Dan Abbott Consulting         






I have officially retired from presenting at Autodesk University. The scheduling hasn't worked for me and I've gotten fond of staying home the week after Thanksgiving. 

Lynn Allen, Joseph Wurcher, and many others continue to do a terrific job of organizing an exceptional training conference. If you are going, I know you'll have a great experience.


AutoCADģ: Secrets Every User Should Know was written in 2007 as a guide to what I consider best practices in using AutoCADģ, so it was not based on a specific release. It is now ten years old, which means there are some important features that are not addressed in the book, most notably annotative objects, dynamic blocks, customizing the ribbon interface, and parametric constraints and dimensions. However, as you can see from the Amazon reviews below, many people continue to find it very useful as a reference. That is gratifying. 

Two Reviews for AutoCADģ: Secrets Every User Should Know

Mark Kiker, Editor, CADD Manager (www.caddmanager.com)

AutoCADģ - Secrets Every Users Should Know - by Dan Abbott - Sybex / Wiley Publishing Inc. 2007

Let's face it...  I have read just about every book that I could on AutoCAD over the years and thought that there was nothing new under the sun.  Well...  I stand corrected.  Dan Abbott has created a MUST READ book that you need to add to your book shelf.

AutoCAD Secrets is a refreshing change from the usual presentation of AutoCAD information, tips and tricks that is found in most of the book written.  He leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to tell you just about everything you need to know from basic to very advanced topics.

The eleven chapters of info starts off with a great chapter on AutoCAD productivity.  Every topic was discussed in plain English and directly to the point (my kind of guy!).  He covers the unspoken "boot camp" level principles and best practices of CAD with an in depth look at each topic.  As I read it - I discovered nuggets of gold that renewed my enthusiasm for "common sense" CAD.  (see my blog on this topic).  He covers the foundational precepts and practices of sound file creation and data input.  As I read I kept wondering - "Is he going to mention this or that?" and sure enough, there it was.  The bottom line guidelines that the whole world needs to be reminded of.  Chapter One alone is worth the price of the book.

He continues in chapters covering the management of your files, customization issues, graphic standards, and more.  He reviews the basics of Paper Space and Model Space, what goes where and offers sidebar tips at every turn of the page.

Covering the basics is just the starting point for him to launch into the advanced topics.  There is a complete LISP programming class that is presented in logical steps for all to use.  Plus there is actual full working code in the book - just type it in and use it.  Or better yet the book tells you where to go online to get the code.  It's like getting two books in one, plus online resources.  He finishes up with 3D topics and finally AutoCAD Puzzlers. 

AutoCAD Puzzlers is a compilation of real world problems and stumpers (he got me on quite a few).  Each taken from real questions from the many interactions he has had with students and users.  These Puzzlers are often the submittal busters that we all face at crunch time.  He presents them as questions and then provides the answer at the end of the book.  Thirty Five of the toughest questions and weird behaviors (and the answers to them all).

This ranks very very high on my list of must have books.  I applaud him for his succinct language, honest approach and real world emphasis.  Forget the new Harry Potter novel... Go buy this book!


Ralph Grabowski, Editor, The Business of CAD (www.upfrontezine.com)

Book Review:
AutoCAD Secrets Every User Should Know
Book authored by Dan Abbott

I've been using AutoCAD for 22 years, and have written a hundred books on the subject. I reviewed many CAD books back in the days when book reviews were common in CAD publications; some were innovative, others were just sad. But for nearly a decade, it's been mostly silence on the book review front.

Then earlier in the summer, a book arrived in the mail from Sybex:  'AutoCADģ Secrets Every User Should Know' by Dan Abbott. Reading it, I got excited: here's a book for every AutoCAD user, even oldtimers like me.

This book's conversational tone makes for easy reading. But you won't want to read it through. It's too overwhelming with one useful tip after another after another. I suggest reading a couple of pages a day, marking items with a yellow highlighter. Such as these tips:

You can use wildcards in the Rename dialog box.

Use Ctrl+R to find viewports that the mouse cursor cannot.

Use Lengthen to extend an arc to a specific length.

Worthwhile for the US$26.39 it costs to order from amazon.com. Good job, Mr Abbott!

Amazon.com reviews

I'm pleased that the reviews are from AutoCAD users in the trenches, and that many of them are long-time users who've found things they like. Most of the reviews are below and people are still finding it useful, although a couple point out that it's dated.

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
By Amazon Customer on January 28, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is meaningful and make my life so fruitful.

5.0 out of 5 stars Autocad Wonderful
By KMWLoaders LTD on January 27, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very useful and informative. A must have for a newbie or 
seasoned pro.

