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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.
AutoCAD can incorporate data from many different sources. Some examples would be images, text files, PDF files, or other AutoCAD drawings. The trick to inserting this extra content is knowing what command is needed to insert each type of file. The real trick is knowing that you can insert most data without using any commands at all. In this lesson we are going to learn how to insert content from a variety of files using drag and drop. As you can see, I've just launched my AutoCAD and I'm sitting in the default Drawing1 file.
I'm going to press the Windows key and the letter E to launch Windows Explorer. Then I will navigate to the Desktop. I will open the Exercise Files folder. I will jump into the chapter_05 folder and then I'll open this folder called drag-and-drop. Now, since I am using Windows 7, I am going to drag this window over to the right side of the screen, such that it fills up half of my monitor. I will then click the AutoCAD title bar. I'll click the Restore Down button and I will drag this application over to the left side of the screen. All right! In this folder I have files that represent several different formats.
I'm going to insert all of this content into my AutoCAD drawing using only drag-and-drop. We will do this AutoCAD drawing first. I will click, hold, and drag this into model space, and when I release AutoCAD will insert this drawing as a block. I will click to specify the insertion point and I will press Enter to accept the default scale factor and rotation. Let's zoom out a little and I will pan this geometry down. Note that I have to regen the drawing. I will type re and press Enter to do that.
Let's try inserting an image next. I'm going to click, hold, and drag this JPEG file into model space, and when I release notice that I am now holding the image at my cursor. I will click to place it in the drawing and then I will press Enter to accept the default scale factor and rotation angle. I'm sure you'll agree that this method is a lot faster than using the Reference Manager. Let's try a PDF file. I will drag this tree detail into my drawing and I will release. I will press Enter to accept page number 1.
I will click to specify the insertion point and I am going to insert this with a scale factor of 2. I will press Enter and then I will press Enter again to accept the default rotation angle. As you can see, AutoCAD has inserted this PDF as an underlay, the same as if we'd used the Reference Manager. Let's push this up a little. If I were to drag-and-drop a text file into AutoCAD, AutoCAD converts it into mtext, which is nice because now I don't have to retype this information.
Let's try a WMF file. A WMF is Windows Clipart. If I drag one of these into the drawing, AutoCAD will convert the Clipart into a block and if I were to explode this block, I now have access to the linework. How many other types of files do you work with? Remember that AutoCAD supports a wide range of file formats. If you need to bring some alternate content into AutoCAD, try using drag-and-drop. You just might discover another shortcut.
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