Archive for Rant












In my last post I indicated that I would follow up on a specific issue that I see happening on a pandemic level  – anonymous blocks.

Simple Definition of anonymity: the quality or state of being unknown to most people : the quality or state of being anonymous

Anonymous in AutoCAD basically means unnamed, so an anonymous block is a block without a name. In reality it does have a name, it just does not make much sense.   Below are a couple anonymous blocks – tell me what you think they are:

  • A$C4AE13D6C
  • A$C7227553F

Here is an image of the blocks:

Anonymous Blocks






I am not sure about you, but I am thinking that better names would be:

  • Fire-Extinguisher

I think we would all agree on this, but you may have a few questions:

  • How did these become anonymous?
  • Why is that a problem?
  • How can I fix them?

It is very easy to make an anonymous block, which is why they are so common.  Below are the steps:

  1. Find some geometry that you think should be a block instead of a bunch of line segments
  2. Select and copy all of them with the right click and ‘Clipboard’ copy command or ‘CTRL-C’.  Note: A slight step-up would be to ‘Copy with Basepoint’ (CTRL-SHIFT-C).
  3. Then Right-click and Paste as block.

AutoCAD Anonymous Blocks Video






And that is how they get created!

Now you see how they came to be. As far as why this is a problem, think back to above and how hard it is to identify them to insert another one.  Of course you could copy and rotate the block each time you wanted another copy – which apparently some people do, verses inserting it and allowing the insert routine to offer scaling, rotating, etc… This is shoddy work in my opinion and does not do much for future drawing tasks. Hell, if you are going to do this, at least rename it to something that makes sense – which brings us to how to fix the ones we have.

Fixing Anonymous blocks:


Renaming the anonymous block is the quickest way to fix this issue – this will provide you with a logical reference to the block.  If you have not renamed a block before, you should know that the RENAME command allows you to rename a lot of things in AutoCAD  – look at this list:

Rename Anonymous Blocks











If you want to be able to use the anonymous block in future drawings (Great idea!), you can WBLOCK the anonymous block out to a folder on your server or location where you keep your master blocks.  WBlocking the anonymous block out will still require you know what the block name is, so I would recommend that you rename it first anyway.

WBlocking is easy – lets walk through the steps:

  1. Figure out what the anonymous name of the block is. You can do this by highlighting the block and right clicking to see its ‘Properties’ OR use the ‘LIST’ command.  LIST will allow you to copy the text from the command window and paste it into the next step, which saves some memory brain cells – cool!
  2. Rename the block with the RENAME command
  3. WBLOCK out the block to your standard block library directory
  4. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!  Now everyone that has access to that directory now can use the block in their drawings!

AutoCAD Anonymous Blocks Video






All fixed!

If you want to know more about creating blocks, creating powerful Dynamic blocks, editing or enhancing the blocks you have check out these other posts:

So what’s next?  What would you be interested in learning more about?  Got an idea for a post? Email me and I’ll see what I can do.



Create real blocks in lieu of Anonymous blocks!









As a designer I work in AutoCAD on a daily basis and use files provided by others.  I am constantly miffed by the level of quality or lack there of in the files that I receive.  Today was another example of what I typically refer to as BAD CAD and why I had to do a little Rant!  But this one got me irked enough to write about it.  Today’s BAD CAD involved an issue I see pretty often, which involves blocks – but this drawing managed to actually cover a few of my hot buttons in one single session.

  1. Blocks were all anonymous “A$C63F21903”, “A$C6F944C45”, etc.
  2. If a block was mirrored, it had another anonymous name
  3. Blocks were created on an ‘ep-text’ or ‘rcp-text’ layer
  4. The blocks were composed of line segments
  5. Blocks were bylayer – Gold Star!
  6. Insertion points were in ‘outer space’
  7. Text was the “Standard” style

For some, the flaws are obvious, for others – maybe not so much.  Let’s look at each one to see what could have been done better.

