CADnotes CAD Tutorials and Best Practices for professionals and students Fri, 24 Apr 2015 04:06:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s new in AutoCAD 2016: Drafting and Annotations Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:16:54 +0000 We have reviewed AutoCAD 2016 new features in interface and system enhancements. Let’s review what’s new in drafting and annotations.

Again, there are no significant enhancements in this area. I expected something big like when Autodesk introduced Dynamic Block, Annotation Scaling, or Sheet Sets. However, some features do look very useful. You might like them.

Let’s have a look at the new features you can use in AutoCAD 2016 for drafting tools.


Annotations haven’t changed much for many releases. Annotation Scaling was probably the last major enhancement for annotations.

Let’s review the enhancements.

Revision Cloud

In AutoCAD 2016, we now have more options for drawing a Revision Cloud. Previously we only had the freehand method, now we have two more options: Rectangular and Polygonal.

For me, these methods are much easier than using the Freehand method. In the past, I had always made my Revision Cloud by converting polylines or circles.

Revision cloud


If you select an existing Revision Cloud in your drawing, you will now see the Revision Cloud grips. This allows you to modify the revision cloud easily.

Revision Cloud Grid ON

In previous versions, you would see a grip for each arc like below. It was impossible to modify the Revision Cloud with these grips and we usually deleted the existing Revision Cloud and recreated it.

Revision Cloud Grid OFF

So if you don’t like the Revision Cloud Grips for any reason, you can turn it off by changing the REVCLOUDGRIPS system variable to OFF.

Revision Cloud tool now has Modify option. This option allows you to add a segment and delete unnecessary segments. Activate the Revision Cloud tool and choose modify from the tool options.

Modify Revision Cloud


In the example below, I have added three line segments to a rectangular Revision Cloud. Then I can delete a segment to form a new Revision Cloud.



There are some interesting enhancements in dimension tools. These features should have been available in AutoCAD many years ago, but it’s always better late than never.

Dimension Layer

Open Annotate tab. In Dimensions panel, you will see a layer dropdown list.


Here you can choose the layer in which AutoCAD will create the new dimensions. You don’t have to change the layer every time you draw a dimension.

I find this quite handy; unfortunately it’s only available for dimensions. No layer options for Text, Table, or Leader.

New DIM command behavior


You might notice that the dimension tool has a new icon. As in previous versions, this icon will show the last dimension type that you used.

In this version, you can use the same tool for different types of dimensions. One tool for everything.

For example, if you choose a line, it will then create a linear dimension for that line.

If you pick two points, AutoCAD will create an aligned dimension.

If you choose a circle, it will create a radius or diameter dimension.

And if you select two non-parallel lines, it will create an angular dimension.

You only need DIM command to create various types of dimensions!

Automatic Overlapping Dimension

When you create a dimension and click above an existing dimension line to place it, AutoCAD will offer to fix the overlapped dimensions. You can choose to move the existing dimension, break up, replace, or just ignore it. A very nice feature.

Automatic Fix for Overlapping Dimension


Dimension tools remains active

As in the previous version, after you placed a dimension, the tool becomes inactive. If you want to create another dimension, you must activate it again. But that’s easy to do; just press Enter or Space to reactivate the command.

It’s efficient now because we can use the dimension tool for any type of dimension. And that includes Continue or Baseline Dimension.


Here is a simple enhancement in Multiline Text. Now you can set a Multiline Text frame.


Unfortunately, I can’t find the option to change the frame margin distance from the text. Apparently, we need to accept the default margin for the frame, for now.

Drawing Tools

In this section, let’s review what’s new in drawing tools. The Geometric Center Snap is my favorite in this area.

Geometric Center Snap

I’ve been waiting for this feature in AutoCAD for years. Finally, we have it in AutoCAD 2016. Now you can snap to the center of any closed geometry.


You can also snap to the center of rectangle or polygon easily. This is much easier than using Object Snap Tracking.

