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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.
When working as part of a project team, it's common to have team members ask questions about the CAD drawings. A typical question might be, who revised this file? Sometimes the last person to work on drawing is the first person you want to talk to, to help answer your other questions. In this lesson we are going to learn how to add a tag to a drawing that keeps track of each person who updates the file. On my screen I have an example of a mechanical drawing. Now the update tag I am creating is going to be a text object. Note that I've already created a layer called dwg-info to place this on.
Since this tag is text, I am going to open the Annotation panel and I will select the Text Style called Small Text. To create the tag, I can use a single line or multiline text object. I am going to launch the Multiline Text command and then I will zoom in on the bottom of the drawing. I will click to set my first corner, and then I will click again to define the width of my column, and then I'll type drawing updated by, colon, , I will add a space, and then I will right click and select Insert Field.
Note that I can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F. Now a field is what I would call smart text. It's essentially a text string whose value is linked to something in the drawing. As you can see, we can create fields that identify many things. Over here on the left I can see a list of all of my field choices. I am going to narrow the list down by opening the Category fly-out. And I will select document. I will then select the LastSavedBy field. Over here on the right, I can see a preview of how my text is going to look in the drawing and if I wanted I could adjust its appearance by selecting a different formatting option down below.
Currently this looks good using all uppercase letters, so I will move down and click OK. Note that the text string is displaying my login name and it has a grey background. Now don't worry, the background will not print. It's only here to identify that this text is being controlled by a field. The best part is, every time this drawing is saved, the field text will update to match the login name of the person who saved the file. You know, as long as we are here, let's add a field that keeps track of the date the file was saved. I am going to press my Spacebar and I will continue my sentence. I'll type "on," and I will add a space, and I will press Ctrl+F to insert another field.
Let's open the Category fly-out and this time I'll select Date & Time. I'm going to choose Save Dates. Once again, I can see an example of the formatting up here. Note that you can have the Save Date also show the time of day the file was saved. In this case I'm going to stick with more of a traditional date and I'll click OK. When I am finished, I will click on screen to close the editor. Let's do a Zoom Extents and take a look at the tag. This looks a little bit large. I am going to zoom back in, I will select this, and then I will change its Text Type to .05.
That looks like it should work perfectly. Placing a drawing update tag on all of your layouts can be a great way to keep informed about the state of the project files. Sometimes having this extra information can make all the difference when someone on the project team has questions.
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