AutoCAD Release 14 for Dummies: Quick Reference

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Beginning and advanced AutoCAD users (and everybody in between) can reap great benefits from this quick and easy guide to the complex commands of AutoCAD 14. Every command imaginable -- from those for measuring angles and dimensions to those for calculating mass or rotating objects in 3-D space -- is right here between the covers of this smartly-designed and well-organized reference guide!

You don't have to memorize all those tricky features or special commands that make AutoCAD...

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Overview

Beginning and advanced AutoCAD users (and everybody in between) can reap great benefits from this quick and easy guide to the complex commands of AutoCAD 14. Every command imaginable -- from those for measuring angles and dimensions to those for calculating mass or rotating objects in 3-D space -- is right here between the covers of this smartly-designed and well-organized reference guide!

You don't have to memorize all those tricky features or special commands that make AutoCAD one of the most popular computer-design programs on the market. Just open AutoCAD Release 14 For Dummies Quick Reference to the alphabetical listing of the AutoCAD 14 program's extensive commands and find exactly what you're looking for. Can't remember the exact name of each command? No problem. Just scan the pages of program menus and toolbars pictured in the back of the book to find out where those commands are located. Befuddled over words like splines, islands, blips, or NURBS? Peek into the "Techie Talk" glossary and find concise definitions for all of the AutoCAD 14 program's terms and techniques.

If you're using AutoCAD Release 14, then AutoCAD Release 14 For Dummies Quick Reference is the indispensable reference book for you.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764503160
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1997
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Who Needs This Book
How I Stuffed All of AutoCAD into This Tiny Book
Windows 95 and Windows NT
Those Little Icons
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: The Basics
Part II: The Commands
Part III: The System Variables
Part IV: The Menus and Toolbars
Part V: Techie Talk
Part I: The Basics

Getting Started
Opening a new or existing drawing
The AutoCAD screen
Save me, save me!
Ordering AutoCAD Around
Pointing devices: Mouse or digitizer
The command line
All the pretty little menus and toolbars
Dialog boxes
It's a Setup!
The template
Wiz with the Wizard
Units
Drawing, Ltd.
Layer upon layer
Stylish writing
Cool dimensions
Creating a User Coordinate System (UCS)
Getting Picky: Specifying Points
Displaying coordinates
Oodles of coordinates
Object snaps
From here, there, everywhere
Tracking down the elusive point
Filters
SNAP to it!
The itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow polka-dot grid
The military meal: Drawing at right angles
Direct distance entry
Here's Lookin' at You, Kid
Be Choosy: Selecting Objects for Editing
Which came first: Object or command?
Pick and click
Selection options
Get a grip on yourself
Help!
Get Me Out of Here!
Getting Keen on Release 14
Speed, speed, and more speed
ActiveX Automation: Is it a robot?
Part II: The Commands

