Letter from the President - March 2017

As you read this, spring is beginning to arrive for us in the northern hemisphere. The changing seasons can be an excuse for some “spring cleaning”—dusting of some old skills, organizing a closet or two, and maybe even conducting the equivalent of an archaeological dig to uncover the surface of your desk again.

One of the side benefits of spring cleaning is that you rediscover items you didn’t even know you still had. (“So that’s where that went…”) Sometimes those items should head for the recycle bin, but sometimes you’re really glad to find them again, either because you can use them or because you know someone else who can.

For me, tips and tricks can be a lot like those surprise finds from spring cleaning. Maybe you knew them once upon a time, but you haven’t needed them for a while and forgot about them. And now that you’ve found them again, you know exactly how to put them to use.

Autodesk software products have some amazingly powerful—and complicated—features. There’s a reason that there have been entire AU sessions dedicated to AutoCAD® Tool Palettes for the last 12 years. But tips and tricks are some of my favorite things to collect and share with people. (As I keep writing these letters to you, please don’t count how many things I call my “favorites.” What can I say? When you’re enthusiastic about a topic, you have a lot of favorites.)

I think one of the reasons I like tips and tricks so much is that they’re often focused around usability. Many of them fall into what I call the “small but significant” category: little things that don’t take long to understand or master, but can have a big effect on the way you interact with your software.

Keyboard shortcuts are a great example of this. They’re available in all the flagship Autodesk products, and many of them can be customized to ft your preferences and workflow. Are you one of the people (like me) who immediately changes a new AutoCAD installation to use “C” for “COPY” instead of “CIRCLE”? If you are, check with your neighbor to see if she is, too. Compare notes on your favorite shortcuts. Who knows, you might discover some new ones to adopt for yourself!

(True story: I knew someone who refused to learn keyboard shortcuts. He wouldn’t type “L”, but instead always used “LINE.” It was weird to watch, but I guess it worked for him!) 

That kind of sharing is when the true power of a tip or trick comes into play. You never know what the person sitting next to you hasn’t heard before. It’s like the old TV tagline: “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!” A tip that is old hat to you might be the best thing your cubicle mate has heard all day.

I will close this month with some news from the Board of Directors. In January, Phil Russo stepped down as a director, and Robert Green and Chris Linder were elected as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. We wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors, and welcome Robert and Chris to their new roles.

Got a tip to share? Tweet it to us! We’re @AUGI, of course.

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