Make Better Selections with AutoCAD2018  

Off-Screen Selection 

One of the most frustrating things I have experienced with the prior versions of AutoCAD, involved trying to grab a complex, large area in one selection. If you started the Window or Crossing Selection while zoomed in on the area you wanted to start with, you would not be able to zoom or pan off-screen to select the other corner, meaning, everything off-screen of the original selection was not picked up.

As a work around, I found that I could use an old trick. I started a command like “Erase.” Then, while zoomed in on the area where I wanted to start the window, I would pick the first corner, then cancel the command. This allowed me to then zoom out and start the command again, using the “@ [enter]” function to select the same point again, but I would not be able to zoom in to accurately pick the second point. Unfortunately, if the first point was off the screen, I lost those objects in the selection. This made it difficult because everything needed to be done in multiple selections, rather than one.

The good news is that in AutoCAD 2018, you can begin a selection window in one part of your drawing and then pan and/or zoom to another part while maintaining selection of the off-screen objects. Users can control this functionality using the SELECTIONOFFSCREEN system variable.


Linetype gap selection
Another difficult aspect of working in prior versions of AutoCAD involved selecting a linetype in the gap location on the linetype pattern. As you can see below, I launched the line command. In this example, I used the “Nearest” Object Snap selection, which displays the marker when I am over the visible part of the linetype pattern. However, it will not detect the line when I am hovered over a gap in the line.





With AutoCAD 2018, Autodesk has enhanced the selection linetype gaps to support complex and DGN linetypes. This change allows users to select the linetype by picking on the gaps between the geometry. This feature allows consistent behavior carried over to all objects, such as polylines with width, and splines.




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Isaac Harper is a Technical Specialist with ATG USA in Phoenix, Ariz. He provides technical expertise and core training, drafting and programming services, and has more than 30 years of Autodesk Certified Instructor and Certified Technical Trainer experience. Isaac is ATG’s go-to-guy for the AutoCAD skills that lie at the foundation of AEC software tools and increased productivity.


Applied Technology Group is a Platinum Autodesk Business Partner. Founded in North Little Rock, Ark., in 1992 as a local computer services company, ATG has grown to become a leading design technology partner with the purpose of assisting customers in maximizing the value and adoption of advanced technologies so they can perform competitively in the AEC sector. ATG collaborates with customers across the Gulf South, Midwest and Southwest through partnerships with 3DR, Autodesk, Leica, Microsoft and Panzura. Learn more about our company at


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