dimension arrow in the isometric drawing. It doesn’t look right. It suppose to look like below.

isometric_arrow

This tip will show you how to create an isometric arrow for your dimension. This tip can also be used to create your own dimension arrow. See the tip here: Isometric Dimension Arrow

Tip 26. How to: Force Styles to Match Your Standard

dimstyle_properties_override

One problem we have in daily work: we need to match some drawings to our styles. Creating new drawing to match our dimension styles, text styles, layers, etc is easy. The problem is when we already have a drawing with different styles. Or worse, the styles have the same name but the properties are different! This tip probably can help: enforcing Dimension Styles Across Your Drawings

Tip 27. How to: Select Objects with Windows Behavior

AutoCAD Object Selection

AutoCAD is a very unique application. It has different way to use shortcut. It has different way to ask input from the users. While other application use dialog box, AutoCAD use command line. And selecting objects is different to. In most Windows application, when we select a new object, then the previous selection set will be cleared. We need to hold [ctrl] or [shift] to add objects to selection set. You may not use AutoCAD that much, so you want AutoCAD to behave like other application you have. You can set the selection behavior by changing the PICKADD system variable to 0. The default value is 2.

Manage

Tip 28. How to: Set All Objects’ Properties to ByLayer

I never like when I receive drawings with many of the properties are overridden. Especially if they are all are drawn in Layer 0! Sometimes I need to change the properties back to ByLayer. It should be easy to do, just select the objects and change it from the properties drop down menu… right? Not really! Objects’ properties within blocks will not be changed. We are lucky that we have this tool: SETBYLAYER.

SETBYLAYER

If you have problem using it, see the detail here.

Tip 29. How to: Purge Persistent Layer

Purge is the first tool that come in mind when we need to purge our layer. However, some layers are persistent and can’t be purged. If this annoys you, then this tip can be the cure. See this tip how to remove the persistent layer in JTB World.

Tip 30. Which Objects are on Which Layer?

When we have a quite complex drawing, it is become hard when we need to check which objects are on which layer. Our hero to easily check this is Layer Walk or LAYWALK.

Layer_walk

See the animation how it works here. Mark W Kiker also write a detailed tip on his blog here.

Tip 31. How to: Place Dimensions or Hatches to a Predefined Layer

Managing layer standard sometimes very hard to do. We might miss changing the layer accidently before placing our dimension or hatches. If you do care about layering standard and want to prevent your user from making mistakes, Vladimir Michl shares this tip. This is 5 ways you can do to prevent the mistakes in Xanadu.

Tip 32. How to: Create Layer List from a Drawing to Excel Table

layertotable

Need to report all your layers and their properties to an Excel table? Don’t be afraid… It’s easy to do! You can use this tip by Jimmy Bergmark.

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