Monday, October 20, 2008

How to be more Efficient at AutoCAD - Part 7

CAD-a-Blog began writing about efficiency in AutoCAD some time ago, and some steps users can take to be more efficient at it.

Part One talks about "double fisted" cadding. I call it Double Fisted because the theory takes advantage of both of the users hands to input commands and data. One hand works the keyboard while the other manipulates the mouse. This way time is saved by eliminating mouse movements across the screen to invoke commands.

Part Two discuses Template Use. Starting a file with a template provides a file that is already set up and ready to use. Users will not have to tale the time to get the file where it needs to be in order to draw. Another time saver.

Part Three looks at referencing files. Referencing files means that users can create a data source that can be used in multiple files. Change the model, or base file, and the sheet files are instantly updated. We also, briefly, discusses referencing OLE objects, sharing data between reports, letters, and drawings.

Part Four demonstrates how Sheet Sets can be used to manage your drawing sets, files, data management and batch plotting.

Part Five saw how fields can be used to maintain data in text, reduce revision time, share data between files. Again, going with the less is less theory.

In Part Six CAD-a-Blog talked about Dynamic block's ability to decrease the amount of blocks users need to create and maintain and their ability to change through grip edits.

How to be More Efficient at AutoCAD
- Part 7 -
In Part Six we looked at dynamic blocks, but where do you keep them? How do you find them? How do your users find your blocks? The answer to these questions and others, Tool Pallets!!
Tool Pallets have been around since AutoCAD 2004!! Yes that long ago. User can put almost anything in a tool pallet. The two most common items are blocks and hatch patterns. But you can do so much more than that.

Tool pallets are a way to hold and manage items to be used. It’s a list. It’s a list that isn’t that complicated either. The tool pallet is divided into tabs. On each tab is a list of whatever you want to be on it. Click on that item and it is inserted into your drawing. That object could be a block, a line, a circle, a hatch pattern, text, or even a command.

My AutoCAD Efficiency Theory, of doing less means spending less time doing, can be applied through tool pallets. The obvious way is that users do not have to hunt (as much) for standard objects. Which block do I use? The one in the tool pallet of course.

Have you ever had a user ask you? “What goes on this type of drawing?” Tool Pallets can help. Use them like a checklist. Create a Tool Pallet that has everything in it that belongs in a typical drawing. For example; labels, symbols, blocks, callouts, dimensions, design criteria, etc. Users can start at the top of the pallet and work their way down. Once at the bottom, the drawing is complete with the typical needs of the drawing met. This method also ensures your company’s drafting standards are met and that all drawings look the same making revisions and inter office workings much easier.

Another great feature about tool pallets is ease of maintenance. Tool Pallets can reference a block or file from a central location, like a network folder or file. If a particular block needs to be updated, do it one time and each user will now be current. They won’t ever now they were out of compliance!

Using Tool Pallets to insert standard blocks and styles is a great way to more with less effort. It creates a common place to go to get your work done. No more browsing for files. No more wondering if it’s the correct folder. No more hoping you updated your block file.

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