Isometric Grid Lines

Isometric Grid snap is not new. In previous versions, you could use it but the snap wouldn’t follow the cursor if you changed the ISOPLANE. Now in AutoCAD 2016, the grid will align to the isometric plane that you are using.


Other Enhancements

You can change the selection effect color. Make sure you have Hardware Acceleration turned ON to see the effect.


Autodesk claims that there are some significant performance improvements in this version. They say this for every new version. But honestly, I don’t feel that these are very significant improvements.

In this version, move and copy preview is generated quicker, allowing you to work with complex drawings with less frustration. There is also an improvement in property preview where it shows quicker.


There is no significant improvement in drafting and annotations. But I do like the new dimension tool and Geometric Center Snap. The other features might be useful for you, but I don’t use them much.

So what do you think? Do you like the enhancements in this area?

Thank you to John Brandt of John H Brandt Acoustic Design for helping with the editorial review.

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What’s new in AutoCAD 2016: System Enhancements Wed, 15 Apr 2015 09:13:15 +0000 We have reviewed the new features in the AutoCAD 2016 interface. There is nothing really new in AutoCAD 2016 look and feel. This time we will cover more about the system enhancements. What configurations and tools are added apart of the drafting tools.

This area is much more interesting than the interface enhancements. Let’s review it.

Graphic Enhancements

AutoCAD 2015 required higher graphic performance from your machine. There are some issues related to unsupported graphic cards. In this release, Autodesk has further visual improvements. I expect that it will require more power from your graphics card.

Autodesk adds “High Quality Geometry” toggle in Graphic Performance option. You may not notice the difference immediately as it takes a while before I can notice the difference, and I have to set the line weight high enough to see it.


Note: You need to have DirectX 11 installed to use this option


Have you ever zoomed out your drawing so small that it’s stuck? You can’t zoom out further unless you regenerate the drawing using REGEN command.

In AutoCAD 2016, AutoCAD will automatically regenerate the drawing when the display zoomed out very far. REGENAUTO system variable will regenerate your drawing as necessary. This variable is turned on by default. I wonder why it took so long for them to make it this way.

Security Options

AutoCAD 2015 already has Security Options, but it was called Executable File Settings. Now the name of the button is changed to Security Options.


(1) The Security Options dialog looks a bit different. The top most part (no.1) was Secure Loading in AutoCAD 2015, now it’s Security Level. It was a radio button, now it’s a slider.

Apparently Autodesk is trying to make it look and feel like the User Access Control (UAC) in Windows 7. The function is exactly the same.

Now we can also add trusted folders with this dialog. We can still add it from AutoCAD Options> File tab. It seems that many people were confused about where to add a trusted location in the previous release, so they put this option here.

(2) There is another option added: When searching for executable files. You can exclude/include in the search for executable files in the Start In or the drawing file folder.

The Start In folders means the AutoCAD icon folders. If you double click the AutoCAD icon on the Windows Desktop, the Desktop will be the “Start In folder”.


If you start AutoCAD by double clicking a drawing file, the folder containing the drawing is the “drawing folder”. For this example below, the drawing folder is D:\drawings. AutoCAD will search executable files in this folder if you double click a drawing in this location.



You can control this option using system variable LEGACYCODESEARCH.


System Variable Monitor

AutoCAD stores these settings in the system variables. We can access most of the settings from options or drafting settings. But many of them need to be changed from command line.

Sometimes the system variables change without you noticing it.

Many users are confused when a variable has changed, and think that the software is corrupt. The popular example of this is PICKFIRST and FILEDIA system variable. If the system variable is saved in the Windows Registry, reinstalling AutoCAD won’t solve this problem.

System variable can change because of a poorly written AutoLISP code. Sometimes it just changed for an unknown reason. It’s a simple fix, but frustrating for many users.

AutoCAD 2016 now has System Variable Monitor. It will notify you when a monitored system variable is changed.

By default, below are the monitored system variables. You can add/remove them and set the value(s) to your personal preference.


