The complete lack of response from Autodesk, speaks volumes.
The only thing worse than the "Help" system is trying to find help in discussion groups. The endless cycle of having to again and again specify which version and vertical you are seeking answers for is maddening. And after I have for the umpteenth time, selected atuocad, 2013, architecture; I still get results for 2010 Revit in my search!?! The knowledge base is really just a regurgitation of the "Help" circle of doom.
So when or will, Autodesk put some life in its documentation? If your developers are incapable of writing documentation(more likely hamstrung by budget and bureaucracy), why not let your user's do it? Open the help to wiki input and let the vast collective of user's experience do the dirty work. Or you could wait for market share to slip away.
Since this thread was started as “Help is TERRIBLE”, I thought I should write my complaint here. I often cannot find the help I need by doing a search. Today, I was looking for the symbol that is used to show elevation. When I put in “elevation symbol” it came up with a lot of information (Header Section Group DFX Codes and the second was a glossary of terms, then ArrayPolar (go figure that one)…) but not the quick answer I was looking for. I then went to my favorite cad site and put "elevation symbol" in their search field and the first answer was CTRL 3 which brought up the ToolPalettes and then my quick answer on finding the symbol I needed. This type of thing happens all the time with Autodesk help.
Agree that the Help previous to 2013 release was not broken and it was far more intuitive to navigate.
Also don't like the absence of hyperlinks, try attaching a link to a post directing to a specific topic within the 2013 help without having to add search text or the likes along with the generic 2013 link posted.
In following link I had the "Array" command on right side of page, but link sends you back Here
A lot of same content seems to be available but way too much time spent finding it IMHO.
There's even an Autodesk 2013 help how to Youtube video Here
Today, I was looking for the symbol that is used to show elevation. When I put in “elevation symbol” it came up with a lot of information (Header Section Group DFX Codes and the second was a glossary of terms, then ArrayPolar (go figure that one)…) but not the quick answer I was looking for.
AutoCAD doesn't have a built-in object called an "elevation symbol" -- why would that term be in the help file? I wouldn't expect it to have "steel beam" in there either, or "kitchen cabinet", or even "section cut". Those are industry-specific terms completely outside the scope of the documentation for a generic drafting/modeling program like AutoCAD.
(I know the Help file has problems, but I think in this specific instance it deserves a bit of a defense.)
I respectfully disagree with your answer. There is an elevation symbol found through the ToolPalettes command. It is “Elevation Symbol” found under the Structural Tab of ToolPalettes. That is part of AutoCAD. The help software should be able to direct me to that when I search for “Elevation Symbol”. Something along the lines of… The elevation symbol and many other symbols commonly used in civil, mech… drawings can be accessed through the ToolPalettes. CRTL 3 will bring up the ToolPalettes….
Certainly many other AutoCAD forum sites were able to do that. You use “steel beam” as an example too. Well, the Toolpalettes has a symbol for a steel I-beam, that the help feature should also be able to direct one too. You also mention kitchen cabinet; they do not have that in the ToolPalettes, but they do have a generic symbol for a toilet and a tree,etc. Since toilet and trees are part of AutoCAD toolpalettes they should come up in a search. I am taking this as a class and I shouldn’t have to spend so much time looking for answers that should be found in a quick manner. I had forgotten about tool palettes because it has been several years since I took a class. A quick simple search, like I did, should have brought toolpalettes to the forefront of my memory and then I would have been on my way. AutoCAD help did not do that, but off site did! I do understand that in industry there are going to be many standards, blocks etc., but in the case of basic symbols (that are part of the program) they should be able to direct you to that from a simple search.
For a program to be useable, one should be able to navigate the basics of the program with minimal specialized knowledge. Basic tags and symbols that are part of the package, should be indexed within the help system, especially when tags and symbols use features such as property data sets and object properties to function. HELP should not explain to me what an elevation symbol is or what the industry standard is for using it, but most certainly I need to be able to find how it is accessed, how it functions, and how to alter it. This cannot be done if those features are not indexed in help. We are not born knowing how to open tool palettes and access libraries in Autocad. Not to mention that often it is far from intuitive.
AS is typical for HELP; when I want to know more about a feature I type the name of the feature, in this case symbols, and the search results give me a dozen headings about how to manipulate, create, place, import, export, etc. There is a brief mention in the first topic "To Create A Graphic Symbol" returns this gem:
"Elevation labels usually consist of a graphic symbol and attributes that define elevation height and other information.
You can create a graphic symbol with any of the drawing commands in AutoCAD, or you can import a symbol from another drawing or from a symbol library."
Ok, so where does one get a symbol library? Should HELP not mention that there are libraries built in to cad? Should there not be a link to both the library and the HELP text regarding libraries?