3D
3DARRAY
3DFACE
3DPOLY
ALIGN
'APERTURE
ARC
AREA
ARRAY
ATTACHURL
ATTDEF
ATTDISP
ATTEDIT
ATTEXT
ATTREDEF
AUDIT
'BASE
BHATCH
'BLIPMODE
BLOCK
BMAKE
BOUNDARY
BOX
BREAK
BROWSER
'CAL
CHAMFER
CHANGE
CHPROP
CIRCLE
'COLOR
CONE
COPY
CYLINDER
DBLIST
DDATTDEF
DDATTE
DDATTEXT
DDCHPROP
DDCOLOR
DDEDIT
'DDGRIPS
DDIM
DDINSERT
DDMODIFY
'DDPTYPE
DDRENAME
'DDRMODES
'DDSELECT
DDUCS
DDUCSP
'DDUNITS
DDVIEW
DDVPOINT
DETACHURL
DIMALIGNED
DIMANGULAR
DIMBASELINE
DIMCENTER
DIMCONTINUE
DIMDIAMETER
DIMLINEAR
DIMRADIUS
DIMSTYLE
DIMTEDIT
'DIST
DIVIDE
DONUT
'DRAGMODE
DRAWORDER
DSVIEWER
DTEXT
DVIEW
DWFOUT
DXFIN
DXFOUT
EDGE
EDGESURF
'ELEV
ELLIPSE
ERASE
EXPLODE
EXPORT
EXTEND
EXTRUDE
'FILL
FILLET
'FILTER
'GRID
GROUP
HATCH
HATCHEDIT
HIDE
'ID
IMAGE & IMAGEATTACH
IMAGEADJUST
IMAGECLIP
IMAGEFRAME
IMAGEQUALITY
IMPORT
INETCFG
INSERT
INSERTURL
INTERFERE
INTERNET UTILITIES
INTERSECT
'ISOPLANE
'LAYER
LEADER
LENGTHEN
LIGHT
'LIMITS
LINE
'LINETYPE
LIST
LISTURL
LOGFILEOFF
LOGFILEON
'LTSCALE
MASSPROP
'MATCHPROP
MATLIB
MEASURE
MINSERT
MIRROR
MIRROR3D
MLEDIT
MLINE
MLSTYLE
MOVE
MSPACE
MTEXT
MVIEW
MVSETUP
NEW
OFFSET
OOPS
OPEN
OPENURL
'ORTHO
'OSNAP
PAINTER
'PAN
PEDIT
PLAN
PLINE
PLOT
POINT
POLYGON
PREFERENCES
PSPACE
PURGE
QSAVE
'QTEXT
QUIT
RAY
RECOVER
RECTANG
REDO
'REDRAWALL
REGEN
REGENAUTO
REGION
REINIT
RENAME
RENDER
REVOLVE
REVSURF
RMAT
ROTATE
ROTATE3D
RPREF
RULESURF
SAVE
SAVEAS
SAVEIMG
SAVEURL
SCALE
SCENE
SECTION
SELECT
SELECTURL
'SETVAR
SHADE
SKETCH
SLICE
'SNAP
SOLID
'SPELL
SPHERE
SPLINE
SPLINEDIT
STATS
'STATUS
STRETCH
'STYLE
SUBTRACT
TABLET
TABSURF
TEXT
'TIME
TOLERANCE
TOOLBAR
TORUS
TRACE
TRANSPARENCY
TRIM
U
UCS
UCSICON
UNDO
UNION
'UNITS
'VIEW
VIEWRES
VPLAYER
VPOINT
VPORTS
WBLOCK
WEDGE
XCLIP
XLINE
XPLODE
XREF & XATTACH
'ZOOM
Part III: The System Variables

Using System Variables
3D
Attributes
Dimensioning
Drawing Aids
Edits
Information/Customization
Object Creation
Text
Part IV: The Menus and Toolbars

Using Menus and Toolbars
AutoCAD Menus
The File menu
The Edit menu
The View menu
The Insert menu
The Format menu
The Tools menu
The Draw menu
The Dimension menu
The Modify menu
The Help menu
AutoCAD Toolbars
The Standard toolbar
The Object Snap flyout/toolbar
The UCS flyout/toolbar
The Inquiry flyout/toolbar
The Viewpoint flyout/toolbar
The Zoom flyout/toolbar
The Object Properties toolbar
The Draw toolbar
The Insert flyout/toolbar
The Modify toolbar
The External Reference toolbar
The Dimension toolbar
The Modify II toolbar
The Reference toolbar
The Render toolbar
The Solids toolbar
The Surfaces toolbar
The Internet Utilities toolbar
Part V: Techie Talk

Index

Book Registration Information

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First Chapter

Part III
The System Variables

In this part of the book, you enter the exotic, arcane world of system variables. System variables are simply values that AutoCAD stores for all sorts of settings. These variables enable you to fine-tune the way that AutoCAD works. Many system variables just provide information and, to tell you the truth, a lot of them are used only in AutoLISP programs.

