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Michael BeallMichael’s Corner #16
April 2004

Grab Bag

by Michael Beall

As I've mentioned before, many of the features I bring to you each month are based upon questions from my customers as I present AutoCAD training across the US, or from emails I receive from you folks, both domestically and internationally. Once again, this month's tips are an assortment.

Some of this month's contributions came to mind, I was writing the book for Autodesk, Inc., Transitioning from AutoCAD 2000 to AutoCAD 2005 [AOTC]. In the chapter regarding gradient fills, I wanted to line up the paper space viewport objects and remembered the old MVSETUP Align option. As I was preparing the exercise to illustrate the various attribute editing features, I modified attribute values using -ATTEDIT… and forgot all about the ability of the Find/Replace command to modify attribute values. And that whole thing with the text style is a pig.

Thank you for your continued support. As I find out more information about the Transitioning book, I'll post it on my website, If you would like to be contacted directly, please let me know.

If you would like to contact me directly, you can do that also.

Blessings to one and all,

Viewport Alignment

Buried in the MVSETUP routine is the ability to align objects in viewports. This is particularly useful in three- or four-view engineering drawings. MVSETUP contains several options for aligning objects, including Angled, Horizontal, Vertical alignment, and Rotate view. In this procedure, we'll look at a Horizontal alignment.

  1. Activate a layout with two or more viewports and launch MVSETUP.
  2. Enter A for the Align option, and then enter H for the Horizontal feature.
  3. In the viewport to serve as the "anchor", accurately specify a point for the alignment.
  4. The prompt is now requests for you to "Specify point in viewport to be panned". Click in the other viewport to activate it, and then accurately specify the point to be aligned with the point in the first viewport.

There's not a lot to it, but that's what makes it so great. Plain and simple. Been there since R11!

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Power Tool

Attribute Quick Edit

There are a number of ways of editing the value of attributes, but what if you need to do a global edit? The Enhanced Attribute Editor is fine for a one-sy. If you enter -ATTEDIT at the command line and reply with N for the first prompt of editing attributes one at a time, you can step through the rather tedious process of specifying tag and attribute values to accomplish a global edit.

One of the Find and Replace options is for the Block Attribute Value. To globally replace attribute values in your drawing, run the FIND command, enter the current value of the attribute, the replacement value, and then click either Replace or Replace All. You also have the option of specifying the area for the replacement search.

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The Odd Spot

Text Style Property Hook

Once upon a time, if you needed to change the look of text in the drawing, you simply opened the Text Style dialog box, made the necessary property change (with the exception of the height), and all text in that style would automatically update according to the change.

No longer. If you make a change to a text style, text in that style does not automatically update. Regen won't do it. Saving and re-opening won't do it. Nada. In order to associate the change in the style to the text using that style, you must select the text object(s) in the drawing to be updated, and then select the desired text style from the Styles drop-down list.

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The Basics

Variable Width Polylines

Wide polylines are great for emphasis in your graphic communication. The lineweight feature (LWT on the status bar) is fine, but when you need numerically accurate values for the width of a line (that won't change when you zoom the drawing), wide polylines are the answer.

In this review, we'll take a look at how to create a tapered polyline for use as an arrowhead. The example is for a directional arrow in a floor plan to indicate means of egress

  1. Begin the Polyline command [alias: PL], and specify the start point.
  2. Enter W for the Width option, and then enter 0 as the starting width value.

Note: The variable PLINEWID retains the most recent setting for the width of a polyline. When working on an existing drawing, the initial width for the polyline command may have a value other than 0.

  1. For the ending width of the polyline, enter 36.
  2. Turn on Ortho, and as you move your cursor, you will see the arrowhead develop. Pick a point to create the first segment of the tapered polyline.
  3. The beginning width of the next segment uses the ending width of the previous segment. Since the Polyline option string is available at each point specified, you can change the width for each segment. Enter W and then change the value for the beginning width to 20.
  4. When prompted for the ending width, press ENTER to accept the default value 20.
  5. Continue to place points for the polyline with the constant width of 20.

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