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


Proxy Objects

Previously I noted that you could remove deeply buried proxy objects (or zombies) using an exchange application. There are other LISP routines out there to remove proxy objects. However neither of these are possible unless you have the full version of AutoCAD but what if you have LT?

This site notes, that if you have LT you can re-save your file using the AECTOACAD command. This however might remove objects! Make sure you backup first.

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.

Scale in one axis

One of my colleagues today asked, can you scale in only one axis or by differing in the X and Y axes? The answer is no if you use the SCALE command. However there is a workaround.

If you place the objects in you require to scale non-uniformly into a block the block can be scaled in the properties pallette.


Once scaled, explode the block and voila you have scaled your group of objects by only one axis.

Pickfirst is on and objects just don’t select

Today I encountered a strange AutoCAD issue. At first it seemed to be the old pickfirst issue where if the variable is off you have to run the command then select, rather than the default behavior where you select and go.

The issue encountered today was similar but only seemed to happen on CTRL+C and mtext (MTEDIT). Otherwise all commands worked with select then run command.

After a bit of searching this error appears to be an issue with QAFLAGS. QAFLAGS is an undocumented system variable that appears to have no obvious use. It is problem an internal AutoDesk variable for testing. Though its strange behaviors can be used to assist in writing LISP and scripts!

QAFLAGS can be set to 1 or 2 apparently but the default should be 0. If it is not on 0 the strange semi-PICKFIRST=0 behavior will occur!


Paperspace hidden by Modelspace Wipeout

One of my colleagues came to me today with this conundrum; the wipeout in modelspace was hiding paperspace objects. This was happening both on the screen and when plotting.

Wipeout Problem

Here you can see that the orange circle is hidden behind the blues lines. The blue lines are in model space and are the frames of the wipeout and the orange circle is in paper space.

When plotting the circle stays behind the blue lines.

The solution to plotting side of things is to ensure Paperspace is plotted last.

Wipeout Check Box

When plotting you can find this option on the right hand side. Check the plot paperspace last box.

Wipeout Solved

Now the plot will show the circle in paperspace above the wipeout in modelspace.

One one drawing I found that if you turn off wipeout frames and back on again the display is corrected, however on another this does not work. In order to turn off wipeout frames type WIPEOUT –> then F –> then OFF and then turn them back on again (WIPEOUT –> F –> ON).


Unexplodable Blocks

One of my colleagues today posed the question, why doesn’t my block explode? Firstly, I thought this was impossible, but I was wrong!

The first issue is check that it is not a group, they are very similar on the surface and can be mistaken for blocks and visa versa! X or explode cannot work on groups.

However X or explode can sometimes not work on blocks. There is a setting for blocks that I had never noticed under the block creation box, called “allow exploding”, uncheck this and your blocks cannot be exploded!

In order to get around this, bring up the block edit dialogue with nothing selected.

Then select the offending block in the list and check the “allow exploding” box. Now click OK. Yes to redefine. Note this might cause some issues with placing!


Now the block can be exploded!


No Thumbnails

One of my colleagues was struggling with files that did not have thumbnails. According to this (very helpful) post this is due to the THUMBSAVE setting not being set to 1.

This is a setting that is saved globally per machine but affects drawings. This can be confusing as there are global settings and drawing specific settings. Drawings saved on a machine with this off won’t create a thumbnail in the file.

Retaining XREF Layouts

One of my colleagues was getting very frustrated with the XREF he was using, he had set up an XREF, turn off the layers as he wanted, then saved and exited the drawing. Upon reopening the drawing he found these changes were reset to the layers on the XREF source.

AutoCAD appears to be setup strangely on my colleagues machine where it prefers to inherit layering from the source. Whilst this is a logical method it doesn’t help new users to understand how to “lock” their XREFs. By default AutoCAD should be in the “locked” mode.

Frustratingly AutoCAD also appears to have no visual way to set VISRETAIN, a toggle for XREF state in the XREF manager would be nice, perhaps a check box with a note next to it saying “Check to retain layer information in current drawing”. That way people will know what is going on!

So its back to the command line, type VISRETAIN and then set to 1 for keeping the layers in the current drawing as you want them or 0 to inherit from source.


From AutoCAD help: (Copyright Autodesk).

The layer table, as stored in the reference drawing (xref), takes precedence. Changes made to xref-dependent layers in the current drawing are valid in the current session only and are not saved with the drawing. When the current drawing is reopened, the layer table is reloaded from the reference drawing, and the current drawing reflects all of those layer property settings.
Xref-dependent layer changes made in the current drawing take precedence. Layer settings are saved with the current drawing’s layer table and persist from session to session.


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!