Hatches and Gradients take on Multiple Enhancements in AutoCAD 2011…

The Hatch tool is streamlined in AutoCAD 2011 for faster creation and editing of hatch objects. It now immediately prompts you to select an internal point without displaying the Hatch dialog box. Instead, the new Hatch Creation contextual tab provides easy access to all hatch and gradient options. (click image to see enlarged view.)


To further extend this functionality, weather you are creating or editing hatch content, it is done consistently for all types of hatch items and has been added to the Contextual Ribbons Section in the CUI.

 A Hatch Editor contextual ribbon displays similar hatch tools when you select an existing hatch.

The Hatch Preview function for the “pick points” method has been improved. Now, just passing your cursor over an eligible area shows you a dynamic preview of what the hatch would look like if you clicked there before you click.

You can also see the result of each click as you pick points or objects in the drawing. Keep in mind that even though it looks as though a hatch was created as you clicked, it will not actually be a separate object unless you have the “Create Separate Hatches” option ON.

AutoCAD 2011 continues to expand object grip functionality with a new center grip for direct modification of hatch objects. You can use these options to stretch or move the hatch or change the origin, angle, or scale. These options are available when you hover over the grip. You can either choose an option from the list, or activate the grip and use CTRL to cycle through the different behaviors.

Other hatch grip behavior has not changed, except that “Stretch” is now the default action for the secondary or middle grips on a nonassociative hatch.

Hatches now support background color in addition to line color. This enables you to have the effect of layering hatches all in a single hatch object.

You now also have the option to set a hatch’s layer before you create it. You can choose either to use the current layer or to pick another one from your drawing. Like color, pattern, and other hatch properties, layer is a persistent setting during your drawing session. If you like the appearance of the traditional Hatch dialog box you can still access it by typing T for the seTtings option at the command line. As you can see they have added the new options for Layering and Transparency (as discussed in one of my recent Blogs) inside the dialog box as well.

The command HATCHTOBACK has been introduced in response to an item on the AUGI wishlist. Similar to TEXTTOFRONT, HATCHTOBACK sends hatches underneath all other objects in the drawing. “Send Hatches to Back” is available on the Modify panel of the Home tab under the Draw Order flyout, along with “Bring Text to Front” and “Bring Dimensions to Front.”

The new system variable MIRRHATCH enables you to mirror hatches while retaining their orientation. (This is similar to the MIRRTEXT variable.) Set to 0, mirroring hatches maintains their original angle. When MIRRHATCH is set to 1, the hatch angle mirrors along with the rest of the objects.

And last, the Hatch Object Limit system variable (HPOBJWARNING) has been increased to 10,000 from 1,000 to reflect the capabilities of current computers. When a large number of objects are selected for hatch boundary calculations, it can result in slower performance. Thanks to increased hardware capabilities, though, it now takes a much larger number of boundary objects to affect calculation speed. You may now also set the value of the Hatch Object Limit manually.

So as you can see Hatching has become a lot more Intuitive, Dynamic and Easier to use in this newer version of AutoCAD. As always I want to thank you for your time and hope you enjoy these new features in AutoCAD 2011.

Isaac is the go-to guy for the AutoCAD skills that lie at the foundation of AEC software tools and increased productivity. And you’d be hard pressed to find someone who knows more than he does about how to be more efficient in AutoCAD. Isaac can present best strategies and tips for productivity because he understands his audience and what they do. He has a high number of repeat customers who like his dynamic style and keep returning to learn more from him.

4 thoughts on “Hatches and Gradients take on Multiple Enhancements in AutoCAD 2011…

  1. The first time I use BH or select a hatch pattern in a drawing Autocad freezes for several minutes. After that the hatch commands work without any problems. Is this typical or is there a setting that needs to change?
    In the Hatch ribbon the drop-down list of hatch patterns does not show all of Autocad’s hatch patterns. Is it just my setup?

  2. Hi Charlene,
    Have you tried using the arrows to the right of pattens in the Pattern panel on the ribbon? There are three of them; the top two scroll the panel to different patterns, and the bottom one will expand a separate drop down list. As for the Freezing problem; I have not had any complaints through our support on that…? (not saying that there may be other people have not experienced that also, they have just not informed us.) Are you using a lot of custom patterns? I would try Google or the Autodesk Discussion Groups to see if anybody has brought up that topic. If I hear of anything I will pass it along to you. -Isaac

  3. I would like to do a AutoCAD Architecture Blog, as well, but unfortunately, my time is pretty limited. The good thing is AutoCAD Architecture is built on AutoCAD, so all of the content still applies. Maybe in the near future, (…or I will try and sneak in some ACA content in the AutoCAD Blog, if I find something really cool to share!!!) -Isaac

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