  1. Blocks are not that hard to make. I understand that you can just select everything and right click to use the clipboard copy option, and then “pastes as block”.  But what you get is a bunch of blocks with no rhyme or reason to their names – anonymous blocks.  This is shoddy work in my opinion and does to do much for future drawing tasks.  Hell if you are going to do this, at least rename it to something that makes sense.  I’ll get more in to the past as block pandemic in future post. [See this post on how to make blocks]
  2. I guess this user did not know how to use the mirror command.
  3. Now these were electrical devices, so I assume the ‘ep’ meant ‘electrical power’ and the ‘ec’ meant ‘electrical crap’ because I couldn think of another good ‘c’ word that made sense since most of the items on the ‘ec-text’ layer were lights.  BUT – how did ‘text’ become part of either layer name – none of it was text! [As an additional note, there were things all over the drawing that had NOTHING to do with electrical that were on the ‘ec-text’ layer!]
  4. This is something that only some die-hard CADD folks might see as an issue. If you make a shape – make it with ‘polylines’ not ‘lines’. I do this to avoid line segment issues should someone (God forbid) exploded it!  it also makes it easier to manipulate when I use ‘Bedit’.  [See post on the Block Editor ‘Bedit’ here]
  5. When I edited the blocks, the line work was ‘BYLAYER’, which is great – gold Star! Of course they lost the star by making the blocks on a ‘ec’-text’ layer instead of layer ‘0’….
  6. When inserting a block, it is great to know where the insertion point will be, like on a wall, intersection of a grid, etc.  But these blocks had the insertion points at random locations.  this typically happens when someone just picks a point in space or creates a block from existing entities and chooses a reference point that relates to that particular location. [See this post on why this is important]
  7. I am all about “Standards” – except using the default AutoCAD Standard styles for anything.

You can check out the 101 series I did earlier on the topic of blocks here.


Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules

Image for Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules showing Standards

Do you have Standards?

Ok – this one is a Rant…

Daily I deal with AutoCAD drawings from drafting ‘professionals’ that seem to still not understand some Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules – (fundamentals).  If you are an architect or architectural draftsperson – think of your electronic drawing audience – i.e. your consultants. Your drawings need to be easy to use for everyone, not just you. Following some basics adds very little time to your work and in many situations will actually save you time.

A few basics..

Color = Bylayer
Linetype = Bylayer

Use Paperspace:

Draw to scale and use Annotative Scaling



Do NOT use the out of the box “STANDARD” styles for Text, Dimensions, Multi-leaders etc… If you love them, copy and rename to something original.

Use Xreference files – NOT blocks when assembling plan drawings.
– i.e. Do NOT create a floor plan and then start a new drawing for a ceiling plan and block in the Floor Plan. With proper Xref management, you can put all this in one drawing.

Do NOT put drawing components in Paperspace – Draw in Model space and create viewports in Paperspace.


Use attributed blocks for Tags, Plan and detail titles – NOT Dtext in circles and squares and lines for underlines, etc…

When doing text, use justification – there are more options than TopLeft.

Use blocks for drawing plan items. If you are going through the trouble to draw something that you plan on copying or even ever using again – in ANY future, make it a block. Dont’ worry about it being perfect – you can tweak it as you learn more or choose to add more detail. You can even save it into a master library. Examples:

For downlights – draw your circle on layer “0” and save as a block called “Downlight” – 5 seconds! Copy this around your drawing and if you want it to look different or change size, just tpe BEDIT and change the block.

Other plan items: All kinds of ceiling or wall mounted light fixtures, furniture, plants, doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc…

Elevation items: Windows, Doors, Light fixtures, signage, plants, etc…


Be descriptive and use more rather than less.

– If you are drawing walls for New, Demo and Future – create them on different layers, NOT on one and change the linetype.
– For a ceiling plan, do not put all lights, diffusers, speakers and sprinklers on the same layer as your grid. Place them on differnt layers – different consultants use them diferently.

Do NOT use Layer “0” for drawing anything but blocks.

Do NOT use Defpoints to draw items you do not want to plot. Make a seperate Non-Plot layer.


Once you draw a plan and send it out – do NOT move it from it’s original location!

