AutoCAD: Offsetting options

The offset command has more options than you think.The Command "Offset" has more options than we generally use. I used to only use the "Through" option when I needed to offset a line or polyline to match with another one and I didn't know the distance.
Recently a clleague of mine asked me if I knew how to offset a line to both sides and erase the source line. So I went and check more carefully what the Offset Comand allows us to do.
When you type offset you will get the following response from AutoCAD:
  • "Specify offset distance or [Through/Erase/Layer] :"
Let's go from left to right. I already said what "through" will do. It will offset to the point we click on the screen instead of setting a distance.
Erase: this will give us the option to decide if we want to erase the source object or not. Remember that this option remains the way you used it last time so if you type yes on erase, any time you use the offset command again it will erase the original object unless you chose again not to erase.
Layer: this will allow us to choose between keeping the offset object in the source layer *the layer the original object is on) or place the new offset object in the current layer.

But this is not all. Once we chose the options we wanted and click on the object to be offset we will get the following prompt:
Specify through point or [Exit/Multiple/Undo] :
It is good to know what "Multiple" would do. It will allow us to ofset the object multiple times by just keep clicking on the side we want it to go.

So this is how I solved the question about offsetting to both sides an erasing the source object. Let's say she wanted to ofsset a line 1o units to both sides and erase the riginal object. The process would be the following.
o (for offset) --> 10 (we set the offset distance) --> e (call the erase options) --> Y (yes to Erasing source object) --> Click the line -->M (we want multiple offsets) --> one click to each side of the line --> Enter (end the command so the original line is erased)
It might seem a complicated process but it is actually not. Combining this with the layer options really brings the Offset command to a much powerful level that most of people might not know it is capable of.

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AutoCAD Modifying the Background Color in the Block Editor

Get rid of the nnoying background color of the Block Editor.A question a lot might have is "who did choose that annoying color for the background color in the Block Editor?" I think it is realy a bad choice and makes it hard to work in it because the creamy color will be similar to a lot of lines and will make it hard to work.

It is easy to change the Background color. We just have to go to

Format --> Options --> Display Tab

We click the "Colors" Button. This will bring us to the "Drawing WIndow Colors" Menu. Where we can actually change the display colors of almost anything in AutoCAD. TO change the Background Color of the Block Editor we select "Block Editor" On the Left and "Uniform Background" on the second option. Then on the right pper corner we can change the color to the one we want. A lo of people like to use the same black color as in normal drawing, I personnally prefer to choose a dark grey, so although easy to work with it still reminds me that I am in the Block Editor and not in the main drawing. See the image beow for details.

Quick Reference
Format --> Options --> Display Tab --> Colors --> Block Editor --> Uniform Background --> Choose Color

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AutoCAD 2008. Inverted Xclips

Clip the inside of the frame inside of the outside when using the XCLIP command.
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From 2008 version we can create a cutout in the middle of an xref or block using xclip. Before selecting or creating the polyline we have an option called "inverted clip" which will make the part of the object inside of the polyline disappear instead of the outside.
If you look at the command line, after running the XCLIP command and have selected teh object you want to clip, you will bsee this line:
[Select polyline/Polygonal/Rectangular/Invert clip] :
If you type "i" and press enter, you will be inverting the way the XCLIP command works, so instead of keeping the inside of the frame and hiding the outside it will do the opposite. Once you have clipped the XREF you can actually modify its frame later, see this post and video for how to do that.

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AutoCAD: Creating Circular Wipeouts

How can you trick AutoCAD to make circular Wipeouts?
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A problem often found is when we want to create a wipeout based on a polyine with curved segments or simply a circular wipeout. AutoCAD won't allow us to do it since wipeouts must be made from polylines containing only linear segments.
There is an easy trick to "cheat". If we want to create a circular wipeout, we wil create a 100 sides polygon instead of creating a circle. That way AutoCAD will accept the polyline and visually it will be like having a circular wipeout.

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AutoCAD Command: Snapang.

Is your Crosshair on a different angle than the UCS? SnapAng command will help you change this.Sometimes you might find a file where the crosshair is tilted although the UCS is aligned to the view. You might get crazy trying to align the crosshair with the UCS if you don´t know the SNAPANG command.
SNAPANG controls the angle of the grid so the crosshair is aligned to it. If you find a file where the crosshair is tilted although the UCS is squared with the view type SNAPANG and type "o" as the angle. THe crosshair will automatically go bacK to its "normal" position.

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AutoCAD: Shortcut to 3D orbit

You don´t need to type 3dORBIT to access this commandYou can access 3D Orbit mode without typing anything.Just came across this by mistake. If you press shift + the wheel of the mouse and move the mouse, you will jump into 3D orbit command without the need to type it. Really useful if working on 3D models.

Shift + press wheel

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AutoCAD: Text Express tools

One of the treasure of latest AutoCad versions are the express tools.
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In some versions of AutoCAD, you have to check the box that asks you to install them when installing the program, but believe me, they are worth it. Simpler ways to do things com with the express tools.
Lets analize those Express tools that helps us improve the way we treat Text.
We have:
ARCTEXT (Express - Text- Arc aligned Text)
With this one we can place a Text following the path marked by an ARC. We have several options on how to do it to select from the ArcAligned Text Workshop dialog box.

