The Express Standard toolbar seems to be the answer to most AutoCAD users wish lists. As with many of the Express tools discussed so far, these tools have been floating around in the AutoCAD user community as AutoLISP utilities. However, some are completely new. This section starts with a look at one tool that has been on my wish list for quite some time.
Multiple Entity Stretch
The Stretch command has always been limited by the fact that you can only select one set of vertices. The Multiple Entity Stretch tool removes that limitation and makes stretching multiple objects a simpler task. Here’s how it works.
- Click; Multiple Entity Stretch tool on the Express Standard toolbar.
- Start to place crossing windows around the vertices you want to stretch. You may also enter Cp and proceed to place crossing polygons around the vertices.
- When you are done selecting vertices, press button.
- Go ahead and select a base point and second point to move the vertices.
Streamlined Move Copy and Rotate
The Move Copy Rotate tool combines these three functions into one tool. It’s like streamlined Grip Edit tool without the grips. Here’s how it works.
- Click the Move Copy Rotate tool or select Express > Modify > Move Copy Rotate.
- Select the objects you want to edit, then press button.
- Click a base point.
- At the [Move/Copy/Rotate/Scale/Base/Undo] <exit>: prompt, enter the option you want to use; for example, type C. You can also right-click and select Copy from the popup menu. The object or objects you selected in step 2 now follow your cursor.
- Click a location for your copy. You can continue to select more points to create multiple copies.
- When you are finished making copies, press button The [Move/Copy/Rotate/Scale/Base/Undo] <exit>: prompt returns, allowing you to make further edits.
- Press button to exit the Move Copy Rotate tool.
The Move Copy Rotate tool acts like the Move or Copy command up until step 4. From step 4 on, you can do any number of operations on the selected objects as listed in the prompt.
Quick Multiple Trims with Extended Trim
The Extended Trim tool is actually best described by its title in the Express pull-down menu: Cookie Cutter Trim. It is capable of trimming a set of objects to a closed shape, such as a circle or closed polyline. You can, for example, use it to cut out a star shape in a crosshatch pattern. You can also trim multiple objects to a line or arc as well. To use it, do the following.
- Choose Extended Trim on the Express Standard toolbar, or select Express > Modify > Cookie Cutter Trim.
- Select an object that is to be the trim boundary; that is, the object to which you want to trim.
- Click the side of the selected object that you want trimmed.
Extended Trim only allows you to select a single object to trim to, but it trims multiple objects quickly and with fewer clicks of the mouse.
Editing Multiple Polylines with Multiple Pedit
If you only want to change the properties of polylines, you may want to use the Multiple Pedit tool.
The Multiple Pedit tool works exactly like the standard Pedit command (found by choosing Modify > Object > Polyline) with two exceptions: It does not offer the Edit Vertex option and you are not limited to a single polyline. This means that you can select multiple polylines to change their width, curvature, or open/ close status. Multiple Pedit also lets you easily convert multiple lines and arcs into polylines.
Perhaps one of the most common uses for the Multiple Pedit tool is to change the width of a set of lines, arcs, and polylines. If you include lines and arcs in a selection set with this tool, they are converted into polylines and the specified width is applied .
Masking Areas with Wipeout
Chapter 6 described two methods for masking hatch patterns behind graphics in a space-planning example. A third method is to use the Wipeout tool. Wipeout creates an object called a Wipeout, which acts like a mask. If you read the previous section on the Text Mask tool, you’ve gotten a glimpse at how Wipeout works because the Text Mask tool uses the Wipeout object. The following exercise demonstrates how to use the Wipeout tool in another application.
Imagine that you’ve set up a Paper Space layout showing an enlarged view of one of the units of the studio apartment building from this book. You want to show dimensions and notes around the unit, but there are too many other objects in the way. The Wipeout tool can be of great help in this situation. Here’s how.
- Open the 19wipe.dwg file. This is one of the sample files on the companion CD-ROM. When you open this file, you will be in Paper Space.
- While still in Paper Space, zoom in to the typical Unit plan so your view looks similar to Figure 19.3.
- Create a layer called Wipeout and make it current.
- Switch to Floating Model Space by double-clicking inside the Model Space viewport or by clicking the PAPER button in the status bar.
- Draw the closed polyline shown in Figure 19.3.You don’t have to be exact about the shape; you can adjust it later.
- Click Wipeout on the Express Standard toolbar,
- At the Wipeout Frame/New <New>: prompt, press .J to accept the default New option.
- At the Select a polyline: prompt, select the polyline you just drew . .
- At the Erase polyline? Yes/No <No>: prompt, enter Y button to erase the polyline. The area enclosed by the polyline is masked out.
The Wipeout object has a border that can be turned on and off. When visible, you can click the Wipeout border and use its comer grips to reshape the area that it covers. You can also erase, move, or copy the Wipeout object using, its-border. In the example of the Unit plan, you will want to hide the Wipeout border. Take the following steps to turn off the Wipeout border’s visibility.
- Click the Wipeout button in the Express Standard toolbar.
- At the Frame/New <New>: prompt, type F button.
- At the OFF/ON <ON>: prompt, type OFF-l. The frame disappears.
When the frame is off, you cannot edit the Wipeout object. Of course, you can turn it back on using the Frame option you used in step 2 of the previous exercise. By the way, if you need to edit the Text Mask tool described earlier in this chapter, you use the Frame option described in the previous exercise to turn on the Text Mask border.
