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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 palettes in AutoCAD give us access to a lot of functionality. However, they take up a lot of space too. If you're someone who works using a single monitor, it doesn't take long before your palettes completely take over your screen. In this lesson we are going to learn how to get the most out of our palettes while taking up the least amount of screen real estate. I am going to start by pressing Ctrl+1. This brings up the Properties palette. Using this tool I can change the properties of virtually anything in my drawing. This is an important palette, something I'd like to have easy access to all the time.
As you can see, this guy takes up a lot of space. If I click and hold on this title bar, I can drag it over to the edge of the screen and release. That will dock the palette. However, it's still taking up a lot of room. I am going to drag us back out. I will do that by clicking and holding on the title bar up here. I will drag this back into model space and I will release. Now instead of docking the palette, I'm going to anchor it. I will do that that by right clicking on the title bar and I'll select anchor left. This collapses the palette down to the left margin of the screen.
Now if I need the tools, all I have to do is hover over the margin. I can take care of my business and when I am finished, I will move away and the palette will collapse automatically. I can even take this one step further. If I right-click on the margin, I can select Icons Only. This will reduce the entire palette down to a single icon. Once again, I can simply hover over the icon to access the tools. If at any point I wanted to lock this palette open again, I can click the Auto Hide button to turn that feature off.
This will put the palette into a docked state. To go back to the anchored state, I will move up and click this minimize icon. Using this palette anchoring technique, I can have several of these huge palettes incorporated into my interface and they take up virtually no space. I am going to press Ctrl+2 to bring up the Design Center. I use this palette frequently to move content from one drawing to another. So I am going to right-click on the title bar and I will anchor this to the interface. I am going to press Ctrl+8 to open the calculator.
I will right-click and we will anchor this to the left side of the screen. How about Sheet Sets? I use the Sheets Set palette all the time. I am going to press Ctrl+4 to open at palette. Let's anchor this guy to the right side of the screen. I will right-click and select anchor right, and then I'll come over here, right-click on the margin, and I'll set the right side of the screen to be Icons Only as well. Let's do one more, external references. Now unfortunately there is no Control key sequence to bring up the External Reference Manager, but you can always use the command alias ER and tap your Spacebar.
Let's anchor this guy to the right. Now if you want, you can find all of AutoCAD's palettes by going to the View tab and they are all located right here in the Palettes panel. In fact, the ones that are blue are the ones are currently being used in the interface. It looks like we have about nine more palettes left and we certainly have room for all of them. As you see, by anchoring your palettes down to icons, you can pack a large amount of functionality into a small amount of space.
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