AutoCAD 2005 For Dummies. Wiley

by Mark Middlebrook

Draw On This Soup-to-Nuts Guide to Get Going with AutoCAD

Part I: AutoCAD 101, Part II: Let There Be Lines, Part III: If Drawings Could Talk, Part IV: Share and Share Alike, Part V: The Part of Tens


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AutoCAD 2005 For Dummies



About the Author
Mark Middlebrook used to be an engineer but gave it up when he discovered
that he couldn’t handle a real job. He is now principal of Daedalus Consulting,
an independent CAD and computer consulting company in Oakland, California.
(In case you wondered, Daedalus was the guy in ancient Greek legend who
built the labyrinth on Crete. Mark named his company after Daedalus before
he realized that few of his clients would be able to pronounce it and even
fewer spell it.) Mark is also a contributing editor for CADALYST magazine
and Webmaster of markcad.com. When he’s not busy being a cad, Mark sells
and writes about wine for Paul Marcus Wines in Oakland. He also teaches
literature and philosophy classes at St. Mary’s College of California — hence
“Daedalus.” AutoCAD 2005 For Dummies is his sixth book on AutoCAD.

Author’s Acknowledgments
Thanks first of all to Bud Smith, who initiated this book five editions ago,
brought me in on it along the way, and eventually handed it over to me in
toto. I hope that I prove as good a steward as he was a midwife (or is the
gender-neutral term “midspouse”?). Terri Varveris again shepherded the project
through the development process; her enthusiasm and infectious energy
have helped make each new edition more than just an obligatory update. 
It was a genuine pleasure to work once again with Christine Berman, whose
combination of patience, persistence, and care make her a model project
editor. As always, Dave Byrnes carried out his duties as tech editor with skill
and verve; his diligence saved me from a few bloopers, and his thoughtful
suggestions helped make the book perceptibly better,


Introduction
It’s amazing to think that AutoCAD came into being over two decades ago,
at a time when most people thought that personal computers weren’t
capable of industrial-strength tasks like CAD. (The acronym stands for
Computer-Aided Drafting, Computer-Aided Design, or both, depending on
whom you talk to). It’s almost as amazing that, 20 years after its birth,
AutoCAD remains the king of the microcomputer CAD hill by a tall margin.
Many competing CAD programs have come to challenge AutoCAD, many have
fallen, and a few are still around. One hears rumblings that the long-term
future of CAD may belong to special-purpose, 3D-based software such as the
Autodesk Inventor and Revit programs. Whether or not those rumblings
amplify into a roar remains to be seen, but for the present and the near future
anyway, AutoCAD is where the CAD action is.

In its evolution, AutoCAD has grown more complex, in part to keep up with
the increasing complexity of the design and drafting processes that AutoCAD
is intended to serve. It’s not enough just to draw nice-looking lines anymore.
If you want to play CAD with the big boys and girls, you need to organize the
objects you draw, their properties, and the files in which they reside in
appropriate ways. You need to coordinate your CAD work with other people
in your office who will be working on or making use of the same drawings.
You need to be savvy about shipping drawings around via the Internet.
AutoCAD 2005 provides the tools for doing all these things, but it’s not always
easy to figure out which hammer to pick up or which nail to bang on first.
With this book, you have an excellent chance of creating a presentable,
usable, printable, and sharable drawing on your first or second try without
putting a T square through your computer screen in frustration.

What’s Not in This Book
Unlike many other For Dummies books, this one does tell you to consult the
official software documentation sometimes. AutoCAD is just too big and complicated
for a single book to attempt to describe it completely.

This book focuses on AutoCAD 2005, and also addresses its slightly lesscapable,
much-lower-cost sibling, AutoCAD LT 2005. (AutoCAD LT 2005 For
Dummies, a version of this book especially for LT users, comes out several
months later than the regular book.) I do occasionally mention differences
with previous versions, going back to the highly popular AutoCAD Release 14,
so that everyone has some context and upgraders can more readily understand
the differences. I also mention the important differences between full
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, so that you’ll know what you — or your LT-using
colleagues — are missing. This book does not cover the discipline-specific
features in AutoCAD-based products such as AutoCAD Architectural Desktop,
except for some general discussion in Chapter 1, but most of the information
in this book applies to the general-purpose AutoCAD features in the AutoCAD
2005-based versions of those programs as well.

