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Join Jeff Bartels as he covers the most important features of this industry-standard drafting and design application in AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training. This course begins with a tour of AutoCAD's interface and the tools used to create basic shapes. It then focuses on the methods used to modify and refine geometry while emphasizing accuracy and good habits to build a solid design foundation. The course covers using layers, line types, and colors to organize a drawing file and explains how to efficiently annotate a design and prepare it for final output. Throughout the title, Jeff shares industry techniques used in production and reinforces concepts using practical examples. Exercise files are included with the course.
Probably the most versatile components we have in our interface are palettes. Palettes give us quick access to drawing content, properties, and commands. Let's look at how we can apply them to our workspace. If we look right down here in the Palettes panel, we can see that we have several palettes available. There are 15 icons here and each of these guys represents a palette that serves a specific purpose. Fortunately, all of the palettes work the exact same way. Now, one of the palettes we'll be using frequently in this title is the Properties palette. We would use this tool to make changes to the geometry in our drawing.
So I am going to click the Properties icon to bring the palette up on screen. The first thing we notice is that palettes are quite large. Now we can move them around, such that they are not in the way. I can do that by clicking-and-holding on this Title Bar and I can drag this guy wherever I like on screen. If I want to adjust its width or height, I can click-and-hold on the edge of the palette and I can drag to adjust its width. I can click-and-hold down at the bottom, and I can drag to adjust its height. If I drag the palette close to the edge of my screen, notice how the shape changes.
If I release my mouse button at this point, the palette will be docked to the interface. And even though it's docked, I can still adjust its width. If I click-and-hold on this divider, I can change this guy to whatever size I like. Just to give you a preview of how this palette works, let's say, I'd like to change the size of this circle. I am going to click to select it, and then I'll come over to the Properties palette, and I'll click in the Radius field, and I'll change this to 0.75 and I'll hit Enter. Notice how the geometry changes instantly on screen. Now that I am finished, I'll press my Escape key to deselect the circle.
As you can see, the Properties palette can be a very powerful tool. However, it's still taking up a lot of space. Let me show you how we can optimize the size of our palettes on screen. If I move up and click this Minimize button, the palette will collapse down to the margin of my interface. Now if I want to use the tool, I can place my cursor into the margin and the palette will open up. Once again, I can adjust its width by clicking-and-dragging on this edge. When I am finished using the tool, I can move my cursor out and the palette will collapse. We can take this concept one step farther.
If I right-click on this margin, I can select Icons Only, and this will reduce the palette down to a single icon. Think about this for a second. This means I could have several palettes on my screen, only taking up a small amount of real estate. Anytime I want to use the palette, I can place my cursor over the icon, use the tool. When I am finished, I move away, and it goes back to the minimized state. If the time comes where I'd like to convert this palette back to a docked state, I can click this Auto-hide button. This turns off the Auto-hide feature and leaves the palette docked on my screen.
If I wanted to remove the palette from my screen, I could click this X. although, as I mentioned earlier, we'll be using this palette frequently in the title. So I am going to keep it turned on for now. However, I am going to click this Minimize button now, so it takes up the least amount of space. Palettes are by far the most versatile component in our interface. They can pack the functionality of an entire dialog box beneath a single icon.
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