Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 19)21 May, 2007
CAD Manager (Column): Making Big Changes
First Look Review: LinkFixerPlus for AutoCAD
Cadalyst Daily Update
White Paper on Harnessing Product Information
LearningBay Launches CAD e-Learning Web Site
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.
MEP Keyboard Aliases
Click here for a full list of these shortcuts.
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: "This is a very comprehensive list of shortcuts!" exclaims a Patroller.
Another offers some suggestions for further success with shortcuts: Rather than tailor the ACAD.PGP file, it would be better to add all personal hotkeys to your ACADDOC.LSP file, he believes. This file is not overwritten by future upgrades to AutoCAD as it is not supplied as a program file. The PGP file is and will be changed with each new release as new core commands are added. Your ACADDOC.LSP file will load with each drawing file opened, and any duplicated hotkeys will be loaded from your ACADDOC because this loads after the PGP file.
Here are some variations on the theme:
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our tip patrollers agree that this is a good tip. One says, "Ah! Good old DOS commands -- where would we be without them? At the Windows Start menu, type CMD to go to the DOS Command line window and then type DIR /? to get a list of all the switches available for the DIR command such as /B to list names only etc. It has always surprised me that Windows XP has no facility to list folder contents. Whether Vista does or not, I don't know as I haven't tried it yet."
Another Patroller came up with this version: Create a TXT file (in our case Rebuild-DwgFilesOnly_List.txt) using Notepad. In this file, type:
Now, save and then edit the extension to .CMD. Double-click on the file and it generates a list of DWG files only without the date, time, file size (if you don't need them, that is).
Load Tips and Set Workspaces
"If you have several AutoLISP routines that are not used very often but are needed once in a while, you can copy and paste them from Windows Explorer directly onto your Desktop. Then when you need them, just drag them into your AutoCAD drawing and they are loaded and ready to use (v2002-2007).
"I suggest that you create workspaces, not just your standard that you use all the time, but also create task-related workspaces that require different sets of standard and custom commands. For example, set up workspaces for working with civil plans, for structural drafting, for electrical drafting, etc. This works great in conjunction with profiles. You can save them and take them with you if needed, so you can feel at home on any computer (v2006-2007)."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our Patrollers agree that this works well and offer a few suggestions. One states, "This can be enhanced by including customized Tool Palettes in each Workspace set up for whatever the Workspace is created for."
Another Patroller adds this tip: You can load LISP routines via the AutoLoad feature, which you can place in your personal ACADDOC.LSP file. This feature lets you load and run a routine to by simply typing one or two hotkeys. Even if your LISP routine has a long name and defined function name, you can simplify the loading/running of the routine by adding a line of code to the start of your routine. For example, a file named DOTHIS.LSP could have the defined function C:CARRYON and can be loaded and run by typing OK at the Command line and adding to the beginning of DOTHIS.LSP the line:
and then adding the following to your ACADDOC.LSP
assuming that all paths to your routines are in the AutoCAD Search path.
Follow-Up: Keyboard Remapper
"AutoHotkey can be program-sensitive, so I have the thumb button set as the default "back" behavior in programs such as Internet Explorer, and the Escape key in AutoCAD. (It's the modifier while being held down in any application.) See my finished script. I'd already mapped many commands to left-hand keys, as others have done, but was starting to run out of combos that made sense to me."
Follow-Up: Set Your Osnaps
Follow-Up: Attributes and Grips
"In the Attdef command dialog (2008 version), note the last option in the Mode group (upper left), there is now an option for Multiple Lines. In the Text Settings group (lower left) is the Boundary Width setting, which controls the overall width of the multi-line attribute. Now if Autodesk will only extend this functionality to tags in AutoCAD Architecture."
Follow-Up: Explore to Drawing Folder
Jennifer Grande suggests: "How about just using Desktop shortcuts to access network folders? I have shortcuts to several frequently accessed folders on my Desktop. You can customize the AutoCAD shortcut icon to start in a particular folder when the program is opened, and the places list in the file selection dialog boxes can be customized to include any number of frequently accessed folders. I also like to use sheet sets to organize my projects. To find a particular drawing, I just open the appropriate sheet set and browse the list of sheets. The preview window makes it easy to find what I need if I forget the name of the drawing. No coding necessary."
Leonid Nemirovsky's suggestion also doesn't require any changes to menus or any code. He says, "Just set the system variable REMEMBERFOLDER = 0, and save your current drawing before using OPEN FILE. Now AutoCAD automatically opens the last folder, with the last drawing that was open highlighted. This is an additional time saver if you need to open the next drawing or previous drawing. I use this trick because Autodesk added the REMEMBERFOLDER variable and set the default to 1 in AutoCAD 2000."
MicroStation Tip: DGN Multi-line Joint Tools
Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on MicroStationTips.com.
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.
Opportunities & Honors
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Books & Training
3D Design Handbook
The Week's New CAD and Related Products
Hardware: CadCARD Slidechart and CadCARD Jr.
General Software: AcceliCAD 2008
General Software: Quadro FX GPU Architecture
CAM: 5-Axis Module
CAE: Abaqus v6.7
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Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!