Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 18)14 May, 2007
Cadalyst Labs Review: Maple 11
Cadalyst's Exclusive AutoCAD Tutorials for May Now Live Online
Cadalyst Daily Update
IDEAL Launches My3Dservices.com
Autodesk to Bring AIA National Convention to Second Life
Wohlers Report Indicates Extraordinary Growth in Additive Fabrication
This Week's Software Tips
Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, we'll send you a Cadalyst t-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and award a $100 gift card to its author. Please submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit) and tell us which software version you use. By submitting any tip or code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute that tip or code in print, digitally and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to the code; published code is not to be used for commercial purposes.
Congratulations April Winner!
Attributes and Grips
"In AutoCAD, you can't make multiline attributes in the block; however, there is a trick I use a lot. Instead of creating one attribute, I create three. I create two attributes spaced as two lines of text (for double lines) and a third one in between the first two -- for one line. When inserting a block, you can either fill the middle attribute if there's room, or two others for two lines, if there isn't room to fit in one line."
The second tip, he says, is to highlight one or more objects with grips. "Hold the Shift key and select multiple grips, even if they belong to different objects, to move or stretch objects."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our tip patrollers agree that the attribute tip is handy. Keep company standards in mind when dealing with lengths of names and the like. Also keep in mind that when you create a block with more than one attribute, the newly created block displays upon insertion the attributes in reverse order from the order created.
The Shift trick is also worth repeating, the Patrol says. Note that in AutoCAD LT 2006, you must select the objects first, then use Shift to make more than one grip active.
Spline to LWPolyline
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: One of our fearless Patrollers explains, "The only drawback to Flatten is that the structure of the resultant 2D polyline contains numerous grip points." For LISP aficionados, he shares SPLINE_TO_POLYLINE.LSP, a routine that changes a spline to a polyline. "This program (along with AutoCAD's Splinedit command) allows for many more options than Flatten."
Explore to Drawing Folder
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our patrollers agree, this is a real timesaver!
Follow-Up: Change AutoCAD Layer Names to MicroStation Level Names
Follow-Up: Get Model Space Measurement
"When I first tested this tip, I was working on an old installation of 2007 from when it first came out, and this Dist command definitely did not return the scaled distance. I now have a new PC and AutoCAD installation, albeit still 2007. However, this tip now rings true and does return the scaled distance.
"This makes me wonder whether there is some system variable setting that conflicts maybe indirectly with the Dist command that renders the scaling facility inoperable. A gold star for anyone who finds it!
"As for exploding, filleting, etc., when a dimension is associated with that entity, naturally the associativity returns strange, inaccurate results. This happens whether you dimension in model or paper spaces, but this isn't a reason to turn associativity off; it just requires a little QA checking."
Follow-Up: Keystroke Shortcuts in AutoCAD
"First, while you can make up your own command aliases, it's worthwhile to know that AutoCAD right out of the box already has a number of presupplied command aliases: PE for PEdit, CP for Copy, etc. If you remember and use the default PGP aliases, you can more easily sit down at someone else's workstation and get to work immediately.
"Second, customization is fine, and every serious user should have a toolbox of customizations on CD, diskette or memory-stick ready to go. But, at the same time, too much customization can mean that you may be expert in MyCAD and not in AutoCAD. Also, if you're a temp or a visiting contractor, you should keep in mind that some employers can be rather intolerant when it comes to heavily customized set-ups.
"Third, with respect to some of the specific examples supplied, sometimes some of the default AutoCAD PGP aliases can be made, if combined with other customizations, to do (as it were) double duty. In my custom setup, I have CP stored as a shortcut key in the NUMPAD04 key. With a single stroke, I can run the Copy command (as called by the default AutoCAD PGP alias). Admittedly, that's not much of a time saving over typing CP; however, within a command such as Move, this same key calls up the Crossing-Polygon selection option.
"Finally, users should customize the PGP, keyboard and menus as long as they completely understand what they are doing. I strongly believe that a user should be equally able to undo their customizations or recreate them from scratch if necessary. They should also be able function, if necessary, without any of their customizations for a reasonable period of time. And, of course, the goal of any user's customizations should be to save them significant time by automating or streamlining their jobs."
MicroStation Tip: DGN Drawing to PowerPoint and Word
Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com 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. Sincere thanks to our volunteer Cadalyst Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Don Reichle, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda and Billy Wooten.
Deals & Freebies
Autodesk Releases Free Preview Version of Inventor LT
Transoft Solutions Extends Special Offer
Opportunities & Honors
Dimension Announces Fourth Annual Redesign Contest
CoCreate Announces Winners in 2007 Design Competition
ASCON Announces Winners of KOMPAS-3D Modeling Contest 2007
The Week's New CAD and Related Products
General Software: ShareSafe Desktop -- Engineering Edition
General Software: IntelliCAD v6.3
AEC: ArchiCAD v11
AEC: ArchiCAD v11 Plug-in
GIS: FME 2007
GIS: Electric XM and Expert Designer XM
MCAD: Solid Edge v20
MCAD: PVGEN Pro Solution
CAE: GrafiCalc Expert 2007
CAE: ICE-flow v4.1
Mark Your Calendar
AEC Technology Strategies 2007 Conference
Vibro-Acoustic Users Conference (VAUC 2007)
Click here to view the complete calendar of events at Cadalyst.com.
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist 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!