CAD Manager's Newsletter (#291)

24 Oct, 2012 By: Robert Green

Establish a Training Program for Your CAD Users, Part 2

You've got the go-ahead from management; now it's time to gather supplies and locate the right training venue.

In the previous issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I advised CAD managers to start in-house training programs, and I provided some action items to that end. If you haven't had a chance to review that column, you may want to do so before moving on with this installment.

If your users can't see your training, they can't understand it -- so be sure to project everything clearly!

In this issue, I'll focus on materials preparation and training delivery. I'm assuming that you have already won upper management's approval for a training program, and that you've determined your training topics. Here goes.

Gather Your Training Necessities

Before you conduct any training, ensure that you have all the resources you'll need to do so efficiently — including the following items. As we go through the list, I'll explain the importance of each item and recommend a few of my favorites.

A capable projector. You'll need to generate output that can be seen clearly in the lighting conditions you'll encounter in the training room. Old 1024x768 models are no longer good enough to project modern CAD interfaces with wide-aspect ribbon interfaces, and HD wide-screen projectors are becoming the norm.

A properly prepared computer. That means a machine that's set up for the screen resolution you'll use with the training projector and recording software, with screen colors and contrast settings that make the screen easy to see. In addition, it's a good idea to:

  • Enable mouse trails for easy cursor visibility.
  • Turn down the mouse speed so users can follow along.
  • Disable your e-mail and messaging to prevent interruptions caused by pop-up alerts.
  • Use large buttons/ribbons in CAD applications for easy visibility.
  • Hide the Windows task bar.

The goal is to make everything clear and highly visible, while getting rid of any potential distractions — prerequisites that are especially important when you're recording your training sessions. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox:
Identify the 'Quick Win' Opportunities in Your To-Do List

Are you facing a mountain of CAD management duties? Start with the tasks that yield big rewards, but require only a limited time investment.

I'm frequently approached by overwhelmed CAD managers who have way too much on their plates (sound familiar?). They often say, "There's so much I need to get done, but I don't know where to start!" In response, I always advise them to "Go for the quick win."

What I mean by a "quick win" is something that you can get done quickly, with minimal help from others, that solves a known problem. By starting with these tasks you'll tackle known issues without getting bogged down in meetings, and you'll generate positive results in a relatively short amount of time. See if these examples would be good places to start in your company:

Clean out server directories. You know all those old files, junk folders, duplicated plot styles, random music files, non-standard project directories, and all the other garbage on your servers? Back it all up, then delete the garbage and wait for the objections to roll in. This recovers network space, declutters the CAD work environment, and puts everyone on notice that you're serious about enforcing filing standards. 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

Synergis Launches Engineering Blog for Autodesk Users
Autodesk reseller Synergis Engineering Design Solutions has launched the SynergisCAD blog, which hosts discussions, industry news, software information, and technical expertise. The blog offers Autodesk engineering software users information provided by certified professionals and trainers.

:: Events

Exchanging Data between CAD and GIS Systems
October 30, 2012
11 a.m. ET
This FME webinar promises to show how to gain control over CAD and GIS data exchange. Read more »

3Dexperience Forum
November 6–7, 2012
Orlando, Florida
This Dassault Systèmes event will help attendees learn how to take advantage of 3DS applications and technology. Read more »

Autodesk University 2012
November 27–29, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University (AU), a conference and exhibition for Autodesk product users, will bring together design and technology professionals for networking, exhibits, innovation forums, and a new curriculum of more than 800 lectures, roundtable sessions, and hands-on labs. 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

The Community Contributes to Better Architecture and Engineering
OpeningDesign and the Open AEC Challenge seek to end isolation and promote collaboration among designers. Read more »

The Best Hardware Configuration for AutoCAD 2013, Part 2: Current and Future Needs
We started this series by looking at our current hardware and if it's up for the job. Next, let's examine if your hardware will still work with your future needs, which may include going from 2D to 3D or adding cloud computing and mobile devices to the mix. Read the CADspeed blog post »

SpaceClaim 2012+: CAD for the CAD Indifferent
New release builds on the quest to deliver a modeling tool for those who don't want to think about modeling. Read more »

Add Jing Videos to Your Training Arsenal
"Show, don't tell" is good advice for writers — and for CAD managers as well. Read more »

:: About the Author

Cadalyst contributing editor Robert Green performs CAD programming and consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is the author of Expert CAD Management: The Complete Guide. Reach him via his web site.

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