Who Are — and Aren’t — You?
AutoCAD has a large, loyal, and dedicated group of long-time users. This
book is not for the sort of people who have been using AutoCAD for a decade,
who plan their vacation time around Autodesk University, or who consider
1,000-page-plus technical tomes about AutoCAD as pleasure reading. This
book is for people who want to get going quickly with AutoCAD, but who
also know the importance of developing proper CAD techniques from the beginning.
However, you do need to have some idea of how to use your computer
system before tackling AutoCAD — and this book. You need to have a computer
system with AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT (preferably the 2004 version). A
printer or plotter and a connection to the Internet will be big helps, too.
You also need to know how to use Windows to copy and delete files, create a
folder, and find a file. You need to know how to use a mouse to select (highlight)
or to choose (activate) commands, how to close a window, and how to
minimize and maximize windows. Make sure that you’re familiar with the
basics of your operating system before you start with AutoCAD.

How This Book Is Organized
If you saw the impressive and apparently random piles of stuff cluttering my
desk while I was writing this book, you’d wonder how I could organize a
chapter, never mind an entire book. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll find that the
book reflects some concerted thought about how to present AutoCAD in a
way that’s both easy-to-dip-into and smoothly-flowing-from-beginning-to-end.
The organization of this book into parts — collections of related chapters — is
one of the most important, uh, parts of this book. You really can get to know
AutoCAD one piece at a time, and each part represents a group of closely
related topics. The order of parts also says something about priority; yes,
you have my permission to ignore the stuff in later parts until you’ve mastered
most of the stuff in the early ones. This kind of building-block approach
can be especially valuable in a program as powerful as AutoCAD.
The following sections describe the parts that the book breaks down into.
Part I: AutoCAD 101
Need to know your way around the AutoCAD screen? Why does AutoCAD
even exist, anyway? What are all the different AutoCAD-based products that
Autodesk sells, and should you be using one of them — for example,
AutoCAD LT — instead of AutoCAD? Is everything so slooow because it’s supposed
to be slow, or do I have too wimpy a machine to use this wonder of
modern-day computing? And why am I doing this stuff in the first place?
Part I answers all these questions — and more. This part also includes what
may seem like a great deal of excruciating detail about setting up a new drawing
in AutoCAD. But what’s even more excruciating is to do your setup work
incorrectly and then feel as though AutoCAD is fighting you every step of the
way. With a little drawing setup work done in advance, it won’t.
Part II: Let There Be Lines
In this part, it’s time for some essential concepts, including object properties
and CAD precision techniques. I know that you’re raring to make some drawings,
but if you don’t get a handle on this stuff early on, you’ll be terminally
(or is that monitor-ally? ) confused when you try to draw and edit objects. If
you want to make drawings that look good, plot good, and are good, read this stuff!
After the concepts preamble, the bulk of this part covers the trio of activities
that you’ll probably spend most of your time in AutoCAD doing: drawing
objects, editing them, and zooming and panning to see them better on the
screen. These are the things that you do in order to create the geometry —
that is, the CAD representations of the objects in the real world that you’re
designing. By the end of Part II, you should be pretty good at geometry, even
if your ninth-grade math teacher told you otherwise.
Part III: If Drawings Could Talk
CAD drawings do not live on lines alone — most of them require quite a bit of
text, dimensioning, and hatching in order to make the design intent clear to
the poor chump who has to build your amazing creation. (Whoever said “a
picture is worth a thousand words” must not have counted up the number of
words on the average architectural drawing!) This part shows you how to
add these essential features to your drawings.
After you’ve gussied up your drawing with text, dimensions, and hatching,
you’ll probably want to create a snapshot of it to show off to your client, contractor,
or grandma. Normal people call this process “printing,” but CAD
people call it “plotting.” Whatever you decide to call it, I’ll show you how to do it.
Part IV: Share and Share Alike
A good CAD user, like a good kindergartner, plays well with others. AutoCAD
encourages this behavior with a host of drawing- and data-sharing features.
Blocks, external reference files, and raster images encourage reuse of parts of
drawings, entire drawings, and bitmap image files. The new sheet sets feature
in AutoCAD 2005 opens up new possibilities for creating, organizing, and publishing
the many drawings that compose a typical CAD project. CAD standards
serve as the table manners of the CAD production process — they
define and regulate how people create drawings so that sharing can be more
productive and predictable. AutoCAD’s Internet features enable sharing of
drawings well beyond your hard disk and local network.
The drawing and data sharing features in AutoCAD takes you way beyond
old-style, pencil-and-paper design and drafting. After you’ve discovered how
to apply the techniques in this part, you’ll be well on your way to full CADnerd-
hood (you may want to warn your family beforehand).
Part V: The Part of Tens
This part contains guidelines that minimize your chances of really messing
up drawings (your own or others’), and techniques for swapping drawings
with other people and accessing them from other computer programs.
There’s a lot of meat packed into these two chapters — juicy tidbits from
years of drafting, experimentation, and fist-shaking at things that don’t work
right — not to mention years of compulsive list-making. I hope that you find
these lists help you get on the right track quickly and stay there.