Do these basics and the world will be a better place – atleast for me… If you don’t know how – ask me.

Here are some links to some previous posts that may help:

101 Series on the what, why, and how of Blocks

External References – Basics

External References – Details and Commands

Dear Mr./Mrs Architect – another request for assistance


Image courtesy of khunaspix at

Dear Mr/Mrs. Architect,

We greatly appreciate and admire your work, and we understand that you, like us and everyone else on the team is under pressure to perform.  As our team leader, we look to you for guidance and direction, but there are a few things that would make our work on the team a bit easier and more efficient.  Over the years, we have found the following items to be most problematic. If you could please consider these items as it pertains to your work, it would be much appreciated:


When sending background or drawing updates, please cloud the revised area(s) or provide a description of what or where you made changes.  We have spent untold hours trying to figure out where (if any) changes have been made.  And as powerful as our software is and as efficient our methods of file comparison have gotten, it still takes up too much of our time that could be dedicated to the actual design of the project in lieu of what basically equates to an Easter Egg hunt.

We do not always require a new background or section or elevation each time you make a change, getting four or five background updates a day is very frustrating and inefficient. On the other hand do not wait until the afternoon before a job goes out and send us all the changes you made this week to include in our final drawings.  The balance of this obviously requires good judgment, which tends to come with experience.

Coordination Drawings

Note that much of our work, whether it be mechanical, electrical, plumbing or fire protection is much like yours, is installed in a  3D world,  i.e. it is affected by sections, and elevations, both interior and exterior, roof plans and details – not just in floor plans and reflected ceiling plans.  Please send us at least PDFs of your latest drawings when sending us drawing updates. If you are not sure what to send, just ask.  Sometimes we just need your latest to start our coordination efforts – not the final product. If your MEP consultant says a floor plan is all they need to do their work – you may want to look for another consultant. It may surprise you , but when I have asked for sections and elevations for coordination, I have actually had some architects ask why we needed them? Really?

During the course of a project It is very common to have an architect/owner require multiple review sets for owner review and or approval – but it is rare that we get a copy ourselves unless we specifically ask.  PDFs are cheap – send us a copy and make it a standard. And if a consultant says that they do not need a copy, see above.

Project Completion

Speaking of plans, why do we not get a copy of the final plans when the job is completed? In the old days of paper it was common for every team member discipline to get a big fat hard copy of the plans for our use and for many it was the first time we saw many aspects of the building.  In today’s electronic world, sending a complete set of PDFs should be a no-brainer and standard procedure.


We like you balance schedules daily and greatly appreciate it when you ask us about our schedule and when we can fit a project in or sometimes explain that it a particular project has a tight schedule and what it is.  Telling us that every schedule (as ridiculously short as it is) is critical and that we will lose the project if we cannot meet it, shows that you either have no negotiating skills with the clients or you really do not understand what we do.

When you do set a schedule, please be thorough and clear about it and try to stick to it – if you cannot , be understanding that we based our schedule on your original dates. i.e. When you say we have two weeks to do a project and our only submission is the final product, it is not very fair to come to us one week in and say please send us a progress set for tomorrow for pricing. Really?

We often time do preliminary design work that never hits the computer systems until we have the latest plans that we can possibly get from you – because we know you are working directly with the owner and other consultants, and these discussions will often require changes . Much of our work depends on yours and the changes you make to the floor plans, ceiling plans and in some cases interior furniture layouts all of which will affect each of our trades a little differently, but they do affect us.  Once we feel that your plans are pretty solid, then we jump on it and get it done – we really like to do it once whenever possible.  So accurate schedules are important.

Oh, and those last minute background changes, especially those that come after we just hung up with the courier or FEDEX/UPS that you say are very minor – to you maybe, because you have not plotted yet, but to us they are not.  We have to update our background (see DWGs below), make the change, (which is not always moving something two feet to the right) print it, check it, plot however many sets of the new version and re-collate it in to the other sets, reschedule the courier or FEDEX/UPS pickups if possible or worst case now drive it to the drop off location. We understand this happens occasionally, but lets try to keep it to a minimum.


