AutoCAD FIELDS are extremely useful.  In previous newsletters we have discussed some of the more complex uses, such as in block attributes.  However, you can easily use them at the command prompt with the FIELD command.  Here is an example of an auto updating plot stamp.

Enter the FIELD command.

Scroll down the list on the left and select PlotDate.

Choose the way you want the date to appear in the center.

Choose the [OK] button to place the field in the drawing.

Complete placement which is similar to the Mtext command.

Note that initially, this field will appear as four dashes, but it will be automatically updated by AutoCAD every time you plot!

Take a few minutes to review some of the other field names on the left, the use of fields can greatly expand the capabilities of your drawings!

You may open a drawing and find what has been described as a “black daisy” in the viewport that you can’t get rid of.  This is the AutoCAD GeoMarker and it’s controlled by the GEOMARKERVISIBILITY variable.  Simply enter that at the command prompt and enter a new value of 0.

Newer versions of AutoCAD (mainly 2008+) contains the capability to automatically create a DWF or PDF (added in 2010) file when you save or close your drawing.  To setup the system go to the OPTIONS dialog, then choose the |Plot and Publish| tab.  In the lower left you can turn the system on/off and control the settings.

The settings dialog allows you to designate when the publish is to take place, where the files go, etc.  Various options exist in 2010 for things like layer information, merge control, and more.

Users often come across usable code they want to add to their systems but don’t know how to proceed.  You may obtain a file with the extension LSP, VLX, DVB, etc.  Another case is lisp code in the form of text.  In this case we need to get it into a file with this first procedure.

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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.