Table of Contents
Introduction........
What’s Not in This Book ...
Who Are — and Aren’t — You?...
How This Book Is Organized...
Part I: AutoCAD 101 ........
Part II: Let There Be Lines ....
Part III: If Drawings Could Talk......
Part IV: Share and Share Alike...
Part V: The Part of Tens........
Icons Used in This Book ..
A Few Conventions — Just in Case .....
Part I: AutoCAD 101 ......................................................7
Chapter 1: Introducing AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Why AutoCAD?.................................................................................................10
The Importance of Being DWG ......................................................................11
Seeing the LT....................................................................................................13
Staying Alive with 2005...................................................................................14
Chapter 2 : Le Tour de AutoCAD 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
AutoCAD Does Windows ................................................................................18
AutoCAD’s Opening Screen Cuisine ..............................................................19
Standard Windows fare.........................................................................19
Looking for Mr. Status Bar ....................................................................23
Take an order: The command line area ..............................................26
Main course: The drawing area ...........................................................30
A Palette-Cleanser ...........................................................................................33
What Really Makes AutoCAD Cook? .............................................................35
Sizzling system variables......................................................................35
Delicious dialog boxes ..........................................................................37
Fun with F1 .......................................................................................................38
Chapter 3 : Setup for Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
An Appetizing Setup Strategy ........................................................................42
Choosing your units ..............................................................................44
Weighing your scales.............................................................................45
Thinking about paper............................................................................47
Defending your border..........................................................................50
All system variables go .........................................................................50
Getting Creative with Templates ...................................................................51
The Main Course: Model Space .....................................................................54
Setting your units ..................................................................................54
Telling your drawing its limits .............................................................55
Making the drawing area snap-py (and grid-dy)................................57
Setting linetype and dimension scales................................................59
Entering drawing properties ................................................................61
Plot Layouts for Any Palate............................................................................62
Creating a layout....................................................................................63
Copying and changing layouts.............................................................66
Lost in paper space ...............................................................................67
Cooking Up Terrific Templates ......................................................................68
Part II: Let There Be Lines ............................................71
Chapter 4: Get Ready to Draw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Drawing and Editing with AutoCAD ..............................................................73
Managing Your Properties..............................................................................74
Putting it on a layer ...............................................................................75
Accumulating properties ......................................................................77
Creating new layers ...............................................................................80
Using AutoCAD DesignCenter........................................................................85
Named objects .......................................................................................85
Getting (Design) Centered....................................................................85
Copying layers between drawings.......................................................87
Precise-liness Is Next to CAD-liness ..............................................................88
Keyboard capers: Coordinate entry....................................................90
Grab an object and make it snappy.....................................................92
Other precision practices.....................................................................97
Chapter 5: Where to Draw the Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Introducing the AutoCAD Drawing Commands.........................................102
The Straight and Narrow: Lines, Polylines, and Polygons .......................104
Toe the line...........................................................................................104
Connect the lines with polyline .........................................................107
Square off with rectangle....................................................................112
Choose your sides with polygon .......................................................113
(Throwing) Curves........................................................................................115
Going full circle ....................................................................................115
Arc-y-ology............................................................................................116
Ellipses (S. Grant?) ..............................................................................119
Splines: The sketchy, sinuous curves ...............................................121
Donuts: The circles with a difference ...............................................123
Revision clouds on the horizon .........................................................124
Scoring Points................................................................................................126
Chapter 6: Edit for Credit . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129
Commanding and Selecting..........................................................................129
Command-first editing ........................................................................130
Selection-first editing ..........................................................................130
Choosing an editing style ...................................................................130
Grab It ..............................................131
One-by-one selection...........................................................................132
Selection boxes left and right ............................................................132
Perfecting Selecting.......................................................................................134
Ready, Get Set, Edit! ......................................................................................137
The Big Three: Move, CoPy, and Stretch ..........................................138
More manipulations ............................................................................147
Slicing and dicing.................................................................................151
