Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 11, No. 37)

16 Oct, 2006

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What's New at

Get the Code!
Cadalyst's October code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Power programmer Will DeLoach earned $100 for this month's top tip, Re-insert a Block from a File, which replaces all occurrences of a block in a drawing with the block you specify from a file.

Cadalyst's October Web Exclusives Now Live Online!
The latest editions of all your favorite Cadalyst tutorials for AutoCAD and other popular CAD software, CAD Cartoon, Dialog Box (letters from readers) -- plus all the content from the October edition of Cadalyst magazine -- are now live on Check it out!

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products, subscribe to Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every issue includes a feature you won't find anywhere else – hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, AutoCAD tips and much more! Here's a sample of what you missed recently:





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This Week's Software Tips

Do you have a favorite tip or shortcut that you use every day in your CAD software? One that saves you time? Makes life easier? Share it with other readers and, if we publish it, we'll send you a “ Cadalyst: CAD the Way You Want It” t-shirt.

Follow-Up to Viewport Lock
James Hutchinson wrote to ask about the October 2 edition’s Viewport Lock tip. He says, “The routine works well on single layouts, but the Vpal and Vpau commands don’t fully work. They may change the color of the Vports in each layout tab, but they don’t change the status of the Vports. Has anyone else had this problem, or is it just me?” Checking back with the original submitter, Terry Holt, we found that he has the same problem, so he doesn’t use those commands. James, the good news is that you’re not alone. The bad news is that we don’t have a solution for you. Perhaps another Tips & Tools Weekly reader can come to the rescue?

Purging RegApps
Reader Andy Manninen offers this advice: "One tip that should be used more often in AutoCAD 2005 and later is purging RegApps when you receive a drawing from an outside source. RegApps in a file takes up hard drive space and bogs everything down."

  • Command: -PURGE
  • Enter type of unused objects to purge [Blocks/Dimstyles/LAyers/LTypes/Plotstyles/SHapes/textSTyles/
    Mlinestyles/Tablestyles/Regapps/All]: r
  • Enter name(s) to purge <*>: (Enter “*” for all.)
  • Verify each name to be purged? [Yes/No]: n

"This cleans out RegApps so they don’t add to your file size. I recently did this on a drawing from someone else and purged 156,000 registered applications, cutting the file size from 2.5 MB to 400 KB. The worst thing about RegApps is the virulent nature of them. If you xref an infected file into a clean drawing, the RegApps are brought into the new file. With behavior like that, you need to nip the problem in the bud or else you can corrupt a whole project in no time by opening a few drawings. Purging RegApps has known detrimental effects on the drawing or applications used."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our Patrollers are in agreement that it’s necessary to purge RegApps on a regular basis, and this is a good solution. In addition, Manusoft offers a small utility program called SuperPurge ($30) that helps you rid your files of RegApps, as well as other things that a normal Purge command won’t, such as the Defpoints layer. You can also use it to hard purge items that are still in the drawing, so use it wisely.

Redir Command
Douglas Kochel’s office standard for attaching xrefs and images is to keep the path for these files relative without the full path statement. For whatever reason, this doesn't always happen. He often finds drawings with full paths on some of the references, and this can create problems later, such as a drive letter designation that changes during a server upgrade.

There are many ways to fix this, but Douglas has found the Redir command to be the best option to strip the path names off the references. The beauty of Redir is that if a path redirection doesn't find the file, the original remains as-is, he says.

For example, he keeps all image references (that are unique to a job) within a subfolder under the drawing folder named Images. If he sees full paths on the image references, he types Redir, presses Enter to bring up the Settings dialog box, selects Images, presses OK to continue and then types the asterisk symbol (*) to select all paths. The next prompt asks for the replacement folder, so he types IMAGES\.

All the images found in the Images folder are given relative paths. This works well with batch scripting too, he adds.

It’s very frustrating when you receive drawings from others and they don't contain relative paths for xrefs and images -- and this solution works well.

One Patroller notes, “The usefulness of this feature will, I think, have more to do with the structure of a given firm’s CAD filing protocols and standards. In some offices, the current revision drawing set is the one in the active folder. (Earlier revisions are saved in subfolders Rev-1, Rev-2, etc.). Storing the full path guarantees that if you need to see Rev-1 (even though the current revision is Rev-4) it won’t reference the wrong xref.”

Easy Toolbar Move
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky (visit his AutoLISP Web site) sends this quick tip he uses with AutoCAD 2006/2007:

After you lock toolbars and tool palettes in place, you can temporarily override that lock to move them by pressing and holding the CTRL key while moving the toolbars and tool palettes. Once they are in place, release the CTRL key and they are again locked.

This capability has been in the software for a while and is a handy tool. Of course, the wise user will have saved a workspace or two -- just in case.

MicroStation Tip -- Design Model Copied to a Sheet Metal
Question: I have a plot file all set up to plot from; however, I’m not using a sheet file. I would like to make a sheet view. Is there a way to copy the exact work I have done in my design file to a new sheet file? Or will I need to reference everything again, set up clip boundaries, levels, references and so forth?

Answer: Try saving a view in the design file. Next, switch to the sheet model and reference the current file. Now, select the view you saved in the design model and set Nesting to 1, then just data point on the screen to place the referenced view.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Cadalyst Tip Patrol before publication. Use tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. Many thanks to our volunteer Cadalyst Tip Patrol members: Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Don Reichle, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda, Billy Wooten and Ben Young.

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Deals & Freebies

Special Price on Solid Edge Velocity Series
iKnowledge Solutions introduced Solid Edge Velocity Series training through its platform. More than 100 hours of Solid Edge Velocity Series training will be available on an annual subscription basis for $25. The offer is only applicable to Professional users. The Velocity Series courses deliver instruction through text, video and audio.

