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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 you design something, you never know where your ideas may take you. You may end up pursuing three or four different variations of a design before finally deciding on the best solution. Sometimes visualizing multiple variations in the same drawing file can be confusing. In this lesson we'll learn an easy way to have as many alternate designs as we like, while still being able to keep them visually organized. On my screen I have a concept drawing of an MP3 player. Take a look at this thumb control. This configuration is considered option one.
In fact this geometry was drawn on a layer called option1-controls. I'm going to click to turn this layer off and then I'll click to turn on the option2-controls. Let's turn this layer off and I'll click to turn on the option3-controls. Now this may seem a little strange, but I'm going to click to turn on each of the options and then I'm going to visit the Layout tab. This is 11x17 inch title block. Let's start by creating a viewport. I'll select the View tab and then I'll click the New Viewport icon, this will be a single viewport, and then I'll pick two points to define my viewport size.
I will then double-click to jump into the viewport and I'll turn off the Grid. Let's set the scale of our geometry to 2:1, and then I'll click the yellow padlock to lock the Viewport scale. When I'm finished I'll double-click outside the viewport boundary to jump out. Now let's go the Home tab, I'll launch the Copy command, I'll select this viewport, and I'd like to copy this from the endpoint here to the endpoint here to the endpoint here.
Finally I'm going to type rea for re- gen all. This way my pen settings will be applied to all of the linework. All right, I've got three viewports and I've got three button configurations. I'd like to show each variation in its own viewport. So I'll start by double-clicking in this viewport in the left and I'll move up to the Layer panel and I'll click the Freeze button. If you use this Freeze tool when you working through a viewport, it will freeze the layers in that viewport only. Let's zoom in and I'm going to click to freeze all of the layers except for option1. Let's pan over. I'll click in this viewport and will freeze all of the layers except for option2. I'll pan over, we'll click in this viewport, and I'll freeze all of the layers except for option3.
When I'm finished I'll press Enter and then I'll double-click outside the viewport boundary to jump out. Now if you wanted to turn any of those layers back on, all you have to do is double-click in the viewport to set it current and then open up the Layer Properties Manager and scroll down to the VP Freeze column, because that's all we did. Essentially we said, I'd like to freeze these layers in the current viewport only. I'm going to double-click again to jump out and now that I'm finished I have three separate views of the same MP3 Player geometry, but each one is showing a different button configuration.
The nice thing about setting up a drawing this way is that if the geometry of the MP3 player changes, you'll see the changes reflected in every view, because it's all the same geometry. For instance, if I double-click in this view and launch the Stretch command, I'll select to this geometry and I'll pull it over slightly, notice the geometry changes in each view. Let's click Undo and I'll jump back out. The difficult thing about setting up a drawing this way is if you go back to model space, the line work can be a little confusing. Let's go back to the layout.
This is where the Maximize Viewport tool comes in handy. Take a look at this icon in the lower right corner of the interface. If I click this, AutoCAD will maximize the current viewport on screen and it will maintain the layer settings of that viewport. At this point I can work just like I do in model space and I don't have to worry about the other geometry getting in my way. Also notice this red zipper appearance around the outside of the view. This is a visual cube to remind me that I'm working through a viewport. In fact, now that I'm in this viewport, notice that the Maximize icon now displays arrows to either side. I can use these to jump from one layout viewport to another, each one maintaining its own unique layer settings.
When I'm finished I can click the main icon again to jump back out to my layout. Using the Maximize Viewport tool, we can add as many different variations to a design as we like and we can easily refine and edit each variation without having other geometry given away.
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