Frequent tipster Danny Korem urges AutoCAD users to take a look at these system variables that control data indexing, associative hatching, and associative dimensions.
This will Index both layer and spatial information for quicker access to xrefs and blocks. I usually explain it this way: Suppose search engines on the Internet worked like the Search function in Microsoft Word, which looks for specific words within a document. Google usually finds web pages containing keywords in much less than a second, while searching without indexing can take minutes — or more.
Located in the AutoCAD Options dialog box > Selection, this setting will keep the link between hatched geometry and hatch so if the geometry is modified, the hatch will automatically follow.
Make New Dimensions Associative
In the AutoCAD Options dialog box > User Preferences, this setting will create a link between geometry and dimensions and give you the option of converting them later into parametric dimensions.
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: These three system variables in AutoCAD can be very useful. IndexCtl controls the data indexing in AutoCAD. it essentially creates a database of the objects in your file, and it lists the data, making it easier to search for what you need. It can speed things up when you execute a search.
Associative hatching is a good idea too. It links the hatch object to the geometry that created it. If the geometry is altered, the hatch pattern will update its area to match the linework. It saves you from having to manually update the hatch object.
Associative dimensioning is a must. If you are creating exploded dimensions, you are making things more difficult for yourself. Associative dimensions are much easier to control — they are extremely easy to edit and update, either through values or their visual display features.