The application status bar (see Figure below) appears at the bottom of the
AutoCAD screen. The status bar displays and allows you to change several
important drawing modes, aids, and settings that affect how you draw and
edit in the current drawing. I introduce them in this section.
You can set status bar buttons to display icons or the traditional text labels
that will be familiar to users of previous versions. To switch from one style to
the other, right-click any of the drawing mode buttons at the left side of the
status bar and select or deselect Use Icons.
Some of these status bar settings wonft make complete sense until youfve
used the AutoCAD commands that they influence, but herefs a brief description,
with references to detailed descriptions of how to use each setting,
starting at the left end of the status bar (and note that not all buttons are displayed
at all times, so Figure above doesnft show all the buttons listed):
Coordinates of the crosshairs: The coordinates readout displays the
current X,Y,Z location of the crosshairs in the drawing area, with respect
to the origin point (whose coordinates are 0,0,0).
If the coordinates in the lower-left corner of the screen are grayed out,
coordinate tracking is turned off. Click the coordinates so that they
appear in dark numbers that change when you move the crosshairs in
the drawing area.
Infer Constraints (INFER): Parametric constraints were new in AutoCAD
2010, and inferred constraints are the first major enhancement to this
relatively new feature. When INFER is enabled, you automatically set
geometry-based constraints as you draw.
SNAP, GRID, and ORTHO modes: These three buttons control three of
AutoCADfs tools that help with precision drawing and editing.
- SNAP: Constrains the crosshairs to regularly spaced intervals,
enabling you to draw objects a fixed distance apart more easily
- GRID: Displays a series of graph paper.style lines or regularly
spaced dots, which serve as a distance reference
- .ORTHO: Constrains the crosshairs to horizontal and vertical movement,
which makes drawing orthogonal (straight horizontal and
vertical) lines easy
POLAR Tracking mode: Polar tracking causes the crosshairs to jump to
certain angles when you draw and edit objects. The default angle settings
are multiples of 90 degrees, but you can specify other angle increments,
such as 45 or 30 degrees. Clicking the Polar
button toggles polar tracking on and off. Ortho and polar tracking are
mutually exclusive . turning on one mode disables the other.
Object Snap (OSNAP): Object snap is another AutoCAD tool for ensuring
precision drawing and editing. You use object snaps to grab points on
existing objects . for example, the endpoint of a line or the center of a
3D Object Snap (3DOSNAP): With AutoCADfs enhanced 3D capabilities,
an extension of object snaps into the third dimension was a given.
Enabling this mode lets you snap to the precise center of a face, a
vertex, the midpoint of an edge, or a number of similar 3D points you
canft get to with regular object snaps.
Object Snap Tracking (OTRACK): When you turn on object snap tracking,
AutoCAD hunts in a more sophisticated way for points that are
derived from object snap points.
Dynamic User Coordinate System (DUCS): This onefs for 3D object creation
(and so is not included in AutoCAD LT). Most AutoCAD primitive
objects, such as lines, arcs, and circles, are planar, and you have to set
an appropriate plane in three dimensions if you want to work in 3D. You
can set planes with the UCS command .
Dynamic Input (DYN): Dynamic input displays commands, options,
prompts, and user input in a tooltip adjacent to the crosshairs and
enables you to keep focused on what youfre drawing. In addition, the
dynamic input tooltip displays what you type in response to prompts.
Lineweight (LWT) display mode: One of the properties that you can
assign to objects in AutoCAD is lineweight — the thickness that lines
appear when you plot the drawing. This button controls whether you
see the lineweights on the screen. (This button doesn’t control whether
lineweights appear on plots; that’s a separate setting in the Plot dialog
Transparency (TPY): A new object property in AutoCAD 2011 lets you
create see-through objects for the first time. Similar to the Lineweight
button, this button controls whether objects assigned the transparency
property appear transparent or opaque.
Quick Properties (QP): When Quick Properties is enabled, selecting an
object in the drawing displays a pop-up window that lists the main properties
of that object. You can choose which properties you want displayed
by right-clicking the QP button and choosing Settings.
Selection Cycling (SC): It’s remarkably easy in AutoCAD to draw objects
on top of other objects and not be able to tell you’ve done so. When the
new Selection Cycling is enabled, an icon showing two overlapping rectangles
appears beside the crosshairs if AutoCAD finds more than one
object under them. If you then click to select, a Selection window pops
up showing you how many objects, and of what type, are under the
point that you picked (see Figure below).
MODEL/PAPER: Clicking this button toggles between model space and
As I describe in the section “Down the main stretch: The drawing area,”
later in this chapter, AutoCAD’s drawing area is composed of two overlapping
environments: Model space is where you create your model
geometry, and paper space is where you compose your drawing sheet
to document that geometry. Clicking this button when the Model tab
is active (that is, you’re in full-screen model space) switches you to a paper space layout. A completed layout includes viewports, which
reveal the objects in model space at a particular scale. After you switch to a paper
space layout, clicking this button toggles between paper space and
model space within the layout. The button label switches from MODEL to
PAPER to show you which space you’re in.
Model and Layout: (These two buttons disappear if Model and Layout
tabs are displayed.) Clicking the Model button switches you out of the
layout and back to full-screen model space. (If Model and Layout tabs
are displayed, you click the Model tab to switch to full-screen model
space.) Clicking Layout switches you to whichever paper space layout
was active when you switched to model space. (Note that the tooltip for
the Layout button displays the name of the layout, which might be
changed from the default Layout1 or Layout2.)