In this part...

  • Fine-tuning the way AutoCAD works
  • Using system variables to get information

Using System Variables

Once upon a time, you had to use system variables frequently. Nowadays, many variables are handled automatically by the choices that you make in dialog boxes. When you use the DDIM command to create a dimension style, for example, you're working with system variables without knowing it (which is the best way, believe me). I'm including only the system variables that aren't accessible by regular commands, as well as a few other variables that are more convenient to use on the command line. You may want to use these variables directly. I left out some additional system variables that apply only to customizing AutoCAD or using AutoLISP program routines.

I categorized the system variables by type to help you find them more easily.

Simply type the name of the system variable on the command line, followed by its value. You can press Enter after the name of the system variable or just use a space. Press Enter after the value to complete the process. If the system variable just provides information, simply press Enter after you type in the system variable name. Many system variables only turn things on and off. A value of 0 means off; a value of 1 means on -- usually!

To see the options available for a system variable, type the system variable name, press Enter, and press F1.

Most lists of system variables are not very useful, but on the rare occasions when you need to use a system variable, look here. I hope this list can speed you on your way. (For more information, choose Help-->AutoCAD Help Topics. From the Contents tab, double-click Command Reference and then System Variables.)

3D

DISPSILH. Related to the ISOLINES system variable, which sets the number of lines on a 3D surface. DISPSILH turns on (1) and off (0) the display of silhouette curves of surface objects in wire-frame mode, so that no matter which viewpoint you use, you always see an isoline showing you the shape of the curve.

FACETRES. Affects the smoothness of 3D objects that are shaded or have hidden lines. You can set this variable from .01 to 10.

HIDEPRECISION. Controls the precision of calculations for hides and shades. The default, 0, uses normal precision. Set it to 1 to specify double precision to calculate the hide. A setting of 1 requires more memory than a setting of 0.

ISOLINES. The number of isolines per surface on an object; they can range from 0 to 2047. The default is 4, which is pretty puny.

SHADEDGE. Controls the way edges are shaded. Values are

0
Shades faces, but edges not highlighted
1
Shades faces and highlights edges
2
Doesn't shade faces, hides hidden lines, shows edges
3
Highlights edges only, with no lighting effect

Even though 1 probably is the most useful setting, 3 is the default.

SHADEDIF. Sets the percent of diffuse reflective light to ambient light. The default is 70. You may find 50 to be a useful value. Values can range from 0 to 100.

SURFTAB1. The number of tabulations used in the RULESURF and TABSURF commands. Also, for the REVSURF and EDGESURF commands, this variable sets the M (row) direction.

SURFTAB2. Sets the N (column) direction for the REVSURF and EDGESURF commands.

SURFU. The surface density in the M (row) direction. Applies to polyface meshes, such as the meshes created by 3DMESH.

SURFV. The surface density in the N (column) direction. Applies to polyface meshes, such as the meshes created by 3DMESH.

UCSFOLLOW. Determines whether AutoCAD returns you to plan view when you change the UCS. A value of 0 means that you don't return to plan view; 1 means that you do. The default is 0.

Attributes

ATTDIA. Determines whether you get a dialog box when you use the INSERT command to insert a block that contains attributes. A setting of 0 says that you don't get the dialog box; a setting of 1 says that you do.

ATTREQ. If you set to 0, AutoCAD uses default attribute values when you insert a block with attributes. If you set to 1, AutoCAD prompts you for values. The default is 1.

Dimensioning

DIMASO. Turns associative dimensioning on and off. If associative dimensioning is off, the parts of the dimension are separate objects and don't adjust when you change the dimensioned objects. The variable's values are ON and OFF.

DIMSHO. When this variable is on, associative dimensions are recomputed continually as you drag an object. (Associative dimensions change automatically when you change the object.) If this feature slows your computer, turn DIMSHO off.

