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Properly managing a drawing is essential to being productive in AutoCAD. In this course, author Jeff Bartels concentrates on the Autodesk AutoCAD tools and features dedicated to organizing and editing geometry. The course covers making selections, creating and adjusting layers, identifying objects with hatch patterns, and scaling, exploding, and joining elements. It also includes lessons on creating fillets and chamfers, copying existing objects into rectangular or circular patterns, and accessing specialized tools that make measurements and calculations a lot easier.
After working with the full-blown Layer Properties Manager, you may be wondering if there's a faster way to change Layer settings. The answer to this question is yes. In this lesson we'll use the Layer control to make quick adjustments to our layers. On my screen I have an unfinished drawing, one thing I still need to do is draw a circle representing a hole that will be drilled through this part. Before I draw the circle I want to make sure I'm creating it on the correct layer. So I'm going to hover over this circle and I can see it was drawn on layer part.
To set the part layer current, I'm going to open the Layer control and I'll choose the part layer. I'm sure you'll agree that's much faster than using the Layer Properties Manager. Let's launch the Circle command and I'm going to create my circle from the center of this one, and I'll give it a radius of 2.25. Next, I'd like to project the edges of this circle down to the front view to create the geometry representing the hole. This line work needs to be on the hidden lines layer, so I'm going to open Layer control and I'll set the hidden layer current.
I will then launch the Line command and I'll draw my line from the Shift+Right-Click Quadrant of the left side of this circle, and I'll draw that to Shift+Right-Click Perpendicular to the bottom edge of the front view. When I'm finished I'll press Escape. To create the line on the other side, I'm going to use the Mirror command. I'll launch Mirror, I'll select my line, press Enter, and I'll use the geometry of this center line to represent my mirror line, when I'm finished, I'll press Enter.
Now I can use the Trim command, I'll select the top edge of the front view and press Enter, and then I will select these projected lines to trim them off. In addition to setting a layer current, we can also use the Layer control to move objects from one layer to another. Take a look at this geometry on the left side. These lines should be on the center line layer. To correct this geometry I will select it, and then I'll come up to the Layer control and I'll choose the correct layer, when I'm finished, I'll press Escape.
Take a look at the icons next to the layer name; these are a smaller subset of the same settings that we see in the Layer Properties Manager. In addition to showing us the current state of the layer, we can also use these icons to change the properties of the layer. For example, currently my hidden lines layer is displaying as white, usually I like to use magenta. So I'm going to open the Layer control, I'll click the color icon, I'll change this to magenta, and I'll click OK.
Using the same workflow I can turn layers off as well. If I open the Layer control I could turn the dimensions layer off by clicking the light bulb icon, I'll then click on screen to dismiss the menu. There are two settings remaining, Freeze and Lock. If you freeze a layer, AutoCAD no longer knows that layer exists; it essentially removes it from AutoCAD's memory. Freezing a layer is a good idea when you're working with a very large file, because if you freeze geometry you're not working with, you can increase the performance of your system.
If you lock a layer, for instance, I'm going to lock the part layer, this makes the geometry on the part layer no longer selectable, meaning you can't accidentally change it, this geometry is now safe. To unlock the layer, I'm going to open the control, and I'll click the icon again, and I'll turn the dimensions back on as long as I'm here. Think of the Layer controls being a miniature Layer Properties Manager. Not only does this tool give us quick access to many popular layer settings, it's also one of the fastest ways to set a layer current or move entities from one layer to another.
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