AutoCAD: Create and add a Button to the Quick Access Tool Bar

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

AutoCAD offers a few ways to access commands. A Button (when you know there location) is usually the quickest way to start a command. There are a few commands though that still need to be typed to access them: for example ATTEDIT (Attribute Edit) seems to be one of them. To eliminate some typing created a Button.

Here is how:

In AutoCAD 2014 – Select the drop down arrow located just after the Workspace arrow in the Quick Access Toolbar. 2014 Drop Down 1
Select the option More Commands…This opens the Customize User Interface dialog box.

Button 2
In AutoCAD 2015 – Select the Workspace arrow located in the Status Bar,

2015 Workspace 3
Within that drop down select Customize… This opens the Customize User Interface dialog Box as in 2014.

2015 Customize 4
Within the Customize User Interface dialog box starting with the Customize Tab
select the Command you want to add to the Toolbar.

*To filter the list of commands, in the Search area type in the command or part of the command you want. The list will reduce to those relevant commands.

*The command ATTEDIT is not available in this list. I type in ATT and it thinned out the list. ATTEDIT opens the Edit Attribute Dialog box to appear allowing quicker modifications to the attributes “the text part only”.

*I selected the command Edit Attribute. This command does allow Attribute modification but opens a more extensive dialog box the (Enhanced Attribute Editor) where more than just the annotation can be modified, for quick text changes this tends to be time consuming.

With a command selected right-click and select the Duplicate option. By doing
this you do not eliminate or modify what AutoCAD has set up. It created a copy that can be modified. Right Click over of that duplicated command and Select Rename.
Button 5
Create a Button: An existing Button can be selected, “the only concern there is it most likely to already be in use and you may confuse them.” So modifying or creating your own can be done.
Here is how:
On the right of the dialog box Button Image select the Edit button,
If modifying: choose your color and then the option of Pen Line or Circle and add it to the existing image.

If designing your own: Select the Clear Button, (I like to work with the Grid on) Then using the Colors and the option of Pen Line or Circle add the Image you want. There is also the option to erase if needed.

Once the Button is created Save the Image. You will also want to Export the Image out so that you have a copy somewhere safe in case of a system crash and also so it can be added to other systems in your office. If it is a time saver for you it most likely would help out a fellow co-worker.
Button 6
Define the Macro:
In the Properties Area (lower right) change the Macro line to ATTEDIT. Leaving the ^C^C as the prefix. AutoCAD places this is in front of these buttons/commands, it represents a double cancel. Highly recommend leaving this. Then select Apply.

Button 7
Place the new command into the Quick Access Toolbar:
Right-Click over the newly created command and select Copy.
Select the Transfer tab: Path out to Quick Access Toolbars / select Quick Access Toolbars1, Right Click and select Paste.
Button 8
*The newly created command will be listed and highlighted in blue. To move it into a preferred position, Pick – Hold and drag it into the order you want it to show up on the Quick Access toolbar.

Select Apply – Select OK. The Button will now show up within the Quick Access Toolbar.
Button 9
Always TEST out any customized features a few times to make sure it is responding the way it needs to.

The result is the following Dialog Box:
Button 10
Side note:Button 11
Button 12

Santaniello is Appointed to New Directorship

Fred Santaniello

Fred Santaniello

Fred Santaniello of Lincoln, RI, has been appointed Director of Workforce Development Grants and Programs for the college. He has served as Senior Account Executive in NEIT’s Center for Technology and Industry (CTI) since 2006 and as a Project Manager from 2004-2006.  Santaniello will be responsible for the identification, solicitation, development, negotiations and implementation of both private and publicly funded workforce training programs conducted by CTI. He will build relationships with the business community for the purpose of identifying career opportunities and program development for individuals served by grant funded training activities.

Santaniello holds a Master of Education Degree and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Rhode Island College.

