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Learning Series

May 12 2016 // 6:00 AM

3 AutoCAD Tips that Every Designer and Drafter Needs to Know

Written by Dan Fabriziana | @PAEVENdan

Today I will talk about three AutoCAD tips that I believe will help you work smarter and increase your productivity and efficiency.


Tip 1:  Working with Typical Details

 

Does anyone here waste time redrawing or re-annotating typical details? Well please stop, because you don’t have to! Below are simple instructions on what to do when you want to reuse typical details.
 

  1. Have both drawings open (the one that you are working on, and the one that already has the typical details in it that you want).  I suggest using two monitors.  If you are unlucky and only have one, that will work as well. 

  2. Go into the model space of the existing drawing and highlight the typical details that you would like to reuse on your new drawing.

  3. Once highlighted/selected press “Ctrl + Shift + c” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt box, you will see “COPYBASE Specify base point” – Type “0,0”.

  4. Now that you have your desired typical details copied with base point (0,0), go into the model space of your new drawing and press “Ctrl + v” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt you will see “PASTECLIP Specify insertion point” – Type “0,0”.

  5. You now should have all of the typical details that you want from your existing drawings in your new drawing (in model space). Now we want to get all of the annotation and titles over to the new drawing from the existing drawing.

  6. Go back into your existing drawing, but go into paper space this time.  Highlight/select the viewports, annotation, and titles of the typical details that you just copied over into your new drawing.

  7. Once highlighted/selected, press “Ctrl + Shift + c” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt box, you will see “COPYBASE Specify base point” – Type “0,0” or select any point on the drawing that you desire.

  8. Now that you have your desired viewports, annotation, and titles copied with the base point you chose, go into paper space of your new drawing and press “Ctrl + v” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt you will see “PASTECLIP Specify insertion point” – Type “0,0” or select any point on the drawing that you desire, again.

  9. If for some reason the model space does not show up in your viewports, or the annotation isn’t showing up, make sure the “Annotation Visibility” button in the bottom right of your screen is turned on, and then enter the command “REGENALL.”

 

Congratulations, you have successfully reused your old typical details and saved a whole lot of time!
 

Tip 2:  Trim and Extend Command
 

Are you guys wasting time trimming and extending lines separately, or are you even wasting time selecting lines that intersect the desired line that you want to trim as your parameters?  Here are simple instructions on how to speed up your process of trimming and extending lines.

 

  1. Type the command “TRIM.”  In the command prompt the message “Select cutting edges…” will appear along with “TRIM Select objects or <select all>:”.  Instead of selecting any lines, just press enter.

  2. The command prompt will say “Select object to trim or shift-select to extend or” along with “TRIM [Fence Crossing Project Edge eRase Undo].

  3. You can now just click on the part of the line that you would like to trim.  Please note, by just pressing enter from line one, every line that intersects the line that you would like to trim acts as a cutting edge.  Therefore, only press enter in line one if there are not many lines intersecting the one that you would like to trim or extend.   

  4. Once you’ve selected the trim command and selected your cutting edges, or pressed enter to select all lines, you do not have to leave this command to extend a line.  You can simply hold the “Shift” key and select the line that you would like to extend.


I definitely find the “Shift” select tool very helpful when I draft.  You can save a lot of time by avoiding changing commands all of the time to clean up lines.
 

Tip 3:  Working with Vendor and Client Drawings
 

Receiving vendor drawings to use as the base or background of your construction documents is always very helpful. However, a lot of time can be wasted converting all of their layers over to your standard layers.  Below are some simple instructions on how to speed that process up.

 

  1. Start by having both your current drawing and the vendor drawing that you will be copying from open in AutoCAD.

  2. Go into the model space of the vendor drawing and highlight/select the components of the drawing that you would like to use in your drawing.  Please note that their base drawing might have a bunch of external references in it; if this is the case, do not hesitate to use the “EXPLODE” command.  Make sure that you have the components selected that you would like to “explode.”

  3. Once highlighted/selected, press “Ctrl + Shift + c” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt box, you will see “COPYBASE Specify base point” – Type “0,0”, or select any point that you desire.

  4. Now that you have your desired components copied with base point (0,0), go into the model space of your drawing and press “Ctrl + v” on your keyboard.  In the command prompt you will see “PASTECLIP Specify insertion point” – Type “0,0”.

  5. You now have exactly what you want in your drawing to set up a great background. However, it is in all of the vendor’s layers. The next couple of steps will streamline the process of changing the layers to your standard layers.

  6. Select an individual component line that you copied into your drawing (i.e. a centerline or an external wall line).

  7. Once selected, right click with your mouse to bring up the “Shortcut Menu” on your screen.

  8. Select the option “Select Similar.”  This will highlight all of the lines in your drawing that have the same properties as the line that you originally had selected.

  9. While all of the similar lines are selected, go to your layers dropdown on your ribbon at the top of the screen and select your standard layer that you would like the lines to be.

  10. Once all of the specified lines are changed over to your standard layer, make sure that the line properties (“color,” “lineweight,” and “linetype”) are set to “ByLayer.”  If they are not, change them to this setting.

  11. Repeat steps 6 through 10 for the rest of the components lines.

  12. Once finished, all of the vendor component lines that you brought into your drawing will coincide with your standard layers.


I would like to thank you for being a part of this, and I hope these 3 AutoCAD tips will help you work smarter and be more productive.

Feel free to reach out to me at dfabriziana@paeven.com if you have any questions or comments.  And remember: sharing is caring!

Best,
Daniel Fabriziana

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