Ok, assume not. So type in "symbol library". The first search result you get is..."To Create A Graphic Symbol" and there you are in a fatal loop.
Simply put Kate, your argument that HELP doesn't have built in objects for symbols not only does not hold water, but completely glosses over the fact that the HELP system fails to illuminate the very topic at hand.
Respectfully in disagreement,
"For a program to be useable, one should be able to navigate the basics of the program with minimal specialized knowledge."
Wow!! That is all I can say. I am overwhelmed with the attitude this statement presents! To believe there are those currently using AutoCAD whom feel that they don't need specialized training to become proficient or even utilitarian using a program like AutoCAD is absurd! This isn't Windows Media Player or Google Sketchup!!! Would you tell a Radiation Therapist, Dental Hygenist, Nuclear Technician, Commercial Pilot, Electronics Technician, or a Corporate Paralegal that they don't need specialized knowledge to perform their professional duties in a "useable" fashion? Those are all Two-Year Degree professions. THE SAME AS A CAD TECHNICIAN!!!!
I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to open up AutoCAD and not draw a line or two and maybe a circle. But to fully understand the features AutoCAD provides, simply by using the program, is like asking your Dental Hygenist to clean your teeth without any specialized training. Sure he/she could do it but you may be missing a lot of enamel from your teeth after she's done, three hours after sitting in the chair.
Now I see why there are so many simple questions asked on these forums!!
Sorry to be so blunt but... No I'm not sorry! They are mostly elementary questions. Very few times do the "real" CAD users post legitimate questions of a complex nature.
Even with an Associates Degree and 12 years experience, I don't know all the features! I know most of the features specific to my area of expertise, and most generic System Variables and Commands. But don't ask me about Architectural drafting or what specific features AutoCAD provides for this type of drafting. I couldn't tell you. The ones I know about are the ones I "accidently" fell upon. HELP isn't going to provide much more than basic "Command" and "System Variable" descriptions and list of variables, if any. That is why Specialized Training in your chosen field is so important.
"I am taking this as a class and I shouldn’t have to spend so much time looking for answers that should be found in a quick manner."
All I can say about this comment is you need to become more self-sufficient and sharpen your researching skills. Nobody takes a class with all the answers necessary to perform at the "RUN" stage of that field of study. If they do, then they would be teaching, not learning. A student is typically in the "CRAWL" stage if no prior training has be accomplished. That comment displays a very poor attitude of defeatism. I hire people who can find the not so obvious answers in a "quick manner". I don't expect to have to teach them how to do that while I'm paying them too! They should have developed that skill during their "specialized training". Maybe this link will provide you with the proper rhetoric to demonstrate my point a little clearer and with feedback from others who feel the same.
I agree that the terminology is confusing, but I'd err on the other side -- take it out completely.
In AutoCAD's world, there's really no such thing as a "symbol" the way there are lines, text, dimensions, and even BLOCKS -- which is the closest synonym for "symbol" I can think of.
IMO, Help should have information on FEATURES, i.e. BLOCKS. It should tell me how to make one, what the editing environment looks lke, and what attributes are & how to add them. It should NOT tell me that "Elevation labels usually consist of a graphic symbol and attributes that define elevation height and other information." That just clutters the issue. (AutoCAD Help also shouldn't tell me, "Dimensions are usually displayed in millimeters to a precision of two decimal places." I made that up, but to me it's analogous -- something that is true for some people but is definitely not true for all. It's the difference between teaching someone to use AutoCAD and teaching them to DRAFT.)
Because at the end of the day, that "elevation symbol" is still a dumb object. I have to fill in the information manually, or read up on FIELDS and DATA EXTRACTION (other FEATURES) to figure out how to automate the process.
On the other hand, when I'm in Revit, I fully expect a topic on SPOT ELEVATIONS, because those are actual Revit objects that behave in unique ways, separate from other "symbols" like span directions. Different program, different focus, different attitude.
Well, I don't know too many dental hygienists who use cad to clean teeth.
But to be a bit less snide, The specialized knowledge I am referring to, is the specific and intimate workings of Autocad.
Of course we all go through the "crawl" level of learning a program. But if the features of a program are hidden through cryptic or nonexistent documentation, its usability is diminished. I should not have to take a class in advanced menu systems to find an elevation symbol or determine what a library is or where it is (in the context of cad). The number of years or degrees a professional has are not commsurate with their proficiency in Autocad. Only their experience with the program can be used to qualify their level of specialized knowledge. I have been working with cadd since Version 10. Does that make me an expert? No. Does it mean that I have the qualifications to have an opinion? Yes. HELP sucks.
If you believe that Autocad's HELP is the best that Autodesk can provide its millions of users, then by all means continue to defend it. If it helps, please also use as many exclamation points as you can to make your point. I will of course continue to disagree.
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