Tip 1019: Use Quick Select to select objects en masse

For many are called, but few are chosen.
–Matthew 22:14.

A great time-saving AutoCAD feature that is under-appreciated is the Quick Select tool. With this tool you can select all objects having a property that you specify, and the options for specifying that property are practically endless.  Quick Select works on all objects of the entire drawing, or on a pre-selected set of objects.  The number of objects “chosen” by Quick Select can be one, a thousand, or any number at all, with no extra effort on your part. Again, this is a powerful tool!

It’s worth investing a little time to understand the unique pull-down menu system of the Quick Select tool.

To initiate Quick Select, go Home tab/Utilities panel/Quick Select, or type QSELECT in the command line.  I suggest using the Command Alias Editor to create a hotkey, QS, for the command.   Here is the dialog box for Quick Select:

Quick Select box in AutoCAD

The Quick Select dialog box

Let’s look at each selection option, starting at the top of the box and working down.

Apply to:  This field defaults to “Entire drawing” if no objects are selected.  If objects have been selected prior to initiating the Quick Select command, this field will default to “Selected objects,”  with an option for “Entire drawing” in the pull-down.

Object type:  This defaults to “Multiple,” which simply means “all of the object types present in your drawing.”  See image below for a typical pull-down list for Object Type:

Quick Select box with options for Object Type

Quick Select box with options for Object Type

The list of Object types will vary, depending on which object types are present in your drawing.  Only the types present will be listed.  “M Text” means multiline text.  “Rotated Dimension” simply means “dimension.” The order of the object types appears to be random.  Let’s take “Text” as an example, and look at the next variable called:

Properties:  The available list of properties looks like this if you’ve chosen Text for the Object type:

Properties options for text object type

Properties options for text object type

This image only shows part of the list of properties–slide the slider down to see the full list.  The Properties options vary, depending on the Object type chosen.  Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the possible choices.

Operator:  The five options here are shown in the image below:

The Operator options in Quick Select

The Operator options in Quick Select

Selecting “=Equals” causes Quick Select to choose objects that exactly match the value set in the next field down, “Value:”.  “<>Not Equal,” “>Greater than,” and “<Less than” are what you would expect.  The last option, “Select All,” is the one I use most often, yet it is a bit hard to find in the Quick Select pull-down menu system.  “Select All” selects all of the objects of the type specified in the “Object type:” field above, regardless of what option is chosen in the “Properties:” field, and regardless of what is in the “Value:” field.

Value:   This is where you choose (or enter, in some cases) a value that you want to use as a filter, to select objects that are equal to, not equal to, greater than, or less than the Value in the field.  Note: If you chose “Select All” as the Operator, it makes no difference what you put here as a Value.  The options shown in this field’s pull-down list depend on what Property is selected in the field above.  For example, if the Property chosen is Layer, the Value field will give you a pull-down list of the available layers to select from.

As a simple example, let’s say you have a drawing where some hatches got exploded, and there are lots of lines having a very tiny length, which you want to get rid of because they are slowing down your computer.  Just start the Quick Select tool and make these settings:

  • Apply to:        Entire drawing.
  • Object type:  Line.
  • Properties:    Length.
  • Operator:       <Less than
  • Value:              1/32″

Every line in the drawing having a length less than 1/32″ will be selected.  Then you can banish them all with a stroke of the Delete key.

The next time you want to manipulate a number of similar objects in AutoCAD, try the Quick Select tool.  The way in which the objects are similar is, well, almost any way imaginable.  Give it a try, and you’ll be amazed at the time it will save.

Keep on CADDing!   🙂