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In AutoCAD 2011: Tips, Tricks, and Industry Secrets, Jeff Bartels shows AutoCAD users how to become more efficient power users, reducing the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task, increasing profit margins, and strengthening marketplace competitiveness. The course covers everything from shortcuts used in geometry creation, to program customization, to real world solutions to common problems. Interface customization, block and reference management skills, and express tool usage are also covered. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this lesson we're going to take a second look at the Quick Properties tool. I say second look because many people who use this tool for the first time say, "You know, Quick Properties is nice, but I don't think it's right for me" and they turn it off. With a little customization though, the Quick Properties feature just might become one of your favorite interface tools. On my screen I have a drawing of a plant of survey. If we look right down here at the Status bar, you can see that my Quick Properties feature is turned on. Now, when Quick Properties is on, if you select an object, AutoCAD will bring up a miniature Properties palette right here at the cursor.
I can use this tool to adjust some of the general properties associated with the selected object. When I am finished making my changes, I can hit Escape to deselect the entity and the Quick Properties tool goes away on its own. Now as nice as this tool is, it doesn't always have all of the properties that I'd like to change. For instance, if I come over here, I have a Multileader and I can see in the tooltip this guy is sitting on the wrong layer. Now if you're not seeing these tooltips, that feature may be turned off on your system.
To turn them back on, I'd like you to right-click, come down to Options, and if you go to the Display tab, you can find the toggle for the tooltips right here. Let's click OK. I'll come back to my Multileader. This guy is on the wrong layer. So I will select it and if I come over to the Quick Properties tool, you can see that the tool does not contain a layer property. Quite frankly, this is when a lot of people stopped using this feature. However, we have complete control over the properties that we see on the tool.
That's what this button is for. I am going to click Customize. This brings up AutoCAD's CUI, the customizable user interface. And I can see right here that I have a Multileader selected. Over here on the right, I can see a listing of all of the properties that are associated with Multileaders. The ones with the checks are the ones that are showing up in the Quick Properties tool. I would like to add the Layer property, so I will place a check in that box. I'll click Apply and OK.
From now on whenever I select a Multileader, I can change its property by coming over to the tool. I'll click this fly-out and I will select the appropriate layer. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. Let's make another change. Take a look at this contour line. If I hover over this I can see this is a Polyline. Now the line type doesn't look very good on this guy. That's because the segment lengths are too short to represent all of the dashes. So I need to adjust the linetype generation of this Polyline.
To do that, I will select it. I'll come over to the Quick Properties tool and just as I suspected, there is no Linetype generation property here. No matter, I'll click the Customize button. I can see that I have a Polyline selected this time. I'm going to come down and turn on the Linetype generation property, and before I leave, take a look at this list. I don't have to stop with just Polylines. I can select from any of these other AutoCAD entities and I can adjust their properties as well.
This means I can dial up the Quick Properties tool to show me all of the properties that are relevant to my type of work. When I am finished making my changes, I'll click Apply and OK. Now I can select this Polyline. I'll come over to the Quick Properties tool and I can use this fly-out to enable Linetype generation. When I am finished, I'll press Escape. Linetype generation will span your Linetype around the entire Polyline regardless of the length of the segments, and you know, I'd like to apply this setting to all of my contours.
So I'm going to select this one. I'll right-click and then I'll choose Select Similar. This grabs all of the contour objects and then in the Quick Properties tool, I will adjust the Linetype generation of all of them and press Escape. As you can see I can make property changes very quickly to my geometry, because the properties are right there at my cursor. Not only that, I have complete control over the properties that I see. Let's take a look at something else. I am going to hover over this line to bring back the tooltip.
We even have control over the properties that we see on these tooltips. As you can see by default, AutoCAD is showing us general properties. However, I can show any property that's important to me. For instance, these contours are at a specific elevation. They represent the elevation of the property in even one-foot increments. It would be very nice if I could hover over a contour and see its elevation, especially in an instance like this one, where the contour has no label. Let me show you how we can add properties to the tooltips.
To do that, I'll jump to the Manage tab on the Ribbon and I'll select CUI. This reopens the customizable user interface. On the left side I am going to select Rollover Tooltips and take a look at this area on the right. It looks very familiar. I'm going to select Polyline and in this list on the right, I'm going to select Elevation as a property I'd like to see in the rollover tooltip. When I am finished, I'll click Apply and OK. And from now on, if I hover over any Polyline, I can see its elevation.
One of the things that makes AutoCAD special is that it can be customized. So if the out-of-the-box settings don't match what you need, go ahead and change them. By adjusting your Quick Properties and your rollover tooltips, you can easily make AutoCAD adapt to the type of work that you do.
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