Friday, March 21, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 – Tooltips

It’s Friday, it’s spring, and it’s AutoCAD 2009 tips and tricks from CAD-a-Blog once again. There are several new features in the 2009 release, like the ribbon, quickview drawings and layouts, the action recorder, and more. Lets not forget the enhancements made in AutoCAD 2009, to existing features. We have already looked at the Infocenter updates, the status bar, and the application window. Today I want to look at the enhancements made to the Tooltips.

Tooltips aren’t new. Perhaps you didn’t even know they were there, or at least what they were called. The tooltips are the “tips” that pop up on your screen when your cursor hovers over a command. Oh yeah, that’s what those things are! Well, in AutoCAD 2009 they are even better! When you do your regular hovering, the standard tooltip comes up, telling what the command is before you click it.

Ok, this reminds me if a funny story. I worked at a company (several years ago) that was transitioning from AutoCAD release 12, in DOS, to AutoCAD release 13, in Windows. The interface was different; it had icons now!! One of our drafters, the first to get it, didn’t know what the icons meant; he had never seen them before. So, in an effort to figure them out he sketched each and every icon on a pad of paper and wrote down the command for each!! WOW, what a lot of work. When my machine was upgraded he made a copy of his ketches for me. But then I told him about tooltips, just let your cursor hover over the icon and the command name will pop up on the screen. He turned a little pale, and we both wondered why he hadn’t noticed that.

Sorry for that trip down memory lane. Let’s get back to topic.

Tooltips are very useful. Now with the many changes to the user interface, and the updating of every icon, it will be difficult for many users to work, at first. Tooltips will help. Now with the Tooltip Help you can get more information on a command other than it’s name. Just hover for a little bit longer and the tooltip window will expand to show you examples on the command! Nice, so now you know the command and how to use it.

With all things AutoCAD, the amount of time it takes for the extended tooltips to appear is adjustable. AND the tooltip itself is customizable. Go into the CUI, select a command, or create a new command, on the panel to the right, go to the EXTENDED HELP FILE area. There you can browse to a file that contains your tooltip info. This means you have to make the file ahead of time.

Rollover Tooltips, basically an extension of the tooltips, provide tips on commands, controls, and objects. How these are displayed are also under your control.

When you start using AutoCAD 2009 and find yourself lost, its ok, just hover your cursor for a few more minutes and the tips will pop up, providing help.

Happy CADDING!!

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