By default, it will notify you in Command Line like below.


This notification can be missed easily. If you want better visibility, you can turn on Enable balloon notification.

You won’t miss it because it will appear like this.


When a listed System Variable has changed, you will see the warning in System Variable monitor.


Unfortunately, it will only notify you if the System Variable is listed. If it’s not in the list, you will not see any notification.

I hope in the next update we can have a log, which System Variable has changed. It will be very useful for troubleshooting.

PDF Enhancements

In AutoCAD 2016, Autodesk has added four more PDF plotters. Basically they are the same plotters, but they are configured for different resolutions. You can choose the best quality or smallest PDF file size from the list.


Notice the PDF option button. It allows you to override the PDF quality when necessary. You can also choose what data you want to include in your PDF file.


As you can see below, layer information option is placed here. And now it supports hyperlinks, saved view, and capture AutoCAD fonts.


The saved views will appear in PDF bookmarks.


This is a nice enhancement, but I still wish AutoCAD would support plotting to 3D PDF in the future.

Navisworks and BIM 360 Support

In this version, now you can attach Navisworks Cache file (.nwc) and Navisworks Document file (.nwd).

In External References panel, now you can find the Attach Coordination Model menu.


If you select the Navisworks model, you will see these options in the contextual tab.


Navisworks model is only for visual reference. You can’t snap to the model to get a reference point. I also find that the display is doesn’t show when I turn on the perspective view. This is probably related to my graphics card. So don’t expect too much if you don’t use certified graphic cards.

AutoCAD 2015 already has BIM 360 support. In this version, you can attach a model from BIM 360. I don’t have a BIM 360 account, but I expect that it works the same as attaching a Navisworks model. You can only use it as a visual reference.


New REGENAUTO behavior is nice. System Variable Monitor has potential, but right now it is still very limited. The security option has better visibility to avoid confusion.

The PDF plotters seem better and allow us to add more data in our PDF files.

Attaching Navisworks and BIM 360 models can be useful if you use vertical products, like AutoCAD Architecture or AutoCAD MEP. I’m not sure if I need it when I use vanilla AutoCAD.

What about you? Do you think these enhancements are useful?

Thank you to John Brandt of John H Brandt Acoustic Design who did editorial review of this post!

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What’s New in AutoCAD 2016: The Interface Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:57:42 +0000 Autodesk has launched AutoCAD 2016 at the end of March 2015 in US. We in other countries can download it few days (or maybe weeks) later. As usual, when a new version is released we cover the new features here.

Let’s start with the AutoCAD interface.

The first Look

It’s good to see that Autodesk doesn’t waste much time in changing unnecessary interface. The most obvious, the splash screen is still the same in the last 3 versions. The icons and theme color is the same.

Hopefully it means Autodesk spend more time to work on real enhancements.

There’s a little change in trial installation. If you install it as trial, there is an interesting thing: you need to login to Autodesk account before you can install it.

It means Autodesk can find out if you install trial version a few times.


After you install it, AutoCAD 2016 doesn’t look that different with previous version.

Start Tab

In AutoCAD 2015, Autodesk introduce the New Tab. In AutoCAD 2016, the name is changed to Start Tab. It may sounds weird to change the tab name, but I think they change the name because the behavior is also changed.


AutoCAD 2015 New tab gives you options to create/open files and several other things. But after you open the file, the New Tab will disappear.

AutoCAD 2016 Start Tab do the same thing, but it is persistent. It will stay as the left most tab after you create a new file.

In AutoCAD 2015, when you click the plus (+) tab, it will open the New tab to allow you create a new file again.

In AutoCAD 2016, (+) icon will immediately create a new file (similar to QNEW). The Start tab will remains open at the left most tab.

So now you can click the (+) icon to quickly create new file. And if you want more options, you can go to Start tab.


There is a new command introduced with the Start tab: GOTOSTART. You can type it or press ctrl+Home. This command will bring you to Start tab without having to click the tab.