AutoCAD: Open Multiple drawings at once

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Quick tip(s): Open Multiple drawings at once:

Add commands/features to the Quick Access Toolbar quickly:

Open multiple drawings within the same directory at the same time:

Start the Open command:

Path yourself out to the needed directory, Select the DWG files you want to open.

  1. When the files are in a consecutive order select one DWG file, hold down the SHIFT key then select the last file in the group to be selected. All files selected will highlight select Open.
  2.  When the files are not in a consecutive order hold down the CTRL key and select all files individually. The selected files will highlight then select Open.

All of the selected drawings will open in their own file tab.

Open 2Open 1


Add almost any AutoCAD command located in the Ribbon quickly to the Quick Access Toolbar with a Right Click of the mouse.
*This is a great option for highly used commands / features which will help save you time.

In this example the Layer Drop down will be added to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Locate the Layer Panel in the Draw tab
Right Click over the Layer Drop down list, this opens a pop up window
select the option – Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
This automatically places the feature into the Quick Access Toolbar.

Layer 3Layer 4

AutoCAD: LASSO a NEW Selection option offered in AutoCAD 2015

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

AutoCAD offers many ways to select geometry (Selection Sets) the latest selection option added offers quick selection using just the mouse. Whether you are at a Select Object prompt or are pre-selecting geometry on the screen this option is available. See a previous Blog titled “Select items on the screen, Let us count the ways,” for additional selection sets options.

Lasso: How this works:

When the program prompts you to Select objects or if you are pre-selecting items this feature is available.

With the mouse Pick (select) a point on the screen, DO NOT take your finger off of the pick button of the mouse, move the mouse through and around the items you want included in the selection. This creates an irregular shaped selection area.

Lasso selection features:

Window Lasso: Select a point on the screen move the mouse to the RIGHT of that

selection, this creates an irregular shaped area dawn around the geometry intended for the selection. The visual results on the screen is a solid outer line with the interior of the shape blue in color. This selection responds like the Implied Window selection, everything completely contained inside the solid lines will be selected. 

Fence Lasso: This option becomes available when a Lasso selection is active on the

screen and the mouse button is still held, select the Spacebar. By selecting the Spacebar it cycles you through the Window, Fence and Crossing Selection features without reselecting the geometry. The Spacebar turn the outer line into a Fence, all the geometry that the line touches is selected.

When cycling though the options and the one you want is visible on the screen let go of the mouse button the selection stays current and allow you to continue.

Crossing Lasso: Select a point on the screen move the mouse to the LEFT of that

selection. This creates an irregular shaped area drawn around the intended geometry. The visual results on the screen is a dashed outer line with the interior of the shape green in color. This selection responds like a Crossing Window or Crossing Polygon selection, everything completely contained inside and everything the dashed lines touch will be selected.

Window Lasso 1Crossing Lasso 2
In this video: While using the Lasso selection feature and the mouse button is still selected, select the Spacebar to cycle through the Window, Fence and Crossing options.

*Watch the Command line it shows the prompts to cycle through the selection options by selecting the Spacebar.

*The Geometry Highlights to represent what is being selected.

Finding the Right Employees

Great Blog story from VIBCO Industrial Vibrators.

Why VIBCO Supports the SAMI Program

by Mike Emiliani | Feb 03, 2015

Finding great manufacturing employees is hard work. Finding great manufacturing employees who fit, and who are ready, willing and able to be part of a high-functioning lean culture is even harder.

Thank goodness for our excellent partnership with the New England Institute of Technology’s SAMI program

Last Friday morning, VIBCO’s CMO Linda Kleineberg, and Machine Operator Antone Cherry, spoke to the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island to share their experiences with the SAMI (Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advance Manufacturing Institute) program. Their primary message was that SAMI provides exceptional value for both employers and unemployed/underemployed workers, and that their success is driven by the SAMI staff’s genuine desire to help Rhode Islanders find meaningful work.

