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AutoCAD Tips and Tricks

This week's tips

Our community members love sharing their knowledge. Many of them have years of experience and have solved many CAD problems across a range of industries. These tips are just as useful whether you're just starting out with AutoCAD or whether you're a seasoned professional always willing to learn new skills.

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Today's Tip

Selection Preview Cycling

Selection Preview CyclingMaking positive selections is much easier now that AutoCAD highlights (previews) objects as you mouse over them. However, it can still be difficult to select the right object when drawings become complicated with lots of overlapping objects. Fortunately, AutoCAD allows you to cycle through all the overlapping objects under the cursor.

All you need to do is hold down the Shift key and then repeatedly hit the Spacebar (Shift + Space). Each object under the cursor will be highlighted in turn and you can easily pick the one you want.

You can use a similar technique to cycle through sub-objects such as faces and edges on 3D Solids. To cycle through sub-objects, hold down the Control key and hit the Spacebar repeatedly (Ctrl + Space).

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Yesterday's Tip

Auto-repeating Commands

Editing the Circle macro in the CUISometimes you need to repeat a command lots of times and it can be a bit tedious doing the usual Right-Click and Repeat… or even using the Enter key on the keyboard. It would be really useful if you could just keep a command auto-repeating until you hit the Escape key Esc. Well, you can. All you need to do is make a small change to the CUI.

For example, say you want to draw lots of circles and have the circle command auto-repeat so that you can just pick center, radius, center, radius etc. Here's what you do:

  1. Select View ❯ Toolbars… from the pull-down menu to display the CUI dialogue box.
  2. In the "Customizations in All CUI Files" section, click on "Toolbars" and then "Draw" to reveal the Draw commands, and then click "Circle".
  3. The Properties area now changes to display the Circle button properties and under the "Macro" heading, you will see the macro used to start the Circle command. By default, this macro is: ^C^C_circle. To cause the Circle command to auto-repeat, simply add a "*" before the existing macro. Once edited, your macro should look like this: *^C^C_circle.
  4. Now click the "OK" button to save and return to the drawing.

Try the circle command and see what happens.

This technique can be used with most commands. For example, if you are doing a lot of dimensioning, you could auto-repeat the Linear Dimension command so that you can draw all your dimensions without breaking stride.

This tip was submitted by fuccaro

Thursday's Tip

Selecting multiple grips

Shift picking for gripsDid you know that you can move more than one grip at a time? Select an object to display the grips. Hold down the Shift key and select as many grips as you wish. Release the Shift key, click again on any one of the highlighted grips and then click it's new position. All the selected grips will follow.

This tip was submitted by fuccaro

Wednesday's Tip

Cycling through grip modes

Grip Mode CyclingWhen you have a grip selected, the normal mode is to stretch the selected object and AutoCAD displays ** STRETCH ** on the command line to let you know. But did you know that by hitting Enter you can cycle through the other grip modes - move, rotate, scale and mirror?

This is a really efficient way of working and means you can spend less time clicking the buttons on the Modify toolbar and more time editing.

This tip was submitted by dbroada

Tuesday's Tip

Fillet solid objects

Fillet SolidsThe Fillet command can be used to fillet solid objects as well as just the usual 2D stuff. Not only does the Fillet command fillet edges but it also correctly mitres the corners where two filleted edges meet.

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Monday's Tip

Convert to solid

Convert to solidYou may still have some old 3D drawings where objects have been constructed from rectangles, circles or closed polylines which have been given a thickness. Well, you'll be glad to know that you can now convert these objects to solids with one simple command. You'll find the Convert to Solid command at Modify ❯ 3D Operations ❯ Convert to solid or simply type convtosolid at the keyboard.

This tip was submitted by David Watson

Sunday's Tip

Lock your viewports!

Display lockedThe zoom factor of your viewports is crucial because it affects the plotted scale of your drawing. So, once you have set your viewport scale, it's a good idea to lock your viewport so that you don't inadvertently change it. To lock a viewport, select it in paper space by picking on its boundary and then right-click anywhere within the viewport. Select "Properties" from the right-click menu and the Properties panel will appear. In the "Misc" section, click on "Display locked" to activate the pull-down and set the value to "Yes".

This tip was submitted by David Watson