Tip: When Tracking Doesn’t Seem to Work

Here is one of the quirky things that AutoCAD does that might throw you for a loop. It involves “Tracking” whether it is “Object Snap Tracking” or “Polar Tracking” they seem to behave differently when Dynamic Input is turned onn or off. This is especially true for Object Snap Tracking. I have heard it said and taught, that these functions DO NOT work when Dynamic Input (DYN) is turned off. I am here to show you that they do.
When Dynamic Input is toggled on (as shown below) when you establish the reference point which has the green “glyph”, you pull away and see the dashed line and enter your tracking distance and you are just fine.

DYN Mode turned on OSNAP Tracking

DYN Mode turned on OSNAP Tracking

The trouble seems to be when Dynamic Input is turned off and you establish the same reference point. You see the green “glyph” and dashed line as you pull away, but when you enter the distance at the command line, the dashed line goes away making you think that you are unable to use Object Snap Tracking without DYN turned on.

The think that is happening is that the “focus” goes from the drawing area and then on to the command line. And don’t worry, it isn’t broke – all that you have to do is enter your distance AND PAUSE. Then re-establish the focus in the drawing area where you were by simply lining your cursor back into line where it was until you see the dashed line AND THEN HIT ENTER (shown below).

Object Snap Tracking Working without DYN turned on

Object Snap Tracking Working without DYN turned on

OTRACK Annoyance

The same can be said of using Polar Tracking. But it is easier to see that it works as opposed to using Object Snap Tracking. See if you can notice the difference below.

DYN turned on with Polar Tracking:

DYN turned on with Polar Tracking

DYN turned OFF with Polar Tracking:

DYN turned OFF using Polar Tracking

Posted in BASICS, Settling In, TIPS | 7 Comments

Shortcut Keys for AutoCAD, Inventor and Revit

Near the beginning of the year a blog post here showed the links to Autodesk’s AutoCAD for Microsoft Windows and Mac’s Shortcut keys (Aliases). They have now made available a list of shortcut keys to Autodesk Inventor and Revit. Below are the links:


Posted in BASICS, Revit, TIPS | Leave a comment

Using SUPERHATCH To Make Complicated Hatch Patterns

A very good question was asked in in the comments section of the following post about creating custom hatches [found here]. That post was about creating custom hatches using lines within a 1×1 square and then having the ability so save that custom hatch pattern to its own file and copying the contents into the bottom of your ACAD.PAT file that is located in your ACAD support path. The hatch pattern LISP routine was originally posted at Cadalyst.com 10 years ago and still works great (see why I like LISP so much) it can be [found here].

The question was basically – Why wont this routine work even though I am using nothing but lines and they all fit into the 1×1 square?

I was sent the file that had the linework and I had the same results.

Here is a snap shot of the desired hatch pattern.

Linework that needs to be new hatch pattern

During the SAVEHATCH portion of the routine it showed errors in the command line history of “invalid angles”…

Hatch Pattern Invalid Angle

So I tried changing UNITS and “Angle Type” but I still got this error and gave up on trying to figure that out.

Welcome to Express Tool SUPERHATCH!!!

First make a block of the objects that you want to define your hatch pattern.

Create A Block of the hatch shape

Then launch the SUPERHATCH command. Also found on the Express Tools tab > Draw panel > Super Hatch

SUPERHATCH on the ribbon

(Note: there are many options and ways of using this tool so I would suggest looking into the various options by hitting the F1 button after launching the tool)

Super Tip: One of my favorite uses of this tool is that you can make a hatch pattern out of curved objects!!!


There is also a great video by Lynn Allen demonstrating how to use SUPERHATCH and applying images as a hatch [found here]

Applying the Super Hatch

The prompts for using a block are shown above and are listed below:

  • Select “Block” from the Super Hatch menu
  • Select the block name from the “Super Hatch – Insert” dialog box and click “OK”

(The next few prompts are similar to inserting a block)

  • Specify an Insertion point:
  • Specify the X scale factor:
  • Specify the Y scale factor:
  • Specify the rotation angle:
  • Is the placement of this BLOCK acceptable? <Yes>
  • Specify block [Extents] First Corner <magenta rectang>:
  • Other corner:
  • Specify an option [Advanced options] <Internal point>: Pick inside of enclosed area to apply the hatch
  • hit Enter

Notice that after the hatch has been applied that it is now a “group” and not a true hatch. So if you decide to modify the boundary, it will not be “associative”

Posted in Customization, Express Tools, Hatch, TIPS | 1 Comment

Polygon Intro, Reminder and Cool Trick

Hopefully, today’s tip will help you AutoCAD “newbies” and you “old schoolers”
The POLYGON tool in AutoCAD creates “Simple Polygons” that are symmetrical.

