A simple solution I found is simply click in autoCAD without running a command.
For me, it only happens when I use ALT+TAB to go to and from the AutoCAD window from a different window. If I click in the drawing with my mouse the problem goes away. The click has to be while no command is running.
It seems to me that when I tab back to autoCAD using ALT+TAB, windows doesn't fully put me back into the program. Everything else works fine and I can draw all day but as soon as I use a dash (even in mtext) the minimize/maximize menu will open.
I hope this helps...
Here's another possible workaround, cobbled together from the bits of info I gleaned out of this thread, and my own experimentation.
Download & install the free AutoHotkey utility from the .com website of the same name.
Open Windows notepad and create the following text file: I've attached a copy for your convenience as a .txt file (you'll need to rename as described below), but just in case it doesn't post intact, here's what it should contain:
#IfWinActive, AutoCAD 2011
Save the text file, giving it the filename of altdash.ahk. Be sure it has the .ahk file extension, not .txt. Rename the file as needed.
In the Windows file explorer, right click on altdash.ahk and select run script. This should be an option if you have installed AutoHotkey.
Now every time you hit a dash in AutoCAD, it'll be as if you typed the following keys <ALT> <ALT> <-> as individual keys. Entering Alt two times forces AutoCAD to flip the menus shortcut keys (the underlined characters that show up in a menu when you press alt once) on and off before issuing the desired dash/minus sign. You may notice the menu bar letters quickly flash on and off each time you enter a dash at the command line.
If you find this works for you, I suggest right clicking on your altdash.ahk file in Windows file explorer and selecting compile. Then place the resulting altdash.exe file in your Windows startup folder to get it to run every time you start up your computer. For example, in Win7, this folder is likely:
I've not seen the need for this script in R2012 as yet, but it's helpful in R2011 SP3.
I'm not a big fan of hot key scripting like this, but I don't really see a good way around it here. Turning off the menubar is not really a viable option for some of us. At least the script is relatively harmless. No extra cancels or escapes needed in this workaround, just the alt shortcut menu key cycling. You can always halt the script via the Windows Task Manager. The script name will show up there under the Processes tab as a process you can end if you like.
To test, simply switch from AutoCAD to another program and back. That switch needn't be via <Alt>+ <Tab> either; it might be just be picking off another program off the Windows taskbar. At the command line, enter a dash command like: -LAYER, or start a LINE command that begins with a negative coordinates you enter at the command line. Without the script in effect, the dash will pretty consistently trigger a menu popup. With the script in effect, the menu popup should get suppressed and the dash processed at the command line as expected.
Thanks qupola for the work around/fix. But I think you've actually stumbled onto an easier work around. If I understand your post correctly it simply makes the computer think you pressed ALT twice. After reading that I went into cad and tested pressing ALT again when the windows control box appears. Bingo! The box went away and I could conitnue typing my string using the dash key without interuption.
Once again, learn somthing new everyday.
That's right, Mike. ALT pressed twice was what I found was all that was needed to dismiss the unwanted popup menu, and continue with whatever I had been typing.
The hotkey solution simply automates the process. It dismisses the popup in the background before it has a chance to interrupt one's natural typing flow.
I would say that these workarounds would work except for the fact that it does it to me while I'm in a command. I go to rotate a line - degrees and it pops open the menu. On top of that i really dont use the alt tab becuse i have double screens and typically dont have much if anything other than cad open. I will say that its annoying though....
Try the automated solution I posted earlier. My user base and I have found it does the trick whether you've entered the dash in the middle of a command or not, although your mileage may vary.
The whole problem seems to revolve around what part of the screen Autocad thinks is still in focus when it sees a dash entered. Switching to another window, and coming back to Autocad window can trigger the behavior when you have a menubar displayed. Not sure, but a two screen setup may aggravate matters.
Actually i just took what you said before and completely simplified it. After some testing all you have to do is remember to hit the Alt key 2 times when switching. Yeah its annoying but you dont have to download or run anything.
Glad you did more testing than me on that
If you can remember to enter that key sequence each time, great! Bear in mind that you would have no need to develop that new habit if you automated the task as previously described.
This may help some of you that are still struggling with this. Automation as I described earlier really boils down to this:
1) Determine whether you're on a 32 or 64 bit Windows platform. If you're not sure, in step 2, go with the 32 bit version.
2) Download and unzip the appropriate attached file, which contains the result of my earlier instructions on how to make such a file yourself.
3) Launch this .exe file prior to running Autocad 2011. It's a tiny standalone program that runs in the background monitoring dash key entry when Autocad 2011 is active. If you place a copy in your Windows startup folder, it'll launch automatically each time you log into Windows.
4) Enjoy! Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your particular Autocad setup and configuration, not to mention how well you follow these instructions.
I'd like to add that AutoHotKey is a sweet little free, open source, windows based utility. Extremely powerful! Even Autodesk reps have endorsed it here in the forums in the past.