In AutoCAD and AutoCAD Electrical, palettes are being used more and more. A palette is a type of user interface that can stay open even while you are using other commands. The Properties palette is an example of a palette in AutoCAD.
The Project Manager and Catalog Browser are examples of palettes in AutoCAD Electrical.
But, as more palettes are open it can feel like you have less and less drawing area. So I thought it might be nice to look at a few tips and tricks related to working with palettes.
To Dock or Not to Dock
You can dock a palette along the edge of the drawing area. You can stack them or put them side by side. To dock a palette, drag it to the side you want to dock it on. Here I have the Project Manager and Properties palettes stacked on the left and my Catalog Browser along the bottom. Depending on the data and format of the palette some need more horizontal room while others more vertical room.
Palettes can be free-floating, meaning you can drag them to any location that is more convenient (or less annoying). Drag a palette by the title bar to place it in any location, including on top of another palette.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
One way to minimize the space the palette takes up is to set it to Auto-hide. The Auto-Hide button is in the title bar. If the palette is docked you need to mouse over the title bar to see the button.
Once a palette is set to auto-hide, all that is visible is the title bar. When you mouse over the title bar, the palette expands. Here I have three palettes docked on the left and all set to auto-hide. And when I mouse over one of them, it expands using the entire vertical space. This is my favorite setup for multiple palettes.
Besides auto-hide, another palette setting you might want to try is transparency.
You can still see the geometry behind the palette which in some cases may be helpful. For example, when working with layer properties you may want to see the effect of your selections.
So take a few minutes to find a setup for the palettes you use the most. It can make a big difference.
By Pat Murnen