The SAMI program (short for Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute) is a program operated by the New England Institute of Technology and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program began in February 2013 with a 2.5 million dollar Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Training (TAACCCT) grant from the United States Department of Labor. The program’s focus is to train unemployed Rhode Islanders and provide them with the trade skills RI employers currently need.  Their mission is to develop a “pipeline of skilled workers for Rhode Island’s marine and manufacturing industries” with a focus on welders and machinists.

Through partnerships with employers around the state of Rhode Island, SAMI has played an important role in helping Rhode Island manufacturing businesses find needed talent for their operations, including VIBCO’s.

Antone, a VIBCO employee and SAMI Graduate, hired through a work immersion experience funded by the Governor’s Workforce Board of RI, stood in front of the Board and the audience to share his story. He explained how participating in the SAMI Program has changed his life. Antone had driven a fork lift for 10 years before SAMI and VIBCO. Long hours at multiple jobs meant that he was not able to be present for his family. He shared that his new career in machining would allow him to support his family and spend more time with his children – a win-win-win for everyone.

Click Here to continue reading via VIBCO Industrial Vibrators Blog.

AutoCAD: Working between drawing files

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

While working from one drawing to another you may want to reuse geometry from one drawing to another. Here I will cover a few ways that you can quickly transfer / copy geometry from between drawings.

(Reference to Geometry = anything placed in the drawing, Blocks, Annotation, data placed in with the Draw and Insert commands…..)

Preliminary steps to take to set up the drawings to easily work between them.

Step One:

Set up the drawings you are working between be visible on the screen. My preference is to Tile the drawings Vertically. There is also the options to Tile Horizontally or to Cascade them.

View tab

Interface Panel

Tile Vertically

Step Two:

Orientate your drawings so you are working in the area of the geometry you wish to work with from one drawing to the other drawing area you are placing the items into.

*Only one drawing can be active at a time. The Title area of the drawing is highlighted to represent the active drawing. To make a drawing active Click in the drawing area or select the Title area of the drawing.

Tile Vertically 1

The drawings are ready to work between:

1st Option: Pick, Hold, Drag and let go…

1. Make sure the drawing you are copying the data from is Active.
2. Select all of the geometry that is to brought into the other drawing, (no command active)
a. With the Pick box select somewhere on any of that geometry avoiding all grips.
b. Drag the geometry into the other drawing and place it in the drawing by letting go of the mouse button.
*This option allows a quick copy to be brought into the drawing with no option for an exact point of placement.

2nd Option: Clipboard: This is a Windows feature not an AutoCAD command.

1. Make sure the drawing you are copying the data from is Active.
2. Select all of the geometry that is to brought into the other drawing, (no command active)
3. Right –Click the mouse to bring up the Pop up window. Select Clipboard.
Here you have four options:

Cut: this option Deletes the selected data and places it onto the Clipboard. Make
the other drawing active, Right –Click then choose how you want to place in the geometry, Paste, Paste as a Block, Paste to original Coordinates.

Copy: this option makes a Copy of the selected data and places it onto the Clipboard
(When selecting data created in other applications this is a better option to use.) Make the other drawing active, Right –Click then choose how you want to place in the geometry, Paste, Paste as a Block, Paste to original Coordinates.

Copy with Base Point: this option makes a Copy of the selected data and places it onto
the Clipboard, but prompts you to select a new Base Point – select a Base Point. (also known as a Handle). This Base Point is where your crosshairs will be attached to the data when you place it into the other drawing. Make the other drawing active, Right –Click then choose how you want to place in the geometry, Paste, Paste as a Block, Paste to Original Coordinates.

Paste: Prompts you for an Insertion Point. (as the Insert Command) Select a location
to place the data. Brings in a copy of the copied data.

Paste as a Block: Same as Paste but groups the data together as a Block and AutoCAD
defines the name of the block.