As well put together as your drawings are, (sometimes) we do not just drop your new or updated drawing in our project directory, reload the xref and keep working.  We typically have different priorities as to what is to stand out in our drawings, what is to fade and what is to not show at all, so we need to do some cleanup.  This cleanup varies greatly by the quality of your drawings and can take anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour.  Every time you send an update it is rinse and repeat. Poorly put together drawings can eat our lunch on time and fees – and is another reason why we often do not update backgrounds right away, but wait for a few before we go through the process.


I am not sure if it is the economy (as I keep hearing) or the general change in behaviors that everything has to be done “right now”, like design work is no different than “Fast Food”.  We know it takes time to do your work, then it takes additional time to do ours, and it seems the pushing is coming from the owners, but it seems like we are doing schematics, DDs and CDs all at the same time.  This week the job is split systems, tank type toilets and fluorescent lighting and next week it is package units, flush valves, and LED – but the job is due next Friday!  Where is the planning and what do you mean no additional fees? We were almost done!


Obviously not all architects can be categorized by the above issues, we have all worked with the good and bad architects and architectural project managers of the world, but when we get the bad ones it really sucks.  A lot of time I bet you would be willing to make changes to how you do things if only someone told you. Well, that’s kind of what this letter is about.  I know in some cases it is a couple years late and for some of us it is very timely, but we are just letting you know these are a few things you could do to make our work a bit easier.  You could always ask us too, those that are not shy would love to let you know what things might make the relationship a bit easier on us all.

If you feel you may do some of the above and are willing to make some changes, thank you.  We, as your consultants will respect and appreciate your efforts very much.

Yours Truly,
MEFP Consultant


Although this is a bit of a Rant, it is not meant to pick on Architects, as you have an equally hard job to do.  I personally have been fortunate to spend time on both sides of the fence of Architect/Consultant over many years in this industry and have seen issues and quirks from both perspectives.  Many of the issues I have seen and heard about can be handled with better communication and team work, and some well, we can just keep praying.
As a follow up, I plan to do a series of letters which come from different perspectives of the various team members.  Future letters will be directed to: Dear contractor, Dear Engineer and Dear Owner.  If you have some input for these, please drop my an email or comment.

All of the pages and posts written by me on this blog are of my own personal opinion and in no way represent the opinions of any association, organization, affiliation or past/present employer. The voices in my head are mine and mine alone.

Image courtesy of khunaspix /

Email Etiquette





What is Email Etiquette?

The online Business dictionary defines Business Etiquette as:

Expected behaviors and expectations for individual actions within society, group, or class. Within a place of business, it involves treating coworkers and employer with respect and courtesy in a way that creates a pleasant work environment for everyone.

So for Email, I think it would be the expected behavior that involves treating coworkers, clients, your employer and friends with respect and courtesy when sending email.


Pretty much everyone in business is affected by email. In office environments people are often sending or receiving emails to communicate needs, requirements, and schedules or it is used to pass other non-email documents back and forth. The key to email is that it is a form of communication and although not verbal, it requires some of the same basic principles of being clear and concise. In many cases, email communication needs even more thought because you do not have the advantage of the non-verbal body language cues you get with face to face communication.



When addressing email recipients, be clear on who it is going to and who needs to be copied. There are three typical lines that can be used in an email correspondence, if you do not have these options, either your email program is very limited or they are turned off – typically the later. These three addressing options are “TO”, “CC”, and “BCC”. For those who may not be clear on their use it goes as follows:


This is for who the email is primarily addressed to. This can be more than one person, but it is typically only a few people. If you are addressing dozens or hundreds of people directly, you may wish to use an email mailing application that personalizes it a bit more than everyone’s name on the “TO” line. There are security and privacy issues that go along with this as well (See “BCC” section). Typically you would be addressing an individual or as said before a few people and then copying others to make sure they are “In the loop”.

Commonly accepted practice:
Anyone on the “TO” line is being directly addressed and comments or questions are being directed to them and they should respond.