We can select to justify text on either side or center of the arc or to fit it along the length o the ARC. We can place it on the outer part of the Arc or the inner one, Upside down, reverse other, etc. Regetfully this tools don't seem to suport a curved path created by a polyline. Just as a quick example of what you would get check this image.

TEXTFIT ( Express - Text - Text Fit)

We can take any text (not multiline text) and shrink it or stretch it to fit in any given dimension. See that this is basically a fastest and more visual way to play with the widht factor of the text.
See this three texts, each of them shrunk to fit in different lentgh but keeping the same text height.

We can convert any TEXT or DTEXT into MTEXT.

The Upper text was transformed into the lower Mtext with the TXT2MTXT command.
The remaining Express Tools for Text I don´t really find them that Useful or I haven´t been using them so I´ll simply list them here. They are:
TEXTMASK Masks entities from behind text
TEXTUNMASK Remove mask from text
TJUST Changes a text object's justification without changing its position. Works with text, mtext, and attribute definition objects.
TORIENT Aligns text, mtext and block attribute objects to new orientation
TSCALE Scales text, mtext, attributes and attribute definitions.

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SketchUp 6.0: Purge files

Is there a command for SketchUp equivalent to AutoCADs purge?
Català - Castellano
When working long with SketchUp files, the program keeps in the file memory all the components the we´ve been creating during the process. This might end up on a Huge file that takes very long to open and is slower to handle although the model might be finally not that big.
SketchUp has a command similar to the "purge" command in AutoCAD, but kind of hidden.
The way to find it is to go to "Window - Model Info - Statistics - Purge Unused" This simple. This will purge all the unused components and reduce drastically the file size keeping only the needed information.

Window - Model Info - Statistics - Purge Unused

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AutoCAD: Automatic view rotation with the UCS command

Why does the view rotate automatically when changing the UCS?
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When turning the UCS or setting a new one, we have the option to just create the UCS or to rotate the view together with the UCS. Some people like it automatic, some like me hate it and prefer to see the UCS rotate but stay with the same view.
The way to toggle between this too options relies on the UC command. If we type UC on the command line, it will pop up a window with the UCS options.

We go to the settings tab and we check or uncheck the box beside "Update view to Plan when UCS is changed". If we keep it unchecked, the view will not update automatically. If we want to align the view to the new UCS we will have to use the "plan" command.

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AutoCAD: Adjusting Hatch Density

Sometimes when we want to create a hatch that is too dense we get the following message: "Hatch spacing too dense, or dash size too small." This means that we are trying to create a hatch that is denser than the maximum allowed by the system. This might be changed with a simple procedure. We type the following on the command line bar:(setenv "MaxHatch" "10000"). 10000 is the default value, so it will actually not change anything. If we want to create a hatch and we get the sentence mentioned above, we must increase the maximum density allowed. That means we must type for instance: (setenv "MaxHatch" "10000000"). By changing 10000 for 10000000 we increased the maximum density allowed in the drawing. Try to create the hatch gain, it will work this time. If it doesn´t enter the command again with a higher value till it allows you to create the hatch.

Command line order: (setenv "MaxHatch" "10000000")

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AutoCAD: Osnaps Contextual Menu

Reach the Osnap Menu any time even during commands. Some of the unachuracy in most of the drawings come from the fact that we keep the perpendicular or the nearest Osnaps activated all the time. That way, if for instance, a line is not totally perpendicular to the active UCS and we select the perpendicular osnap, the line that we will draw will remain sightly unaligned.
The solution is to turn off these Osnap options. Althouugh it's really anoying t g and turn them on again when we need them.
The best way t solve this is to use the Osnap contextual menu. While drawin anything click "shift+Right mouse click" tis will show the Osnap contextual menu on the screen, we can then select the osnap we want for that action, bu it will keep it unactive for the rest of the drawing process. Just expierence it for while, you wil find out that you end up with much less unachuracy in your drawings.

"Shift + Right Mouse Click"

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ADT 2006: Rotate Tags

How do you rotate all tags at once?One of the cool features of Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006 is the use of spaces and tags anchored to them. A space is an ADT entity, not existing in AutoCAD. With spaces and their tags, we can easily show the areas of a residential Unit, a retail development etc. When we add a tag to the space that is intended to show the area of that space, the tag will update if the area of the space change.
anyways, this post doesn´t intend to explain what tags and spaces are. It's just a post to share what I discovered lately. For a long time I though I couldn´t rotate tags any other way than selecting them one by one and rotating them. That was really painful in big projects. Yesterday I discover that in the properties tab, if we click in the box that says¨"Anchor" there is a field that says "rotation". So if we select a bunch of tags get to the properties tab and click on anchor we will be able to rotate all the tags at once keeping the where they are.

Select tags -- Go to property palette -- click anchor -- change rotation angle.
UPDATE: This is an old post. Can you tell us in the comments if the trick still works? Thanks!

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