A few posts back, I showed you the basics of working with transparency in AutoCAD LT 2011. I hope you noticed the bit at the end about having to turn transparency on for plotting, since it’s off by default.
But you can also turn transparency on and off in your drawing as you work, similar to the way you can turn the display of lineweights on and off.
Transparency display is on by default, but with the icon indicated above you can turn it off.
Even if you think you’d never change this setting on purpose, it’s good to be aware of it, in case you get a drawing that isn’t behaving the way you expect it to.
In my last post on AutoCAD LT and Windows 7, I mentioned the jump list that you can access from the Start menu when AutoCAD LT is one of your frequently-used programs.
But I forgot one – there’s a jump list on the taskbar icon too, which you can access by right-clicking.
The files listed here are the same as the ones in the Start menu jump list, so if you pin something here, it’ll show up in both places.
The image above also highlights another nice feature of the taskbar, which is that you can pin programs to it. (In case the Start menu and desktop icons weren’t enough options for you.)
In this screenshot, the Internet Explorer icon is an example of what a pinned program looks like when it’s not open. Jump lists are available for pinned programs all the time; for regular programs you can only access the jump list when you already have at least one instance of the program running.
You can also start a new instance of the program from the jump list (I find this especially handy for Windows Explorer), or close all the program windows. In the image above, I only have one drawing open, but if I had more than one, the last option would say “Close all windows.”
For at few releases now (since at least 2009), you’ve been able to personalize the display of the AutoCAD LT Layer Properties Manager.
Besides clicking on a column to sort the layer list by that value, you can also drag and drop headers to reorganize them.
If you want to take it further, right-click on a column header to bring up a menu where you can turn columns on and off:
(This screenshot is from modelspace – if you’re in a layout, you’ll get more options for VP Color etc.)
The options at the bottom are handy too. “Maximizing” a column stretches it out until you can see the entire title in the column header. “Optimizing” a column stretches or condenses it until you can see all the important information in the column itself, whether it’s as wide as the longest layer name or as small as the width of an icon.
To put things back to the out-of-the-box configuration, use the “restore” option all the way at the bottom.
The “Customize” option just gives you a dialog version of the right-click menu, so you can control the display and order of multiple columns.
(I don’t have access to older versions of AutoCAD LT right now, but when I figure out exactly when this ability was added I’ll update the post.)
Sign in to the AU website using your AU username and password. This is the same account you use to access AU online classes and register for the AU conference or AU Virtual.
Search for topics that might interest you. You can filter by track, audience expertise, class type, software product, language, and speaker.
Click on a class to get more information about the class or to vote for the class.
In the Vote Now drop-down list, select one of the voting choices.
Click Submit Vote.
Pay attention—there are over 1800 classes to choose from, but you can vote on a maximum of 20 classes. Use caution when voting. Once a vote is submitted, you cannot change it. You have until Friday, May 21 to cast your votes.
If you’ve already installed AutoCAD LT 2011, you’ve probably noticed at least some of the changes to the user interface, but I thought a post about them wouldn’t hurt, since some are a little less obvious than others.
First up, there have been some changes to the drawing canvas.
The default modelspace background color is a dark gray, and the grid now looks more like engineering graph paper, instead of dots. In this new format, the X and Y axes are represented by green and red lines, respectively. (Z is blue, if you’re working with a file with 3D elements.)
If you don’t like the new grid, you can either turn it off with F7 or go back to the dotted style through the Drafting Settings dialog.
The UCS icon has been updated, and if you want, you can set it to display the axis colors too, with the Properties option of the UCSICON command, located on the Coordinates panel of the View tab.
Speaking of the View tab, the Windows panel now includes controls for the display of the Navigation Bar (more on that in a minute), the Text Window (also accessible with F2), and toolbars (what, the ribbon’s not enough?). The status bar controls are no longer on that panel, but they’re still easily available from the status bar itself.
The Insert tab also has a new panel for pulling content from the DesignCenter and Autodesk Seek. Seek content is home to 3D models, 2D drawings, and specifications for manufacturer-specific or generic building products. (Currently the manufacturers are US-only, but the site is still young.)
The last change to the ribbon has to do with its display options. You can now display the full ribbon or minimize it to Panel Buttons, Panel Titles, or Tabs. For all but Tabs, hovering over a panel expands it. You have to click on a tab to show the whole thing.
Clicking on the cycle button goes through each option sequentially, or you can choose a toggle option with the pull-down next to the cycle button.
