ACCURATE DRAWING IN AUTOCAD
Dynamic Input is designed to bring relevant information about the tool being used to the AutoCAD cursor. This allows values for distances and angles to be inputted dynamically in boxes located near the cursor.
To turn Dynamic Input on and off, click the Dynamic Input button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Dynamic Input on and off, press the [F12] key.
As you draw, the distance and angle values will be shown near the cursor.
First the distance is highlighted. Enter a value for the distance. Press the [Tab] key to move to the angle box. Enter a value for the angle as required. Finally, press [Enter] to accept the desired values and place your point.
There are three ways to enter coordinates in AutoCAD: absolute, relative and polar.
Absolute coordinates are distances from the UCS’s origin (0,0). An example of absolute coordinates is Ordnance Surveys which are all set out from an origin point.
To enter an absolute coordinate, start a tool, such as the Line tool.
When prompted to specify a point enter a coordinate in the format “#X,Y”.
In the example, “#8,5” was entered.
Note: With Dynamic Input turned off, the “#” is not required.
Relative coordinates are vectors from the last point you specified. Relative coordinates are used to locate a point relative to another point.
To enter a relative coordinate, start a tool such as the Line tool and, when prompted to specify first point, click a point on the screen. Enter a coordinate in the format “@X,Y” to specify a point relative to the previous point.
Note: With Dynamic Input turned on, the “@” is not required.
Polar coordinates use a distance and angle from the last point you specified.
Start a tool such as the line tool. Click a start point and enter the distance in the Dynamic Input distance box. Press [Tab] on your keyboard and enter an angle value.
Alternatively, to use polar coordinates with Dynamic Input turned off, enter a coordinate in the format “@dist<angle”. In the example “@40<35” was entered.
If you want to lock AutoCAD so that you can only draw horizontally or vertically use Ortho mode.
To turn Ortho on and off, click the Ortho button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Ortho on and off, press the [F8] key.
If you start using one of the AutoCAD drawing tools, such as the Line tool, you will see the direction is limited to only working in the x- and y-axes. A tooltip will tell you that Ortho is turned on.
Polar snaps to pre-defined angles as you move the cursor.
To turn Polar on and off, click the Polar button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Polar on and off, press the [F10] key.
If you start using one of the AutoCAD drawing tools, such as the Line tool, you will see Polar “lock” to predefined angles and a tooltip will display to show that the Polar angle is being used.
The pre-defined angles can be changed. To set angles, right-click the Polar button and choose Settings. This will show the Polar Tracking tab in the Drafting Settings dialog box.
Change the Increment angle as required. In the example of 45 degrees, AutoCAD will pick up all angles divisible by 45: 0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315.
To add additional angles that aren’t divisible by the increment angle, click the New button and enter an angle. The example shows the addition of a 15 degree angle.
Object Snaps are used to snap to points on geometry such as the end point of a line, centre point of a circle or midpoint of an arc.
* Apparent intersection is used when two lines appear to cross in the view, but may be at differing depths. This is typically used for 3D work and so is not covered in these modules.
Changing the Object Snap Settings
To turn Object Snap on and off, click the Object Snap button at the bottom of the screen in Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Object Snaps on and off, press the [F3] key.
To turn different Object Snaps on or off, right click the Object Snap button in the Drafting settings and choose Settings. This will show the Object Snap tab of the Drafting Settings dialog box.
Tick the Object Snap modes you wish to use.
As you hover over objects in AutoCAD with Object Snap turned on and a number of Object Snap modes ticked, the Object Snap icon will show. If you hover a little longer, you will see a tooltip displaying which Object Snap is being used.
Right-clicking the Object Snap button in the Drafting Settings and checking the appropriate Object Snap modes saves having to open the Drafting Settings dialog box.
Object Snap Tracking
Object Snap Tracking can be used in conjunction with Polar, Ortho and Object Snaps instead of drawing lines as construction lines to align to existing geometry in your drawing.
To turn Object Snap Tracking on or off, click on the Object Snap Tracking button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Object Snap Tracking on and off, press the [F11] key.
Ensure that you have Object Snaps turned on so you can snap to geometry.
Turn on either Ortho or Polar as these define the direction tracking will use.
Start an AutoCAD drawing tool and click a point on the screen. Hover over the snap point of an object you wish to align with until a small cross appears. As you move your cursor tracking line will display to match the angles specified by Polar mode.
You can hover over up to 7 different points to track from at a time.
Quick Properties displays a Properties dialog box near the cursor, in the drawing area, when one or more objects are selected. (See module 01-The Working Environment for more details on the Properties palette).
Click on the Quick Properties button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Quick Properties on and off, press the [CTRL], [Shift] and [P] keys.
Select an object in the drawing area. The Quick Properties palette lists the most frequently used properties. The properties listed will be different depending on which object type has been selected.
Selection Cycling allows you to quickly select one of several overlapping objects in the drawing area. (See module 04-Manipulating Objects for details on the main selection tools).
Click on the Selection Cycling button in the Drafting Settings.
Shortcut key: To toggle Selection Cycling on and off, press the [CTRL] and [W] keys.
When you hover the cursor over overlapping objects an overlapping objects icon will display. Click on the screen and the Selection dialog box will open. Pick the required object from the list.
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