Tips and Tricks

Most people know that you can export an AutoCAD drawing file to DXF format. Unlike DWG, DXF is a documented file format that can be used to exchange drawing data with others who do not use AutoCAD. Here we are going to discuss a couple of tricks worth knowing. Back in the old days the command was named DXFOUT, and that should still work today. But you can access the DXF file format from the normal file selection dialogs that you get with the SAVE and SAVEAS commands.

Let's take a look. Below is the normal SAVEAS dialog box with the file types expanded at the bottom. There are as many versions of DXF available as there are of DWG. Your choice will depend on many factors, most important being: what version can your file receipient read? Read more about Exporting to DXF tips

Do you get annoyed at AutoCAD when those little blue boxes that appear on objects and quickly start mashing the ESC key? Are these blue boxes, better known as Grips, just in your way? Let’s take a look at Grips and how you might use them to your advantage instead of causing you grief.

Grips allow you to perform many tasks in fewer steps than you may realize. The most common editing commands are built into grips for all entities, including Stretch, Move, Rotate, Scale, and Mirror. Multifunctional grips offer even more editing commands that vary depending on the object type.

Grips are located at strategic points which also vary depending on the object. So think about this for a second; you select an object and a key point on that object is already selected. You have done two things with one pick, this is what makes pre-selecting objects so powerful. Now what exactly can you do with Grips? Let’s take a look. Read more about AutoCAD Grips 101

There does not seem to be an option for changing text portions of dates (such as the name of the month) to UPPERCASE (or lowercase) using the Field command dialog box. All of the examples shown are in First capital.

Field dialog box

However, if you explore other fields where there are options to change the case, you can see that setting a field to UPPERCASE simply adds some code to the end of the field like this: "%tc1".   Read more about Changing the case of date fields

The LENGTHEN command has been around for over 18 years, it was introduced with Release 13 in November of 1994. Yet, I still see many instances where it is ignored and some other method is used in its place. So what can you do with the LENGTHEN command? Let's look at the 4 options, or ways it can work. Read more about AutoCAD Lengthen Command

This is a quick tutorial on adding and using User Defined Properties for Civil 3D cogo points, and we will create a new expression for use in our point label style. I’m starting with the stock template provided with Civil 3D 2013. Create a single point whose point style is Storm Sewer Manhole, and whose point label style is “Point#-Elevation-Description”

plain cogo point with label

  Read more about Civil 3D User Defined Properties

With regard to Civil 3D Cogo Points, you probably know that the point labels include a "Dragged State", the properties of which take over when you drag the point label away from the point location.

    Read more about Civil 3D Cogo Points: Sub-Item Grips

So if you think this post look familiar, you are right. This originally ran back in 2009, but it was very popular and I wanted to update it and run it again so that it is at the top. I'm sure it will be new to a few people too.

How many of these do you know? How many do you use? What is your favorite "obscure" AutoCAD command or system variable? Leave a comment. Read more about 10 AutoCAD commands you have either forgotten or never knew (Update)

This tutorial serves two purposes. One is to create a new tool to convert Line or Arc entities to Polylines, and the other purpose is showing how to integrating this tool into a contextual tab.

We're using AutoCAD 2013, and by default there are no contextual tabs for Line or Arc entities. Let's create a tool to convert these object types to polylines and put it on a contextual tab.

Start by opening the CUI editor by running the CUI command. In the upper left pane, under the ACAD menu, expand Ribbon, and then expand Contextual Tab States. Read more about Creating a command for a new Contextual Tab

Updated for 2014

Here are links to all of the popular series of Lynn Allen's Tips and Tricks booklets for various releases of AutoCAD.

I have the collection of these and still refer to them when I need to know in what release a particular feature was introduced. But getting to know the new features is what these are all about. Click the thumbnails below to download the version of your choice. Read more about Lynn Allen's Tips and Tricks Booklets

Here is a trick that I find many people are not aware of. It is possible to copy geometry from one AutoCAD drawing to another without using traditional copy and paste methods.

There are a couple of rules.

  • Both drawings must be open in the editor
  • You will not be able to specify an exact base point. (See text below the graphic)

Here is how to do it.

  1. Start by getting both drawings visible at the same time.
  2. A quick way to do this is with the SYSWINDOWS command, then specify the Horizontal option.

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