AutoCAD

Find Free Stuff For AutoCAD (Circles and Lines AutoCAD Tutorial)

1 Nov, 2007 By: Lynn Allen

Use DWG TrueView 2008 to view, plot, and publish DWG files without AutoCAD.


Did you know that there is a whole lot of free AutoCAD stuff available? And, hey, we all love getting something free, now don't we? I'm talking about a variety of AutoCAD goodies out there that just might help you solve the problems you deal with every day. There are a variety of programs, commands, and the like up on www.autodesk.com. This month, I'm going to cover one of my favorites: DWG TrueView 2008. I realize that you don't have time to constantly search for these types of things -- that's what I'm here for!

View, Plot, Publish
DWG TrueView allows anyone in your office to view, plot, and publish DWG files without having AutoCAD on their system. If you bought AutoCAD LT for someone who only needs the above functionalities, it's time to pass it on to someone else who really needs it and install DWG TrueView on the system instead. This program has the exact same viewing and printing technology that AutoCAD uses, plus it incorporates everything that DWG TrueConvert did as well. That means you can batch convert drawing files backwards and forwards (great when working with clients that don't use the same software release as you do).

You'll find TrueView's functionality limited, but let's take a look at exactly what you can and can't do. DWG TrueView 2008 comes with one and only one toolbar.

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DWG TrueView has just one toolbar.

The Standard toolbar has tools that let you open, convert, print, view (even 3D Orbit), and control the layers in a drawing file. What this program doesn't have is an Undo feature. If you accidentally change the color of all of the layers to magenta, you must close the drawing and then reopen it to get your layers back to their original settings. Incidentally, I learned this the hard way. You can't hurt the original drawing because there's no Save capability. I must admit it is frustrating not having the wonderful Undo command!

The Layer Manager in TrueView contains nearly all the functionality as the one you're used to in AutoCAD. You can turn layers on and off, change their color, use or add filters, delete layers etc. You'll notice that some of the buttons found in the standard layer manager are missing, such as being able to add a new layer. You also can't get to the Layer State Manager, which would be a nice addition. You can create a new layer that is frozen in all viewports, but I'm not sure what the point of that is!

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The Layer Properties Manager has much the same functionality as full-blown AutoCAD.

There are five pull-down menus available in DWG TrueView. Most of the functionality in the menus can also be found on the one Standard toolbar. The View menu lets you access saved views as well as switch from one visual style to another as seen below.

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The View menu has some nice options to control the display.

You'll find that DWG TrueView has a command line area but no Command prompt, so you can't key in any commands. The command line is just there to talk to you; you just aren't allowed to talk back.

Additional Tools
It's great that the latest version of DWG TrueView also includes the functionality of DWG TrueConvert. I'll warn you that DWG TrueView 2007 is still up on the Autodesk Web site, and it's easy to download the wrong version, so watch yourself. The Convert capabilities are similar to those found in the eTransmit command. You can convert your drawing files to the following formats:

  • AutoCAD 2008 (not a format change, but includes new data)
  • AutoCAD 2007
  • AutoCAD 2004
  • AutoCAD 2000
  • AutoCAD Release 14, AutoCAD LT 98, AutoCAD LT 97

If the release you are after does not appear above, you'll want to save it in the previous format. For example, if your client is using AutoCAD 2002, you should convert to AutoCAD 2000.

After selecting DWG Convert from the Standard toolbar or the File menu, you'll find yourself in the following dialog box populated with a few sample conversion setups.

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Use DWG Convert to set up a transmittal set.

The process is simple. Select the drawings you want to convert and assign a conversion setup to the list. The conversion setup controls your final outcome. To create a conversion setup, simply right-click on one of the existing setups and select Edit or choose the Conversion Setups option. Your goal is to get to the dialog of settings similar to what you've seen in the eTransmit command as seen below.

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There are many options available to customize the conversion process.

By default, DWG TrueView converts the attached xrefs as well (which is a good thing). You'll find a variety of options for binding xrefs, controlling the directory where the converted files land, supporting the new annotative objects, etc. You'll indicate if you want to replace or overwrite the existing files and whether you want to create a self-extracting executable file or a ZIP file. Creating the proper conversion setup is key to the process. You'll also want to save your conversion setups for future use, in most cases.

Next, it's only a matter of selecting the drawings you want to convert. Using the Add drawing button, you can easily select all of the desired drawings. The drawings appear with check marks next to them, simply uncheck them if you don't want to include them. You can save this list of drawings for future use to a batch control list (BCL) file.

One Last Cool Tip
If you've ever needed to assign a different page setup to multiple layout tabs, or multiple drawings, you know what a headache that can be. You have to assign each page setup one at a time. That means if you have 10 layout tabs, you get to do it 10 different times. If you have 10 drawings with 10 layout tabs you get to do it 100 times -- yikes! DWG TrueView to the rescue! Using the Convert option, you can select a page setup and the drawings you want to assign the page setups to, and within seconds all the layouts update and are ready to go! This is wonderful!

There is more to DWG TrueView than meets the eye, so download the program and give it a whirl! And, besides what can it hurt? It's free! Until next month . . . happy AutoCADing!


AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
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