Command Speed
Comments by: Odin Cary

Article 1: AutoCAD Accelorators ---- Article 2: Keyboard Express 95/NT

This is the first in a series of articles I will write about command speed enhancements that I have come across and feel have significantly affected my performance.

From the very first days with AutoCAD, I found the general interface with computers clumsy, lacking in intuitive structure and generally organically inhospitable. But, I am still using a mouse and a rectangular keyboard and looking into a flat screen with millions of pixels attempting to look 3-dimensional. We seem to crave a 3D interface.

My point is that we all seem to struggle with our interfaces and therefore are always looking for better and faster ways to interact with it. I found keyboard macro’s to be the fastest way of running AutoCAD back in the DOS days and though I am quickly becoming a fan of buttons and palettes, I still like my macros. One of the best things about macros is that you can invoke commands without moving your pointing device away from the object(s) you are currently working on.

Article #1

For Windows ’95 there is a carry over program from 3.x called "Recorder.exe" that I found particularly handy but, unfortunately, NT does not support the "Recorder.exe" and I suspect that it will not be supported in Win’98.

One solution is to take all of my former macros and turn them into little LISP routines.

Another solution is to lean more on Alias routines in the ACAD.PGP file.

But, what I really miss about my macros, was the ability to use Shift, Ctrl and Alt in conjunction with any other keyboard key to invoke a command.

The solution I found is to use AutoCAD’s Accelerator Keys; defined in a small area near the bottom of the ACAD.MN? files. I suggest that you modify the ACAD.MNS file because then you can always restore the original menu from the ACAD.MNU file should you make a serious mistake. You can locate this file in the SUPPORT folder of your R14 and AutoCAD R13 (under COM). You can open it with most text processors, but be careful when you save it that you don’t accidentally convert it to non-ASCII code; i.e., save it as "raw" DOS text.

When you have written your accelerator(s), reload AutoCAD or if you are familiar with the MENU command, reload the changed menu and test your work.

In the ACAD.MNS file, you should see a section labeled "****ACCELERATORS" with some of the default keyboard macros defined.

One macro or "Accelerator" that you might like is:


This will invoke your toolbar dialogue box so you can bring up your palettes faster.

And here is my new favorite addition to my set of "Accelerators":

[SHIFT+"S"]$M=$(if,$(and,$(getvar,OSMODE),3071),'_OSMODE 0,'_OSMODE 3071)

This will turn your OSNAP toggle on and off so you don’t have to go down to the status bar and double pick. The number "3071" corresponds to the osnap modes (endpoint, midpoint, etc.) that I want on. To set a different set of osnap modes than my choice, you can use the sum of all modes which is 4095 (all osnap modes on) or chose specific settings. To learn more about this, use the AutoCAD help menu and go to "OSMODE".

Article #2

Recently I came across another Keyboard Macro Recording program that works with Windows '95 and NT 4.0. This Tips & Ttricks lead comes courtesy of Wayne Leong, AIA - Leong and Associates.

The downloadable shareware program is call "Keyboard Express 95/NT" and you can get it by visiting . The price is $29.95.

I found this program to be one of those "no-brainer" down loads, installs and operators. The only problem that I found in using this macro recording program was that it ran a bit slow on my 200Mhz Pentium and according to Wayne that was a problem in his office as well. According to Wayne, however, speed was not a problem on his higher speed Pentium Pro's and PII 's. Screen Captures of "Keyboard Express 95/NT"

The first thing that I discovered after playing with this program was that if I "Capture Keystrokes" directly in AutoCAD R14 the performace on recall from Keyboard Express 95/NT was much more reliable and zippy.

The second thing that I discoverd is that the program installs with a setting that requires Ctrl + Right-mouse-click for activation. I wanted this application to indicate activation on my Taskbar so I could tell if it was up and running or not and I made this possible by going to: Options >> Program Activate Key >> None.