Get a Grip................................156
About grips...........................................................................................156
A gripping example..............................................................................157
Move it! .................................................................................................160
Copy, or a kinder, gentler Move .........................................................160
A warm-up Stretch...............................................................................162
Chapter 7: A Zoom with a View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167
Zoom and Pan with Glass and Hand ...........................................................167
Out of the frying pan . . . .....................................................................169
Time to zoom .......................................................................................170
A View by Any Other Name. . ......................................................................171
Looking Around in Layout Land ..................................................................173
Degenerating and Regenerating ..................................................................176
Chapter 8: On a 3D Spree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .179
Is 3D for Me?...................................................................................................180
Getting Your 3D Bearings .............................................................................184
Model space viewports left and right ...............................................184
Seeing the world from new viewpoints.............................................185
Dynamic viewpoints with 3DOrbit ....................................................187
A Cartesian Orientation................................................................................190
Coordinate systems: The WCS and UCS ...........................................190
Specifying coordinates in 3D..............................................................191
Drawing in 3D.................................................................................................193
Drawing 3D lines and polylines..........................................................193
Extruding from 2D to 3D .....................................................................194
Meshing around with surface meshes ..............................................196
A solid(s) foundation ..........................................................................197
Editing in three dimensions ...............................................................199
Ending with Rendering .................................................................................200
Part III: If Drawings Could Talk ..................................203
Chapter 9: Text with Character . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205
Getting Ready to Write..................................................................................206
Simply stylish text ...............................................................................206
Taking your text to new heights ........................................................209
One line or two?...................................................................................212
Your text will be justified....................................................................212
Using the Same Old Line...............................................................................213
Saying More in Multiline Text ......................................................................215
Making it with mText...........................................................................215
New mText might in AutoCAD 2005 ..................................................218
Keeping tabs (and indents) on your mText .....................................220
Modifying mText ..................................................................................222
Setting the Text Table ...................................................................................223
Tables have style, too .........................................................................223
Creating and editing tables ................................................................224
Checking Out Your Spelling..........................................................................227
Chapter 10: Entering New Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229
Discovering New Dimensions ......................................................................231
Anatomy of a dimension.....................................................................231
A field guide to dimensions................................................................232
Dimension associativity......................................................................233
Pulling out your dimension tools ......................................................234
Doing Dimensions with Style(s) ..................................................................235
Borrowing existing dimension styles ................................................235
Creating and managing dimension styles.........................................237
Adjusting style settings.......................................................................239
Drawing Dimensions .....................................................................................242
Lining up some linear dimensions.....................................................243
Drawing other kinds of dimensions ..................................................246
Trans-spatial dimensioning ................................................................246
Editing Dimensions .......................................................................................247
Editing dimension geometry ..............................................................247
Editing dimension text ........................................................................248
Controlling and editing dimension associativity.............................249
Pointy-Headed Leaders.................................................................................250
Chapter 11: Down the Hatch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .255
Hatch . . . Hatch . . . Hatchoo........................................................................256
Pushing the Boundary (of) Hatch ...............................................................258
Hatch from scratch..............................................................................259
Getting it right: Hatch angle and scale..............................................261
Do fence me in: Defining hatch boundaries .....................................262
Hatching that knows its place............................................................264
Have palette, will hatch ......................................................................264
Editing Hatch Objects ...................................................................................264
Chapter 12: The Plot Thickens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267
You Say Printing, I Say Plotting....................................................................267
Get with the system.............................................................................268
Configure it out ....................................................................................269
A Simple Plot..................................................................................................270
Plotting success in 16 steps ...............................................................271
Preview one, two .................................................................................274
Instead of fit, scale it ...........................................................................275
Plotting the Layout of the Land...................................................................276
