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Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.

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This month…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published April 2016

“Best of” Basics: Irregular Viewport

When you need a viewport shape other than a rectangle, the first order of business is to be able to view the objects in Model Space at the desired scale. From there, you can create a polyline to essentially ‘crop’ the objects in Model space, then turn it into a viewport.

Setting the scaleThe best drawing for testing this is in the path

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx\Sample\Database Connectivity

If you have AutoCAD 2014 or prior, the drawing name is db_samp.DWG

If you have AutoCAD 2015 or later, the drawing name is Floor Plan Sample.DWG

Sample drawing with polyline

How to Create an Irregular Shaped Viewport

  1. Right-click on a layout tab and make a new layout with a large viewport.

  2. Double-click in the viewport, then set the desired scale from the scale list on the Status bar. You may want to start with 1/64″ = 1′-0″ so you can see all of it.

  3. Return to Paper space and create any closed polyline, spline or circle to be the viewport.

    Note: If you are creating a Polyline, you must use the Close option if it is to be converted into a viewport. If you did not use the Close option, use Pedit and select the polyline, then use the Close option.

    In this illustration, I created a polyline around the perimeter of the floorplan. (Ideally, this would be on a dedicated layer on which you typically create your viewports).

  4. ClipOn the Layout tab, click Clip.

  5. When prompted to select the ‘viewport to clip’, select the rectangular viewport.

  6. When prompted to select the ‘clipping object’, select the polyline (or whatever object you created in Step 3, above).

Sample drawing with irregular viewport

AutoCAD will convert the polyline into a viewport and erase the original rectangular viewport!

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