DIMSOXD. Suppresses dimension lines that otherwise would be outside extension lines. (DIMSOXD is not a baseball team.)

Drawing Aids

BLIPMODE. Turns blips on and off.

EXPERT. This variable is for the experts among you who get annoyed when AutoCAD asks things such as Block already defined. Redefine it? ("Of course, I want to redefine it; why do you think I'm doing this?") A value of 0 is the normal setting. Values ranging from 1 to 5 suppress more and more prompts.

MAXACTVP. Specifies the maximum number of viewports that are regenerated at one time. The default is 16.

MEASUREINIT. Sets the type of measurement used, English using the ANSI standard (setting of 0) or Metric using ISO standards (setting of 1) when you open an existing drawing. This setting affects which hatch pattern and linetype file AutoCAD uses. The default varies according to your country.

PICKSTYLE. Determines the way groups and hatches can be selected.

0
No group selection. Hatches are selected without their boundaries.
1
Group selection. Hatches are selected without their boundaries.
2
No group selection. Hatches are selected along with their boundaries.
3
Group selection. Hatches are selected along with their boundaries.

RTDISPLAY. Controls how AutoCAD displays raster images during realtime zoom or pan. Set this system variable to 0 to display the raster image (this setting can slow down your panning and zooming). Set it to 1 (the default) to display an outline only.

VISRETAIN. Sets the visibility of layers in Xref files. A setting of 0 means that Xrefs take on the layer definition in the current drawing. A setting of 1 means that the layer settings in the Xref drawing take precedence.

WORLDVIEW. Determines whether the UCS changes to the WCS when you use DVIEW or VPOINT. A value of 0 means that the UCS remains unchanged; a value of 1 means that it switches to the WCS.

Edits

DELOBJ. Determines whether objects used to create other objects are maintained in the drawing database. The default (1) retains these objects; a value of 0 deletes them.

EXPLMODE. Determines whether EXPLODE explodes blocks that are nonuniformly scaled (NUS), which means that the X and Y scales are different. The default is to explode them (value of 1), but you can turn the feature off (0).

MIRRTEXT. When you're mirroring objects that include text, a value of 1 (the default) mirrors the text just like anything else. A value of 0 keeps the text looking normal, so that you don't need to look into a mirror to read it. This variable is a good one to know.

Information/Customization

Most of these variables provide information only. Many of the variables are read-only, which means that you can look at them and sigh, but you can't change anything.

ACADPREFIX. The directory path of the ACAD environment.

ACADVER. The AutoCAD version number.

AUDITCTL. Determines the creation of an audit report file.

CDATE. Sets the date and time.

CMDACTIVE. Stores what kind of command is active.

CMDDIA. Turns dialog boxes on and off. If you set this variable to 0, you won't see dialog boxes. The default is 1.

CMDNAMES. The name of the active command.

DATE. The date and time in Julian format.

DBMOD. The drawing modification status.

DCTCUST. The custom spelling dictionary file.

DCTMAIN. The main spelling dictionary file.

DISTANCE. The distance calculated by the DIST command.

DWGNAME. The drawing name.

DWGPREFIX. The directory path for the drawing.

DWGTITLED. Indicates whether you've named your drawing.

EXTMAX. The upper-right corner of the drawing extents.

EXTMIN. The lower-left corner of the drawing extents.

FILEDIA. Turns on and off the display of dialog boxes that deal with files, such as the Open dialog box.

FILENAME. Stores the filename.

LASTANGLE. The end angle of the last arc that you drew.

LASTPOINT. The last point entered.

LASTPROMPT. Stores the last text string that appears on the command line, including user input.

LIMMAX. The upper-right drawing limits.

LIMMIN. The lower-left drawing limits.

LOCALE. The ISO (International Standards Organization) language code of the current AutoCAD version.

LOGINNAME. The user's name (probably you). This is for networks that require a login name.

MENUECHO. Sets menu echo and display prompting.

