AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 3 – Status Bar Right

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 3 – Status Bar Right

Having covered the left side of the status bar, let’s move onto the other side. Some of it is familiar, but much of it is new or modified. Let’s have a look:

This animation shows the following:

  1. The first icon switches to the model space layout.
  2. The next icon switches to a paper space layout, but which one? The one you were in most recently.
  3. The third icon gives access to the new Quick View Layout feature. Shaan Hurley has covered this quite extensively, so there is not much point in me going over the same ground. However, I will add that in AutoCAD 2009 Release Candidate at least, it’s not particularly accurately named. Yes, you can View Layouts. No, it’s not Quick. If you’re happy using these first three buttons, you can turn off the layout tabs and save some screen space.
  4. The Quick View Drawings feature is similar to the Quick View Layout feature, except it applies to currently open drawings rather than layouts. No, this one isn’t Quick either.
  5. Pan. I’m not sure why this is here, as I can pan perfectly adequately with my middle mouse button. Maybe having it down here means it doesn’t always have to be available in the Ribbon?
  6. Zoom. See Pan.
  7. The Steering Wheel is a new view controlling mechanism that Lynn Allen has covered nicely here. According to Lynn, Autodesk is going to be using this interface in its other products soon. Hopefully, it will actually have some useful purpose in those other products, because I don’t see much point to it in AutoCAD. File under, “We did this because we can”.
  8. ShowMotion is a new feature that allows you to use AutoCAD to create animations. This feature is potentially useful to users who need to visually impress clients, and deserves a much more detailed overview than I can give it here.
  9. The Annotation Scale control isn’t new, but the menu that lives underneath it shows two welcome changes. First, there is a toggle (on by default) that hides all those silly _XREF scales that have been driving AutoCAD 2008 users crazy. Note that it doesn’t kill the scales, it just suppreses the display of them. That is, it’s hiding the problem rather than solving it, but this is much better than nothing. Second, in a new metric drawing (that is, one in which the system variable MEASUREMENT is set to 1), there are no imperial scales. However, this doesn’t do anything for your AutoCAD 2008 drawings, which will remain infected by imperial scales until you explicitly remove them.
  10. The Annotation Visibility button isn’t new.
  11. Neither is the Annotation AutoScale button.
  12. The Workspace Switching button is, though. This is a very welcome change. Previously, workspaces were controlled using a toolbar. If you switched to a workspace that had this toolbar turned off, this made things rather difficult. Also, different workspaces (including those created by Autodesk) tended to have the workspace controls in different places, leading to general confusion. This little button does away with all those problems. Nice one.
  13. The Interface Lock button does what it has done for the past few releases.
  14. The penultimate button, the little down arrow thing, provides access to turn all the status bar buttons on and off as required. As before, it controls the left and right sides of the status bar, but the left side is now down one menu level. I would prefer it if it wasn’t. There’s a Drawing Status Bar available, as before. I can’t see many people opting to use it.
  15. Finally, the Clean Screen button works as before, removing user interface elements to enlarge your drawing area. You will be pleased to know that it turns off the Ribbon, in addition to what it turned off in earlier releases.

Overall, there are some real positives on the right side of the status bar. There are some features that don’t do much for me, such as the Steering Wheel, but in most cases I can just ignore or even turn off those things. That leaves me to enjoy the ones I do like, such as the Workspace Switching button.


  1. Chris Benson

    The hidexrefscales is automatically reset to 1 every time I re-start CAD 2009. I understand this is because it is not a registry command.
    Contrary to your view, I prefer to have this command set to 0, especially as I’m trying to instill discipline into co-workers whereby they don’t ‘infect’ their drawings with rogue annoscales from outside or pre-2008 dwg sources. To achieve this, they need to know (at the click of button) if rogue scales have crept in to their drawings.
    So question: how to set hidexrefscales so that it remains on 0 or 1 each time I re-start CAD2009?

  2. If you have an acaddoc.lsp file in your search path, and that file contains an S::STARTUP function, add the line (setvar “HIDEXREFSCALES” 0) to that function. If you don’t, create one that looks like this:

    (defun S::STARTUP ()
    (setvar "HIDEXREFSCALES" 0)

    Note that this sort of unconditional definition of S::STARTUP is not ideal best practice. In theory it can overwrite in memory any existing S::STARTUP that may have been loaded earlier during the startup process. But it’s simpler to describe this way and has an excellent chance of working perfectly, so give it a go and see if it works for you.

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