One of the first things you might notice when you launch AutoCAD 2008 is the new 2D Drafting and Annotation workspace… This is in addition to the existing 3D Modeling and AutoCAD Classic workspaces that were included in AutoCAD 2007.
If you select the 2D Drafting and Annotation workspace, AutoCAD automatically turns on and off various toolbars and palettes including the Dashboard. You can customize the 2D Drafting and Annotation workspace (or any other workspace) to create an AutoCAD environment that enables you to maximize your drawing area while maintaining easy access to the tools you need most. For example, I configured my workspace so that the Command window and most toolbars are turned off. It’s okay! Don’t panic! I use Dynamic Input to read and respond to command prompts and if I need to see information from the Command window, I use the F2 (Function 2) key. I have all of the palette windows (Properties, Sheet Set Manager, etc) anchored on the left side with Auto-hide enabled. Those palettes provide all the tools I need… and look how much drawing space I have!!!
To create your own workspace, start with an existing workspace that most closely matches the environment you want. Then simply turn additional toolbars and palettes (including Dashboard panels) on and off. If you want certain palettes to be rolled up and/or anchored, apply those options by selecting them from the right-click menu.
Ensure that you include the Workspaces toolbar in your environment because you will need it to change workspaces. After you set up your environment the way you want, open the Workspaces menu and select Save Current As.
You can select a workspace from the drop-down list to override an existing one or enter a name to create a new workspace. Although you can override the default AutoCAD workspaces, I suggest you save your custom workspaces to different names so that you can restore the default AutoCAD workspaces if necessary. The Workspace Settings option in the right-click menu enables you to control the appearance and behavior of workspaces.
In a future post, I’ll show you how to customize the Dashboard in AutoCAD 2008. By combining the powerful functionality of a customized Dashboard with custom workspaces, you can create an efficient working environment with plenty of drawing area!