If you pick anything except “Cycle through All,” clicking on the cycle button toggles between the full ribbon and your selected option.
Finally, the new Navigation Bar is yet another place to find the Pan, Zoom, and SteeringWheel commands.
They’re not on the status bar anymore, but they’re still accessible from other user interface elements, including the mouse. (Roll to zoom, hold down to pan, and right-click to access the SteeringWheel.)
Another new feature in AutoCAD LT 2011 is Selection Cycling.
You’ve always been able to cycle through overlapping objects before actually selecting them. A long time ago (pre-2007), this involved the Ctrl key; more recently, you can hold down the Shift key and press the space bar until the object you want is highlighted.
In a really crowded drawing, though, that cycling method could take a while. Enter the new way.
You can turn Selection Cycling on from its icon on the status bar.
After you do, whenever you move your cursor over a busy part of your drawing, an icon appears next to the crosshairs indicating the presence of nearby or overlapping objects.
Left-click while that indicator is showing, and you’ll see a list of all the eligible objects. As you move your cursor over each item in the list, the associated object is highlighted.
To select an object, simply click on it from the list.
I’ve got five very different things to tell you about today, but they’re all “announcements,” so they’re all going in the same post. Some of them may get more attention later, but I didn’t want to miss anything, so here goes…
1. “What’s New” Webcast Next Week
The first of the AutoCAD LT 2011 series of webcasts begins next week with “What’s New in AutoCAD LT 2011.” You’ve seen some of the new features in recent blog posts (or maybe you’ve downloaded a trial, or even already bought 2011), but here’s your chance to see them live. The 1-hour webcast will be Thursday, May 20th at 10:00 Pacific. Register today!
If you’ve ever wanted to be a speaker at Autodesk University, now’s your chance! (Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas) The AU team is shaking things up this year, looking for all new class content in a variety of formats: 1-, 2-, or 3-hour lectures & labs; 1-hour virtual classes; and 1-hour live Q&A product clinics. Visit the Call for Proposals site to get all the details, including speaker requirements, class requirements, proposal guidelines, and to see what proposals have already been submitted. Speakers for lectures, labs, and virtual classes get free admission to AU and an honorarium. Hope to see you in Vegas!
3. Online Help Search Updated
Our User Assistance team has been working hard to fix the search issues in the new online Help system, and they’ve made great progress. The speed is up, and results are improved. If you find something that’s still not working, let us know.
4. New Subscription Tutorials
If you’re a Subscription customer, and have ever wondered if you know all there is to know about
Lastly (for today), if you ever need to take screen captures for training manuals, standards documents, reports, or really anything (blog posts), you need to check out Snagit. Every image you’ve seen on this blog in the last 2 years has come from Snagit, as well as every image in the Tips & Tricks booklets, most of them on the product center…if I captured it, I used Snagit. All my videos are recorded & produced from its companion product, Camtasia Studio, an equally awesome product for recording your sreen & voiceover. Snagit 10 just came out yesterday, and it looks like it’s gonna be great. PrintScreen, begone!
Before AutoCAD LT 2011, if you wanted to select, say, all the red circles in your drawing or all the lines on the WALL layer, you’d use the Quick Select command. It’s a really powerful and flexible feature that can save a lot of time when selecting objects for editing.
But now, there’s an even easier way to select objects with similar properties.
Select Similar is available from the right-click shortcut menu when you have one or more objects selected. It automatically grabs all the objects in the drawing that are similar to the one(s) you had selected.
But wait—how does it decide what objects are “similar”? To set your selection criteria, enter SELECTSIMILAR at the command line, and then SE for Settings.
By default, “Layer” and “Name” are checked. “Layer” is obvious, but “Name” only applies to named objects like blocks, images, and xrefs. Object type (circle, line, block, etc.) is always a selection criterion.
With the default settings, two lines on the same layer but with different colors would both be selected by Select Similar. Same for two circles on the same layer but with different linetypes.
You can check or uncheck as many boxes as you like to define your selection set narrowly or broadly.
If you select more than one object to use with Select Similar, the selection criteria are applied to each object individually. So if you select a circle and a line on the same layer, Select Similar will find all the circles and all the lines on that layer. If you select two lines on different layers, Select Similar will find all the lines on both layers. If you select a circle on one layer and a line on another, Select Similar will find all the circles on the same layer as the circle and all the lines on the same layer as the line.