The block dialog box requires 3 inputs.
Input a unique block name
Specify (Left click) a point
that will be used to insert your block accurately
Select the block’s objects
followed by the enter key to accept
Once these 3 tasks have been competed a
block will have been created in the drawing’s memory.
By using the down arrow in the name input
box, a previous block name can be used and you will see the prompt “Redefine block?”.
Yes will change the definition of all blocks of that name throughout the drawing.
QS - Quick select - Used to select objects throughout or from part of a CAD drawing, without having to pick them manually. It's best to find out the properties of what you are looking for first. For example all lines whose layer equals construction or all circles whose diameter is greater than 50. Once selected yo can use right mouse and properties to adjust all of the selected objects.
DC - Design centre - A really useful tool. It gives you access to drawings both currently open, a little easier to use or folders od CAD drawings. You can drag and drop into your current drawing such as blocks, layers, text styles etc. It can be an easier and more immediate alternative to trying to share tool palettes with your colleagues.
DIV - Divide an object into equal segments by following the command line prompts. Just that nothing seems to work. The reason being that you have to set the drawing's point style with DDPT. This is a work around due to historic reasons concerning points which were by default are expressed as a screen percentage. So always erase points after you have used them.
LEN - Lengthen - The best way to dynamically extend/lengthen an angled line which avoids having to set polar mode to a correct angle (Dynamic option). Other options are delta, % and total. All of which can be + plus or - .
LAYOFF - A great time saver when faced with a customer drawing that has objects you don't need. Type in LAYOFF and it will ask you to select an object whose layer will be turned off and POOF! All objects on that layer will not show.
NA - Match properties of one object to another. Follow the command line prompts to select a source object, then paint it's properties onto a similar object.
REC - Rectangle command is faster than drawing 4 lines with the added benefit of being able to fillet all 4 corners of a rectangle at the same time with the polyline option. Just ensure that the radius is set to a value which is smaller than each side. Indeed a rectangle is one polyline object. Use the Explode command (X) to reduce it to 4 separate line segments.
S - Stretch - Ever tried to move a door in a wall with the Move (M) command. It's hard work editing the wall clean up. Try using Stretch command instead. Just note that Stretch only works on a green crossing box over a selection of just the objects that will move with the stretch.
XL - Construction lines - Continuous lines so you can't use a blue box to select them. Also don't start a drawing off with a construction line and then do Zoom Extents, that won't work. Use a line of typical length, then Zoom Extents. I always use Horizontal or Vertical options so that I can be sure that they are parallel to the X and Y axes of the drawing. If you use 2 points on a line that represents a surveyed wall for example, you may not notice an error until you are 200 metres away.
CTRL+R - Ever had a drawing form a customer, where they have knowingly or unknowingly, overlapped viewports. That may mean that you cannot double click to go inside a viewport to change it's display or scale. CTRL+R will toggle through all available viewports.
Xref - Tired of different versions of say a building layout, with the constant hassle of trying to keep up to date with changes? Then you need Xref attachments to other drawings, which will load or reload saved data from a attached drawing, to keep everything up to date.
L – Line command –
Draws individual line segments between specified points (Left mouse clicks). Push enter or return to finish. Usefully pushing right mouse during the line command undoes the last
segment, which can be repeated right back to the beginning if required. Instead of using undo which undoes the complete line.
To draw a horizontal
or vertical line, left click a starting point in the drawing area, turn ORTHO
mode on to keep the line straight. Choose the direction of the line by moving
your cursor to the start of the line, then up, down, left or right. Now type a
value into your keyboard, followed by the enter key to accept.
You can repeat this process
for other segments or simply push enter to finish your line.
Use the short cut Di
for distance command to check the line’s length.
Take care not create
any unnecessary left clicks, as each will create a new segment.
Note that the values you type in here are referred to as "Units". Typically millimetres, but they can represent any value, for example metres. The issue only arises at the plotting or printing stage. By default Windows measures a printer paper size in mm's. So when plotting to scale there are no complications when mm's have been used as a unit.
However if a drawing unit is 1 metre, you have to take the desired plot scale, convert that to a decimal value and then multiply by 1000. Indeed it's important to seek advice and check that your resulting scale is absolutely, correct before depending on the results.
