I just wanted to point out a couple of things about simple extrusions, before getting deeper into some more functionalities in following posts.
I received the question about how we could achieve the same results with numerical input and not press/pull.
There is really not much to say about numerical input. Once the command starts, you can obviously introduce a value for height through the command prompt. If you decide to use Taper Angle, just select the option from the command prompt (the shortcut is T), and once you enter a taper angle, the operation will prompt for the height.
One of the existing options is to repeat the last height, provided there has already been an extrusion done. This is actually the default, so if you just click enter, you will get the same height as the last object extruded.
If you already have the extrusion done and you click on the object, you can change both height and taper angle from the properties palette, if you really don't want to use in canvas editing.
Now, let me talk a little bit about in-canvas editing. Press/Pull is only a fraction of the options available for editing the object by having a direct interaction with it.
We have control over the height of the extrusion, the grips that belong to the profile, and we can also use direct manipulation over the faces, edges and vertices. Some of the old solid editing commands are probably not allowing that much flexibility as direct manipulation, and this is a trend that you will see getting more and more enhanced everywhere. Just take a look at Inventor Fusion and you'll see what I mean. We're not alone in this trend.
One last thing for today, and again, most of you will find it obvious. In the past, every command that requested for a distance would allow clicking in two points of the screen and retrieve that distance as input for the current command. This was also the case for extrude.
However, starting in 2007, if you just click on the height of any object in the screen, extrude will take the distance from the xy plane where the profile is placed to the Z of the selected object. So, if you just opened the file and you don't have the last extrude height, or maybe you are trying to retrieve any extrusion height which was not the last one you did, this option is tremendously productive.
In this image, I'm extruding a circle in order to get a cylinder, and I'm about to click any of the upper vertices of the box.
Both models have the same height now.
More on direct manipulation in the next post.