There is also new system variable: STARTMODE. You may have guessed correctly. Yes, you can disable Start tab by changing the value to 0. Change to 1 (default) if you want to show it again.


In AutoCAD 2016, there is a new command: CLOSEALLOTHER. This command will close all drawings, except the current tab.


This command is only available by typing the command at command line. This command is not available from ribbon.

This command would be useful if you want to close unnecessary drawings to free some computer resources.

Layout scrolling when dragging

In AutoCAD 2015, when you have too many layouts AutoCAD will hide some of the Layouts. You can only arrange the layout order by dragging if the Layout name is shown.

For example, you can’t move Layout 1 to after Layout 12 because it’s not visible.


In AutoCAD 2016, you can drag to the end of Layout tabs and AutoCAD will scroll to the next hidden Layout. Allows you to arrange it, even if the Layout location is not currently visible.


Status Bar

Status bar appearance has changed since AutoCAD 2015. Autodesk has implemented minor changes in this version.

New Items on Status Bar

Now you can turn on/off Lock UI and Isolate Objects. Isolate Objects is already here before, but you can’t turn it off in AutoCAD 2015.


Status Bar layout enhancement

In AutoCAD 2016 if you resize AutoCAD window narrow enough, you will see the status bar will be displayed in 2 rows. This will make AutoCAD can display all status bar icon when you have lower screen resolution.


And no, AutoCAD will not display it to 3 rows. AutoCAD will hide the icons if the status bar can’t display it in 3 rows.

GALLERYVIEW system variable

In AutoCAD 2015, Autodesk introduced Ribbon Galleries. It will display thumbnails of blocks and annotation styles at ribbon.

In this version, you can turn it off using GALLERYVIEW system variable. It looks like not everyone like Gallery View.

GALLERYVIEW = 1 will display Ribbon Galleries and changing it to 0 will turn it off.

To Sum up

So nothing is really new in AutoCAD 2016 interface. Many of them are the fix for features implemented in previous version.

For me, this is actually not a bad thing. There are several new features that you might find useful. We will cover more in the next article.

What do you think? Do you find the enhancements useful?

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Controlling Revit Appearance: View Overrides Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:30:52 +0000 We have learned how we can control object appearance in Revit using Object Styles. As we learned, settings in Object Styles will apply to all views. In our design, we often need to change the appearance in a specific view but not the others.

For example, we want to show the furniture in interior design but not in structural design. Or maybe you want to show more colorful drawings for presentation drawings but not in architecture drawings.

Let’s see how you can change the object appearance in specific views.

Visibility/Graphic Overrides

Visibility/Graphic Overrides has the exact same settings as Object Styles. The only difference in this setting is: it only apply in one view. You can override model and annotation categories by switching to another tab.

If you change the overrides in 1st Floor Plan view, it won’t affect 2nd Floor Plan View and other views.


You can access Visibility Graphic from Revit ribbon> View tab> Visibility Graphics.


You can also open Visibility/Graphics Overrides by pressing VG as shortcut


Still in Visibility/Graphics Override, you can also use document filters. Document filters allow you to control objects in multiple categories at once.

You can filter objects by their properties and then change their appearances. (Read: 3 Benefits of Using Revit view filter). It means that you can also change appearance of objects in the same category, but have different properties.

You can access document filters from Visibility/Graphics Override dialog> Filters tab.


To create a new filter, click edit/new button at the bottom.


Click new to create a new filter.


Next you can define the object categories that you want to include in this filter.

In the 2nd column, you can choose what category you want to include. In this example only walls in selected.

In the 3rd column, you can define rules if you want to filter objects by their properties. You can use multiple rules here. In this example, only exterior function is used here.


After you define the filters, click OK to go back to Visibility/Graphics Override.

You have defined the filters. Now you can use them here.

Click Add to add filters that you want to use.


After you add the filters, you can override their appearance similar to what you can do with Model Categories in Visibility/Graphic Overrides.


This is an example how you can set different colors for walls. The red walls are exterior walls, and the blue walls are interior walls.


