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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.
AutoCAD dimensions are very flexible. We can position them wherever we want, and reposition them if necessary if we need to make room for new dimensions. We can even break the rules a little bit when it comes to our dimension style. In this lesson we're going to learn how to modify our dimensions to suit our needs. On my screen I have a mechanical example and this drawing contains several dimensions. First of all, let's say I'd like to move this dimension. I can do that by using grips. I'll select the dimension, and then I'll select this grip right over the dimension text and I can move and reposition this wherever I like.
Notice, I can also reposition the text and if I drag the text outside of the extension lines, AutoCAD automatically creates a leader. I'm going to click to place the dimension right here, and then I'll press Esc to deselect. Let's make another change. I'm going to zoom in on the top and I would like to line-up these two dimensions. To do that, I'll select this dimension, and then I'll select the grip at the end of this Arrowhead and I'll use my running object snaps to snap this to the end point of this Arrowhead, and then I'll deselect.
We can use grips to reposition any of the dimensions in our drawing. I'll select this Diameter Dimension, I'll select the grip. Notice that as I pull this guy around, the text will automatically jump to the other side of the Leader, so that wherever I place this, it will always look correct. In fact, if I pull this up far enough, AutoCAD will automatically add an extension line. I'm going to zoom out and I'll place my dimension right over here. Let's zoom in on this side, and in this case, maybe I'd like to add some text to this dimension. Normally, when we edit text, we double-click on it.
Here's the problem. If I double-click on this, AutoCAD pops up the Property Changer, which isn't going to help me. So, I'm going to deselect this, and we'll try something else. If you want to edit text that's part of a dimension, we're going to use a command called ddedit. This is the manual way to launch the Text Editor. I will then select the text. This brings up the Text Editor in the Ribbon. Notice that I have several of the settings that we see when we create multi-line text. I'm going to click the Right Arrow key to move my Cursor after the dimension value.
I'll add a space and then I'll type typical, I'll press Enter, and then I'll type 4 Holes. Notice the dimension text is blue. This is a visual cue to let me know that this value is being derived from the dimension itself. When I'm finished making my change, I'll click outside the Editor and then I'll press Escape to exit the command. Let's pan this down and let's take a look at this dimension. I'd like to make some changes to this one. I'll click to select it and instead of using grips, I'm going to right-click, and notice that there are several options at the top of the menu that are associated with dimensions.
Let's take a look at Dim Text position. I'm going to come over and select Move text alone. This allows me to reposition this dimension text independent of the dimension geometry. I can place it here, I can click on it, grab this grip, I can move it over here. I can pretty much place it wherever I like. Now, let's look at how we can re- associate this dimension text to the dimension. It's still selected, so I'm going to right-click. I'll go back to Dim Text position, and I'll select Move with dimension line.
Now this dimension is acting just like it did when I first put it in. I'd like these to line-up. So, I'm going to click right here to place it. Then I'll select it, I'll grab the grip at the end of this Arrowhead and I'll place it to the end of this Arrowhead. I'm going to zoom out, let's pan over a little bit, and let's take a look at this dimension. I'll select this and I'll right-click. Notice, I can modify my precision. Remember I said that we could break the rules a little bit when it comes to our dimension style. Well, right now, the dimension style is dictating that this dimension be two decimal spaces.
I can use this menu option to change it to six decimal spaces. So, as far as this dimension is concerned, it's taking on all of the dimension style settings with the exception of precision. I'm going to select this again, and I'll right-click. Notice I can also use this menu to flip arrowheads. I can create a new dimension style from an existing dimension, or I can assign a different dimension style to this dimension. I'm going to press the Escape key a couple times to close these menus and deselect my entity. Then I'm going to double-click the Scroll Wheel to get a Zoom Extents.
Probably the most powerful tool we have for editing dimensions is the Property Changer. I'm going to zoom in on this dimension and I'll select it. Then I'll come over to the Property Changer, and there is a lot of settings here. I'm going to click these triangles to collapse these groups. Notice that these group names match the tabs that we see in the dimension style. This means that I can modify any of the dimension style settings for a specific dimension only.
Now, currently this guy is to two decimal spaces. I'm going to open up the Primary Units group, and we can see the Precision rate here as well. I'll select this, click the fly-out, and I'm going to change this to four decimal spaces. I'll close this group and I'll open up the Text group, and I'd like to change the Text height to 0.25. I'd like to change the rotation angle of the text to 25 degrees. Then I'll move outside the Palette, let it collapse and I'll press the Escape key to deselect.
Now, this is just an example. There is one realistic change I'd like to make. Take a look at this radial dimension. Notice that AutoCAD has added a center mark, just like it did with this radial dimension and these diameter dimensions. Now, in this case, I'd rather not show this center mark, I'd like to turn it off. So, let's zoom in a little bit closer, and I'll select this dimension, I'll go to the Property Changer. Inside the Lines & Arrows group, I'm going to come over to the Center mark setting, I'll click the fly- out and I'll set this to None.
As you can see, AutoCAD dimensions can be easily modified. With a little effort, we can position or customize them to suit any situation.
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