I Didn’t Know That

Throughout the year I stumble across AutoCAD and Civil 3D features that I scribble down to share with my friends.  This week I moved into a new office and my stacks of scribbles reminded me that it was time to either share or shred.

I know the name of this article is a bit odd but you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Tips & Tricks and I didn’t have the minimum number of scribbles required for a Top Ten.  So, I went with my first response when I found each these little jewels – I didn’t know that!  My guess is some of you may respond the same way.  I do something weird with my eyebrows too but I wasn’t sure how to fit that into the title. 

Object Selection
You can select more than one object to match with the Select Similar command.  Simply pick your target objects and pick Select Similar from the right-click menu.  I may be the last to know this one.  It never occurred to me to try it with more than one object.

Object Creation
Select an object, pick Add Selected from the right-click menu, and you are ready to create another of the same object with the same properties.  This one is the winner of my 2010 Red Hot Chili Award.

Transparency
You can assign transparency to objects and layers.  The range is between 0 and 90 with the transparency growing with the number.  Design is art and transparencies certainly help me paint a prettier picture.

Object Visibility
Variations on the Express Tools’ Isolate Layer command have finally been promoted to a spot on the right-click menu.  The Isolate Objects command displays just the objects selected.  Everything else is hidden.  This is very convenient for working in congested areas of a drawing.  New is the Hide Objects command which, as the name implies, hides selected objects.  The End Object Isolation command restore both to their original condition.

SPLINE to PLINE
Traditionally, using splines in civil has been discouraged.  Other than making pretty contours they weren’t very functional outside of manufacturing.  The trouble is they can’t be used as surface components and, until now, they couldn’t be converted to anything else without considerable effort. 

That has changed.  Both the SPLINEDIT and PEDIT commands quickly convert splines to polylines.  Precision is user controlled and the PEDIT command even gives the option of converting the spline to arcs or line segments.

Frankly, it’s great that we finally have this as an option but I still don’t recommend using splines.  The conversion creates many, many vertices, which as you know may cause performance issues.  I think we can all agree that we suffer enough of that already. 

Text in Linetypes
Text in linetypes is a wonderful thing unless it happens to be upside down.  A new Upright option can be added to your linetype definitions to maintain linetype readability in any orientation.

Another option would be to reverse the direction of the line or polyline using the REVERSE command.  It’s also available as a PEDIT command option.

Associate Project
Drawings can now be permanently associated with a project but I think more important is the fact that at last someone at Autodesk had the testicular fortitude to include the word “project” on the data shortcuts menu on the Prospector tab of the Toolspace.  Good move guys.
 
I knew if I waited long enough someone would finally admit there is, in fact, a Civil 3D project.  Autodesk’s dogged determination to distance Civil 3D from Land Desktop served only to confound the migration to the program, particularly with regard to data and project management.  How hard could it be to call a working folder a project path and a data shortcut folder a project

For that matter, how hard could it be to overhaul all that knee-jerk crap tossed into the menu bar several releases ago?

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