Where is this exterior/interior function defined? It is saved in the type/instance properties. For wall function, it is saved in Type Properties.

You may need to explore the properties further to have better control when using filters.


View Templates

To get visualization that you want, you may need to change many settings in a view. If you want to apply the same settings to other views, you don’t have to do all the settings again. You can save it to a view template.

You can create view template by saving from a view or you can change the settings manually.

If you already have a view that you want, you can save the settings.

Open the view that you want to save the settings, click Create Template from Current View. You can access it from View tab> View Templates.


To apply the template, open view that you want to override then click Apply Template Properties to Current View.

If you are more adventurous, you can explore the settings in Manage View Templates.

All view templates are listed here. You can change any view settings from this dialog. If you change the settings here, all views that use the template will be updated with the new settings.


If you use View Template, you can’t override View Categories in that particular view. The settings will be greyed out and can’t be changed.

Override Category/Elements View

You can also change elements view by overriding individual object or selected objects. Select objects that you want to change, right click and choose Override Graphics in View> By Element.

An example of using this override is when you want to make far objects look thinner.


The other options, By Category and By Filter is the same as using Visibility/Graphics Override. If you change the view properties here, the settings will be applied there also.


I found that many people fear that they can’t change view appearance in Revit easily. Revit actually has many options to do that quickly and easily.

If you want to change appearance for objects in all views, use Object Styles.

If you want to change appearance for objects in specific view, use Visibility/Graphics Override.

And if you want to control the appearance further, use filters.

You can save all the settings so you can reuse them in other views, using view templates.

You can override single or multiple objects without following any rules too, by overriding the settings by element.

It’s quite easy, isn’t it?

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7 Benefits of using AutoCAD Sheet Set Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:06:20 +0000 AutoCAD has Sheet Set feature since version 2005. Yes, it’s been that long. More than 10 years already! But still not many people use it.

Sheet Set can be very useful, it gives more benefits than using regular layout. By using layout alone, we can get many benefits (read: 10 Reasons to Use AutoCAD Layout).

engineering drawing sheets

You can get more benefits by implementing Sheet Set in your workflow. Let’s see what Sheet Set offers.

1. Manage similar drawings in Subsets

Sheet Set works like folders in Windows. But instead of managing files, it manages your sheets. You can create Subsets under the main Sheet Set. You can create Subset under a Subset if you need to classify the drawing further.

This is how Sheet Set looks in Sheet Set Manager.


This probably doesn’t feel significant. But there are many benefits of managing the drawings in Sheet Sets. We will see them in the next point.

2. Publish drawings

You can use publish command without using Sheet Set Manager. However, if you manage the drawings in Sheet Set properly you can publish multiple drawings faster.

You can choose to publish the whole drawings in the whole Sheet Set. Or if you want to publish only architectural drawings, you can publish drawings in a Subset.


You certainly can save the sheet list in Publish command. But as the project grows, you also need to update the drawing list regularly.

You don’t have to do that if you use Sheet Set. The drawing list in Sheet Set will also grow if you use it.

3. eTransmit drawings

eTransmit is a great tool to pack and send your drawings. Similar to publish command, you can use this tool separately. However, accessing this tool from Sheet Set Manager will add the drawings quickly than add the drawing individually to eTransmit.


You can pack and send (or backup) all drawings in your project with all dependent files quickly.

4. Automatic Title Block texts

Sheet Set can fill required text in title blocks automatically, for all sheets in Sheet Set. Every time you create a new sheet in Sheet Set, AutoCAD will fill the text for you.


If you have to change the drawing information, you only need to do it once. The value will be updated in all sheets.

This will reduce time and error when creating your drawings.

5. Automatic drawing list

You can create drawing list from Sheet Set easily. Similar to the other tools, you can create sheet list from the whole Sheet Set or just a specific Subset.


Not only the drawing number and drawing name, you can include all necessary properties like drawn by, check by and approved by like below.


