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AutoCAD 2000 is continuing to shift the user interface from command-centric to design-centric and making the software more transparent throughout the design process. One way to accomplish this is to enhance productivity and make commonly used tools more accessible and easier to use. AutoCAD 2000 software’s productivity enhancements are designed to increase ease of use by automating certain tasks and by making AutoCAD more integrated with Windows. Some of these features include the Object Properties dialog, improved selection filters, and context-sensitive right-click shortcut menus.

Object Properties Dialog

AutoCAD 2000 introduces the Object Properties dialog, which revolutionizes the way you view and edit an object’s properties. The Object Properties dialog combines the functionality found in such commands as DDMODIFY and DDCHPROP and adds many other object-specific editing commands. Through a single, resizable, dockable, modeless (always available until dismissed) dialog, the Object Properties dialog enables you to modify virtually all properties of AutoCAD objects in a simpler, faster, more efficient manner. The Object Properties feature include the following:


  • Edit by Type. The Object Properties feature filters selection sets by object type, thus enabling you to modify properties on a per-object basis.
  • No Selection Set. When no selection set is current, the current state of properties, such as hyperlinks, plot style, Hide plot, UCS, and viewport data, are displayed and can be modified.
  • Tabbed Listing. Dialog tabs enable listing of object properties by category (for example, General, Geometry, and so on) or in alphabetical order making it easier to find a specific property.
  • Dynamic Updating. Modified properties are updated dynamically on-screen providing instant feedback for more accurate property editing.
  • Quick Select Access. When used with the Quick Selected filtered selection set (for example, all circles on a specific layer), the Object Properties dialog makes the modifications of an object’s properties quick and easy.

Object Properties dialog

Find—Find and Replace Text

AutoCAD 2000 introduces the Find feature, which provides you with a quick and easy method for finding and replacing text within a drawing file. You can use the Find tool to locate text in block attributes, dimension annotations, and hyperlink/URL names. Once you have located text of interest, the Zoom option enables you to locate the text and zoom to it in the drawing file. Highly flexible search options include case-sensitive searches, whole-word-only searches, searches restricted to specific types of text (for example, URLs), or searches limited to the current selection set instead of the whole drawing.

Find and Replace Text dialog



Quick Select—a Quick Selection Set Builder

The new Quick Select dialog, representing a subset of the FILTER command, intuitively eases and simplifies the process of creating and filtering selection sets based on object properties such as object type, layer, color, linetype, or lineweight. Filters may be applied either inclusively or exclusively to the entire drawing or to the current selection set. With Quick Select, for example, a filtered selection set containing all circle objects found on a given layer can be built quickly. Once defined, a selection set can be further refined with additional applications of Quick Select. When used with the Object Properties dialog, Quick Select becomes a powerful, quick, and intuitive way of selecting and editing AutoCAD objects.



Object Property Toolbar

To support new AutoCAD 2000 functionality, the Object Property Toolbar has been updated and includes the addition of a Plot/No-plot icon in the Layer States combo box and a new Lineweight combo box. A new Plot Styles button has also been added. The Object Property Toolbar enables easy access to frequently used properties and settings.



Updates to the Object Property Toolbar

Context Menus—Right-Click Shortcut Menus

AutoCAD 2000 software greatly extends the use of right-click shortcut menus to support the Heads-up Design environment. Shortcut menus provide rapid access to the options available for tasks or commands currently underway. For example, if you are performing a dimensioning task, the shortcut menu displays a group of dimensioning options or subcommands, such as an option for changing dimension text location or the degree of precision. These shortcuts are tremendous time-savers that enable you to concentrate on your work area in a "heads-up" manner.



Five basic modes of shortcut menus are implemented in AutoCAD 2000 software and all are customizable and extensible. The basic menu modes include the following:



Edit-mode menu appears when you right-click with objects selected but no command in progress. For some high-level objects such as dimensions, the menu will display object-specific editing tools.
Default menu appears when you right-click in the drawing area and no command is in progress or when a selection set is available.
Dialog-mode menus appear when you right-click in modal dialogs or on dialog tabs. (Shown is the Layer Properties right-click menu.)
Command-mode menu appears when you right-click during a command in progress. The menu displays options specific to that command.
Other menus. Right-clicking on the command line displays a recent command history. Right-clicking on any toolbar displays a list of all toolbars.





Solids-Editing Enhancements

Creating 3D solid models is significantly easier in AutoCAD 2000 with the addition of a full-featured solids-editing capability. First of all, designers can now take full advantage of the ACIS 4.0 modeling engine in AutoCAD to create complex solid models quickly and easily. Once created, these models can be easily modified using techniques for face, body, and edge editing. Editing capabilities include face move, rotate, offset, taper, delete, copy, and change color. Flexible shelling and imprint features are also included. You can select faces with an intuitive face-picking method. All of these tools are available on an easy-to-use Solids Editing toolbar.