Quick View Layouts: Clicking this button displays a horizontal row of
graphic images of all layouts in the current drawing. Click a layout image
to make that layout current. The Quick View toolbar below the layout
images contains buttons for pinning the Quick View Layouts bar so it
stays open, creating a new layout, publishing the selected layout, and
closing Quick View Layouts.
Quick View Drawings: Clicking this button displays a row of graphic
images of all currently open drawings. Click a drawing image to make it
current. (Why, yes, it is the same as Ctrl+Tabbing!) Quick View Drawings
includes the same Quick View toolbar as Quick View Layouts.
Maximize/Minimize Viewport (appears on paper space layouts only):
When you’re looking at one of the Layout tabs instead of the Model tab,
the status bar displays an additional Maximize Viewport button. Click
this button to expand the current paper space viewport so that it fills
the entire drawing area. Click the button — now called Minimize
Viewport — again to restore the viewport to its normal size.
The next six buttons control the size and appearance of AutoCAD’s annotative
objects — things like text, dimensions, hatching, and so forth. Annotative
objects are complex, so don’t worry if you don’t understand at this point.
Lock/Unlock Viewport: Once you’re satisfied with the display inside
your viewport, and you’ve assigned a viewport scale, use this button to
lock the viewport display so you don’t accidentally pan or zoom inside
Annotation Scale (appears in full-screen model space only): Clicking
Annotation Scale displays a list of preset annotation scales; if the
Automatically Add Scales button is toggled on, changing a scale here
causes all annotative objects to update to the new scale.
Viewport Scale: This button appears only in a layout, when a model
space viewport is activated. If the viewport is locked, this button is inactive.
If the viewport is unlocked, clicking the button displays a list of
scales; choose the desired scale from the list.
Annotation Scale Is Not Equal To Viewport Scale: If the scale assigned
to annotative objects within the viewport differs from the scale assigned
to the viewport itself, clicking this button will synchronize the annotation
scale to the viewport scale.
Annotation Visibility: This button toggles the visibility of annotative
objects. When the light bulb is off (gray), only annotative objects of the
current annotative scale are visible; when the light bulb is on (yellow),
all annotative objects in the drawing, regardless of scale, are visible.
Automatically Add Scales: When this button is toggled on, additional
annotative scales are automatically added to objects inside the viewport
when you change the viewport scale.
Workspace Switching: Clicking this button displays a list of saved workspaces,
including the four default workspaces (two in AutoCAD LT):
AutoCAD Classic, 2D Drafting & Annotation, 3D Basics, and 3D Modeling
(the latter two are not included in AutoCAD LT), plus any user-defined
and saved workspaces.
Lock/Unlock Toolbar/Window Positions: “Now, where did I leave that
Properties palette?” You’ll never have to ask yourself again — AutoCAD
2011 lets you lock the Ribbon, toolbars, or palettes (which for some
reason it’s started calling windows) in position, so you’ll always know
where they are.
Hardware Acceleration: You can quickly toggle hardware acceleration
on and off from the status bar. Prior to AutoCAD 2011, you had to run
the 3DCONFIG command and proceed through a couple of dialog boxes.
Visit the online help to find out more about improved graphics performance
and better rendering options using hardware acceleration; hardware
acceleration is not available in AutoCAD LT.
The remaining status bar icons, with the exception of Clean Screen at the
very end, live in a special area of the status bar called the tray. The tray displays
icons that represent drawing services, and most do not appear at all
times. These tray icons include :
Trusted Autodesk DWG: A trusted drawing is one created by AutoCAD,
AutoCAD LT, or any program developed by Autodesk. In recent years,
more and more programs have been able to save in DWG format, but in
Autodeskfs eyes, these files are not to be trusted. If you open such a
drawing file, youfll get a warning dialog box and a little yellow danger
sign over the trusted DWG icon (make sure you know where your wallet
is when you work on one of these files).
Object Isolation: In AutoCAD 2011, you donft need to turn a layer . and
everything on it . off if you want a clearer view of something in a
crowded drawing. Now you can select an object and either hide it (so it
disappears) or isolate it (so everything else disappears). If the light bulb
on this button is dim, it means one or more objects are either hidden or
isolated; click the button and choose Unisolate Objects to turn everything
else . including the light bulb icon . back on.
Associated Standards File: You see this button if youfve enabled CAD
standards checking and configured a drawing standards (DWS) file.
Clicking this button displays the Check Standards dialog box. AutoCADfs
CAD Standards functions are not included in AutoCAD LT. I donft cover
standards checking in this book.
Manage Xrefs: You wonft see this combination button and notification
symbol until you open a drawing that contains xrefs (external DWG files
that are incorporated into the current drawing).
Status Bar Menu: When you click the easy-to-miss, downward-pointing
arrow near the right end of the status bar, you open a menu with options
for toggling off or on each status bar button. Now you can decorate your
status bar to your taste. You can also turn on the drawing status bar.
Doing so moves the three annotation scaling buttons described above
to a separate drawing-specific status bar. (My personal preference is to
leave it turned off.)
Clean Screen: No, this button doesnft squeegee your monitor. Clicking
this button frees up a bit more screen space by first maximizing the
AutoCAD window and then turning off the title bar, toolbars, palettes,
and the Windows taskbar. Click the button again to restore those
Several status bar buttons, including Snap, Polar Tracking, Object Snap, and
Object Snap Tracking, sport right-click menus that offer a speedier way of
setting options. With some of the other buttons, such as Grid and Dynamic
Input, you right-click the button and choose Settings to open the Drafting
Settings dialog box to specify options.