6. Automatic view title

Sheet Set doesn’t just manage sheets. It also recognize your views in model and sheets. When you place your views using Sheet Set in sheet (if you are confused, we used to call it layout) AutoCAD will also filled view title with information.

In this example, AutoCAD will fill the sheet number, drawing name and drawing scale automatically.


You need to input the drawing number manually, but AutoCAD has done the most work!

7. Automatic callout number

You can add callout to refer to other drawing in Sheet Set. If you guess Sheet Set Manager will fill the information automatically, you are right.

The drawing number and sheet number where the detailed drawing is placed, shown in the callout bubble.


Drawing Management with AutoCAD Sheet Set e-book

To get all the benefits, you need to learn and prepare several things. You need to create title block, view title and callout to retrieve the information from Sheet Set. You need to create Sheet Set with custom properties.

If you are interested to learn more about using Sheet Set in AutoCAD, check our e-book here:


It has free chapter to try the Sheet Set benefits as described above. Download the sample chapter here.

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Controlling Revit Appearance: Lines Mon, 16 Mar 2015 09:09:37 +0000 We covered how you can control Revit object appearance in Revit using Object Styles. Now let’s continue how we can setup lines appearance in Revit. Engineering drawings are presented by lines, so this is important how you can setup this.

Line Weight

We can change line weight in Revit by changing it in Object Styles. As you can see below, it only shows in integers.

How thick is 1, 2, 3 and so on?


Let’s see the Revit line weight settings to see this clearly.

You can examine or change the line weight settings by accessing Revit ribbon> Manage tab> Settings panel> Additional Settings> Line Weights.


Revit will open Line Weights dialog. The default tab is model line weight. It controls the line thickness in your model.

The model line weight is scale dependent. For example the wall thickness is set to 3 in cut views.

If you set the view scale 1:100, then the line weight for that particular view is 0.25mm (in metric, obviously). If your view is set to 1:500 scale, then the line weight will be 0.1mm.


The other tab: perspective and annotation line weight are not scale dependent. Perspective view doesn’t have scale, does it?

And annotation lines are also not scale dependent. When you change a view scale, the model scale will change. But annotations won’t change. So the annotation size will not change regardless the scale you set for your views.

Line Color

Line color is pretty obvious. You can change the line color in Object Styles or override it in Visibility/Graphics settings. You can also override each elements graphic. We will come to this later.


Line Pattern

You can modify or create your own line pattern in Revit. Click Revit ribbon> Manage tab> Settings panel> Additional Settings> Line Patterns.


Revit already has some predefined line patterns. You can modify existing pattern or create a new one.

The line pattern definition is very simple. You can add dash, space or dot and define the length sequentially.

Below is the example for Dash Dot line pattern.


You can use these line patterns in Object Styles or other visibility settings.

Line Styles

You can use defined line styles when you draw Model Lines or Detail Lines.

After you activate the command, you can choose it from Line Style panel in properties palette or contextual ribbon tab.


You can modify or create your own line style by accessing Revit ribbon> Manage tab> Settings panel> Additional Settings> Line Styles.

Click new in subcategories group at the right bottom of the dialog.


To wrap up

Sometimes the Revit settings are not set in one big dialog box. You need to find the settings on other place. Mostly they are very simple to configure, but you need to know how it works.

Many of the settings in Object Styles are configured in other settings. We cover about lines in this article.

How about you? Do you use Revit out of the box or do you configure your own settings?

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Controlling Revit Appearance: Object Styles Mon, 09 Mar 2015 03:39:06 +0000 Revit has many ways and settings to control object appearance. This could be confusing for Revit users, either they are new or have used it for a while. The settings out of the box usually are good enough to get you started. However, we always need to change the appearance to conform our standard.

computer settings button

So this time, we will cover how you can change object appearance in Revit views. From the basic to overriding appearances in views.

About Revit Object Styles

The first thing you need to know is using Object Styles. Objects styles controls how objects appear in all Revit views. If you change it here, the object appearance in all view will change.