The Polygon tool is located on the Home tab > Draw panel > next to the RECTANGLE tool there is a pull down arrow, under that list is the POLYGON tool.


  • Command line version: POLYGON <enter>
    Command Alias: POL <enter>

Method One: Making  a Polygon From a Center point – Out (like a circle)

  • Once the tool is launched, you are asked to “Enter the number of sides:” of the polygon
  • You are then asked to “Specify the center of the Polygon.” You can do this by simply picking a point in the drawing area.
  • Then you are asked if the polygon should be “Inscribed” or “Circumscribed“. This may be confusing for new users but it also trips up users that are “old pros” that have been using AutoCAD for a long time.
  • The last prompt is “Specify the radius of the circle:” which sounds confusing because it sounds like you are now creating a circle somehow…

Shown below are some examples that illustrate Polygons in relation to a circle. The circle and the Polygons share the same center point and the same radius. This illustration hopefully makes it easier to understand the prompts and which part of the polygon rests at the “radius” point. I also have to give the AutoCAD team kudos for adding a description after each option (Inscribed & Circumscribed) in newer releases of AutoCAD. It used to just ask you to specify an “I” for Inscribed or “C” for Circumscribed.

The arrow shown below that is labeled “Distance” shows the center point (back end of arrow) and the radius (at the arrow end).

Inscribed and Circumscribed with Shared

Inscribed & Circumscribed polygons with the same center point and the same radius

  • Inscribed:
    When you specify the radius of an inscribed polygon, you are defining where a corner of the polygon will be placed.


  • Circumscribed:
    When you specify the radius of a circumscribed polygon, you are defining where the midpoint of one of the edges or segments of the polygon will be placed.




The “Cool Trick” that is mentioned in the title is something that is sometimes overlooked. It is an option that we glance over when the POLYGON command is launched. It is the “Edge” option. This is especially useful when creating a circumscribed polygon. Instead of specifying a center point and a radius, you define the length and angle of an “edge” of the polygon.

  • Define the Edge’s Angle & Length:
    Watch the Dynamic Input as the angle and length are entered to define the edge.

Polygon Egde define angle and length

  • Referenced Object:
    Shown below is simply an angled line with a distance and angle that I don’t know – but I want my polygon’s edge to be that length and at that angle Quickly

Polygon Edge 1


The Coolest trick is using the edge option to make a square. You simply tell it to make 4 sides – then pick 2 points and voila you have a square!!!

Polygon Edge Square

Posted in BASICS | Leave a comment

Shrink The Info Center Search Area to Expand File Name

This tip is simple yet helpful in displaying more of a file name that might be obscured by the upper right “Info Center.”

All that you have to do is simply collapse the arrow next to the search field that says “type a keyword or phrase”

Note that both AutoCAD and Revit are shown. This search area (Info Center) is similar in most Autodesk products

Shrink Search Area

Posted in BASICS, Settling In | 2 Comments

Block Description to Multileader

Following up on the previous post – The routine illustrated below is also made by Alan Thompson found HERE lets you select a block and place a multileader containing the Block’s description (see below for “block description”)

Use the command BDESC2ML to start

Example of Block Description to Multileader:

Block Description to MLeader


Quick explanation of block description:

When you first create a block using the “BLOCK” command (B <enter>) you are given the option to enter a description of the block as shown below in the “Block Definition” dialog box.

If you already have a block in-place in the drawing but do not have a block description, you can add it by using the command BMOD <enter> This will launch the Block definition dialog box as if you were creating a block. You can also get to this dialog box by simply entering B <enter> at the command line.

Once the dialog box appears:

  1. Select the existing block’s name from the dropdown list.
  2. Add the desired block description under the “Description” area. Then click “ok” and update the block

Adding a Block Description

Posted in AutoLISP, AutoLISP: Blocks, Blocks, Leaders, multileaders | 9 Comments

AutoLISP: Block Name to MultiLeader

The routine illustrated below is from Alan Thompson found HERE at CADTutor.

This routine lets you select a block and place a multileader that contains the name of the block. The arrowhead or leader point is automatically placed at the block’s insertion point. So if you would like to change the placement, you can do so afterwards.

Block Name Label

Please refer to the above link of the source where Alan posted the code for any questions or comments and also giving him a “thank you” in regards to the routine.

Posted in AutoLISP, AutoLISP: Blocks, Blocks, multileaders | 3 Comments