by Jeff Weber
AutoCAD is a lot like having cable TV.
You may have 150 channels available to you but if you are anything like me and my family you only watch about half a dozen or so.
AutoCAD is much the same way.
There are a lot of commands that you have available to you but you may never use.
That does not mean that they are not useful though.
Here are just a few of the commands that I have found that I think are useful but you may not know about.
The first one is not really a command but it is an option within AutoCAD.
If you have been working in AutoCAD for very long you are probably frequently looking for short cuts.
If you find yourself repeating the same command over and over and you are getting tire of typing in the command or selecting the icon try this procedure.
Move your cursor down into the text box and right click.
What appears is a list of the last few commands that you used.
Select the command from this list and it is just like entering it or picking the icon.
This next command is one that I use all the time.
This command comes in very helpful when using a solid hatch pattern.
Let’s assume that you have an existing floor plan of a house that you are going to put an addition onto.
You want to show the new walls with a solid hatch pattern.
You pick your points and hatch your walls only to see the lines that represent your walls disappear.
Now you and I both know that those lines are still there and will more than likely plot correctly but, if you are like me it is a little annoying.
To fix it just select the hatch pattern.
Right click and the short cut dialogue box comes up.
Select “Basic Modify Tools, Display Order” the “Send to Back”.
Now your hatch pattern has been sent “behind” the lines representing the walls.
This is a cool command that I actually learned about in another program and looked within AutoCAD to see it there was something similar.
The Align command does just that, it aligns objects.
Let’s say that I want to ALIGN a rectangle with an angled line.
Type AL to initiate the ALIGN command.
The first thing AutoCAD wants to know is what object is being aligned.
Select the rectangle.
Then AutoCAD wants to know is where is the base/starting point is?
Select one corner of the Rectangle then pick the end point of the line.
Next AutoCAD wants to know end points.
Pick anywhere on the side of the rectangle and then anywhere on the line.
Now it wants to know if you want to scale the rectangle to fit the point you selected the default is NO so just hit enter.
The rectangle will now align itself to the line.
This command is great when you just need something to be out of the way for a little bit.
You know that object that is “just in the wrong spot”.
You do not want to turn off the entire layer because there is information that is relevant to what you are doing.
Once again select the object and right click.
As before the short cut dialogue box appears.
Select ISOLATE OBJECT then HIDE OBJECT.
The element that you had selected is now hidden.
How do you get it back you ask?
In the lower right hand corner just above the text box are icons that you probably forgot about because you did not know what they did and you worked well without them.
Well the “Light Bulb” is the ISOLATE command.
If there is something hidden then this light bulb will be RED, if there is nothing hidden then the bulb will be YELLOW.
Assuming that you were able to hide your object this bulb should be RED now.
Click on it and select END OBJECT ISOLATION.
Now all of the objects that were hidden are now visible again.
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