Sometimes there are changes that get over shadowed by new drafting features or the introduction of CUI. Its help's turn to get a tittle bit of the spot light.
So what do you do when you need help with something in AutoCAD? I'm sure the response isn't to jump out of the chair and start panicking, although this might be a good tactic to get a couple days off of work though. Most likely you would turn to a fellow colleague in the office or jump on a forums site. However, have you ever tried to use the AutoCAD online help system. If you haven't in the past, be sure to take a look at the one that comes with AutoCAD 2007. There are many exciting new things that are happen in the online help system. Some of these exciting things are:
- Animations (there are 23 Flash animations in help) - When you first open help using F1 or selecting Help >> Help you can click the Show Me Animations link in the right pane under the General Information section.
- Images - Past releases used images, but not a lot of them. This release seems to show that Autodesk is starting to beef up its help system using images to help convey ideas and concepts with images and text.
- New Features Workshop - The New Features Workshop has been in AutoCAD for a few releases now and keeps on getting better. Not only is it a great feature for individuals that upgrade every release, but it allows you to choose which version you are upgrading from to learn about what has been added to the product since then.
- F1 - While we all know that F1 launches help for AutoCAD, did you know you could start a command then press F1 to get help on that specific command or even variable for that matter.
- Click Help - The Help button in dialog boxes can lead you directly to information about that dialog box.
- What's this Help - No I am not referring to a description on the help file its self, but rather of the button with a '?' (question mark) on it in the upper-right corner of dialog boxes. You can get help on most text boxes or options in the dialog box by clicking the What's this Help (WTH) button and clicking over a control. An information bubble appears with a show or even long description in some cases of what it is used for.
- Learn about links - Just a few releases ago, Autodesk started adding little links in some of the main areas of AutoCAD that might need a little bit of explaination. These links start with the words Learn About. For example, if you launch the TABLES command there is a Learn About Tables link in the upper-right corner of the Insert Table dialog box. Clicking the link activates the New Features Workshop.
- Concepts, Procedures and Commands - At times, even I have been guilty of it, we are in a hurry to find help when we needed it and over look some things. AutoCAD's help system is divided by 3 main key areas of content. Concepts that explain how some thing is done, Procedures that get done into step by step explanations of how to do some thing and Commands which are related to a Concept and/or Procedure and might provide additional information in regards to what was covered in the Concept and Procedure content.
Forums, web sites and blogs are great, but the help in AutoCAD is one of the best help systems that comes with software due to how complete and thorough it is.