CAD Tip 1028: Make your own special marks on the CAD drawing

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Hannah More

One way to simplify a complex CAD drawing is to make your own marks to help you navigate the various drawing parts.  It’s an easy way to speed up your work, reduce errors, and reduce mental fatigue.

It’s OK in CAD to add helpful notes and marks for your benefit only

I look at it this way.  If you were making a hand sketch instead of a CAD drawing, you would probably include lots of quick, informal notes to yourself that would help you and others understand the sketch.  You might draw stars or asterisks (*) to emphasize the most important parts so that later, when you go back to review the sketch, it’s easily understandable.  You might use arrows, colors, and underlines to organize the sketch.

Why not do the same in CAD?

Here’s an example.  I often use checkmarks to indicate which views or details I have updated, or checked and approved.

First, I draw a simple checkmark using the polyline tool  This is done freehand, with six mouse clicks (see image below).

Sometimes I fill in the interior of the checkmark with a solid hatch (see second image).

A checkmark created using the polyline tool

A checkmark created using the polyline tool

The checkmark with a solid hatch fill added

Then I copy the polyline and hatch to the Windows clipboard (Cntl-C on the keyboard, or on the ribbon go Home tab, Clipboard panel, Copy).

From the clipboard, I choose “Paste as Block” (in the ribbon, go Home tab, Clipboard panel, pull down Paste commands, choose Paste as Block).

By the way, did you know that you can use Cntl-Shift-V to “Paste as Block” using only the keyboard?

I usually put the “original” checkmark block on the defpoints layer to make sure that the checkmarks will not print.

Once i have the first block created, I copy that block to the clipboard using Cntl-C.  The reason I do this is to make the checkmarks easy to remove later.  I’ll explain below.

As i move through the drawing, next to each updated view or part of the drawing I’ve completed, I paste a checkmark from the clipboard (Cntl-V).

Here’s a drawing embellished with checkmarks to indicate progress.  You can immediately see which views have been updated.

Checkmarks show progress at a glance

When you’ve completed all of the views, you can easily remove the checkmarks all at once.  Just select one checkmark block, right-click, and from the shortcut menu choose “Select similar.”  All of your checkmarks will be selected.  Hit the DELETE key and you’re done!  No one else needs to see the special marks.  They’re “for your eyes only!”

You can see how this method can reduce errors and minimize the time spent trying to “find your place” in the drawing.  More speed with greater accuracy— what more could you ask for?  Well worth the small effort spent creating the checkmark block.

Hope you find this useful.  Send me your comments in the blank below.

Keep on CADDing!   🙂