Frequent tipster Danny Korem explains how to create geometry in AutoCAD without creating construction lines.
"In software benchmarks and in comparison analysis, the number of mouse clicks is often considered as part of the productivity criteria. That's why I instruct AutoCAD users to take advantage of AutoCAD's ability to track points.
"The following function buttons should be turned on:
Polar Tracking (F10)
Object Snap (F3)
Object Snap Tracking (F11)
"You can use polar tracking along with object snap tracking to find a point without snapping to an object at that point. For example, start the Line command and pick your fist point. Draw your second point using object snap tracking (make sure it is turned on). Without clicking, drag your mouse over an object, then extend it out past its end. A dashed line appears, 'extending' the object by tracking where it would go if it were extended out that far. This gives you a tracking line. You can repeat this drill and locate a junction to use as a first point of line, polyline, or repeat to gain the next point, etc.
"The next method is using the right-click menus (press Shift + right click) and opting for the From option. Then repeat this and opt for the Where From option (perpendicular, for instance), then set the opposite distance. This access to osnaps and other selection tools is usable while creating and editing geometry."
Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer Brian Benton: The key to efficiency in AutoCAD is to do less work. If you need to draw an object where two lines would intersect, even though they don’t, you can draw two construction lines to that intersection point, draw your new object, then go back and delete those construction lines. That takes a lot of extra work.
You can avoid that work by using snap tracking tools in AutoCAD called Polar Tracking and Object Snap Tracking. Polar Tracking "snaps" your cursor to specific angles. Object Snap Tracking creates a snap point where an object isn't, but would be if it were extended. It can also track to assumed midpoints and intersections. Start your command (such as drawing a line), turn on Object Snap Tracking, move your cursor to the midpoint of a line, then slowly drag the cursor away. An extension line is created, snapping you to a location on the imagined line.
You can do the same thing at the end of a line; drag the cursor from the line's endpoint outward away from the line as if you were tracing where the line would be had it not ended. An extension line is created, snapping you to a point on that line.