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AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac with Jeff Bartels covers the fundamental differences between the 2011 Mac OS X version of AutoCAD and the venerable PC edition, allowing designers to leverage existing AutoCAD skills and easily transition to the new environment. This course runs through both a typical 2D and 3D design workflow, covering its workspace, tools, customization options, and strategies users can apply working in a mixed Windows and Mac environment. Exercise files are included with the course.
Even though you are familiar with AutoCAD's functionality, using it inside a Mac environment may generate some questions. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to use AutoCAD's Help feature. First of all, let's talk about general purpose help. Maybe I've got a question about plotting. To get an answer to my question, I'll open the Help menu, and I'll select AutoCAD Help. I can also use the keyboard shortcut, Command+Forward Slash, and just like in the Windows version, AutoCAD for the Mac uses an online help system. So as you can see, it's coming up in Safari.
Over here on the left side of the screen our several informational resources that I can search. These are lot like books sitting on our shelf. There is a User's Guide for general program usage information. We can use the Command Reference for questions about a specific command. The Customization Guide is for questions regarding customization. There are also a couple of resources on Installation and Autodesk Licensing. Since I am looking for general information about plotting, I'll select the User's Guide, and then I'll select from one of these topics.
Let's choose Plot and Publish Drawings. Now does my question have to do with plot settings, or physically plotting drawings? I am going to select the latter and as I move down through these links, I am further refining my search until I find the answer I am looking for. At any point, if I'd like to go back to the top level, I can select the Home link. Now, what if I have questions regarding a specific command? For instance, maybe I'd like more information concerning the usage of the FLATSHOT command. I am going to select Command Reference this time, then I'll select Commands.
Next, I can use this alphabetical list to find my command. I am going to select the F commands, and then I'll select FLATSHOT. This gives me a nice overview of the command. If I use this hyperlink, I can see an image of the dialog box, as well as a description of all of the options associated with this command. Let's go back to Home. If you get some time, there are some other things you can explore.
Right here, are some Tutorials that you can work through to become more familiar with the program. Over here on the right, you can find some general program information in hyperlinked form. Below are some Online Resources, including Autodesk Support, Autodesk Communities, Autodesk User Group International, and Autodesk Blogs. If I drag this down to the bottom, there are also a series of links for AutoCAD Exchange. This is an online community devoted to all things AutoCAD. I am going to close my browser by opening the Safari menu, and selecting Quit Safari.
Let's talk about how we can use Help to find the command. If you are struggling to locate a command in the interface, open the Help menu, and use this Search area. I am going to click in here, and I'll type Render. Notice that AutoCAD shows me a list of all of the commands associated with the word Render. If I hover over a menu item, AutoCAD will show me where that item is in the pull-down menus. Finally, let's look at how we can get help in the middle of an active command. I am going to move over and launch the Line command, and take a look at the Command line.
Notice there is a small help icon. If I click this, AutoCAD will bring up context-sensitive help for the current command. Once again, I'll close Safari by using the pull-down menu. At this point, you are probably thinking, you know what, on the Windows platform, we can access Help by pressing F1. Does that also work on the Mac? Yes, it does. Just make sure that you also hold down the Function key. I am going to press Function F1 to access Help. This goes for all of your Function keys by the way.
Function F8 will toggle Ortho on and off. Function F3 will toggle running objects snaps and so on, just like it does on the Windows version. I am going to close Safari again, this time let's do it a different way. I am going to right-click on the icon in the dock, and I'll select Quit to return to AutoCAD. Migrating from the Windows version of AutoCAD to the Mac version will undoubtedly generate some questions. Fortunately, AutoCAD has a comprehensive user-friendly Help feature to make your transition virtually painless.
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