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Online QCad Newbie Help
(without CAD training CD)

"Burma Shave" like
R oad signs below

draw toolbar

lines toolbar

polylines toolbar

snap toolbar

selection toolbar

modify toolbar


The rough waters ahead

Need to be tamed

Dam up your fortitude

QCad Train


Bumps and potholes

Are all that remain

Unless you switch

QCad Train


Nurse yourself back

Heal that CAD sprain

Your Rx prescription

QCad Train


Where there is smoke

There must be flame

Extinguish CAD issues

QCad Train

               
Stuck idling on a track siding with your self taught CAD Training?
Is your Typical CAD Training broke down between stations?

Our Newbie Help section will get you back on track.


Here is our listing of typical train wreck issues while learning QCad on your own.
Written descriptions of cad functions are very difficult to write and also difficult to read. If you don't like to read, then you may want to consider the "Learn Qcad" training course.

Drawing setup requirements to get started
    (this is the longest topic and has its own webpage)
Object Snap Modes
Object Snap User Issues
Scan Your Instruments
Importance of CommandLine Usage
Modify>Move-Copy Issues
Modify>Divide Issues

What are Properties & Attributes

Scan Your Instruments
While driving a car you should periodically scan your dash gauges such as speedometer, oil pressure, water temperature etc…..While flying an airplane you absolutely must scan your instruments to maintain safe flight…..While using QCad you absolutely must scan your instruments to be successful at using QCad. So what does that mean?

In scanning QCad, you must maintain vigilance to observe and use changing information that pops up on the screen in differing places for different tools in use. These changing information places are called drawing toolbars, selection toolbars, options toolbars, status lines, and many other forms of information that QCad dynamically displays to help you with your drawing activities.

QCad beginners tend to focus on the drawing area and forget to observe all the helpful dynamic information that is presented around the drawing area. This topic can not be easily explained in words, but our Video Training CD will address this issue completely.

For this written example, let us use an <edit toolbar> button called <move or copy> as our example. Just to clarify, QCad confusingly has different names for the drop down menu <Modify> and the <Edit toolbar> called EDIT. These two listings of tools should have the same name but they do not. Do not get confused by this alternate naming convention.

When you click <Edit> in the toolbar area, a new toolbar is displayed containing all the Edit tools. If you don't see the <edit> button, just keep clicking the toolbar top left arrow until that button becomes available, then click on <edit>. Now click on <Move or Copy> and another selection toolbar appears. This allows you to select your selection parameters for what you want to select. Now select the <connected entities> tool and go select the entity(s) you want to move. Once the entities are selected you can't do any more until you select the bottom right arrow on the selection toolbar. This brings up the object snap toolbar which helps you in aligning the moved or copied entity during your next actions. So now you select an object snap tool, and we will select the <snap to endpoints> tool in this example.

As you move your mouse away from the <object snap> toolbar, you will see that the status line below says "specify reference point" which is telling you what to do next. The <snap to endpoints> tool is amazing. As you move your mouse near the line, the snap point jumps to one end of the line. Move your mouse near the desired end of the line and left click the mouse. The status line now says "specify target point" which means to select where on the drawing you want this end of the line to move to. Here you will most likely have a problem selecting that new location point for the move! Look at your toolbar again and you will see that you are still in the <snap to endpoint> tool mode.

This means that in order to choose the "specify target point" you must in fact have an endpoint as a target. If you do not have an endpoint as a target, then you are dead in the water until you change the <snap tool>. Move your mouse over and select the <grid> snap tool. Now you can continue with "specify target point", and place the selected end of that line on any grid snap point. When you click the mouse to place the selected end of the line, notice that the status line goes blank. At the same time a box pops up giving you options to choose about the entity move/copy action. Select your choices and click OK and the move/copy is complete. Notice that the toolbar changes from <object snap> to <edit> toolbar automatically.