This is important if you start asking questions or making comments that appear to need answers. If the email was addresses to everyone directly it would seem everyone needs to respond. The problem comes in when all these people do respond

CC: (Carbon Copy – as in old school carbon paper – get it?)

This line is used to copy other individuals that are not necessarily being directly addressed. Please do NOT use this for Email distribution lists or passing along funnies! (this means you Tom)…

Commonly accepted practice:
Anyone on the “CC” line is being copied for courtesy or information use, so that they know what is happening, what issues are being addressed, etc… but their response is not necessarily required. If you are “CC’d but you are specifically addressed in the body of the email itself, then that changes things and you should respond or act accordingly.


This is used to privately copy recipients and if you are distributing to dozens or hundreds of people and are not using a distribution list application or site – PLEASE use this line in lieu of the “CC” line. Why? Security and Privacy are the biggest reasons. If you have not heard of Malware, Spyware, Phishing, or SPAM you are living in a very sheltered world. All of these can originate from Viruses that infect a person’s machine and then harvest email addresses from that user’s email, address book or various other files on the local system. Once it gets these addresses it will send out emails to some or all of these addresses (each program works a little different) with the goal of infecting more systems. If an unprotected user gets one of these emails and downloads the attachment, clicks on a link in the email or sometimes just views it, the infection starts over and keeps spreading.

This is commonly spread when someone decides to CC all their friends on a joke or a small business or organization CCs all the members or potential customers, etc and one of those people is infected with one of the above. The BCC options strips the email address so that each recipient only sees that they received and email from someone and all the other recipients addresses are not available. As far as Privacy, maybe I do not want others knowing I am on your Email distribution list or maybe I do not want others that are CC’d to now add me to their mass marketing campaign. Yes some people will take all those addresses and use them for their own purpose – Which I will be doing one time to a large organization who does this repeatedly, even after I expressed the above concerns. It appears the only way to get off their “CC” broadcast is to quit the organization – so I did. So all their group members will get a free copy of this article. : )

If you are one of these offenders and you want to change your ways, there are options besides just putting everyone in the BCC line that will make your emails look a bit more professional. Try these links:

Creating a distribution list: (then BCC that list)

Send to Undisclosed Recipients:

Still lost? Drop me a line – I’ll try to help.

Subject Line:

What is this email about? Blank subject lines are really annoying – did the sender not know what the email was about? Emails are not texts – they have a subject! Efficient users use the Subject line for sorting, searching and filing. Users that do not have a preview pane showing up (A Virus precaution) will get nothing under the subject line – should I open it / is it a real Email? Although this is annoying on a personal email basis – for business professionals – well it is unprofessional!


If you select the “important” option for all your emails, which it seems a lot of people tend to do, (because everything they do is important!) it is a lot like crying wolf. Someone looking over your shoulder might go – “Hey that email has that ‘Important’ symbol next to it – You better see what it is”. Nah – I’ll get to it later – they always use that – no matter what they send – if it is ‘that’ important they will call. Don’t get me wrong – I look at these on an individual basis, and if it is a new person or someone who rarely uses it – I will look at it right away – otherwise – it will wait in line just like the rest of the non-important emails.


How many times do I need to read the email to get what it means? This does not really take a lot, just start by using periods and commas. It’s not important that you put two spaces after a period in a sentence or whether you use a comma after the last item and before the ‘and’ in list of items, but using a period when a sentence ends and a comma where you would normally pause in a conversation would be a great start. Oh – and maybe some capitalization or – lack of. WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING AT ME?! (Caps lock is a toggle…)

If you are sending email as part of your work/business, please use spell check. An occasional misspell is understandable, but consistent spelling mistakes and horrible grammar in an email from a supposed professional is just sad in today’s world. In Outlook and Gmail it is an automatic feature – just turn it on and leave it.


Who are you, and how do I contact you if I have questions – other than a reply? How about a name, company and phone number as a minimum? So when sends me a blank subject line email with no signature, marked as “important” stating:


Well, I just wanna….


