Five AutoCAD Tips That Make a Big Difference
courtesy of DT
Whether you’re working multiple projects at work or just one large-scale project in school, one thing is for sure: the more geometry you’re working with, the more time it can take to complete tasks and meet deadlines. So being efficient and accurate is the best way to stay on track. Read along as we discuss five little AutoCAD tips that prove to be a big help for saving time when faced with tedious tasks.
1. Be Diligent About Managing Your Layers
This one may seem like a “no-brainer” to many, but that’s only because many have learned from this mistake themselves! The last thing you want to do is spend hours on a floor plan or detail drawing and realize you forgot to assign a few layers. What could have been a few clicks now turns into pausing forward progress just to go back over your line work and assign layers.
That’s the pain only you feel. This mistake can also cause delays for others beside yourself. If you’ve ever worked in a pipeline where drawings are created by one team and then handed off to another team and you had to spend time fixing that drawing instead getting your job done, you know just how time consuming this duplication of work can be!
Be diligent about managing and assigning your layers. Getting into the habit of drawing, setting and assigning your layers as go can definitely help. If you’re a student and just starting out, try to set up a template that has all the layers you commonly use already in place. That includes, your line type, weight and color. That way you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you begin a new project or drawing. After all, in your first internship or job you’ll more than likely be introduced to and trained in whatever office standards are in place.
2. Left and Right Selection Methods
With a lot of software tools, when you want to select an item you usually do so by simply click on that object. With AutoCAD you’re fortunate to have a couple options for selecting objects. When grabbing or selecting items with your selection box, you get two different outcomes depending if you began your selection from the left or the right.
In the image below, the triangle is selected be making your selection box from the right to the left. This way, only a portion of the object or objects you want to select need to fall within your selection box. This is so much faster than clicking each individual line, especially for drawing with a lot of detail and geometry.
Drawing your selection box from left to the right requires you cover the entire element with your selection box. In the image below, the left to right method is used to select the circle. you see how the entire circle has to be within the bounds of your selection box.
3. Selecting Similar Objects With One Click
Another helpful tool is the select similar tool. This tool allows you to select objects based on their properties like layer, color, line weight and even shape. In the image below there are four circles. Two assigned to a windows layer and the other two are probably on layer 0. By clicking on one of the circles and then right clicking in the window that appears, move your cursor down about half way and click on select similar and the objects on the same layer will automatically be selected.
This is also helpful if you happen to forget to assign things to layers as mention in tip 1 above. You can select a large group of objects with similar properties and reassign them to the appropriate layer.
4. Isolating Objects
Working with large, detailed projects is definitely exciting! But the larger your project, more than likely you’ll have more geometry to manage. This can lead to confusion and make working within a complicated plan or drawing a bit distracting. If you have a portion of the drawing that needs to be isolated so you can focus your efforts with minimal distraction, try isolating that object. Very similar to the “select similar” option previously mentioned, after you’ve selected your object or objects, simply right click. Move your cursor over the isolate option and from the additional options that appear you can isolate that object and work from there. You can bring back the rest of the geometry back choosing the “end object isolation” option as well.
5. Draw Order
If you’ve ever worked with hatch patterns and text and applied your hatch first and then placed some text over it, you may have noticed some distortion or even some bleeding together of the text and hatch patterns. You have the option to adjust your draw order. What this means is you can bring elements to the front or send them to the back.
In the image below is a the hatch pattern covering the text. To make the text clean and easier to read, the text was selected and the a simple right click brings up the draw order option. Here’s where you can move objects to the front or send them back. The result in this illustration is cleaner text placed over the hatch pattern.
When it comes to drafting it’s all about speed, efficiency and more importantly accuracy. Implementing these small tips can help make a big difference in your production time. In addition they can save you from the big stress that little tasks have the potential to create.