Cad Tips

Cad 2016 rotate polyline(s)

Click on rotate

Click on polyline(s)

Click on rotation, base point.

Enter “r” for reference

Click on rotation point again, then along line that is going to be rotated to horizontal, vertical or whatever. Rotate object to required line by clicking on start and finish position.


Autocad 2009

Cad 2016 Radius two lines

Fillet<Fillet<click on first leg / line<right hand click on mouse<pick, click radius<enter radius size<pick second leg

To restore complete home ribbon panel:-right click on panel options:- Draw, Modify, Layers, Annotation, Block, Properties & Utilities. Click on un ticked one mine was Modify. If necessary, click on top right hand corner of panel box. click on add to ribbon option.


To go to snap / grid click large sloping A on top left hand corner click, tools, drafting settings, first box is snap/grid

When one has to print a drawing and you want one or more lines to be coloured. go to file, plot style table editor, first monochrome line from top, table view, top monochrome line, scroll until your colour appears, change to ‘use object colour’ on second line down. I had recently to do a .pdf desk PDF Creator from .dwg in colour. I used the first plot style on plot list ie. acad.ctb and it worked fine.


To alter the specification of dimensions type in ‘dimstyle’ then enter.


To insert a raster or tif file into a drawing. This would be used when doing house extension plans ie for the location plans. type in imageattach, pick image file and insert. insertion point on screen by mouse scale from drawing ie 500 and 1250, rotation 0.  One can change image size via handles on drawing


DWG TrueView converts drawings saved in higher version back to 2007 of before It’s the third icon in from the top left side

xp scales

In paper space with viewport window open, press z (zoom), then press S for Scale enter, enter reciprocal of scale ie 0.0008xp and 0.005xp or whatever it is, enter. Remember the xp. Always keep curser inside image box.

House/property conversion drawings need existing property outline in red. I have set up red no. 230 with a line weight of 5 for this. This will always happen when the print is sent to printer or .pdf maker


Imported raster files

To get the image frame to show up type in imageframe enter then1, 0 to disappear 2 to show but not plot


Helix / Spiral stairs with stringers

Draw down a plan view with treads. Dimension true arc size of inside of stringers ie going. Autocad has dimension tool for this. Best to do this to say two decimal points. Along with the riser size this allows you to draw a true developed view of stringers and put pot marks where the tread nose is. This along with the radius would be used by the rolling company. I would also supply the total rise dimension ie floor to floor size or total rise in one revolution. Treads would normally be welded in. See Park Engineering drawings Wil 14. (W for Wilson) & Mil 04 note details are in model space.


For all sorts of turnbuckle type of fixings go to

 dwg downloads are available for


Moment of Inertia and “Z” value

I had to do a tube. Produced the two regions, subtracted one from the other, did a massprop and there was the “I” value much easier than using the formula. Just did an irregular shape. Pick say centre to start with and when you do a massprop it gives you the dimensions away to the true C of G. Put UCS to C of G. Redo massprop and one now has true “I” value in mm4. Saves loads of time from doing it manually.  

This is 3 boxes converted into one section. Pick say the bottom as UCS. run a mass prop and this gives you the size up for N.A. Then set as UCS Run massprop again and it gives you the “I” for complete section a great time saver 


a useful page of cad download blocks


Dashed or dotted line spacings

set ltscale to around 5 and see what it looks like.


Paper View

I got stuck in a viewport today, It filled the page and I couldn’t get back to the border area. Typed in MVIEW and when I entered it, it got back.

Mirror Text

If you don’t want to mirror text and I can’t think why anybody would want to set mirrtext to 0


DWF plot Files

Since AutoCAD 2009 you can use _DWFATTACH to attach (underlay) also DWFx files. The DWF/DWFX/PDF underlay functionality is now integrated in the AutoCAD XREF manager. I couldn’t get this to work all that came out was a rectangular box the size o the paper. However I downloaded a trial dwf to dwg converter and it worked a treat. All you need to do is scale it up to the scale on the drawing box then you have it full size..


To make image file

Go paper space, create window with required view inside it, leave window open, type in ‘saveimg’ pick file type and destination and save. some image types have adjustable file size and colour.

Steel Sections


Cad 2010 and 2011

I recently got sent a 2010 AutoCad drawing. As I couldn’t open it I downloaded and installed Autodesk Design and DWG TrueView. This lets you save the drawings back to 2007 and 2004 releases.



Short cuts I have made up

ctrl + 1 = ucs origin

ctrl + 2 = ucs object

ctrl + 3 = ucs world

ctrl + 4 = quick leader

ctrl + 5 = design centre for nuts and bolts and such.