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
By Amazon Customer on October 31, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
By Gosia on October 17, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is ok

5.0 out of 5 stars Improve your autocad skills
By ROBERT HICKMANon May 8, 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written and easy to follow, with great tips.

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
By Ron G House on April 22, 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
By Harold Gibson on February 23, 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good additional AutoCAD Reference book.

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
By Wellington on October 6, 2014
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
good product

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
By Greg Battin on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
Needs to be updated for more current AutoCAD releases 
but still very helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Investment
By technicraft on October 6, 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have only been doing AutoCAD for a living during the last year and a half. 
I attended a beginner's four day seminar but as you know those topics are covered 
very quickly and only skim the surface. After previewing a several pages on the 
Amazon site, I knew that this book would be able to help me with the finer details 
and be able to offer short cuts that would be applicable to my job.

5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful!
By Crafts lover.on August 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great manual for shortcuts in a complicated software package. 
I have been using ACAD for years and in each revision it gets more and 
more complicated. This is a great book to carry you through most of the 
program tools.

5.0 out of 5 stars good book no matter what you know
By Chester on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
buy it its cheap and you might learn something. It will show you different ways 
to bypass some of autocad's faults.

3.0 out of 5 stars Check the review dates
By Bogatee on January 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after reading all the reviews, but unfortunately I didn't 
look at the dates these reviews were written. I started using AutoCad in 2000 and 
am now an Architectural CAD student at my local community college. We are currently 
using AutoCad 2012 and after reading some of this book, I realized that a lot of 
the content is a little outdated. Some commands in the 2007 version the author talks 
about have been completely removed, or better more efficient methods have been 
incorporated in the newer versions. It still has some good information but beware 
if you are using a newer version of AutoCad, as this book will fall short of the 
glowing 5 star reviews posted here.

5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Resource and tips
By CADtheWorld on January 17, 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a valuable tool for a detailer/drafter/designer that uses AutoCad on a 
regular basis as well as for novice users interested in learning more about the 
program's functions and shortcuts. I highly recommend this book!

5.0 out of 5 stars I can't get enough of this book
By S.Orman on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I believe I have been in the same boat as most others. Get any book that I could 
that would help me get better and work faster, and Dan Abbott has provided the book 
that has proved the most helpful. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
My initial need for this book was to learn Autolisp. It only took me 2 minutes to 
realize the rest of the book will help me more than most all other books before this. 
Thank you Dan

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend !
By Robert Keenan on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not finished with this book yet, but I've done figured out that it's worth the money. 
Some of the writer's ideas I think can be expanded upon, and I don't agree with all of 
his opinions, but reading this book will make you think, and give you some insight. It 
has taught me some things I didn't know and that's a good thing as it makes me more valuable, 
compared to the guy in the next cubicle.

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Book
By Zildjian on March 6, 2011
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a nice book, a quick reference for beginner like me.
The only negative that I have is that the book that they send me is somewhat a misprint/miscut, 
in short the pages are rotated in small angle. what is essential is the content, for some this 
maybe a big issue. I could not return it because I already put notes, highlights on it before 
I discovered.
Again, this is a nice book.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
By Shawn Arringdale on September 15, 2010
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was an excellent book, I have been using AutoCAD for around 10 years now and I found 
that reading this book opened my eyes to a few things I didnt know at all, and it reopened them 
to things I had forgotten about. If you are like me and havent looked at an AutoCAD book/manual 
in the past few years take a look at this one it will quite possibly amaze you with the simple 
things that you arent doing in AutoCAD but should be.

5.0 out of 5 stars Still my #1 reference book
By Jacob Baker on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for long time AutoCAD users who haven't found time to keep up on the newer 
features. I work in 2D but wanted to gain some 3D experience. The tutorial in chapter 10 was the 
first time I was able to work in 3D without wanting to throw my PC through a plate glass window. 
As a non-programmer the sections on scripts and lisp routines have allowed me to write simple 
programs that eliminate repetitive tasks. And chapter 3 has taught me the value of tool palettes, 
which I never used before but gets daily usage now. My only knock on this book is that it could 
have had a bit more on dynamic blocks. I've had this book a couple of years now, even with some n
ewer books on the shelf; I still end up reaching for this one.

5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST have if you use AutoCAD!
By James H on March 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book gets used weekly in my office by myself, and I have AutoCAD 2010. It's always that one 
setting you can't find, or a "Oh crap, what did I just do! How do I get that back?" that you can 
find in this book. It explains for users of ACAD 2007 and down on "what to do if," or "try to do this." 
Its easy to read, follow, and remember. There are a few times where I had to head to the blogs to see 
a trick or option it doesn't cover, but if it had everything, it would be a manual that came with 
the program. I just write the commands I couldn't find on the front page, and presto, its the ACAD bible again.

If you use Autocad of any version, this book is a must have in your library!
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on Target
By Jeff Holdsworth on November 7, 2009
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just recieved the book AutoCad SECRETES EVERY USER SHOULD KNOW.
I must say that I a am very impressed!!!
Finally many of my basic questions are being answered.
Just one example is his chapter introducing autolisp. I have recently read several other intros in other
books, but when I tried to put it to use I could never get it to work and now I know why. They left out some
basic details that must be understood which he covered in his book.
In just a short time I have gone from barley being able to load lisp files and get them to work to 
writting my own very useful lisp routines all as a result of reading his book.
There are way too many other examples of great information that makes using acad much easier than I can 
cover in this review.
His chapter on dim styles alone is worth the cost of the book. I have been using acad for quite a 
few years and could have saved myslef a lot of tedius hours of work had I read this book back when I 
started. Following his suggestions will help you avoid many of the "land mines" that I have hit over the 
years using acad. I think everyone who uses acad should have this book. The many new things that I now 
understand better makes me estatic.

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
By Pongo65 on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
This really is one of the best books written about Autocad and how to use it in a real work environment. 
It's aimed a bit more at the "power user", someone who is familiar with the basics and needs to get more 
out of it. I've had a hard time finding a book like this. When I read the chapters on basic lisp routines 
and batch scripting I was saying: "Yes! Finally a book which is not for dummies." But the way the chapters 
are set up it is also very easy for a beginner to pick and chose their way around learning Autocad. There 
are valuable lessons here for any level. Highly recommended, along with Autocad: Professional Tips and Techniques.

5.0 out of 5 stars You need this book!
By Tom Denney on August 23, 2008
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are at a point with Autocad where you know the keyboard commands and short-cuts and the new hurdles 
to tackle with improving your autocad skills ARE work-flow and efficiency. . . THIS BOOK IS A MUST FOR YOU! 
I try to make sure a learn a few new tricks from this book every week and it has already improved my skills. 
The last 1/3 of the book is LISP stuff and while I am not at that point yet, it looks extensive and concise 
at a skimming. If you are comfortable with editing your cui file and understand the difference between color 
and style dependent plotting this book is right up your alley.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best AutoCAD Book ever written!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Randy Thomas on June 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is by far the best AutoCAD book ever written. It is full of practical everyday shortcuts and general 
information that the average everyday user needs to know. Your productivity will increase by just reading the 
first chapter. This book is written is plain easy to understand english. A very easy read!!!! I loved it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff!!
By SD on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've been using AutoCAD for many years and have seen many books rehash the same old stuff.
This book addresses Autocad from a user standpoint, written by someone who not only completely understands 
AutoCAD but also knows how it's used in the real world.
A "must-have" for all AutoCAD users.

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Productivity Book in years
By John G Jordan on December 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the first CAD book that I have bought in years (using AutoCAD since release 2.5), this book is a 
must have for anyone using AutoCAD. This is not a command reference guide, it truly shows you how to use 
the software through best practices, customization, automation and programming. It is a comprehensive book f
illed with tips, tricks, pitfalls, and examples. Mr. Abbott has brought together enough productivity tips for 
the user that the book will pay for itself through increased productivity.

5.0 out of 5 stars Old school tips for all users!
By Volker_C on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've been a user of AutoCAD since release 10 (1991), at one time I used to purchase 2 to 4 reference books 
per AutoCAD release. I have not purchased a book on AutoCAD since AutoCAD 2000. Until now. Mr. Abbott's book 
is by far the best AutoCAD Productivity book on the market! If you have had formal or informal training for 
AutoCAD, or are a seasoned user of AutoCAD, get this book! Although Mr. Abbott packs this book full of 
real-world tips and tricks and enough examples to give one a good jump-start with customizing AutoCAD, m
y enthusiasm for this book is based on the fact that Mr. Abbott explains how and why AutoCAD works without 
being geeky. "AutoCAD: Secrets Every User Should Know", is a well written reference and tutorial book which 
will not become obsolete with the next release of AutoCAD.

5.0 out of 5 stars DOS and a BatchFile
By Jose De Jesus on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
AutoCAD Secrets every User should know is a fantastic Book.It helps me in my CAD Life.My favorite Chapters are 
Why Dos isnt dead yet and Chapter 7 AutoCAD Scripts.The Book has improved my productivity, and has enlarged my 
time off,making my Job easier.AutoCAD Secrets is written in a nice and understandable way.I hope that 
Dan Abbott writes another Book soon.

Thank You

Jose De Jesus

5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Autocad for Dummies!
ByPhyllis Gillespie on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
The index is a great resource for those in the world who were thrown into CAD with no formal training, like 
myself. To have this reference handy next to our company CAD station has been a budget saver, eliminating the 
fumbling and guessing that historically took place for our projects. Not only that, but the primary proofreader 
of the book, Paul, is a fantastic resource for nit-picky questions that I inevitably run across in my projects.

Thanks Dan.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great AutoCAD Resource
ByAmazon Custome ron July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a great source of tips and guidelines for any AutoCAD user, beginner or experienced. Dan's 
thorough explanation of the tabs and settings in the Options menu along with the recommendations for settings 
is worth the price of the book. The chapters on scripts and LISP will help anyone new to customization to start 
getting a grasp of how to use these tools to get AutoCAD to do be a more productive tool in their particular 
work environment.

5.0 out of 5 stars Any AutoCAD user needs this.
By Midwest Book Review on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of general AutoCAD programmer's guides on the market and most offer a solid set of the basics 
plus some customization tips and techniques - but few offer up the depth of AUTOCAD SECRETS EVERY USER SHOULD 
KNOW, which focuses on tricks of the trade even many veterans don't know. Here are tips on applying graphics 
standards, leveraging 3D, changing thousands of drawings using scripts and batch files, and much more. Chapters 
even cover DOS functions. And to test all this newfound knowledge, a concluding chapter AutoCAD Puzzlers offers 
real-world challenges to test new user skills. Any AutoCAD user needs this.

5.0 out of 5 starsFINALLY I get Paper Space!!
By MW on January 12, 2007
This is a great guide for everyday users. The chapter on Paper Space and Model Space alone is worth the price 
(very reasonable) of this book. The author has a friendly style, excellent examples, and great puzzlers at the 
end of the book. Most AutoCAD books are either "tips" books or "how to" books. This one is for people who already 
know and use the software. I attended one of Dan's presentations at AutoDesk University, and the book is just as 
great as his workshops. Thanks Dan!!!

January, 2007

AutoCAD: Secrets Every User Should Know can be ordered at any physical or online bookstore. Here's the description from the publisher:

Product Details

ISBN: 0470109939
ISBN-13: 9780470109939

Format: Paperback, 458pp

Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated



Book Description

Perfect for those with some AutoCAD experience, this book was crafted to be practical, pragmatic, and empowering. It takes a real-world approach to functions and features, explaining not only how a cool technique works, but also why and when the technique should be employed. Written by an award-winning AutoCAD expert with strong opinions on best practices, the book takes technical graphic standards seriously and explains why you should, too. It is packed with time-saving tips and techniques, and it features detailed information very much in use today but ignored in other books, including DOS functions, scripts, and LISP programming. There are chapters on the user interface, productivity, customization, applying graphics standards, using blocks and Xrefs, plotting, using 3D, scripts, AutoLISP, and techniques tailored to different disciplines. The final chapter, AutoCAD Puzzlers, presents interesting and difficult issues from Danís consulting experiences and challenges readers to see if they can solve the real-world problems. The book will be supported with instructor materials, including a syllabus, PowerPoint slides for each chapter, and test questions.


And here's the Introduction

A program as ubiquitous as AutoCAD shouldnít have any secrets.  But if you donít know something, itís a secret to you. I hope that AutoCAD: Secrets Every User Should Know will take some of the mystery out of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, and also remind you of some traditional knowledge that I fear is being slowly eroded.

Who Is This Book For?

I wrote this book for two groups: experienced users with some gaps in their knowledge, and recent users who want to maximize their understanding of this complicated and multi-faceted tool. The more familiar you are with AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT, the more this book will help you avoid common problems and produce work that is consistent, reliable, and accurate.

For most of you, AutoCAD is just one of the many tools you use, and you donít have time to become an expert at it. You donít have to. This book includes useful tips, detailed instructions, general guidance, a few tutorials, solutions to problems of all kinds -- and yes, even some secrets -- that can be applied to AutoCAD in any application.  In my professional life, Iíve worked with a wide range of AutoCAD users in a remarkable array of disciplines. Iíve done AutoCAD training for companies, presented workshops for vendors, offered expertise in corporate disputes, and taught college courses in AutoCAD for nearly 20 years. This book is a result of that experience, and I hope you will use it to expand your knowledge and improve your efficiency.

AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT?

Despite the ďAutoCADĒ of the title, most of the advice in this book can apply to AutoCAD LT.  And who knows, after you look over the AutoCAD-only chapters, you may find enough ammunition to get at least one seat of AutoCAD installed at your workplace.

What Release of AutoCAD is covered?

This book is not release-specific, although AutoCAD 2007 is used throughout for the graphics. Many offices donít upgrade immediately to new releases, and I understand why. Most of the material in this book applies to any release of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. Where it doesnít, I make that clear. The most obvious distinction occurs in Chapter 3: ďCustomizing AutoCADís Interface,Ē because of the introduction of the Customizable User Interface in AutoCAD 2006.

Whatís Included?

Much of the material in this book was developed for the Advanced AutoCAD class at Southern Maine Community College, and then used in presentations at Autodesk University over the past decade. The topics derive from the kinds of questions Iíve been asked over the years by people who use AutoCAD every day.

This book is not meant to be a comprehensive book about AutoCAD. What Iíve tried to do is identify common problem areas and provide some advice on how to approach them. Iím also trying to preserve some traditional knowledge that is often overlooked by users: knowledge as simple as making proper centerlines, as arcane as using DOS to improve efficiency, as exciting as programming, and as dramatic as 3D modeling.

Chapter 1: AutoCAD Productivity

In this chapter youíll find general rules for using AutoCAD that I believe should be universal. The chapter includes a review of often-overlooked AutoCAD features, many with options or applications that you may have missed. A separate appendix reviews the features I consider most significant in each release since AutoCAD 2000.

Chapter 2: Managing Your System

Most AutoCAD users are computer savvy, but if youíre not, this chapterís for you. In addition to information about how to make your computer work well with AutoCAD, youíll get some advice on the AutoCAD search path, see the settings in Options that I consider the most significant, and find out how to actually use SV$ files.

Chapter 3: Customizing AutoCADís Interface

You can make a lot of simple changes to your interface that will improve your efficiency with AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. Hereís where youíll learn about the CUI, quick keys, creating macros, and so on.

Chapter 4: Applying AutoCAD Standards

AutoCAD is used distressingly often to produce documentation that doesnít meet the most fundamental requirements of technical graphics. This chapter is a primer on how to make AutoCAD do the right thing, with a review of the kinds of standards that drafters used to know and that AutoCAD users still should.

Chapter 5: Using Blocks and XRefs

This is an area that bedevils a lot of users, and the new dynamic blocks can be a little intimidating. Youíll find a tutorial on creating a dynamic block and information about managing external references.

Chapter 6: Plotting

Being able to control the output from an AutoCAD drawing can set you apart from the crowd. If you have any confusion about plotting, layouts, or Paper Space, this expansion of the ďLost in Paper SpaceĒ workshop Iíve been doing for years at Autodesk University should help you out.

Chapter 7: AutoCAD Scripts

This often overlooked tool is the basis for the biggest productivity tip in this book: the ability to modify thousands of drawing automatically. The lowly script has some other great applications as well. Donít skip this one ó it could save you a bundle and make you the office hero.

Chapter 8: AutoLISP by Example ó Getting Started

AutoLISP is the programming language for users. Jump in. This chapter will have you programming in minutes.

Chapter 9: AutoLISP by Example ó Getting Better

I left a few things out of Chapter 8, but Iím betting that once you see how logical, fun, and easy it is to create programs in AutoLISP, youíll want to get better. This chapter doesnít cover everything, but itíll keep you going for a while.

Chapter 10: 3D for Everyone

I know I canít turn you into a 3D expert in one chapter, but I want you to at least see what youíre missing. Any AutoCAD user will be able to create models after going through this tutorial. And there are two suggestions for using legacy data -- one architectural, one mechanical -- that may surprise you.

Chapter 11: AutoCAD Puzzlers

I loved writing this chapter. Thirty-six questions from puzzled AutoCAD users. If youíre even a little bit of an AutoCAD geek, youíll have some fun trying to figure them out. Donít peek, but solutions are at the end.

The Rest

What we couldnít fit into the book will go on the bookís website, along with all the scripts, DOS files, and AutoLISP code used in this book. In addition, thereíll be a comparison by release, a reference for DOS commands, a listing of all the AutoCAD file extensions, a useful script for restoring the default settings for AutoCAD variables, and some other things I think youíll find useful. If you have any other puzzlers, differences of opinion, suggestions, or comments you can reach me through that site.



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