Thursday, March 26, 2009

Changes in the weather

Hi all! This is a little note totally off the subject of AutoCAD - I like to talk about the weather once in a while. Especially when it's so dramatic!

The weather service had been telling us a big snowstorm was coming, and this time they were exactly right.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, just like spring. When the front started rolling in I took a photo of the clouds, they looked too pretty to be real. Here it is, taken out of my office window. You can see the clouds all in a row.
The second photo and the video are from today.

What a change!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Putting Annotative Objects to Work

Yesterday I did a review of how to create Annotative Styles, in Text, Dimensions and Multileaders. It's pretty obvious that these styles are worse than useless if you don't know how to use them, so let's get right into that.
You can put Annotative Dimensions, Text and Multileaders in your drawing either in Model space or Paper Space through a scaled viewport. The benefit of putting these objects in through a viewport that has already been scaled is that you are already sure what your viewport scale is going to be, so you don't have to wonder. Also, you won't forget to set the scale, which frequently happens when adding Annotative Objects while in Model space.
That being said, most people I talk to put their notes and dimensions on their drawing long before they get it set up to print, so we need to look at both ways of doing this.

In Model Space, before you add notes or dimensions, choose the scale at which you want these objects to plot. In the lower-right corner of your screen, on the status bar, you can see the current scale. If you've never changed it, the default is 1:1. In the picture I've selected the flyout arrow, my current scale is 1/4"-1'-0", and I'm about to change it.

Notice the little button to the right of the Annotation Scale button. It is the Annotation Visibility button, and it controls whether you can see every Annotative object (ON) or only the ones that have the current scale (OFF). When you click this button, the light bulb changes from lit up (on), to dark grey (off), and on your command line you'll see
Enter new value for ANNOALLVISIBLE <0>: 1

If you prefer, you can type that command in, so then you need to know that 1=On, 0=Off
Take a look at these pictures, and notice how in the one with the light bulb icon 'on', you can see dimensions and notes of different sizes, but when the light goes dim, you can only see Annotative objects that have the current scale assigned to them:

In this next picture, notice how it looks when I leave the light bulb off and change the current scale in the list.

All the Annotative items created at the scale of 1:10 no longer show, and the ones with the 1:20 scale assigned to them are now visibile.

If you need certain Annotative objects to show in more than one scale, there are several ways you can make that happen. My first choice when I'm in Model space is to select the objects to which I want to add a scale, right click, and select either "Add current scale" - that's pretty self-explanatory - or select "Add/Delete Scales". You can add one or more scales to all the annotative objects you've selected.

As you can see from the picture above, they can be different types of objects and it still works. After you do this, these will all show up in any viewport that has that scale assigned to it. From this same menu, you can also delete any assigned scales. The Delete button is right below the Add button.

Another way to add scales to Annotative objects is with the ANNOAUTOSCALE command. It's the button in the picture - but be very careful with this button! If you have this on, as it looks in the picture, and you change the scale showing on the status bar, it will add the new scale to EVERY Annotative object you have! Everything, even if it's on a frozen or locked layer.

See the mess I made with this button! The Dimension layer was frozen, and the Notes layer (red) was locked. Thanks be that there is an "Undo" button!!

Another way to create Annotative text, dimensions or multi-leaders is to first set up your sheets, create the viewports you need, set their scales and lock them. Then on your layouts, double-click inside any viewport to put yourself in Model Space. When you put notes or dimensions in your drawing this way, they automatically are created at the proper scale.
In this last picture, the Annotative text, dimensions and multileaders were put in through the viewports. You can really see the benefit of using Annotative text (I HOPE!) because even though these viewports are at different scales, the dimensions in each one print out at the same size, as do the room names. You may notice that the room names have two scales assigned to them, so they show up in both viewports. Nevertheless, I was able to adjust the position of each word so it fit in the room.

I truly hope this was helpful to someone out there who is trying to figure out how to work with Annotative Objects!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Annotative Objects Revisited

Since Annotative objects became part of AutoCAD in the 2008 version, there have been some changes, mostly simply in how it looks when you're using them. I'm going to go through the basics again of how to use annotative text, dimensions and leaders ( called Multileaders now ). In my humble opinion, this was the best thing to come out of the 2008 release. If you ever print out your project with viewports at different scales, you will be so happy if you learn how to use annotative objects! This is one problem everyone has been struggling with since day 1. (well, everyone who printed any part of their project at a different scale than the rest of it) But now - Problem Solved!
First of all- Annotative Text, Dimensions and Multi-leaders work best if you create an Annotative Style. Any style you already use can be made into an annotative style.

In 2009 AutoCAD, if you're using the ribbons, on the 2D workspace Home tab there is a panel named Annotation. If you click the flyout for that ( the black triangle) you'll be able to edit or create text, dimension and multileader styles. In the picture I highlighted where you would click on each of those, in blue. (You cannot highlight them all the way I showed here. I did some copy and paste to make it look that way).

In 2008 or 'classic' AutoCAD, you get to the styles in the Format pulldown menu.

You can tell right away when you open any of the style managers whether a particular style is annotative or not.

To make an existing style annotative:

For Text styles, select the style you want to make Annotative. In the dialog box click on the box in front of the word "Annotative". Click "Apply".

For Dimension styles, choose the style you want to change, then select "Modify". Go to the 'Fit' tab, and check the "Annotative" box. Select "OK" to save the changes.

For Multileader styles, choose the style you want to change, then select "Modify". Go to the "Leader Structure" tab, and check the "Annotative" box. Select "OK" to save the changes.

When you're creating a new style, you'd do the exact same thing as above, at the time you are in the process of creating the style.

To create a new text style, in the style dialog box select 'New'. Give your new style a name, choose a font from the pulldown list, check the 'Annotative' box, and click "Apply".

To create a new dimension style, in the Dimension Style manager select 'New' and give it a name in the box that pops up. Go through the steps to choose how you want your dimension style to look, and when you get to the 'Fit' tab, choose "Annotative".

To create a new Multileader style, in the Multileader Style Manager, select 'New', then decide what kind of leader format you want, and whether you want it use Mtext or a block in the Content tab. Then in the 'Leader Structure' tab, be sure to check the box for "Annotative".

Now you've got it!

Not sure what do do with it?

Tune in tomorrow to find out how the Annotative Objects work. Same time! Same channel!