I was “e” mailed a drawing today and after I downloaded it it wouldn’t open. I did a recovery which didn’t work either. When I opened it straight from my ‘in box’ it worked okay. Strange !!



 When one wants to trim line(s) back to nearest crossing line click trim then right click then click on line part to be cut back or fence a number of lines.



Dealing with Overridden Dimensions in AutoCAD

Someone sends you a drawing file with many dimensions on it.  You naively believe that the dimension values reflect the actual size of the drawing.  After spending some time in the drawing you realize that this is definitely not the case – the text values have in fact been overridden!  It’s clear that when the CAD operator saw the actual dimension value they realized it was wrong and (insert shudder here) they overrode the value.  This really gets on my tits. I just can’t understand anybody’s reason for doing this. There’s no way to tell it was a Dumb Dumb Draffy by looking at the drawing…so where do you turn?

Enter another one of my favourite Express Tools – DIMREASSOC  Located in the Express Tool menu under Dimension=>Reset Dim Text Value this Express Tool will find those pesky overridden text values for you and reset them to their actual value.  Express is on the very top toolbar third from right.

Here’s how it works.

Select dimension objects with non-associative text. (select any/all of the dimensions in the drawing and AutoCAD will highlight the offenders)
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 16 found
Select objects: 
16 objects modified.


Dealing with a drawing where the lines are not all 2D

Some supposedly 2D drawings that have been generated from 3D modelling programs still “Z” values to some of the lines. This means one can’t use extend, chamfer etc. Use “FLATTEN”. It’s on the same “Express” toolbar. Most times you have to run it twice to get the job properly done.

Another two very useful “express” commands  are “change text case” and “convert text to mtext” ie multi line text.


To put text under a  dimension line

Double click on dimension. Go to text then to text over and type in    “<>\P(text required)”


To find “I” value of a SHAPE

Convert the 2D shape to region. Type in region and pick shape. Set the origin point  “0, 0,”  at the centre of the shape or if it’s an irregular shape some place on the outside line of shape. Type in “list” and pick the region. Note the “x” and “y” distances from the 0, 0,. Set the origin to this point and do a list again and there’s your “I” value in mm4. If it’s symmetrical no need to adjust the 0, 0, point. VERY VERY USEFUL “massprop” also gives the value.


Always set pslt scale to “0” and “lt” scale to around 5 for an average size of stairs. If memory serves one increases the “lt” scale for bigger dashes on a hidden line.


When a crash occurs

Do a search for the exact file name you were working on (It’ll be in a temp. file somewhere). Move the .SV$ or .BAK file with the correct properties ( DATE TIME AND SIZE) into the folder the drawing was in. Open a drawing. Go to top left file drop down menu- drawing utilities, drawing recovery manager. Right click in the mouse and click on expand. Open the file that you want to recover and save as the next issue. 



PDMODE gives options as to what the dividing point will look like. PDSIZE gives allows one to change the size of this. A very useful function for equally spacing shapes. View the list of shapes available. Set to 0 for a point. Type in pdmode enter  can reset it.


To radius the ends of two parallel lines

Simply click the radius icon. Then click the ends of the line you want to radius. Great for doing diagramatics.


After sending a plot to printer the following message appears “Printer driver for HP designjets printers in windows NT has encountered a problem and needs to close” 

This happens I am told because the path and file name are too long. First of all reduce the file name ie to just one letter. If this doesn’t work move the file to the “C” drive and print from there.

Send a Fax directly from CAD 2009

Go to printer and highlight fax. Pick A4 and orientate paper correctly. Window area you require to send. Press print in print dialog box. Type in fax number and de-tick header. And that’s it.


Viewports disappear

Type in maxactvp the enter. Increase number. One can go up to about 64 depending on memory of machine.


Change path of “x” refs.

Click on insert then external references highlight drawing file in box. go to detail box below. found at. go to right hand side. click on to click on *** to browse go to new folder and open drawing file.



I was using somebody a drawing from another company and when i went to print it only the .stb plot styles would show up in the option box. I use .ctb (colour dependant) styles. This option must go with the drawing. Type in “convertpstyles” to change. 


Clicking to tangent

Draw line, right click, pick click to tangent from drop down menu.


Composite beams

ie box on top of box. take moments about bottom with area and distance to get of neutral axis. with box make into 2 regions subtract on from the other. pick n/a as 0,0 point massprop now gives I value of the part distanced from n/a. add up all I’s