Data Management

Managing Filing Standards (CAD Manager’s Toolbox)

14 May, 2008 By: Robert Green

You don't have to put up with with paths that are too long, have confusing names, and are difficult to locate.

Ever since Windows XP was launched, CAD software vendors have had to work with Microsoft's suggested filing standards for user profiles. This means that CAD managers have to suffer with paths that are too long, have confusing names, and are often marked as System or Hidden so that the folders can't be easily located using File Explorer.

Here's an example of a folder encountered in my Inventor/AutoCAD 2008 installation:

C:\Users\Robert Green\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Autodesk Mechanical Desktop 2008\R17.1\enu\support\color

Now how much fun is it to work with this type of path? I like to configure my CAD tools so the paths do not use these crazy path names. Here's a little trick I use to manage files in these weird folders.

I'll use AutoCAD to illustrate the concept in a step-by-step process:

  1. Locate the weird path in the Options command.

    Click for larger image Click image for larger version.

  2. Click in the path field and hold the mouse button down for a few seconds then release. The path field will now be highlighted.

    Click for larger image Click image for larger version.

  3. Use Ctrl + C to copy the path field to the clipboard.

  4. From the Windows Start button use Ctrl + V to paste the path field into the Run box.


  5. Hit the Enter key, and a folder will open that shows all the files in the target directory.


  6. You can now copy the files/folders to a friendlier folder name and then replace the AutoCAD Options parameter with the new name. That's it!

    Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be in the CAD Manager's Toolbox? Send it to me at, and you might get a cool Cadalyst souvenir if I use your idea.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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