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Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.

This month…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published August 2003

Quick and Easy Parallel Lines

Quiz: What powerful Lisp routine was first introduced on the R11 "Bonus CD", incorporated into AutoCAD R12, disappeared starting in R13 but has been in the LT product since… forever? Dline!

The DLINE Lisp routine is a powerful parallel line generating tool that performs automatic corner intersection cleanups, as well as a number of other features. The Dline routine draws Lines; nothing special. After each pick, parallel line segments are drawn on the current layer based upon the current settings. When you launch the routine (DL or DLINE), you will see the following:

Break/Caps/Dragline/Offset/Snap/Undo/Width/<start point>:

The important options are Dragline, Offset, and Width:

Width - Sets the distance between the parallel lines. The default is around 1/16". If you are drawing medical equipment like catheters, this is all ready for you. In this series of illustrations, however, the Width is set to 6".

Dragline - Think 'justification'.

Set dragline position to Left/Center/Right/ <Offset from center = 0">:

Specify Right, Center, or Left based upon the direction of travel. The default is Center justified and in the illustration I have drawn the Dline using a Right dragline setting.

In the first figure, the Dline began where I show the dot, then I proceeded north. I changed the lineweight property of the Right wall face to indicate the Dragline setting and hatched the wall cavity for clarity.

Offset This enables you to "offset" the Start point of a new Dline. You get three prompts which go as follows:

  1. 'Offset From' In the second figure, I picked the endpoint indicated by the dot. [Tip: Do NOT turn on Osnap, just use Endp to grab the offset point.]
  2. 'Offset Toward' Turn ON Ortho (if it isn't already) and pick a point in the direction of the start point for the new Dline relative to the offset point. In the figure, I picked a point directly north of the dot.
  3. 'Distance' Now you can enter how far the start point is from the offset point in the direction specified. For the figure I entered a distance of 20.

After following those prompts, the new Dline begins and off you go!

Other features:

Break - Set to On, whenever a new Dline begins or ends on a line, an automatic "T" intersection is created as shown in this figure.

Caps - Set to Auto, a Dline that is not CLosed will automatically have endcaps placed at the beginning and ending locations.

Snap - Essentially a search radius within which the routine seeks another line to snap to; primarily for the beginning and ending points.

Click here to download the Dline routine, or go to http://www.autocadtrainerguy.com/AutoCAD_Stuff/AutoCADStuff.htm which will take you to the Productivity Downloads for AutoCAD page at my website. Scroll down and follow the directions for saving and implementing the Dline.lsp from the Load Applications dialog box.

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