Now you could select another<edit> tool and continue on with your drawing. Notice how QCad guides you along to some degree, but does not guide you 100%. This example demonstrates why scanning the program view is so important if you want to become proficient with QCad. You will get much help along the way if you pay attention to the screen activity. This screen guidance is a very positive asset while using QCad. If you ignore this guidance, then you will be very confused most of the time.

Another example of useful information available by scanning, are the coordinates numbers at the bottom left hand corner of the QCad window. The top left-hand line displays the absolute x/y coordinates of the current mouse pointer position. The right hand numbers show the absolute polar coordinate value for the mouse position. Below those numbers is another set of numbers, whose coordinates are the relative reference point coordinates. Remember that "puppy dog" red dot that follows you around (explained in object snap mode topic), well that is the relative reference point. This information is truly amazing. Let us draw a new line using two endpoints. When you click on the first endpoint, this bottom relative coordinate status line changes to x/y = 0,0. Now as you move your mouse to draw the next line endpoint, the lower relative coordinate display tells you exactly how long the line will be, so you just watch these relative coordinates and click to set the line endpoint for an exact position or an exact line length. The same relative information is also displayed on the right in relative polar coordinate notation. If you have snap to grid set, then your mouse positioning coordinates jumps in snap increments. If you disable snap, then the mouse coordinates move smoothly to any value.

Check you instruments on a regular basis and fly QCad quickly and efficiently.

Importance of CommandLine Usage
When I had no CAD experience, I always had an aversion to using command lines when a mouse click could do the same job. QCad has changed my philosophy about command lines. Command lines in QCad are no less than amazing! Just imagine drawing a rectangle by typing <linerectangle> <enter> <0,0><enter> <20,10><enter>. You just drew a rectangle 20 units long and 10 units high, and never had to manipulate that pesky mouse to exacting positions on the screen. The program drew a perfect rectangle using very precisely located corners, and you basically just watched it all happen as you typed in the rectangle dimensions at the command line. That's what I'm talkin bout! You could also set a point on the drawing and then use relative coordinates <@0,0> and <@20,10> and the box would be placed relative to that point on the drawing. Presently the short-cut two letter commands such as <re> (same as linerectangle) are not working for me and I have a forum question posted to find out why.

You can also mix and match mouse and keyboard entries. While using any mouse tool, you can switch focus to the command line and type in that next response instead of wiggling the mouse around to complete that next step. This gives you some very exacting results not to mention the convenience of not having to coax the mouse to a precise screen position.

1. Finding the CommandLine

The command line can be disabled from view by using the <View> drop down menu. You must then select <toolbars> and check the command line option <check box> to make the command line viewable.

Once the command line is view enabled, it can be found in one of two locations. Either located across the bottom of the QCad window (default), or docked on the right hand window pane along with other items such as the <Layer List>. I find the command line especially useful docked on the right hand viewing pane. This does not detract from the normal drawing pane size, and the command line still works fine here while it is docked. You can undock and resize to any part of the QCad window that you desire. Where ever the command line window is located, it can be closed with a normal widow close button at the top right hand corner. Once it is closed, you have to use the <View> <toolbars> command line <check box> to make is viewable again.

2. Focus and the Command Line

Focus is a windows term which describes which window the keyboard and mouse are currently connected to. When you click on the title bar or inside most any window, that window receives focus. Now you can type into text boxes or click radio buttons within that window.

While using the command line, it is just another window within the operating system. So when you click on the title bar of the command line window, the keyboard focus goes to the command line window. If you want to type into the QCad application window, you must move focus back to the application window.

QCad has once again made this focus change very easy. Just tap the <escape> key to take focus away from the command line window and tap the <spacebar> to return focus back to the command line window. When the command line text box has some text already typed in, then you must press the <escape> key twice to take focus away from the command line box. The first <escape> key press clears the command line text box, and the second <escape> key press takes away focus from the command line text box.

There you have it. Why fight with that pesky mouse when you can just type in your desired locations for exact positioning and sizing of new entities or moved/copied existing entities. Command Line rocks! Experienced users can type on the command line with the left hand and use the mouse with their right hand. They can also chew gum at the same time. Talk about manual dexterity requirements!

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