Paste to Original Coordinates: Right-Click select this option and the data placed onto
the Clipboard is now copied onto the drawing in the Original Coordinates that it originated from.

Clipboard 2
Clipboard 1
3rd Option: Typing options

CTRL+C: Select the geometry to copy, from the keyboard select CTRL then C button. This
places the selected data to the Clipboard.

CTRL+V: Brings in the copied data from the Clipboard and prompts for an Insertion point.

*Keep in mind these options will also work within the same drawing. While working within the same drawing using AutoCAD commands (copy) and options usually offer faster results.

*If the information you want to recall into a new drawing is saved as a block in your block library, another approach would be to use the INSERT command to insert it into your drawing.

AutoCAD: A New Start Up screen to AutoCAD 2015

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

The Start Up screen is connected to all New Tabs and offers two options, the LEARN and CREATE screen. This feature replaces the Welcome window in previous releases.

Here is the breakdown of the NEW TAB pages.

CREATE page you will find:

  1. Getting Started: Where you open or start drawings.
    • Start drawing: (blue box) this opens a new drawing using the ACAD.DWT template.
    • Template: drop down arrow, this displays AutoCAD’s predefined templates, and also allows the creation of a new Sheet Set.
    • Open Files…: access to existing Drawing files.
    • Open a Sheet Sheet…: access to existing Sheet Sets.
    • Get More Templates On Line: Brings you to AUTODESK Knowledge Network web site right to the Download tab for many template files.
    • Explore Sample Drawings: This brings you into the Sample directory that is installed when AutoCAD is installed.
  2.  Recent Documents: quick access to the latest documents used. These DWG files can be pinned.
  3. Connect:Autodesk 360 and Feedback
    • Autodesk 360: In short this is AutoCAD’s Cloud storage option – you must register before you are able to access this option.
    • Feedback: Brings you right into AUTODESK’s Contact Us page where you can leave feedback/comment of your AutoCAD experience. They are looking for an email address, Country, Product, Product Release Number and then your Comments. In hopes to improve their products.

CREATE page:

Create Screen 1
LEARN page you will find:

  1. What’s New: A video that shows an overview of new key features.
  2.  Getting started: Videos explaining the new User Interface, Creating and Modifying Objects.
  3.  Feature Video: Videos covering new features.
  4. Tip: Brings you out to the AUTODESK COMMUNITY web site that offers 20 to 40 minute interactive webinars if you subscribe, if you don’t subscribe you can preview past webinars along with the Q&A from those webinars.
  5. Online Resources: There are three areas to choose from which all offer online information of AutoCAD topics.
    • Hitchhicker’s – AutoCAD basic information
    • AUTODESK – Brings you to the Knowledge Network that offers SUPPORT, LEARNING, and online COMMUNITY.
    • Lynda.com – additional tutorials / 30 day free trial

LEARN page:

Learn screen 2
* When in an open drawing and you want to access the CREATE page select a new drawing Tab at the top of the drawing window. This opens up the CREATE page.

It Must Be Fate!

Mason Brouillette, left, with SAMI lead instructor, Todd Sposato

Mason Brouillette, left, with SAMI lead instructor, Todd Sposato

Mason Brouillette is like many 19 year old young men trying to determine their future career.  He knew he wanted to learn a hands-on occupation but was uncertain which career to pursue.  Then his mother, Jane, told him about a program she heard about where he could learn the advanced manufacturing skills needed to be a machinist. There was a history of machinists in their family because Mason’s Uncle Steven was working towards his apprenticeship 27 years ago. Unfortunately, Mason’s uncle never completed his apprenticeship because he was killed in a car accident in 1985. Mason decided to follow in his dear Uncle Steven’s footsteps.

