Office 2013 animations

If you, like I, have been forced to upgrade from the nice looking, really well functioning Office 2012 to the new awful Windows 8-esque Office 13, you have instantly noticed the animations, everything slides around as it it was floating on oil.

If you are also in the same boat as myself I really do not like this sliding nonsense. Fortunately you can turn them off. However Microsoft in their infinite wisdom have not provided this within their programs. This is also a global setting and affects the whole suite (or possibly other programs).

After a little searching most sites recommend a registry hack, though if your computer is locked down in a corporate environment, this might not be possible. Fortunately there is another working method:

1.Open the Ease of Access Center (shown below) by pressing the Windows logo key + U.

2.Under Explore all settings, click Use the computer without a display.

3.Under Adjust time limits and flashing visuals, click Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible).

4.Click OK.

Annoying Auto Zooming Viewports

Today I noticed that one of drawing I opened automatically zoomed the viewport to extents when double clicking in the viewport. This is extremely annoying, particularly if I wanted to pan after setting the scale.

The solution is that a variable was set wrong.

In order to fix this it is fairly simple (though if you have many viewports time consuming – see here for a LISP that might help with many viewports).

  • First lock the viewport using properties
  • Then double click in viewport
  • Then type UCSFOLLOW
  • Set UCSFOLLOW to 0
  • Click back to paperspace
  • Unlock viewport


Selection Methods

Today one of my colleagues asked whether he could select an object and select all other objects on the same layer or by type without using quick select (QSELECT).

I found on another Blog some interesting selection methods, however as this was published in 2008 some of the features of AutoCAD LT in particular have been updated since.

The one in particular that is now avaiable in AutoCAD LT 2015 is SelectSimilar. This allows you to click on an object and select all items that are similar, whether by layer or by colour etc. SE within the command brings up the settings check box, rather than the usual S.

Inverted Arc

Ever been annoyed with AutoCAD and its silly way of drawing arcs? You always seem to managed to draw it the wrong way even though you are sure you started it in the correct place to go anti-clockwise?

No longer a problem in AutoCAD 2014! Just hold CTRL down to reverse the arc direction!

Ultra Large PDF

One of my colleagues created a 7MB PDF from a CAD file today. This in itself is a sure sign that something was wrong with either the PDF or the generation of it. So after crashing Acrobat in an attempt to reduce the file size, I reviewed the PDF to see what might be the issue.

One part of the PDF took a while render in Acrobat which pointed out that the PDF contained something with dense information that was taking a while to load. Usually this is an image or some large single object like that.

Once I reviewed the source I discovered that there was no images attached to the file. So this was not the issue.

A quick Audit revealed 4 errors but this was not the issue either.

So, process of elimination. What is causing the issue. Delete various items from the sheet to see which item is cuasing the issue. I usually start with viewports.

This was done by deleting one at a time and creating a PDF each time. Each time I noted that the PDF was taking ages to generate, which also is a sign that something is not quite right.

Once I found the viewport I could look at that part of the model to see what the issue could be. From experience hatches can be problematic and it turned out that my colleague had created an ultra dense hatch that looked like a solid. Once changed to a solid hatch (which I don’t like, but that’s another story), the file printed file.

Interestingly AutoCAD sometimes pops up a box saying to convert these to solid or increase the scale but it did not do so on this drawing, so don’t rely on that to tell you if there is an issue with ultra-dense hatches.

MTEXT Columns

I noticed today that a drawing I was working in had columns on by default in MTEXT. As there did not seem to be a way to turn this option off on the Ribbon and only an option to turn it off in the MTEXT editor once activated I had a root around for a setting (using the premise that AutoCAD has myriads of settings).

The setting to control MTEXT columns is strangely enough MTEXTCOLUMN. Set it to 0 to have no columns.

Dimension Tips

As always in AutoCAD there are numerous ways to do the same thing, mainly due to the way the program has matured over the years. Items that existed way back in R12 are still there in R19.1 (2014), even if they have been replaced with a “better” implementation. These legacy options can sometimes be useful and also if you are encountering a problem its likely that something has been drawn using an older method that in not compatible with newer options.

Dimension without any text added
Dimension without any text added

Take for instance text suffices for dimensions. The usual way to append text is to either set it as default in the Dimension Style Editor or append it for an individual dimension using the properties box (see above).

However you can also append text using <> then whatever text in the Text Override box. This is useful as you can have this as well as a Prefix and a Suffix. The <> represents the dimension. For instance if I have a prefix of SO and a suffix of mm, I can use the following in the Text Override,

Overall <> opening

to achieve,

Overall SO 1045mm opening

This can be useful for one off dimensions where the text needs to be padded out to make the dimension clearer and the dimension style is carrying suffices that are required to be kept.

Dimension with text suffix option 2
Dimension with text suffix

The override box can also be used to place text below the dimension line whilst the dimension remains above. This is done using the <> X modifier! For example;


Dimension with text below the dimension line
Dimension with text below the dimension line

Note that if you want the text to be centred no space is required between “X” and the text required otherwise a space precedes the text below the line.

The major drawback with using text override as the main method for applying suffices is that Match Properties will not carry the text override from one dimension to another, it has to be retyped, whereas a dimension with Suffix used will carry over.

Match Properties Settings

A quick post to highlight that AutoCAD has a lot a “hidden” settings that most people (including me) don’t use or even know about.

Take for instance Match Properties, this actually has a selective settings box so that only some of the properties from the source object are matched!

Match Properties Dialog Box
Match Properties Dialog Box

Note that when Match Properties is clicked and the source object is selected AutoCAD lists the current settings under “Current Active Settings”, usually this is everything, however you can type S (or click settings in 2013 and above) and you will be presented with the dialog to turn off (or on) various properties to copy.

Rotate Viewport

One of my colleagues was asking how do I rotate a view in a specific viewport. I was all over this, and was like there are several ways, however the way I use is to use UCSFOLLOW, then rotate the UCS, turn off UCSFOLLOW and voila view rotated in viewport that is different to that of the model space.

Another colleague was like why don’t you rotate the viewport itself, that would be easier?

I was like, viewports don’t rotate? He rotated the viewport and wow! The view inside followed. This works for any angle!

The system variable that controls this is VPROTATEASSOC which has been in AutoCAD since 2010!