You can access Object Styles in Revit ribbon> Manage tab> Settings panel.


After you click the icon, you will see Object Styles dialog below. There are 4 tabs here. Object Styles allow you to control appearance of model objects, annotation objects, analytical model objects and imported objects.

The table shows several columns, the left most column is the object category. On the right side is the object property when it appears in your views.


Objects Line Weight

Let’s check the doors style.

The line weight for door projection is 1 and when it’s cut the line weight is 2. It means the door use the thinnest line weight when it appears in elevation, section and 3D view. Those are where typically doors are not cut.

When the door is cut in plan view, the line weight will be thicker. It uses 2. Remember, door in floor plan is cut as defined in view range. If you are not familiar with view range, you might want to read this article. And of course, if you place section line to cut a door, it will use line weight 2 as well.


Let’s cover about this further.

See the image below. The left image show where elevation view line take your model and create elevation view. All objects in front of that line will be visible in elevation view.

As you can see, the door 106A is not cut. The right image shows where the section view cut your model. The door in laundry room is also not cut.

cut line in elevation and section plan

Now let’s see how a floor plan is created. The line no. (2) is where the model is cut to create plan view. You can see the wall, door and window are cut here. So they will use line weight as defined in cut column.

Objects Line Color and Pattern

For line color and pattern, you can see only one column is available. You can choose other color or pattern by clicking the cell and choose other color or pattern.


Objects Material

The last column is for objects material. Objects will use value in this column, if material in object type is define <by category>.


Another condition when this object will be used is when you set the detail level to coarse. The object will use material defined here regardless what you set in object type.


Revit will only use material in object type when you set detail level to Medium or Fine.

Object Subcategory

Try to click (+) sign at the left side of object category. You will see the subcategories listed there. Most model objects have subcategories.

In this example is subcategories for windows.


You can see that you can define styles for each subcategory like the windows frame, glass and so on.

Usually, subcategories for objects are defined in family editor. For example, this window below is opened in Family Editor.

If I select the windows frame as shown below, I can see that the objects subcategory is Frame/Mullion.



Most of the subcategories name are self explanatory, but you might need to open the family in Family Editor to check the subcategories.

Category Filter List

Categories that you see in the Object Styles list usually are the architectural objects. If you work with Revit in Building Design Suites bundle, you have all flavors of Revit. To view other category types, like structure categories, you need to change the filter list. You can choose multiple types from the list.



Object Styles is the basic settings to control objects appearance. If you want to change object appearance in all views, then you need to start here. We only cover model objects here, but the annotation, analytical and imported objects are similar. Same rules also apply there.

We will cover more about controlling appearances in Revit in the next article.

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12 settings I’ve changed in AutoCAD 2015 already! Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:55:00 +0000 I love getting my hands on the latest technology. I’m a real CAD geek. But there are some AutoCAD settings that I’m just used to. So I am compelled to change them.

Here are twelve settings that I just had to change in AutoCAD 2015 before I could get productive!

File format

We share a lot of files with customers, partners and subcontractors. We currently use AutoCAD 2007 file format without too many complaints!

AutoCAD 2015 Default file type

Background plotting

Background plotting  allows you to continue working while you batch publish plots in the background.
I haven’t experienced to many problems with batch publishing – but when I have Background publish appears to be the culprit.

If you turn Back ground plotting off, you will have to wait for AutoCAD top open and plot each layout in turn.

I don’t mind this, AutoCAD is still waaay quicker at plotting than I am!

To turn off background publishing:

Big Red A > Options > Plot and Publish > Back ground processing options

Turn off background pulishing in AutoCAD 2015

Block attribute editor

I’m not a big fan of the advanced attribute manager when I’m filling out title blocks. Give me the plain old fashioned block attribute manager any day!

From this:


To this (Much simpler!):


Type ‘CUI’ at the command line and hit enter.