Solids Editing Toolbar


Drawing Properties

With Drawing Properties, you can embed ancillary data in drawing files and perform queries and retrievals of those drawing files based on this data. The drawing file then becomes more than just a repository for drawing data; it provides you with base-level file-retrieval and file-management capabilities.

People who are not running AutoCAD can now see drawing properties via the Windows Explorer right-click shortcut menu Properties command outside of AutoCAD. This adds additional value to drawing files by enabling those that don’t have AutoCAD to see information about the drawings. Used in conjunction with AutoCAD DesignCenter’s Advanced Find feature, Drawing Properties makes it much easier to find or catalog drawings.


By exposing an API to this new AutoCAD capability, independent developers can further enhance and extend Summary Information functionality in innovative, discipline-specific ways.


Drawing Properties Dialog—Summary Tab

Text Enhancements

Text capabilities have been significantly enhanced in AutoCAD 2000 for increased performance, flexibility, and usability. Text enhancements include the following:



Layer Properties Manager

AutoCAD 2000 software’s new resizable Layer Properties Manager dialog provides more than twice the display area for listing layer names as AutoCAD Release 14. Significant enhancements to the Layer Properties Manager include:



New Layer Properties Manager Dialog


AutoCAD 2000 software also enables you to indicate whether layers are to be plotted or not with the new Plot layer property. Layers that have the Plot property turned off are invisible in Plot Preview. The Plot property does not affect a layer’s display visibility.

Extended Symbol Names (ESN)

In AutoCAD 2000 software, the length for symbol names (layers, blocks, dimstyles, linetypes, views, and so on) has been expanded from 31 to 255 characters. Spaces and some special characters are also supported. All AutoCAD 2000 dialogs and commands that display symbol names have been updated to accommodate the longer name capability. If a symbol name is too long to display in the text field of a dialog, a TextTip with the entire name displays as you pass the cursor over the name.


AutoCAD 2000 software preserves and displays the symbol names exactly as you originally typed them, including uppercase/lowercase treatment. Internally, AutoCAD 2000 remains case-insensitive to symbol names, which means you cannot create two symbol names for the same symbol type that differ only in case.



Dimensioning Enhancements

Enhancements to the dimensioning facility in AutoCAD 2000 software include a redesigned Dimension Style dialog box that offers faster, more intuitive dynamic dimension editing. The preview pane now automatically updates to reflect changes in dimension settings.


New Dimension Style Manager Dialog


Other dimensioning enhancements include:



Combined with a more consistent dimensioning interface, these enhancements make the overall task of dimensioning both easier and faster.



Bhatch Dialog Enhancements

The Bhatch dialog in AutoCAD 2000 software has undergone a redesign to enhance productivity. It now presents the hatching parameters under two tabs, Quick and Advanced, streamlining the interface and enabling you to be become more productive. A hatch preview is available from a right-click shortcut menu enabling you to quickly check settings.

AutoCAD 2000 Software’s New Bhatch Dialog—Advanced Tab

Appload Dialog

In addition to presenting a more usable interdace, the redesigned Appload dialog in AutoCAD 2000 adds several new timesaving features. The new Startup Suite, for example, enables you to create, maintain and edit a list of frequently used Visual Basic, Visual LISP, compiled LISP, and ObjectARX applications that load automatically at start time.



Drag and drop enables you to drag applications from the file navigation area of the dialog or from Windows Explorer and drop them into either the Loaded Applications list or the Startup Suite. You can even connect directly to the Internet with a single mouse-click and load an application directly for the Web. Standard MFC Explorer file navigation capabilities, such as Favorites, are conveniently provided at the top of the dialog. Loading applications has never been easier.

Startup Dialog

The Startup dialog is redesigned to increase efficiency and ease of use. It provides larger areas for previewing drawings and drawing file paths.

AutoCAD 2000 Software’s New Startup Dialog—Open a Drawing

Command Line Standardization

Command line standardization leads to greater ease of use for veteran users and improved learnability for new users. In AutoCAD 2000, command line prompts have been standardized for a more consistent, easier-to-read format. Prompts are more specific, with options grouped by function. When applicable, value lines display system variables that affect the command. A comparison of the command prompts for the FILLET command is shown below.


R14 prompt:


Command: _fillet

(TRIM mode) Current fillet radius = 0.5000

Polyline/Radius/Trim/<Select first object>:


AutoCAD 2000 prompt:


Command: _fillet

Current settings: Mode = TRIM, Radius = 0.5000

Select first object or [Polyline/Radius/Trim]:


In AutoCAD 2000 software, the SAVEAS function now lets you select a file format other than AutoCAD 2000 as the default format for repeated saves during a drawing session. If you save a drawing to a version other than the default, AutoCAD 2000 software remembers which file format was chosen and saves the drawing to that format in subsequent SAVE, QSAVE, or AUTOSAVE operations that do not call the dialog. When you try to save an older-format drawing, AutoCAD 2000 verifies your format choice before saving the file to the specified AutoCAD format. This new save behavior enables you to work more easily in a mixed-version AutoCAD environment.



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