Recent versions of AutoCAD have provided the best way to mask the content under mtext objects.  Unlike all other approaches, the built-in functionality grows/shrinks with the mtext content.  To control the mask, make sure your Properties dialog is displayed (command PROPS) then select your mtext.

In the PROPS dialog you will see Background Mask, click the […] button to bring up a dialog where you can toggle the status as well as control the size, color, etc.  Note that in AutoCAD 2007 you can only turn the mask on/off.

You can use the Find command to select blocks by their attribute values.  Use this procedure.

  1. Open the drawing containing the blocks.
  2. Initiate the FIND command.
  3. Enter the value of the attribute.
  4. Choose the [Select Objects] button and select all the blocks.
  5. Choose the [Select All] button to select the matches.

Of course ToolPac users take this farther by specifying multiple fields to match and operators such as less than, greater than, etc.

Almost all AutoCAD users utilize the command line area to some extent.  Recent versions of AutoCAD allow it to be turned off and it can be as easy as accidentally pressing Ctrl + 9.  You can use these commands to control it.

Command: _CommandlineHide

Command: _Commandline

Tables can now be broken into multiple parts but still be part of the same table. At the bottom of every table object is a triangular grip.  Simply click and drag this grip to set the breaking height  for the table.

This is not CAD specific but is still worth mentioning.  Sometimes when you try to refer to a long link URL in an email or news post, the link can become broken because the mail/news tool wraps the link into two (or more) lines.  Unknowing users are frustrated because the link doesn’t appear to work when they click it, and even experienced users have to paste it into a notepad and remove the line breaks.

In this situation, head to http://www.tinyurl.com and paste in your long link.  A tinyurl ‘mapped’ link will be returned thats usually 20-30 characters and will never break.

Sometimes settings (such as FILEDIA) can cause certain routines to ask for a file name at the command prompt.  In these cases you can enter the tilde ~ character followed by enter to bring up the file selection dialog.

When you press F2 and look back at the command history, you may notice that at some point it stops. The default number of lines is set to 400.  On early versions of AutoCAD you could change it in the preferences dialog. Unfortunately 2000 and higher has regressed. You have to use a to lisp expression setting.

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When you paste pie/bar graphs from Excel into AutoCAD, they can exhibit all the problems of a typical OLE insert, including plot rotation, etc.  Use this procedure to ‘shake off’ the OLE.

  1. In Excel, copy your graph to the clipboard.
  2. In AutoCAD, issue the PASTESPEC command, choose Excel Chart, your only choice at this point.
  3. In AutoCAD, right click on the chart and choose CUT.
  4. In AutoCAD, issue the PASTESPEC command again, choose AutoCAD entities.
  5. Erase the outer border and background solid to reveal a good looking collection of native geometry.