HowToAutoCAD Competition

In the interest of trying to get as many top tips on HowToAutoCAD.com as possible, I’ve decided to hold a competition, and there will be a cash prize for the winner in the amount of ¬£25.

All you have to do is:

  • Think of your best AutoCAD® related tips and/or advice.
  • Write an article explaining your tip. Broadly speaking you’ll want to explain what your tip is, when and where it is useful, and why. But of course this is all part of the fun, and you are free to write the article as you wish.
  • Submit your article to me via email with a title (hopefully a nice catchy one, but that’s up to you of course)
  • Wait and see if you won, and then watch the cash and kudos roll in… ūüėÄ

It doesn’t have to be a 5,000 page thesis, but it doesn’t want to be one line either. Your article will not be judged on how long it is – more important than everything else is that it contains a great tip or piece of advice that others will find useful.

To enter, send your article to competition@howtoautocad.com. This will also indicate your acceptance of the competition terms and conditions. Your article will be reviewed, and may be selected for a post on HowToAutoCAD.com. If it gets posted, you’re one of the finalists! Get this far and you’re in with a chance to win the competition.

The final closing date for entries is 19th April. After this, the judging panel will decide on a winner, who will be announced on Friday 26th April.

I look forward to reading all your tips!

Will

 

 

 

 

CTRL Selecting Polylines

First and foremost – hello again!¬†I’ve had a surge in subscribers over the last few months, so for all my new subscribers, welcome to HowToAutoCAD.com.

There are many reasons why lately I’ve been struggling to find time to add new content to HowToAutoCAD.com, and for that I apologise. Many of you know that I’ve just finished my BSc (Hons) Computing, and I literally graduated a few weeks ago. Six months ago I also started a new job at a software development company. The company uses a proprietary programming language, so I’ve pretty much spent the last six months getting up to speed with their software, and their development¬†language. Very interesting, but demanding, and I’ve had little time to dedicate to my blog.

I’ve also been working on something which is on the cusp of being released to you guys – it’s really something I’m quite proud of. It’s called Hex-Script, and it is a graphical AutoCAD® Script building tool, which allows you to create code for AutoCAD® tools by using a simplistic graphical user interface. I honestly think it can save a significant amount of time and effort, and will encourage those that are reluctant to learn how to develop AutoCAD® tools (or simply are afraid of what they might break…) to get stuck in, and develop the tools that they always wanted to build. The software is starting to look pretty swanky too – I’ve posted a teaser image at the end of this post…

I’ve sifted through the mountain of comments I had left to approve – apologies to those that may have waited a while for a response, but I have now responded to you all.

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Now after all of this, things are starting to settle again, and I’m getting back some time on my hands… so I’m going to post more tips for you.

And without any further ado, on with my latest tip! This one is brought to us courtesy of Julien Chevrier, who kindly got in touch to share this great tip.

CTRL Selecting Polylines

A very useful feature introduced in the latest versions of AutoCAD® is the ability to select “sub-entities”. Entities such as polylines are essentially created under the bonnet of AutoCAD® by creating multiple line entities. It just makes sense to reuse this concept, as that’s pretty much what a polyline is – a sequence of lines.

To select a sub-entity, simply hold down the CTRL key and click the part of a polyline that you’re interested in, and it will be selected.¬†The great thing about this is you can then modify this sub-entity as if it were a normal entity, and the geometry of the polyline will be modified to suit the changes you make. So if you MOVE the line sub-entity that you selected, the lines that connect to its endpoints will move too. This is a really handy way of making tweaks to existing geometry, and opens up possibilities for editing your drawings in new and unique ways.

Julien explained that he finds it useful to shape rectangles to the right dimensions by moving polyline sub-entities, while using object tracking.¬†Of course you are not limited to only using the MOVE command either. For example, another useful command to use is ERASE – it’s a very quick and easy way to split the polyline into two parts, removing one of the lines in the process. Often this eliminates the need to use the sometimes cumbersome BREAK command.

I hope you find this tip useful – I certainly have. Many thanks to Julien for this.¬†If you have any tips you’d like me to share with my readers, please feel free to get in touch and I’ll review them, and pass them on.

All the best, and don’t forget to subscribe below if you haven’t already.

Will

P.S. Here’s the teaser for Hex-Script that I promised… I’ll be looking for some volunteers to test my beta release, when it’s ready… ūüôā

Writing Competition

Hi all, apologies for the lull in posts – I’ve just started a new job, and I’m writing my dissertation for my degree at the moment……

I’ve decided I’d like to open up HowToAutoCAD.com to the masses – you’ll notice the new option of “Writers Corner” on the navigational menu. You can now sign up and submit articles for me to review and publish on HowToAutoCAD.com. To celebrate this new functionality I’ve decided to hold a competition – all you need to do is submit an article; a tip, trick, story – anything you like (as long as it’s CAD related), and I’ll judge them, and announce a winner!

So get stuck in – I look forward to reading and publishing your entries.

Will

Vote Results

The results are in from the recent vote, and there is a pretty clear direction for HowToAutoCAD.com.