Look under double click actions > Attribute block > edit attribute

Change the command from ‘EATTEDIT’ to ‘ATTEDIT’


Bonus Tip: Can you believe that I’ve been using AutoCAD for ten years and I only just noticed that you can fill out block attributes from the properties palette!


We all have our own favourite OSNAP setting – here are mine.

AutoCAD Osnaps

Polar tracking

I use Polar tracking and object snap tracking a lot, and I like to set it to 45° increments.

Click on the drop down arrow next to the polar tracking icon in the status bar and pick your preference.


I don’t know why this was turned off when I booted AutoCAD 2015 for the first time? FIELDEVAL  controls whether values in fields are updated when re-gen’ing.

We use fields and the Sheet set manager extensively – so it is important that information in block attributes with fields are current.

Type FIELDEVAL at the command line to change the behaviour.


Here are the allowed values. You can add them up to combine properties. ’31’ will turn everything on.

0 Not updated
1 Updated on open
2 Updated on save
4 Updated on plot
8 Updated on use of ETRANSMIT
16 Updated on regeneration


When I set Mtext to centre justified, I like the grip handles to size the Mtext width equally on both sides.

CENTREMT controls this. Type it at the command line to change it.

CENTREMT = 0 (Off)




Dynamic columns

One day I will want to type a whole load of text in AutoCAD and have it neatly set out in columns.

Not today.

To turn off Automatic column text  go to In the MTEXT editor and select > Columns > No columns

AutoCAD 2015 No MTEXT columns

Layout tabs

The new, clean user interface for AutoCAD 2015 doesn’t leave much room for layout tabs.

Right click in the layout tab area to push them up above the Status bar and give them more room to breathe!

AutoCAD 2015 dock layout tabs above Status Bar

AutoCAD 2015 dock layout tabs inline with Status Bar

View cube

I don’t do any 3D in AutoCAD, and I don’t use the view cube much. I prefer to set it to a smaller size and turn the inactive capacity right down, so that it only appears when I hover over it.

Right click over viewcube and choose ViewCube Settings:

AutoCAD Viewcube settings

Change the size to ‘Small’ and the Inactive Opacity to 0%

AutoCAD Viewcube settings dialoge

PDF Export

I use PDF export a lot (When I don’t need to batch publish!). To get this set up go to:

output settings > Export > PDF

AutoCAD Export PDF settings

Click on the ‘Settings’ button to create single sheet files and turn off layers in the exported PDF

AutoCAD Export PDF options

Fuzzy lines

The new ‘Luminescent’ selection effects in AutoCAD 2015 look really cool. However, after a while – they just gave me a head ache!

I noticed that the new graphic acceleration options in AutoCAD 2015 slow down some of our users machines who don’t have dedicated graphics cards.

Note: You may need to re-start AutoCAD to see the result of adjusting these variables.

You can control the selection highlighting effects by typing the following commands at the command line:

‘PRESELECTIONEFFECT’ (Controls the highlighting of lines when you hover over them) 1= ON 0 = OFF

‘SELECTIONEFFECT’ (Controls the highlighting of lines when you select them) 1= ON 0 = OFF

Or right click on the Graphics config icon in the status bar and choose graphics performance.

AutoCAD 2015 Graphics performance status bar Icon

You can toggle hardware acceleration off here:

AutoCAD 2015 Graphic performance toggle

You can toggle hardware acceleration, and turn line smoothing off independently:

AutoCAD 2015 Smooth Line display


AutoCAD 2015 Preselectioneffect on


AutoCAD 2015 Preselection Effect Off


AutoCAD 2015 selectioneffect on


AutoCAD 2015 Selectioneffect off

Hardware acceleration off, line smoothing off

AutoCAD 2015 Hardware acceleration off, line smoothing on

Hardware acceleration off, line smoothing on

AutoCAD 2015 Hardware acceleration off, line smoothing off

Over to you

How about you? What are your preferred settings? Is there anything in AutoCAD 2015 that you just can’t get on with? What are your favourite new features in 2015?

Leave a comment to share your observations!

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