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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.
The viewports that we create on our layouts are very flexible. I mean, we don't have to stick with the standard rectangle. We can also clip viewports into many different shapes. The downside to a clipped viewport is that it's based on a polyline, which means that certain shapes like a doughnut are not allowed, because you cannot have a shape within another shape. Well, in this lesson we're going to avoid the polyline altogether and create a viewport using an even more powerful object called region. On my screen I have some simple geometry. I've drawn a rectangle and some circles.
At this point I am going to open the Draw panel and I'll launch the Region command. I will then select all of my geometry and I'll press Enter. And if you look at the command line, you can see that AutoCAD has converted these three objects into three separate regions. A region is technically a solid object. In fact, it's a solid that has no volume. It is paper thin. You can create a region from just about any geometry so long as it represents a closed shape. The nice thing about regions is that they support Boolean commands like Union and Subtract.
For instance, I am going to launch the Union command by typing union and I'll press enter. I'll select two of these objects and I'll press Enter. And notice how AutoCAD merges them together. Let's try another. This time I'll type subtract. I'll press Enter. I will then select the large object, press Enter, and then I will select the object I'd like to subtract and I'll press Enter. Notice how AutoCAD removed one region from the other. I show you this because you can use regions to create viewports.
That means you can do your editing much faster and you can get away with any shape you can think of. Let's try it. I'm going to erase this geometry and then I'll double-click my scroll wheel to do a Zoom Extents. On my screen I have a drawing of a tree removal plan. This cyan line represents my property boundary. If I zoom in, you can see that I have several blocks that represent trees and the trees with an X are the ones that are targeted to be removed. Let's take a look at the layout that's been set up for this drawing.
The first thing I'd like to do is create a viewport. However, I'm going to do it in a different way. I'll start by launching the Rectangle command and then I'll select this lower left endpoint and the upper right endpoint. This way I have created a rectangle that's the same size as my title block. Next, I'll launch the Region command. I'll select my rectangle and I'll press Enter. This rectangle is now a region. Now I'll jump to the View tab, and in the Viewports panel, I'll open this fly-out and I'll select Create from Object and I'll select my region.
I will then double-click to jump into the viewport. I'll use this menu to set the scale to 1:50, and then I will pan this down and I'll center it inside the view. Notice that this viewport works just like any other viewport that you've seen. I'm going to turn off the grid as well. I'll do that by clicking this icon in the status bar and then I'll double-click outside the viewport boundary to jump out. Let's edit this boundary. If I Zoom in, you can see that I have some line work passing through the text area of the title block.
Typically we would use the Clipping tool to remove this, instead I'm going to subtract it out. I'll jump back to the Home tab, I'll launch the Rectangle command, and I'll create a rectangle from the lower left corner to the upper right corner of the text block. I will then launch the Region command, I'll select my rectangle, and I'll press Enter. Next, I'll launch the Subtract command. Now, instead of typing that again, I'm going to right click and in the Recent Input Menu, I'll select Subtract from here.
I will then select the large region and press Enter and then I'll select the smaller one, the one I'd like to subtract, and I'll press Enter. I am going to jump into the viewport and pan and you can see the text area has been removed. I am going to jump out and then I'll do a zoom extents, and I'll open the Layer control because I'd like to turn on a layer here called general notes. Let's zoom in. I'm sure you'll agree that these notes are a little hard to read with the linework in the background.
Let's try and subtract that area from the viewport. Once again, I'll create a rectangle, and I'm going to turn off my running object snaps momentarily. I'll use the rectangle to surround the text. I will then convert this rectangle into a region. Then I'll right-click, I'll come down to Recent Input, and select Subtract. I'll select the large region, press Enter, and then I'll select the object I'd like to subtract and press Enter. Let's back up.
I am going to double-click in this viewport and if I pan you can see that my viewport now has a hole in it. This is something you can't do with a polyline. I'm going to jump back out and at this point you may be wondering if it's difficult to remove the hole. No, it's not. Once again, I'll create another rectangle. I'll make this one larger than the hole. Let's convert this one into a region. This time I'll launch the Union command.
I'll do that by typing union. I'll press Enter. I will then select the large region followed by the smaller one and I'll press Enter, and AutoCAD fuses the shapes together, removing the hole. Using regions we can take our viewports to a whole new creative level. Virtually any shape is possible and edits are as simple as Union and Subtract.
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