Reply All:

If you are on the “TO” line and sometimes on the “CC” line, you may wish to do or even be asked to Reply. when this happens – do a “Reply All” so that everyone has the benefit of your response – the others may need to hear what you have to say. And, if you don’t want everyone to “Reply All” as your emails states – do NOT “CC” everyone – because what other benefit is there to everyone seeing everyone else’s email?

Key Take-aways:

  • When addressing email recipients in business, be clear on who it is going to (TO:) and who needs to be copied (CC:).
  • When sending to a bunch of Friends – use the “BCC” line.
  • When sending to a Mail-list group – use the “BCC” line or other bulk-mail option – NOT “CC”.
  • Enter a Subject
  • Do NOT indicate ALL your Emails as “Important” – the more you do it, the less important your emails become.
  • Spell and Grammar check if your email program supports it – if not, do it in Word and copy/paste.
  • Don’t type in ALL CAPS
  • Indicated more in your signature than your first name



We all have them and we function a certain way because of them, but we don’t always appreciate the value we receive when they are met.  As I was driving to work this am I saw a simple act of courtesy, something that happens somewhere every day of every week.  The problem that I saw was that the act appeared to be expected but not appreciated.  So many people go through life with the misunderstanding that people will meet our expectations and if they don’t it is the other person’s fault.  Too often these same people do not provide positive reinforcement for the acts that they expect, and this is where I believe the problem lies.

Before I go on, let me explain.  As I was driving to work I saw a women intending to turn across traffic to a side street.  A few things that noticed were that she turned in to the turning lane at an angle not direct – her tail end was still partly blocking the traffic lane, she did not use a signal light and had her cell phone in one hand and her other hand on the steering wheel.  The car in front of me stopped and then after a few cars went by someone in the adjacent lane stopped to let her cross.  Once all the cars stopped, she continued across without so much of a nod, wave or smile – just kept talking and driving.

What I noticed in that time was the expectations.  The woman expected everyone to stop because she was turning, she expected people would just go around her because she did not pull fully in to the turn lane, she expected to not have to inconvenience herself by using a signal, or acknowledging the people who accommodated her.  This lack of consideration, acknowledgement/appreciation happens to be one of my pet peeves.  Anytime someone does something for others that goes un-acknowledged or appreciated, I believe it reinforces their expectations of what is normal.  Yes, this woman probably had other things on her mind, but how hard is it to smile or a mouth “Thank You” to the ones that let her cross, use her signal or not block the traffic lanes?  You need to be conscious of the people and world around you.

Now not everyone would agree with this and many will tell you that you cannot change other people and what you need to do is change your own perception of the situation.  They will continue that if you do not, you will accomplish nothing but to drive yourself crazy and those around you – because the other person has no idea that they just affected you the way they did.  Well, I disagree.  There was a time that I believed in this and struggled to follow that example – and in some situations I still do.  After all, we must give some credit to others, for it is hard for us to know or even guess at the motivations behind another’s actions.  It is the persistent expectations that become the problem.

In theory the forgive and forget concept sounds good, but in practice it is much more complicated.  When people’s expectations are continually met, they get it ingrained that is how it “should” be and act out in defense when they are not.  So if I expected something (consideration for others) why should it matter that the woman had her own expectations?  This is where the type of expectations and the responses are important.

It is very easy to expect that people will act a certain way, sometimes these expectations are cultural, sometimes they are gender based and sometimes they are based on our geographical location.  A handshake as a greeting in one culture may be considered rude in another, in New York City changing lanes without a signal maybe considered normal – if not practical to keep from getting blocked and having a woman slapping a guy out for being crude maybe considered un-lady like, yet in some places it would be considered perfectly natural.  This to say that we need to be careful of getting too comfortable with our expectations.  New Yorkers that come to Florida may want to think twice about cutting off a couple good old boys in a jacked up 4×4 because they plan to change lanes – the outcome may not be what they expected.

When so many people go through life with the misunderstanding that people will continue to meet their expectations yet do not provide positive reinforcement for these acts they minimize the chance that they will continue to happen.  So if we cannot change other people and we should not always let it slide, what can we do to make things better?  Start with thinking about your own expectations.  When your expectations are met, acknowledge that it is appreciated and when they are not (assuming they are realistic), you may need to let the other party know this.  This is especially important in personal and work relationships.  If you are not doing this, it’s time to consider changing your ways.

It seems that our society has gotten really bad about setting high expectations for what we want, but setting a low priority on acknowledging the acts that meet them.  Rudeness and inconsideration for someone else’s time and money have become increasingly common at all ages, but especially in today’s younger “ME” generations.  For children and teens these days it is considered normal to be loud and disrespectful and many parents and authority figures expect and accept this as normal behavior.  As long as this continues, these children’s and youth’s expectations will not change.  In a personal or business relationship if you continue to meet other’s expectations to try to keep them happy but do not receive some form of recognition, appreciation or equal treatment your creating a norm that may eventually be hard to reverse.

On the practical side, yelling at another driver for not using their signal or not giving an acknowledging wave for letting them in your lane may not be the smartest thing and may even prove dangerous, but your personal and business relationships are areas that you can work on.  Now, all of this is not meant to say that you need a reward or a pat on the back for everything you do or say, it’s about not promoting unhealthy expectations in yourself and others.  Some have an uncanny ability to forgive and forget or so it appears, but many times they are just stewing inside, until some day they burst.

As far as expectations on articles, I know it has been a while since I have done a post, life has just been crazy lately with other responsibilities and writing tasks.  I have a couple of articles coming up in AUGI World this summer, with the first coming in May on the hiring process and the second in July on how to keep those you hired.   I’ll let you know once they are published.  If you missed the last article I did for AUGI World that discussed the “Domino Effect” of Training, you can find it here:

See you next post where I’ll dive in to what “change” is.


I will kick things off with a post that is near and dear to me – especially at the present time, as I am dealing with this issue every day. This post may seem out of character for many that are unfamiliar with AutoCAD, but it really falls in line with the premise of this blog – “There are better ways of doing things”… (and often, it is just doing things right from the beginning). This will be the first in a series on AutoCAD basics and some rules and guidelines to follow that will make the process of working with AutoCAD more efficient for editing and updating for all users (editing and updating are two distinct processes for this series).

I know and have a lot of respect for many professionals in the engineering and architectural world that work with AutoCAD everyday and most of those that don’t are using Revit. I have been using AutoCAD since version 3.? (it’s been awhile – 1984) and have used almost every version over the years. It continues to amaze and sometimes frustrate me how so many people that are professional architects, engineers, designers and especially the daily CADD drafter, still mis-use or (mis-understand) the product. By mis-use, I mean they have still not learned, refused to learn or just don’t care about some basic concepts. Taking the more positive approach, I think that many believe they know enough to do their job and do not have the time or energy to invest in additional learning. Well I am going to make it easy for those who are at least interested in stepping up their efficiency and the quality of what they produce. I will be spreading out over multiple posts some critical basics for AutoCAD use that can be taken in pretty quickly and put in to practice right away.

Below are the topics I will be covering, Future posts will dive in to more detail.

  • Layer Usage:  General Efficient usage and standards. Layers offer lots of control if used properly.
  • Layer 0:  This is a crucial layer that should never be frozen, or modified.
  • Layer Defpoints:  This is another crucial layer that should never be frozen, or modified.
  • Blocks:  Do NOT explode, and use more in lieu of copying around line work.
    • Creation:
    • Usage:
  • Lines and Polylines:  When to use one or the other. editing, joining, etc…
  • Standard Styles:
    • Don’t use them!  This covers the built-in AutoCAD styles for dimensions and text which are basically “samples” to go by or at best starters, but your not supposed to use them as YOUR standard.  It creates issues for you and others.
  • Text Usage:
    • Alignment – There are more options than “Top-Left”.
    • Styles – Remember to not use the “Standard” styles – make a company standard.
    • Size – It does really matter.

In the future posts, we will get in to how to use the above, the why and the importance of the why.  If you want to control efficiency and quality, it is important to get it right.