Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Multi Leaders

In AutoCAD 2008, Autodesk gave us Multi Leaders. These are annotations that can have more than one leader coming from it. They can do more that that too. You can combine multileaders, you can align them, and you can use blocks in them as callouts.

You can start the command by typing in MLEADER. Or, in AutoCAD 2008 go to the Multileader toolbar, and click the mleader icon. OR, go to the DIMENSION pull down menu, and then click the Multileader button. In AutoCAD 2009 you can do the same as above, or in the Ribbon, go to the HOME tab, in the ANNOTATION Panel click the Mleader icon. OR in the ribbon, go to the ANNOTATION tab and then go to the Multileader Panel. Quick tip, don’t type in ML (I know, it seems logical) because that is the shortcut for Multi-Lines. Instead, type in MLD to create a new multileader. Here are some other out of the box keyboard shortcuts for multileaders:

MLA, *MLEADERALIGN

MLC, *MLEADERCOLLECT

MLD, *MLEADER

MLE, *MLEADEREDIT

MLS, *MLEADERSTYLE

Now that we know where to go to start the command, let’s start the command. You will quickly find the multileaders work and act in a very similar fashion to leaders. You pick the point where you want your arrow head to point to (get the point yet?) and then you pick the point where you want your landing (the landing is the horizontal tail that comes from the end of the leader and stops just short of the text.) Then enter your text. Easy enough.

Now, if you want to add a second leader to this callout, then click the ADD LEADER button. Then follow the prompts. Select the multileader you want to add to. A new leader is drawn and follows your crosshairs around until you designate where you want your new leader’s arrow head to point to. It will keep doing this until you hit the ENTER key. So you can add more than one leader to your multileader at a time. It can be fun. Go crazy, get a little wild, and add tons of leaders. Ok stop, that’s too many!!

How do you remove a leader? Good question. Go to your toolbar, pulldown, ribbon panel, whatever, and click the, any guesses, REMOVE Leader button. Select the multileader you want to edit, and then select the leader you want to remove. You can keep doing this until there are no leaders left to select. If you select them all, then the multileader will be deleted, oops!! When you select the ones you want to remove, they will be highlighted. Press enter to remove them. There you go.

Now that you have multileaders in your drawing, you need to edit them, move them, and adjust them. Go ahead. Use the grip edits to do this. You can move the arrow head around just like any other leader. Look at the image provided. I have selected the multileader. See the grips that are available? The grip at the top of the text will allow you to move just the text, while the arrow head stays in place, just like regular leaders that are associated. The grip at the end of the landing, just before the text, will stretch the landing and move the text, keeping the distance from the landing to the text the same. The grip where the leader and landing meet will stretch the leader and the landing while leaving the text and the arrow head in place. Cool huh? The grip in the middle of the landing will move it and the text around leaving the arrowhead in place.

To edit the text, just double-click it and it works just like mtext. If you change the text justification, the multileader landing will stay relative to the rest of the text. If you want to change the landing position to the text, select the multileader, open the properties palette, and change the left/right attachment setting. You can set it to line up at the top, middle, bottom, etc.

There is a lot more you can do with multileaders, but that will have to come in a different post. These abilities are what really set multileaders apart from leaders. You can align them, combine them, and use blocks, standard and custom, for your callouts. We will look at those later.

Happy CADDING.

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