With the Wipeout object in place and its border turned off, you can add dimensions and notes around the image without having the adjoining graphics interfere with the visibility of four notes. Figure 19.4 shows the Unit plan with the dimensions inserted from the individual Unit plan file.
There is one more point to address here. If you switch to Paper Space and zoom out to view the entire Paper Space drawing, you’ll notice that the Wipeout object appears in the overall plan at the top of the screen (see Figure 19.5). Fortunately, you can freeze the Wipeout layer in the viewport with the Overall view to hide the Wipeout object.
Drawing Revision Clouds
A revision cloud is a cloud-like outline drawn around parts of a drawing, that have been revised. They are used to alert the viewer to any changes that have occurred : the design of a project since the drawings were last issued. Revision clouds are fairly common in most types of technical drawings, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drawings.
As simple as they might appear, revision clouds are difficult to draw using the standard tools offered by AutoCAD. But now there is a single tool that makes them easy to draw. Try using the Revision Cloud tool on the 19wipe .dwg file by following these steps.
- If you haven’t already done so, switch your drawing to Paper Space.
- Click the Revision Cloud tool. Then click a point near the right side of the viewport that shows a view of the Unit plan, as shown in Figure 19.6.
- Move the cursor in a counterclockwise direction to encircle the Unit plan view. As you move the cursor, the cloud is drawn.
- Bring the cursor full circle back to the point from which you started. When you approach the beginning of the cloud, the revision cloud closes and you exit the Revision Cloud tool.
If you need to change the size of the arcs in the revision cloud, you can do so in step 2 by entering A button You can then enter an arc length. Also note that you must -draw the cloud in a counterclockwise direction; otherwise, the arcs of the cloud will point in the wrong direction.
Keeping Your Xref Files Together with Pack ‘n Go
The Xref feature of AutoCAD has helped streamline the production of large architectural projects. The San Francisco Main Library project,,,in particular, benefited from Xrefs. But Xrefs also introduce one major problem. When it comes time to send the AutoCAD files to other consultants, you have to figure out which files are external references for other files. In a large project, management of Xrefs can become a major headache.
The Pack ‘n Go utility is designed to help you manage Xrefs, as well as most other external resources that an AutoCAD drawing may depend on, such as line-type definitions and text fonts. Here’s how it works.
- Click the Pack ‘n Go tool in the Express Standard toolbar.
The Pack & Go dialog box appears.
- To choose a location for the copies of your files, click the Browse button in the lower-right comer of the dialog box. A Browse for Folder dialog box lets you locate and select a folder in which to place your copies.
- Click Copy to copy all the drawing files and resources to the selected directory.
In addition to the files and resources, Pack ‘n Go generates three script files designed to convert the drawing files into any format from Release 12 to Release 14. See Chapter 15 for more on script files.)
Another helpful feature of the Pack ‘n Go tool is the report generator. If you click the Report button in the Pack & Go dialog box, a Report dialog box opens, providing a written description of the current file and it resources.
You can save this report as a text file by clicking the Save button. Such a report can be used as a Readme file when s¢~ding drawings to clients or consultants.
Creating Custom Hatch Patterns with Super Hatch
AutoCAD offers a large variety of hatch patterns from its Boundary Hatch dialog box. But there are times when none of those patterns will fulfill your needs. This is where the Super Hatch tool comes in. With Super Hatch, you can create virtually any hatch pattern you want. You can use objects in your drawing as a basis for a hatch pattern, or you can import bitmap images and use them to form a hatch pattern, like tiled wallpaper in the Windows background. The following exercise shows you how to use Super Hatch.
- Open the sample file from the Figures folder called Superhateh.dwg. You’ll see a block of the Sybex logo on the left side of the screen and a rectangular area to the right. In this exercise, you’ll turn that logo into a hatch pattern.
- Click the Super Hatch tool.
The SuperHatch dialog box appears.
- Click the Select Existing button. The SuperHatch dialog box disappears.
- Click the arrow. It becomes highlighted and a magenta rectangle appears encircling the arrow.
- At this point, you can indicate the area you want repeated in your pattern. The default is the extents of the image as indicated by the magenta rectangle,
- Click the two points shown in Figure 19.7 to indicate the area that you want repeated. The rectangle changes to reflect the new area. You can repeat the area selection until you get exactly the area you want.
- Press button to move on to the next step.
- Click the interior of the rectangle to indicate the area you want to hatch. If you have multiple hatch areas, you can continue to select them at this step.
- Press button to finish your selection of hatch areas. The logo appears repeated as a pattern within the rectangle as shown in Figure 19.8.
The object you select using the Select Existing option of the SuperHatch dialog box must be a block. You can modify that block using the techniques described in Chapter 6 and the changes will appear in the hatch pattern, as shown in Figure 19.9.
As you can see from the SuperHatch dialog box, you can incorporate Xrefs, blocks, and even image files. Each of these options prompts you to insert the object before you convert it into a hatch pattern. You use the usual insertion method for the type of object you select. For example, if you choose the Block option, you are prompted for an insertion point, the X and Y scale factors, and a rotation angle. For image files, you see the same Image dialog box that you. see when you insert an image file, offering the options for insertion point, scale, and rotation. Figure 19.10 shows a sample hatch pattern with an image file used instead of an AutoCAD block.