I realized, looking at the Dynamic Input tab of the Drafting Settings dialog box, that it's the most complicated of all the tabs. Not because the topic itself is particularly confusing, but because there are three sub-dialogs in addition to the main window. So this tab will be split up over two posts, in order to minimize information overload.
Dynamic Input was introduced in AutoCAD LT 2006 as a way of moving important command information up into the drawing area, so that you don't have to look down at the command line all the time. It puts floating boxes with command options, prompts, and coordinate information right next to the cursor where it's easily seen.
The main Dynamic Input tab has three areas:
Everything in this main tab has to do with turning Dynamic Input features on or off. First, in the upper left-hand corner, is "Enable Pointer Input". When it's on, you get boxes next to the cursor where you can type in coordinate values.
Next is "Enable Dimension Input". When this is on, and you're creating or grip-editing geometry, the boxes you get are for geometric properties of the object, like length or angle. Dimension Input isn't always available for every command, though, which is why it's often used in combination with Pointer Input.
Both of these options have their own dialog of special settings, but I'll save the details for the next post. (See, now you have to keep reading!)
Last up is "Command prompting and command input". This turns on the tooltips for command-specific prompts and options, such as "Specify next point." When this is on, you can also use the down arrow to see all the available command options on the screen, instead of at the command line. Note: You must have either Pointer Input or Dynamic Input (or both) turned on in order to see the command prompts. It doesn't work all by itself.
The one extra settings dialog I will get into today is the Drafting Tooltip Appearance dialog.
At the top, you can see a preview of what your tooltips will look like -- this applies to all the prompts (Pointer, Dimension, and Command). The "Colors" button launches the same Drawing Window dialog that you can get from the Options dialog, just with the tooltip settings already highlighted. There, you can pick whatever colors you like best for the text and background of the tooltip.
Next are two sliders for size and transparency. The default for both is 0, which means a normal size and an opaque background.
The last setting here asks whether you want all your tooltips to look the same, or whether you want some of them to take their properties from your Windows settings. If you choose "use settings only for Dynamic Input", then your Polar and Object Snap Tracking tooltips will take their colors based on other Windows tooltips, instead of the colors you've set yourself. Like all the settings we've talked about, this is purely a matter of personal preference.
See you next time for more on the options for Pointer and Dimension Input!