So far in this book, you’ve seen how to get data about the geometry of your drawing. There is also a set of tools available to access the general state of your drawings. You can gather information about the time at which a drawing was created and last edited, or the status of current settings in a file. In this section, you will practice extracting this type of information from your drawing, using the tools found in the Tools :> Inquiry option’s cascading menu.
Determining the Drawing’s Status
When you work with a group of people on a large project, keeping track of a drawing’s setup becomes crucial The Status command enables you to obtain some general information about the drawing you are working on, such as the base point, current mode settings, and workspace or computer memory use. The Status command is especially helpful when you are editing a drawing someone else has
worked on, because you may want to identify and change settings for your own style of working. When you select Tools :> Inquiry >- Status, you get a list like the one.
Here is a brief description of each item on the Status screen. Note that some of the items you see listed on the screen will vary somewhat from what we’ve hown here, but the information applies to virtually all situations except where noted.
(number) objects in 0: \Oirectory\Subdi rectory The number of entities or objects in the drawing.
Model space limits are The coordinates of the Model Space limits.
Model space uses The area the drawing occupies; equivalent to the
extents of the drawing Over: If present, this item means that part of the drawing is outside the limit boundary.
Display shows The area covered by the current view.
Insertion base is, Snap resolution is, and Grid spacing is The current default values for these mode settings.
Current space Model Space or Paper Space.
Current layout The current tab.
Current layer The current default layer.
Current color The color assigned to new objects.
Current linetype The line type assigned to new objects.
Current lineweight The current default lineweight setting.
Current plot style The current plot style table used for the drawing.
Current elevation/thickness The current default z-coordinate for new objects, plus the default thickness of objects; these are both 3D-related settings (see Chapter 15 for details).
Fill, Grid, Ortho, Qtext, Snap, and Tablet The status of these options.
Object snap modes The current default Osnap setting.
Free dwg disk (drive:) The amount of space available to store drawing specific temporary files. Free temp disk (drive:) The amount of space you have left on your hard drive for AutoCAD’s resource temporary files.
Free physical memory The amount of free RAM available.
Free swap file space The amount of Windows swap file space available.
In addition to being useful in understanding a drawing file, the Status command is an invaluable tool for troubleshooting. Frequently, problems can be isolated by a technical support person using the information provided by the Status command.
Keeping Track of Time
The Time command allows you to keep track of the time spent on a drawing, for billing or analysis purposes. You can also use the Tune command to check the current time and find out when the drawing was created and most recently edited. Because the AutoCAD timer uses your computer’s time, be sure the time is set correctly in DOS.
To access the Time command, enter TIme..J at the command prompt, or select Tools >Inquiry :> Time. You get a message like the one.
The first three lines of this message tell you the current date and time, the date and time the drawing was created, and the last time the drawing was saved or ended.
The fourth line shows the total time spent on the drawing from the point at which the file was opened. This elapsed timer lets you time a particular activity, such as changing the width of all the walls in a floor plan or redesigning a piece of machinery. You can turn the elapsed timer on or off, or reset it, by entering ON, OFF, or Reset at the prompt shown as the last line of the message. The last line tells you when the next automatic save will be.
Getting Information from System Variables
If you’ve been working through this book’s ongoing studio apartment building tutorial, you’ll have noticed occasional mentions of a system variable in conjunction with a command. You can check the status or change the setting of any system variable while you are in the middle of another command. To do this, you simply type an apostrophe (‘), followed by the name of the system variable, at the command prompt
For example, if you have started to draw a line and you suddenly decide you need to rotate your cursor 45°, you can do the following steps.
1. At the Spec; fy next point or [Undo]: prompt, enter ‘sniping.
2. At the Enter new value for SNAPANG<0>: prompt, enter a new cursor angle. Once you have entered an angle value, you are returned to the Line command with the cursor in its new orientation.
You can also recall information such as the last area or distance calculated by AutoCAD. Because the Area system variable duplicates the name of the Area command, you need to choose Tools :> Inquiry :> Set Variables, and then type Area.J to read the last area calculation. You can also type ‘Setvar.J Area.J, The Tools
Inquiry :> Set Variables option also lets you list all the system variables and their status, as well as access each system variable individually by entering a question mark (?)
Many of the system variables give you direct access to detailed information about your drawing. They also let you fine-tune your drawing and editing activities. In Appendix D you’ll find all the information you need to familiarize your self with the system variables available. Don’t feel that you have to memorize them all at once; just be aware that they are available
Keeping a Log of Your Act!vity
At times you may find it helpful to keep a log of your activity in an AutoCAD session. A log is a text file containing a record of your activities in AutoCAD. It may also contain notes to yourself or others about how a drawing is set up. Such a log’ can help you determine how frequently you use a particular command, or it can help you construct a macro for a commonly used sequence of commands. The following exercise demonstrates how you can save and view a detailed record of an AutoCAD session using the Log feature. .
1. Click Tools >Options. In the Options dialog box, click the Open and Save tab at the top of the dialog box. A new set of options appears.
As a shortcut, you can quickly turn the Maintain a log File feature on and off by
typing Logfileor1.J and Logfileoff.J at the command prompt in AutoCAD.
2. Click the check box labeled Maintain a Log File in the File Safety Precautions group, and then click OK.
3 Choose Tools >- Inquiry >- C:tatus,
4 Return to the Open and Save tab of the Options dialog box, and then click the Maintain a Log File check box again to remove the X,
5 Click OK to exit the dialog box,
6 Switch 0\’Cf to Windows and, art the Notepad application, or any text editor,
7 With the text editor, open the file called Acad .10g in the \Program Fi 1es \AutoCAD2000\ directory. This is the file that stores the text data from the command prompt whenever the Log File option is turned on, You must turn off the Log File option before you can actually view this file in Au oCAD.
8 Since Acad. log is a standard text file, you can easily send it to other members of your workgroup, or print it out for a permanent record,