Co – Copy command –
Copies an object using a base point for accuracy. Many commands require a
selection of objects to be made and completed with the enter key or right
mouse. They then go on to provide their individual command line instructions,
which you must follow.
Understanding of base
points is crucial. Whilst any left mouse click can define a base point, that
will be of no use if you wish to place the copy in an accurate position.
So usually a base
point on the object is used. For example the top right hand corner of a desk
can be used as a base point to place the copy in the top left hand corner of a
room, or more likely the intersection of 2 offset construction lines in space
planning applications. Using a base point 50 units away from an object is a fast way of ensuring a gap for cables behind a desk.
Di – Distance command –
from observation during In-House CAD training, most will CAD software users will use a linear dimension to check a
distance. Also, particularly
with drawings received from customers, the dimension style may not be set up
correctly, meaning the text may be too small or too large to read. Di puts it's result on the command line and takes just 2 clicks instead of 3.
E – Erase command. Again from
observation most CAD software users select objects without going into a command
first. This results in the appearance of blue grips. Then they push E or delete key.
The big problem with
using grips for Erase though is that objects remain gripped during mouse zooms
and pans. Indeed gripped objects can be moved off screen and out of
sight, then accidentally deleted. If you want to avoid embarrassing calls from installers on-site, play it safe and use E for erase command. Just don't forget to push enter key to complete any selection of objects.
Ex – Extend command –
Works the opposite way round, choose a boundary or boundaries first, push the
enter key to complete your selection, then select lines at the end that will
point to a selected boundary.
A right mouse click when
prompted to select a boundary will result in an extension which finds the next
available boundary. Often called Fast Extend.
F – Fillet command – Initially designed
to create a curve between 2 lines. You can set a required radius by taking the
radius option (Right mouse for popup menu to reflect command line options).
Note the radius is limited to values that would not erase the lines, which
would result in “Radius too large” errors.
Usefully radius can be
set to Zero, which can be used to create right angled corners or acute angle
connection between 2 lines drawn at angles.
Tr – Trim command –
Very similar to Extend – Select an object or objects to be used as cutting
edge, push enter or right mouse to confirm your selection, then select objects
to trim when prompted.
Pushing right mouse when
prompted for select cutting edge results in a trim to the next available
cutting edge. Sometimes referred to as “Fast trim”.
O – Offset – Creates a
copy of an object at a specified distance, which can either be set by a value or
by picking 2 points on screen. A common error is to ignore the prompt to “Specify
a point on side to offset”. You must indicate with
a left click anywhere on the side you wish the offset to appear.
If you follow the
command line prompts carefully you can make repeated offsets with the same
value, until you push enter to finish.
If you wish to change
the offset value, you must restart the offset command and specify the new
REC – Rectangle – Beginners
are often tempted to draw rectangles with 4 lines, when it’s faster to draw a
rectangle. Indeed it’s simple to type in REC followed by enter, then 2 clicks
on screen to create a rectangle between them.
A simple way to create
rectangles to a specified size is to have dynamic mode on (function key F12
toggles dynamic mode on or off). Left click to start your rectangle, then move
your cursor to see a rectangle being created. Dynamic mode will show 2 boxes which
represent the horizontal and vertical dimensions. Note that values entered via
your keyboard will appear in the blue box. However when using dynamic mode don’t
push enter to confirm a value, instead push “Tab” key so that the blue entry transfers to the other box. Now enter your
vertical dimension value.
Pushing enter after
the first blue box value will just enter the default value in the grey box.
XL – Construction lines
– Infinite lines that can be used to line up objects. It’s typically safer
and more productive to use construction line’s vertical or horizontal options.
Creating a construction line through 2 points works easily, but that depends on
the accuracy of the 2 points. That may be relevant if a wall has been surveyed
for example and could create a significant error.
Offset option can be very useful for planning. Not to be confused with the
A construction line can be placed at a specified distance away
for a line object. For example in factory layout planning, where the offset
command would create many broken line offsets, due to wall columns, radiators,
X – Explode command –
In teaching this is one command where I do advocate gripping an object, then
typing X to explode, because the result is simply more visible. A Block when clicked will show just one grip at a block’s chosen insertion point. Once exploded
however grips will show that the block has become separate objects.
It is possible to come
across “Nested blocks”. That’s blocks created in other blocks either by design
or error. So a repeating this process may be necessary.