CAD Manager's Newsletter (#270)

12 Oct, 2011 By: Robert Green

:: The Minimalist's Guide to In-House Training

Instructing users about new techniques and correct procedures is necessary, but it takes time. Use these tips to streamline the process.

Author's Note: I've been receiving a lot of e-mails lately that start out like this: "I need to [fill in the blank] but I don't have much time. Can you give me some ideas about how to get more done in less time?" To answer these questions, I'll pass along some tips in an occasional series I'll call "The Minimalist's Guide." Let me know what you think.

A fact that sometimes gets lost in the hurry-up existence of the CAD manager is that users won't magically use your standards or follow your best practices just because you have them. No, they'll only do so if they are trained to do so.

I already know what you're thinking: I don't have time to train people! Yet if you don't train them, they'll work in nonstandard ways, necessitating rework that's frustrating for everyone. So the question becomes, What's the best way to train your users with the absolute minimum time investment on your part? In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some tips that work well for me. Here goes.

Solve Problems and Speed Up

First, realize that to minimize your time investment, you'll have to prioritize topics so that you only spend training time on topics that really matter. After all, you can't train everyone on everything without investing a lot of time, right? So how do you decide which training topics are most important? Consider these metrics:

  • Does the training topic address a current problem?
  • Will the training topic give users methods to achieve greater speed?
  • Will the training enhance best practices and standards?

Read more »


:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: System Restore Is Your Friend

Installing that new program probably won't create any major problems — but if it does, you'll be ready.

A few weeks ago I had to install an old Microsoft Office 2003 application on my Windows 7 64-bit workstation to work on a client project. Before installing the software, I made sure to create a restore point so I could return my workstation to an uninstalled state later — a much easier process than manually uninstalling.

It was a good thing that I did so, because the 2003 application installed some FrontPage-compatible features that royally messed up all the Microsoft Office tools as well as the Windows Installer system. The only reason I didn't have a major disaster on my hands was because I could restore my machine back to its prior state. Here, I'll explain how you can do the same. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at; if I use it in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

Autodesk Introduces Cloud Support Center
Autodesk's new cloud support center features general information, system requirements, help, training videos, and troubleshooting for various services provided by Autodesk Cloud. The support center also provides access to the Autodesk Cloud Get Satisfaction community forum, where users can ask questions and provide feedback related to Autodesk Cloud.

Design Master Releases Results of MEP 3D-BIM Survey
Engineering software provider Design Master Software has conducted an online survey of MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) engineers and designers to learn about their experiences using building information modeling (BIM). Survey results indicated that the number of projects modeled in 3D for collision detection has not changed in the past year, and when a project is modeled in 3D, more of the various disciplines are included in the model.

:: Events

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program — Amsterdam
October 24–28, 2011
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The CIMdata PLM Certificate Program prepares PLM professionals at several levels to address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. This assessment-based certificate program includes an intimate classroom experience, individual and team-based exercises, and individual evaluations of achievement. Read more »

Graphics Systems User Conference
October 25–26, 2011
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The Graphics Systems User Conference features presenters and training sessions focused on making SolidWorks users more efficient with their design tools. Read more »

AVEVA World North America User Conference
November 29–December 1, 2011
New Orleans, Louisiana
The AVEVA World User Group North America Conference is organized for engineers and designers who operate AVEVA software in engineering, procurement, and construction companies (EPCs) and owner-operators in the plant and shipbuilding industries. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

CADspeed Blog Post:
Remote Graphics and the Professional CAD Workstation, Part 4 — Sustainability

The last installment in this series about remote graphics will explore sustainability and conclude the discussion. Read more »

User Profile: Slaying the Dragon
After years spent thinking that AutoLISP programming was a dark art, Adam Sherratt takes it on — and wins. Read more »

How to Hire a Great BIM Manager
The best leaders have several traits in common — and a few of them might surprise you. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use social media — such as Facebook or Twitter updates, YouTube videos, or discussion forums — for work-related purposes?
Yes, I regularly use such resources for work-related purposes.
Yes, but on a limited or infrequent basis.
No, because my employer frowns upon or prohibits doing so.
No, because I don’t have the time or interest.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition