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Five of mycolleagues at Southern Maine Community College played a vital role in making this book a reality. I can’t possibly thank adjunct professor and applications developer Paul Richardson enough for his detailed technical advice, which improved every aspect of this book. I’m also very grateful to professor Meridith Comeau for her 3D expertise, her contributions to the curriculum materials, and her unflaggingly buoyant spirit.




Adjunct professor and applications developer Scott Danis was generous with his AutoLISP insights. Professor Ed Fitzgerald filled many gaps in my knowledge of architectural design and technical graphics, and IT maestro Mike Cyr willingly discussed the arcane applications of DOS batch files whenever I asked. This is a remarkably talented group of colleagues. This book also benefited greatly from Monica Wood’s willingness to put her




own writing on hold whenever I needed writing advice, which was shockingly often. I couldn’t have finished (or started) without her support. I was also fortunate to have a wonderful team at Sybex. Willem Knibbe’s enthusiasm was a surprise and a delight to me. Heather O’Connor, Jon McFarland, and Martine Dardignac kept the project moving relentlessly along, meeting a series of deadlines that seemed daunting to me at the beginning.




I am especially grateful to Tiffany Taylor, whose astonishing skill raises copy editing to a fine art. And a special thanks to the Maine Community College system and Southern Maine Community College for granting me a semester sabbatical to work on this book.
INTRODUCTION:




A programas ubiquitous as AutoCAD shouldn’t have any secrets. But if you don’t know something, it’s 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. This book includes useful tips, detailed instructions, general guidance, a few tutorials, many solutions to problems of all kinds—and yes, even some secrets—that can be applied to AutoCAD in any application.
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 multifaceted 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 don’t have time to become an expert at it. You don’t have to. In my professional life, I’ve worked with a wide range of AutoCAD users in a remarkable array of disciplines. I’ve 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’ll use it to expand your knowledge and improve your efficiency. 




What Release of AutoCAD Is Covered? 
This book isn’t release-specific, although AutoCAD 2007 is used throughout for the graphics. Many offices don’t upgrade immediately to new releases, and I understand why. Upgrades cost money and take time, and the law of unintended consequences often kicks in at exactly the wrong time. Most of the material in this book applies to any release of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. Where it doesn’t, I make that clear. The most obvious distinction occurs in Chapter 3, “Customizing AutoCAD’s Interface,” because of the introduction of the Customizable User Interface in AutoCAD 2006.

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