Mason attended the advanced manufacturing orientation at NEIT’s Shipbuilding/Advanced Manufacturing Institute, SAMI. He was accepted into the program and began classes in July with lead instructor, Todd Sposato. Mason was a quick learner, and after several weeks of hands-on classes in the SAMI lab, Mason was ready to continue his training with a local manufacturing company, Colonial Tool, in Coventry, RI. Soon after his training began, the company offered Mason a permanent position.  Mason along with his instructors and family were thrilled.

Machinists use their own set of tools on the job so Mason asked his grandmother if he could use his Uncle Steven’s tools. She gladly turned the toolbox over to Mason which had been stored in her basement for the past 27 years. Mason brought the toolbox to class and asked Mr. Sposato to help him restore the toolbox and re-calibrate the tools. Looking through the toolbox, they found his uncle’s apprenticeship log book.  When Mr. Sposato read the log, he realized that he knew Steven back in the 1980’s when they were both completing their apprenticeships.  As Sposato stated, “Mason and I felt an instant connection.”  He told Mason that he bought supplies at a company in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, where his uncle worked and the two of them would chat. Then one day when Mr. Sposato returned to the supply company, Steven was no longer working there. He never knew what happened to him, until now.

When Mason told his grandmother that Mr. Sposato knew his uncle, she immediately called Jane who stated, “That night when I received a call from my mother, and she told me Mr. Sposato read Steven’s apprenticeship log book and realized that he knew him. The sound in my mother‘s voice was amazing.  She sounded alive again.”  Mason’s mother later sent the following message to Mr. Sposato, “This is not a coincidence! This was meant to be! The SAMI program is not only a wonderful opportunity for Mason, but it has meant much more to us as a family. I can’t thank you enough for what you did for Mason.  The entire SAMI process has been such a positive family changing experience.”

AutoCAD: A new look for 2015, AutoCAD 2015 that is

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Darker Theme:

When AutoCAD 2015 first opens you will notice it visually has a darker theme. The Drawing and Ribbon (interface) area now offer less of a contrast to each other and blend into one another. 

This is how AutoCAD 2015 looks with an initial install /no modifications. Dark theme.

Darker theme 1

Some people are willing to accept change others are not. For those who are not so open to change AutoCAD never takes away features and or options (they may nest them away and make it hard to locate) so the user can usually access previous features or preference.

The Darker theme can be changed to a Light theme. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Options dialog box:
  2. Where to access the Options dialog box
    1. Found at the bottom of the Application menu:
    2. Right –Clicking in the drawing area and it is found at the bottom of the pop up menu.
  1. Select the Display Tab
  2. Color Scheme found right below the section Window Elements.
    1. This is a drop down with two options Dark or Light. Select your options select Apply at the bottom of the dialog box and the change happens instantly.
    2. Select OK to close the dialog box.

Darker theme 2

Light Theme:

AutoCAD 2015 with the theme changed to the Light option. Notice the Ribbon and Status Bar areas are lighter.

Darker theme 3

This feature is all about preference: the concept with the new Dark theme is to add continuity and may help reduce eye strain.

AutoCAD: Delete Duplicate Objects also known as the Overkill command

Need help cleaning up a drawing? Sometimes extra geometry can sabotage your drawing efforts by slowing you down or in the case of overlapping geometry you may snap to an incorrect point unknowingly. Now measurements may be off. 

The command Delete Duplicate Objects removes duplicate or overlapping geometry. This command responds to Lines, Arcs and Polylines and will combine partially overlapping or contagious geometry.

Where to access this command:

In the Home tab, Modify drop down panel, Overkill 1

Or at the Command line type in OVERKILL. (Not case sensitive.)

Overkill 2

Options once in the command:
Overkill 3
In the video the duplicate lines and arcs are on Layer 1 “color Magenta” as to stand out a bit to be screen. The option Layer in the Ignore object property: must be selected in order for the geometry to be located. The selection of those options will vary depending on the geometry and how it was placed into the drawing.

*At the Select Objects prompt: using the default Crossing Window option helps ensure that everything that is touching or encompassed within that window will be selected.