HowToAutoCAD.com Vote Results

The majority of you (78.8%), want me to include other useful tips from other sources. So that’s what I plan to do.

On that note, I am therefore looking for people that want to get involved. If you have a great tip, I want to hear it, and 78.8% of my readers also want to hear it!

I’ll be doing this in the form of new writers on HowToAutoCAD.com. I’ll create a login for anyone that wants to share a tip/trick, and you’ll be able to create your own posts and identity on HowToAutoCAD.com.

If you’re interested, send an email to will@howtoautocad.com¬†expressing your interest, and I’ll create an account for you. You should then be able to log in, and use an online editor to write/submit your tips.

Thanks to all, and I look forward to getting my first few guest posters up and running! I can’t promise anything at this stage, but in the future I might be able to make it worth your while, for those that have earned it of course ;-).

Will

The Future of HowToAutoCAD.com

The first ever post on HowToAutoCAD was on this very day, 17th November, last year. The astute mathematicians amongst you can cunningly calculate that this makes HowToAutoCAD.com precisely one year old today.

I am amazed by the success of the website so far – in one year we have gone from nothing to over 7,000 unique visitors per month, from more countries than I even knew existed…¬†Thank you all for your interest in what I have to say. I hope that you have found at least some of my tips useful, educational, and hopefully entertaining.¬†I do find it somewhat ironic though that after a whole year of writing posts I still feel I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to cover!

On this momentous day, I’d like to ask you all a question. But before I do, I’d like to explain what led me to it.

Many times lately people have been asking for me to post their tips and tricks on my website, and credit them with their writing. Now, my main interest here is in providing you, the reader, with an outstanding level of service. I want the writing to be top notch, and the tips to be relevant and useful. Up to now I have created all posts myself (with only one exception), to ensure that I spend an appropriate amount of time creating excellent quality posts, with correct and complete information. In the interest of this,¬†I have been very protective of keeping the identity of HowToAutoCAD.com what it is – the site is basically about my¬†AutoCAD® tips.

While I like being the one that helps people, and I of course plan to continue writing my own posts, is keeping HowToAutoCAD.com about my¬†tips¬†alone actually a good thing, or a bad thing? Having thought about it, I’m honestly not sure about the answer.

On the one hand, I know I’m pretty darn good with AutoCAD®, and I know I have a lot to share, even now after a year of writing. The problem is, I can only write so much in my spare time, which that means you, the reader, get much less information than might otherwise be possible.

But on the other hand, if there were more writers I can add posts much more frequently. Every time someone submits an article to me I could read it, check that it’s decent, and add it there and then. The problem here is that by using other people’s writing, I might run the risk of degrading the quality of the website, which is something I do NOT want to do. Is allowing other people’s work to come on my site potentially damaging for the site? I could be worrying over nothing – potentially, having more expert writers could make the site better than it has ever been – I suppose I’m not the only AutoCAD® expert out there!

When debating this, I sort of had a eureka moment. I suddenly realised that I’m actually not the best person to decide this. Who better to decide than a person that has out of their own free will visited this site, and perhaps even subscribed because they like it? You are the perfect person to ask what direction the site should go in, so I’d like to propose a vote to the readers of HowToAutoCAD.com. What direction should this site take?

Your options are:

  1. Don’t change anything! I specifically like YOUR tips and YOUR writing style. I’m happy to have less posts, but I want them to be quality and written by you, and only you.
  2. I’d love to get more tips, from a wider range of sources. I’m happy for you to add posts written by others but endorsed by you. So only add stuff that you’ve read yourself, and think is good enough for your site.
  3. Spam me to death with tips!!! I don’t care where they came from or how good they are, but I want as much as you can give me!

If you want to help me with this decision, please put your choice in the subject of your email, and send to [Voting now closed! Click here to see results!]. You can of course put in the email any other comments or reasons for your choice.

Many thanks, and I look forward to seeing what the outcome is!
Will

Presenting: The HowToAutoCAD Forum

HowToAutoCAD.com’s life started at the end of 2010, and since then has grown from a newborn baby of a web-presence to — let say, a toddler. The amount of interest in my site has been fantastic, and I’m constantly getting emails and helping people around the world with AutoCAD® issues.

Whilst this is great, the only beneficiaries of these instances of support are the person I’m helping, and me. Ideally, you’d want a place to ask questions that is public, so that they can be used as a reference in the future. Also, asking questions in a public domain gives the opportunity for others to provide additional support, which helps even more. So, ideally, you’d want some kind of “forum” for this to take place…

The HowToAutoCAD.com Forum has been born! It is now accessible from the navigation bar at the top of HowToAutoCAD.com.

I want to create an online community of support, so that we can all progress and become better at using AutoCAD®. I’m very interested in all you have to say, and I welcome discussion about anything.

Please do come along – registration is very quick and easy, and should take you less than a minute. I’d also like to take the opportunity to encourage you to introduce yourselves in the “Say Hello!” forum, so that we can get to know who people are, where you’re from etc. And who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll give out prizes for the longest serving members of the forum ;-).

Thanks all – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this forum!

Will