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Michael BeallMichael’s Corner #102
June 2011

Summer Dance

by Michael Beall

It's been awhile since Donna and I went dancing, but I'm hoping this finds you all looking forward to a drier summer - at least here in the midwest of the USA - and feel compelled to just up and dance a jig to celebrate!

I want to thank David, too, for stepping in and bringing some excellent insights "for Month 101" of Michael's Corner. I was absolutely elated to see his extensive coverage on Excel Data in AutoCAD! That is a topic I have been woefully ignorant about, so hopefully you also feel much more empowered and able to address that topic when it arises.

We'll begin the summer with a customer request and take a look at a few more A2012 entries.

…New UCS Icon power features in A2012
…How to rotate text objects around their insertion point using an Express tool
…How to launch A2012 - or any program - faster by assigning a hot key and a switch
…New Fillet and Chamfer previews in A2012

Thanks again to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement to the CADTutor team!

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

Blessings to one and all,

The Lowly UCSICON is Lowly No More!

The UCS IconUCSBless its heart. The UCS icon has been through years of neglect with only occasional costume changes. Several versions ago they put it on WeightWatchers® which made it much less clunky. Then somewhere along the line they added the Properties option of the UCSICON command. [View tabCoordinates tabUCS Icon, Properties]. And for those of you still using AutoCAD 2010, you can go ‘retro’ and get the old-timey one back.

UCS OptionsIn AutoCAD 2012, however, they have empowered the icon itself with multi-function grips! Yes, the RTUCS command is still around (Real Time UCS, covered nearly 7 years ago in August 2004), but the A2012 improvements are much more intuitive.

To experiment with the features, draw a rectangle and rotate it to something other than 45 or 30 (boring) degrees.

How to Adjust Your A2012 UCS Icon

  1. Click on the UCS icon to display the default grip at 0,0, and the round grips on the X and Y axes.

  2. Click the 0,0 grip, then move the icon to one of the corners of the rotated rectangle and place it. For me (and my customers), that fundamental step is just so cool!

  3. Hover in the round multi-function grip on the X-axis and click…

    Rotate Around Z Axis

  4. Now rotate the UCS icon around and snap it to the rectangle.

  5. To return the UCS to World, click in the 0,0 grip, then click World.

Rotate around Z axisAt this point, that is my most favorite feature of AutoCAD 2012, based on frequency of use and time saved. Next month, we'll look at the new associative Array command.

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Power Tool

Orient Your Text with Torient

Modify TextWhen you encounter a drawing with text - Single line text, Mtext, Attribute text, or Field - that you need to reorient, consider the Express Tool feature of Rotate Text (Torient).

How to Reorient Existing Text to an Absolute Angle

  1. Open any drawing with text, then zoom in to an area to experiment with this feature.

  2. On the Express Tool tab, Text panel, click Rotate Text.

  3. Select the text objects, then press [Enter] and you see this prompt:

    New absolute rotation <Most Readable>:

  4. Enter an absolute rotation angle. In the example, I entered 0.


Note: As noted, this feature also works on attribute text, but please note, if the attributes are in a box or other geometry, the geometry does not rotate.

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The Odd Spot

Efficient Startup

AutoCAD desktop iconI think he splash screens for all the AutoCAD products are just amazing, for sure. But after you see that screen day after day, sometimes you would just like to get on with the show and get to work.

How to Suppress the Logo at Launch

  1. Right-click on the AutoCAD icon on your desktop (or wherever you launch from), then click Properties to open the dialog box.

  2. In the Target field, go all the way to the end, then add a space and the following text: /nologo

  3. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Now, when you launch AutoCAD, you will go right into the program and it may even launch a little faster.

But wait, there's more!

How to Launch Any Program with a ‘Hot Key’

  1. Right-click on the icon of your program of choice, then click Properties.

  2. In the Shortcut Key field, put your cursor after the word "None", then hit any key you want to use to launch that program and Bill (Gates; Microsoft; Seattle), will automatically put Ctrl + Alt in front of it.

  3. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Now you can launch AutoCAD with a hot key AND have it open without the splash screen.

Note: Virtually every program I need on a day-to-day basis is launched with a hot key, such as…

W for Word
X for Excel
1 for AutoCAD 2010
A for AutoCAD 2011
2 for AutoCAD 2012
L for AutoCAD LT
E for my Email
I for the Internet
…and F for Freecell

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The Basics

A2012 Preview Feature for Fillets and Chamfers

ChamferMy coverage of edit commands has been, admittedly, sparse, but this new feature in AutoCAD 2012 caught my attention, and my suspicion is it will catch yours as well. Very simple, but very helpful.

I think the most useful circumstance would be in the application of unequal distances when using the Chamfer command.

In the following exercise, you will set unique values for Distance 1 and Distance 2, so consider the drawing size when doing so.

How to Preview a Chamfer Distance

Step 1
  1. Draw any rectangle, then launch the Chamfer command [Home tabModify panelFillet flyout] and you get the following prompt; enter D for the Distance option…

    Select first line or [Undo/Polyline/Distance/Angle/Trim/mEthod/Multiple]: D

  2. Step 2

    Enter a reasonable value (based on your rectangle size) for the first chamfer distance, then enter half that value for the second chamfer distance, similar to that shown here…

    Specify first chamfer distance <12.0000>: 10

    Specify second chamfer distance <10.0000>: 5

  3. Step 3

    After specifying the distances, select one line of the rectangle, then hover over the adjacent leg of the rectangle to see the preview of the chamfer!

As you see in this example, the preview is very useful in alerting you to a possible reversal in the selection sequence in this circumstance.

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Left Field

Fun Facts about the Honey Bee:
A. The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
B. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it's the only food that contains "pinocembrin", an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.
C. Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes. Their exceptional olfactory abilities include kin recognition signals, social communication within the hive, and odor recognition for finding food. Their sense of smell was so precise that it could differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from metres away.
D. A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey, and it takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee's flight around the world.
E. And in keeping with our them this month… Honey bees communicate with one another by "dancing".

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