MENUNAME. The current menu name.

PERIMETER. The last perimeter value calculated by AREA, LIST, or DBLIST.

PFACEVMAX. The maximum number of vertices per face.

PLATFORM. The computer platform that you're using (Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51, or Windows NT 4.0, stage right, stage left, and so on).

PLOTID. Changes the default printer, based on the description you assigned when you configured AutoCAD.

PLOTTER. Changes the default printer, based on its assigned number, starting from 0.

RASTERPREVIEW. Determines whether drawing preview images are saved with the drawing and what type of images are saved.

SAVEFILE. Stores the filename that AutoCAD uses in auto-saving. Set the auto-save time by choosing Tools-->Preferences-->System tab.

SAVENAME. Stores the filename to which you save the drawing.

SCREENSIZE. The size, in pixels, of the current viewport.

SHPNAME. The default shape name.

TDCREATE. The date and time the drawing was created.

TEMPPREFIX. Sets a directory name for temporary files.

TREEDEPTH. Configures the spatial index, which structures the database of objects.

TREEMAX. Limits the size of the spatial index, saving memory.

VIEWCTR. The center of the view of the current viewport.

VSMAX. The upper-right corner of the virtual screen.

VSMIN. The lower-left corner of the virtual screen.

WORLDUCS. Stores whether the UCS is the same as the World Coordinate System. A value of 0 means that the UCS is different; a value of 1 means that the UCS and the WCS are the same.

Object Creation

INSNAME. Stores a default block name for DDINSERT or INSERT.

PELLIPSE. Determines whether the ELLIPSE command creates a true ellipse or a polyline representation of one. A value of 0 (the default) draws a true ellipse. A value of 1 creates a polyline representation of an ellipse. This concept of a polyline ellipse is a holdover from previous releases of AutoCAD.

PLINEGEN. When set the 0, the default, linetypes start each vertex of a polyline with a dash. When set to 1, the linetype is generated in a continuous pattern regardless of the vertices.

PLINETYPE. The value controls the conversion and creation of Release 14 lightweight polylines. At 0, polylines in previous release drawings aren't converted when opened in Release 14, and AutoCAD creates the old-format polylines. At 1, polylines in previous release drawings aren't converted when opened in Release 14, and AutoCAD creates lightweight polylines. At 2 (the default), polylines in previous release drawings are converted when opened in Release 14, and AutoCAD creates lightweight polylines. This system variable affects all commands that create polylines, for example PLINE, RECTANG, POLYGON, and so on.

POLYSIDES. The default number of sides for polygon.

SKPOLY. A value of 0 means that SKETCH creates lines; a value of 1 means that it creates polylines.

SPLFRAME. Sets spline-fit polyline display. If the value is 0, the frame that controls a spline or polygon mesh isn't displayed; also, invisible edges of 3D faces and polyface meshes aren't displayed. If the value is 1, you see the frame of a spline or polygon mesh and invisible edges of 3D faces and polyface meshes.

SPLINESEGS. Sets the number of line segments that each spline generates. A higher number results in a curve that more precisely matches the frame.

SPLINETYPE. Determines type of spline curve created by PEDIT spline. Choose 5 for quadratic B-spline; 6 for cubic B-spline.

SURFTYPE. Sets the type of surface fitting used by the PEDIT Smooth option for 3D Polygon Meshes. Type 5 for a quadratic B-spline, 6 for a cubic B-spline, and 8 for a Bezier surface.

Text

FONTALT. Sets an alternative font that AutoCAD uses, if the font that you ask for can't be found. (Little AutoCAD lost her fonts and didn't know where to find them.)

TEXTQLTY. Sets the resolution of TrueType 1 fonts. Values represent dots per inch. Now only affects rendering, printer or plotter output, and exporting with PSOUT.

TEXTSIZE. Stores the default or last height for text styles without a fixed height.

TEXTSTYLE. The current text-style name.

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