Discounts on rapidformXO Redesign Bundled with StarCam
VX Technologies and Rapidform are offering customers a discount of as much as $10,000 if they buy the combination of a perpetual license of rapidformXOR and a VX StarCam system. rapidformXOR is a new software application that allows companies to create parametric CAD models directly from 3D scan data. The StarCam's range-finding technologies support the real-time collection and use of measurement data, which in turn export to rapidformXOR. Rapidform markets 3D scanning software products; VX Technologies manufactures 3D digital imaging and spatial measurement systems.

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Opportunities & Honors

Call for Speakers: Interoperability & 3D Collaboration Conference
Organizers of the 2007 Interoperability & 3D Collaboration: Productivity in Global Manufacturing conference have issued a call for speakers. Experienced users are encouraged to share knowledge in interoperability and collaboration with 3D data, such as the latest strategies and best practices and solutions. The conference, presented by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, will take place May 2-3, 2007, at the Marriott Renaissance in Detroit, Michigan. The deadline for submitting abstracts is October 30, 2006.

ESRI Conference Submission Deadline Extended
The deadline to submit an abstract for the ESRI User Conference, the Education User Conference and the Survey and GIS Summit has been extended to October 20, 2006. The conferences will be held in San Diego, California, in June 2007. Presenters must be users of ESRI software.

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Books & Training

Goldberg Updates ADT User Guide
Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2007: A Comprehensive Tutorial ($66.67) by H. Edward Goldberg has been released by Pearson Education, a subsidiary of Autodesk authorized publisher Prentice Hall. The volume is also available in a kit, bundled with a six-month or one-year educational version of ADT. This is the fifth book about ADT by Goldberg, a practicing architect and Cadalyst contributing editor.

AutoCAD LT 2007 for Designers Textbook

Textbook publisher CADCIM Technologies released AutoCAD LT 2007 for Designers (704 pages, $29) by Sham Tickoo, a professor at Purdue University Calumet. The book explains in detail the advance core drafting functions for more intuitive and faster design and drafting capability. From basic conceptual design representations to visual presentations, the textbook highlights AutoCAD LT's technology and gives an in-depth description of the process of dynamic input. The textbook caters to both the novice and the advanced user. Three additional chapters are available for free download from the CADCIM Technologies Web site.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

AEC: PowerCAD SiteMaster 3
Updated building surveying and information management software available in XP and CE editions.  Read more

AEC: Prolog 2007
Meridian Systems' new release of project management software features usability and infrastructure upgrades.  Read more

MCAD: Teamcenter Express Version 2
Midmarket data management offering adds capabilities for design collaboration and ERP integration.  Read more

MCAD: FormatWorks 2007
Latest release supports all CATIA V5 revisions up to version 17.  Read more

CAE: ABAQUS Student Edition Version 6.6
Dassault Systemes offers simulation capabilities for vibration analysis, material failure characterization and visualization.  Read more

CAM: FeatureCAM 2007
Delcam's new version includes enhancements to the software's automatic feature recognition functionality.  Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Cadalyst'scomplete list of upcoming industry events is always available on our Web site.

Webinar: Autodesk Building Systems
Various 2006 and 2007 dates
Avatech Solutions invites CAD managers, IT managers, and MEP (mechanical/electrical/plumbing) engineers who currently use AutoCAD to learn about the benefits and uses of Autodesk Building Systems. Attendees will also learn how Building Systems interoperates with Autodesk Revit Building, Autodesk Revit Structure, and Autodesk Revit Systems and Autodesk Architectural Desktop. Read more

Autodesk Building Systems Workshop
Various 2006 and 2007 dates
Various locations
The hands-on workshops are designed to show people who currently do not use Autodesk Building Systems how the latest technology for MEP can improve workflow efficiency and reduce design time. Attendees will also learn how Building Systems interoperates with Autodesk Revit Building, Autodesk Revit Structure, and Autodesk Revit Systems and Autodesk Architectural Desktop. Read more

Introducing ArcGIS 9.2 Seminar
Various October and November dates
Various California and Hawaii locations
ESRI will host this no-cost seminar to introduce ArcGIS 9.2 to the GIS community through a series of demonstrations. These demos will cover enhancements and new functionality related to cartography, interoperability, visualization and more. Read more

Product Roadmapping Training Workshop
Various October and November dates
Various locations
Attendees to this workshop will learn how to align their plans for products, technologies and markets with business objectives, strategies and resources. Read more

Land Development Breakthroughs: Best Practices Conference
November 2-3, 2006
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This conference offers decision team members of all disciplines an opportunity to build relationships and learn about important industry trends. Attendees will share strategic perspectives with their colleagues on issues such as business management, finance, sustainable development, regulatory compliance, and organizational and industry direction. Read more

UK Rhino User Meeting
November 9, 2006
London, United Kingdom
This technology update day will include information on the upcoming Rhino 4.0 release, V-Ray for Rhino 1.0, Penguin v2.0 and Brazil, presentations and in-depth Rhino user stories. Read more

ESRI California User Group Meetings
Various dates in November
Various California locations
ArcGIS user groups provide a forum for ESRI users to share their experiences, exchange best practices and learn about new technology. User group meetings can benefit both new and experienced users, and each meeting offers a focused, education-based agenda. Read more

Second International Conference on Rapid Manufacturing
July 11-12, 2007
Leicestershire, United Kingdom
This conference will include a mixture of academic research and industrial applications presentations, focused on direct part manufacturing using additive Layer Manufacturing Technologies. Read more



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!

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