AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 Bible

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Spacebar Shortcuts

In a previous tip, I discussed shortcuts that use the Shift key. Here I discuss a few shortcuts that use the Spacebar.

As an equivalent to the Return/Enter key

With one exception, you can use the Spacebar instead of the Enter key. It’s often more convenient, because it’s bigger and because if your right hand is on the mouse, you can hit the Spacebar with your left hand. Similarly, you can press the Spacebar at the Command prompt to repeat a command you just used.

The exception is when you’re using a text command, such as MTEXT or TEXT. Pressing the Spacebar, of course, just inserts a space in the text. To end the MTEXT command, you can’t press the Enter key either, because that just inserts a new line in the text. Instead, just click outside the text area or click the Close Text Editor button on the ribbon.

To cycle among Grip editing options

Hein Veeman, a “Technical Draftsman and AutoCAD shortcut freak” in the Netherlands, sent me an e-mail describing how to use the Spacebar to cycle among Grip editing options. Actually, this is just an example of using the Spacebar to replace the Enter key. Here are his steps:

1. Select an object by clicking on it with your mouse.

2. Select a grip point of that object.

You will see the following in the command line:


Specify stretch point or [Base point/Copy/Undo/eXit]:

3. Press the Spacebar once more to cycle to the MOVE option.

4. Continue to press the Spacebar to get the Rotate, Scale, and Mirror options.

Select overlapping objects with object cycling

If you have several objects that overlap, you may find it hard to select the one you want. This used to be a real annoyance, because you would select the wrong object, deselect it (by pressing Esc), and try again. In recent releases, AutoCAD highlights objects when you just hover over them, which makes selecting the right object much easier.

Nevertheless, if you’re using an earlier release or have the hover highlighting effect turned off, object cycling can help. (By the way, to customize hover highlighting, start the OPTIONS command. On the Selection tab, click the Visual Effect Settings button. In the Selection Preview Effect section, you can change the settings.)

To use object cycling, at the Select objects: prompt, place the cursor over the area where objects overlap. Then hold down the Shift key and press the Spacebar. One object is highlighted. If it is not the one you want, with the Shift key still down, press the Spacebar again. AutoCAD cycles through the objects. When the object that you want is highlighted, pick the object.

Cycle through faces of a solid

If you want to select the back face of a solid, you can cycle through the faces by pressing and holding Ctrl and repeatedly pressing the Spacebar. Remember that pressing the Ctrl key selects subobjects, such as the face of a solid.

Cycle among gizmos

A fairly new feature allows you to use the Spacebar to cycle among the three gizmos, Move, Rotate, and Scale. The gizmos help you move, rotate, and scale 3D models. Here you see the Rotate gizmo.

You can select an object and the current gizmo appears on the object or you can choose the gizmo you want from the ribbon. You then constrain the direction of the move, rotate or scale operation by clicking one of the colored elements (which correlate to the X, Y, and Z axes.)  Once you constrain the move, you can press the Spacebar to cycle among the three gizmos, without losing the directional constraint you specified.

Do you have any other Spacebar shortcuts? Let others know by posting a comment!

Ellen Finkelstein

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