About paper space layouts and plotting ..........................................276
The path to paper space layout plotting success ...........................277
Plotting Lineweights and Colors .................................................................279
Plotting with style................................................................................279
Plotting through thick and thin .........................................................283
Plotting in color ...................................................................................285
It’s a (Page) Setup!.........................................................................................287
Continuing the Plot Dialog ...........................................................................288
Troubles with Plotting ..................................................................................291
Part IV: Share and Share Alike....................................293
Chapter 13: Playing Blocks and Rasteroids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .295
Rocking with Blocks......................................................................................296
Creating block definitions ..................................................................298
Inserting blocks ...................................................................................301
Attributes: Fill-in-the-blank blocks ....................................................304
Exploding blocks .................................................................................308
Going External ...............................................................................................309
Becoming attached to your xrefs ......................................................311
Layer-palooza.......................................................................................312
Creating and editing an external reference file................................313
Forging an xref path ............................................................................313
Managing xrefs .....................................................................................314
Blocks, Xrefs, and Drawing Organization ...................................................316
Mastering the Raster.....................................................................................316
Attaching an image..............................................................................318
Managing images .................................................................................319
Chapter 14: Sheet Sets without Regrets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .321
Taming Sheet Sets .........................................................................................322
Using an Existing Sheet Set ..........................................................................323
The Sheet Set Setup ......................................................................................325
Getting Your Sheets Together......................................................................326
Adding existing sheets to a set ..........................................................327
Sheet subsets .......................................................................................328
Creating new sheets for a set .............................................................329
Assembling sheet views from resource drawings ...........................330
Making an Automatic Sheet List ..................................................................333
Chapter 15: CAD Standards Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337
Why CAD Standards? ....................................................................................338
Which CAD Standards? .................................................................................339
What Needs to Be Standardized? ................................................................341
Plotting..................................................................................................341
Layers....................................................................................................342
Other stuff ............................................................................................343
Cool Standards Tools....................................................................................344
Chapter 16: Drawing on the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .347
The Internet and AutoCAD: An Overview ..................................................348
Sending Strategies .........................................................................................350
Send it with ETRANSMIT ....................................................................351
Rapid eTransmit ..................................................................................352
Transmitting multiple drawings ........................................................354
FTP for you and me .............................................................................355
Bad reception? .....................................................................................355
Help from the Reference Manager.....................................................356
Drawing Web Format — Not Just for the Web ...........................................358
All about DWF ......................................................................................358
ePlot, not replot ...................................................................................359
Making DWFs with ePlot .....................................................................360
Making DWFs (or Plots) with PUBLISH .............................................361
Hand-y objects .....................................................................................363
Autodesk Express Viewer ...................................................................363
The Drawing Protection Racket...................................................................364
Part V: The Part of Tens ..............................................367
Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Do No Harm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .369
Be Precise.......................................................................................................369
Control Properties by Layer ........................................................................369
Know Your Drawing Scale Factor ................................................................370
Know Your Space...........................................................................................370
If Someone (Sheet) Set It, Don’t Forget It ...................................................370
Explode with Care .........................................................................................370
Don’t Cram Your Geometry..........................................................................371
Freeze Instead of Erase.................................................................................371
Use CAD Standards .......................................................................................371
Save and Back Up Drawings Regularly .......................................................372
Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Swap Drawing Data
with Other People and Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .373
DWG ......................................374
DXF..........................................................376
DWF................................................376
PDF ...................................376
WMF .............................377
BMP, JPEG, TIFF, and Other Raster Formats ...................377
Windows Clipboard......................379
OLE........................................379
Screen Capture ........................380
TXT and RTF ..............................381
Index.............................383


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 ISBN
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