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SSX and UCSFOLLOW Commands
December 20, 2004

The CAD Times

An AutoCAD Newsletter for CAD Users

The CAD Times brings you the latest AutoCAD tips, tricks and articles that can help you become a more efficient CAD user.

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Do you have some helpful AutoCAD tips you would like to share with your fellow CAD users?

Feel free to suggest your own AutoCAD Tips here.

Welcome to our first newsletter!

Once I decided to develop an AutoCAD newsletter, my biggest obstacle was choosing a theme that would be most beneficial to its members.

After some pondering, I began recalling my “newbie” days as an AutoCAD user.

It dawned on me that the most exciting of ACAD times were the days of learning something new.

Learning something that would make my job more interesting, quicker and easier – that was excitement to me.

I had originally wet my feet with AutoCAD during my training in Civil Engineering Technology back in 1988. As a mandatory course in the curriculum I had the opportunity to learn the basics of AutoCAD; I believe it was release 9 back then.

I’m sure many of you reading this newsletter may agree that the REAL training and learning with this drafting software comes from on the job experience; sharing tips, tricks and shortcuts with your fellow CAD operators.

Even better than learning something new, for me, was sharing a tip or trick from my own knowledge with a fellow CAD user.

I’ll never forget the time, during my early years as a contractor in an architectural office, that I had the opportunity to show the CAD team a simple tip that changed how they used AutoCAD.

Autodesk had recently introduced the “Fence” selection tool and the CAD users in the office were unaware of its existence. One of the staff had mentioned how great it would be if AutoCAD came out with a utility that let you trim multiple lines at once.

As soon as I heard that I felt the adrenalin rush to my head knowing I was about to give these guys a great tip that would give me a little more respect as a newbie in the office. I told them about the fence tool and how to use it – they were like kids in a candy store!

So that’s basically my reasoning behind developing an AutoCAD newsletter that concentrates on providing tips and tricks.

If you have a useful AutoCAD tip that you would like to have considered for inclusion in “The CAD Times”, please feel free to contact us.

So onto this month’s AutoCAD Tips...


Of all the selection tools in AutoCAD, I use SSX the most. It’s a handy useful tool that gets things done quickly, in my opinion. Sure the “Quick Select” tool has more whistles and bells, but I like the simplicity and speed of this tool. I use SSX mostly to group similar entities. For instance, let’s say I want to modify all the “30DR-90” blocks in a drawing.

1. Type SSX, Enter.
2. Now choose the desired entity with the selection box. (for my example I would choose a “30DR-90” block), Enter
3. SSX now displays the number of “30DR-90” blocks it found and holds the selection set in memory for use with the next command., i.e. “206 found”
4. Now here’s the great part: If I want to MOVE, COPY, CHANGE, ERASE, SCALE, (or whatever modify command I want to use) I simply select or type that command followed by “P” for “Previous” (previous selection). So if I wished to ERASE all the “30DR-90” blocks found the command would be “ERASE”, “P”.
5. Presto! All the “30DR-90” blocks are gone.

I especially find SSX useful when I want to export attribute information to a text file for modification in Excel. SSX grabs all the blocks I need and then I use the Express Tool “Export Attribute Information” followed by “P”. This sends the data on its way in a flash.

The SSX command also has other filter tools to help narrow your search. Play with it and you’ll soon find SSX a useful tool in your AutoCAD arsenal.


Ah yes, now here’s a useful variable to play with for those who create elevation drawings by arraying them around a floor plan. When I learned this one I was tickled pink.

You would like to pull lines off a floor plan to create your building elevations. But the floor plan has four sides to it and you don’t feel like turning your head upside down or rotating the floor plan to do the rear elevation. So what do you do?

Set the UCSFOLLOW system variable to 1 and your off to the races. Next time you need to work on another elevation, simply type “UCS”, “Z”, and enter your rotation angle. So for the rear elevation (assuming the rear is to the North on your screen) you would type “UCS”, “Z”, “180 --> Boom your working the rear elevation right side up!

But one word of caution; it’s best to use this variable in model space. If you are going to play with it in a paper space viewport, you may end up with a mess.

See you next time :)

We hope you found this months newsletter helpful!

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