Annotations are objects that we create to add information for our objects. We add text to give notes or describe what object it is. We add dimensions to show the object size. Hatches to show cut objects. or materials And so on. Annotation is probably one of the most improved area in AutoCAD. Let’s see what they are.
Multiline text now is very advanced. It actually works close to rich text editor like Microsoft Word. You can easily edit the text to make it italic, bold, or underlined. You can change the justification. You can even use bullet and numbering, and use multi column format!
You can find the tools in contextual ribbon (if you use it) below. (click to enlarge)
See the ruler. You can set the margins too. I believe you will not have a problem using it when you are already familiar to Microsoft Word.
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Another nice small enhancement in multiline text is now we can choose a symbol from a dropdown menu. I remember that I need to remember the %%P, %%D code in the old days. Now you don’t have to remember them!
There are many new dimension tools added. My favorite is quick dimension or QDIM. You can select multiple objects at once to create dimensions. You don’t need to create them one by one, simply select objects you want to measure. See how quick dimension works in Kate Morrical blog here.
Jogged dimension is also something new. You can add jog lines to notify that the dimension is not showing the real measurement.
Kate also wrote a good post that covers about jogged dimension here.
Another new dimension tool is now we can show arc length. In the past, it’s only available for arc angle.
There are some more enhancements like break dimension, dimension space, etc. Many of them were added in 2008. You may want to see Heidi’s post about AutoCAD 2008 dimension enhancements here.
We only had QLEADER in older AutoCAD. It has many limitation, and not so easy to work with when we have to move the text. Multileader works better. It also has more capabilities like using multiline text or blocks as leader content. We can also collect and align the leaders easily.
You may want to read this post from Heidi Hewett about Multi Leaders.
Table also a good new feature. We can work with table almost like using spreadsheet. With many limitation, of course. But it is sufficient for many engineering annotation purposes. We don’t have to use text and lines to create a table now, simply insert a table and work with it like in Excel.
See the table contextual ribbon below (click to enlarge).
Many AutoCAD features use table. The most powerful feature that use table is data extraction. And sheet list in Sheet Set Manager also use it.
One feature that you would love is the capabilities to link Excel tables to AutoCAD table. You can modify the table in Excel or AutoCAD, then synchronize them. Many industries work with Excel, so it is very helpful. You need to have Microsoft Excel installed on your machine to use it. Open Office will not work. See about data linking in Lazy Drafter site here.
We have two tools in markup panel: wipeout and revision cloud. Revision cloud is very useful to review drawings. It’s very simple tool, but can be very useful.
Hatch enhancements and gradient
We had solid and pattern before. Then we get gradient fill. Now it is possible to fill gradient color.
There are also some more options added: create separate hatches, hatch origin, trim hatch, inherit hatch properties, and gap tolerance.
But the major changes is now the hatch options are on the ribbon. You can set it back to ‘normal’ and using the old dialog back by changing HPDLGMODE to 1. There are some more system variable that relate to hatch. Read about hatch system variables in Shaan Hurley’s blog.
But I strongly suggest you to give it a try. The ribbon actually becomes better. And you can get most of the new enhancements only by using ribbon.
Another interesting thing about hatch now is, we can modify the hatches graphically using control grip. Read about hatch control grip here.
Work with multiple scales: annotation scaling
This is my favorite enhancement in AutoCAD annotations. The idea of annotation scaling is to make your annotations readable in all scales. That includes your block symbols and hatches. By using annotation scaling, the annotation sizes will adjust to your current scale, either in model space or layout viewports.
Using annotation scaling simplify our drawings:
- We only need to think about plot size, regardless the scale we are using.
- We can use less styles. We can use one style for all scales. Something we can’t do if we don’t use annotation scaling.
- We can show the same drawing in different viewports with different scales. Annotation sizes will adjust automatically. Like I said in no.1: we only need to think about plot size.
- You can
- . She has two videos that explain the differences.
You may want to try annotation scaling introduction here.
As always, you are welcome to add more features that I might miss. Which is your favorite new annotation tools?