Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12 No. 21)

11 Jun, 2007

What's New at

Attention Readers of Tips & Tools Weekly
As e-mail spam filters become increasingly stringent, more and more legitimate e-mail is being treated as spam and chances are increasing that your Cadalyst newsletter could be directed to a spam/bulk mail folder before it reaches your e-mail inbox. To ensure that you continue to receive your Cadalyst newsletters, please add to your list of safe senders. Email us with questions or problems.

Cadalyst Introduces CAD Video Gallery
Visit Cadalyst's new CAD Video Gallery for exclusive CAD software tips, how-tos and more! Now playing: Autodesk Inventor 2008 highlights. Coming in late June: AutoCAD tips and tricks with Lynn Allen.

Cadalyst Announces Latest All-Star Awards Winners
Cadalyst All-Star Awards honor the best of the best -- the most outstanding among all software and hardware products that earned Highly Recommended ratings from Cadalyst Labs over the past six months, as published in Cadalyst magazine and Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Check out the June 2007 winners now live online!

Get the Code!
Cadalyst's June code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Lloyd Beachy won $100 from Hot Tip Harry for this month's Top Tip, Dynamic Fillet, an innovative approach to creating a fillet between lines and arcs.

New Quick Poll: Are You Experienced?
The latest Cadalyst Quick Poll is live online. This month, we want to know how many years' experience you have using CAD software. Take the poll (go to any page of and scroll down to find the Quick Poll in the margin), then check out how you compare with your CAD peers in "Cadfidential" in the July edition of Cadalyst magazine.

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on, subscribe to the Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every Monday we bring you a full-length feature article you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, interviews, event reports, AutoCAD tips and more! Here's a sample of what you missed recently:

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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.

Text Styles
If you'd like to be reminded of which text style you are about to use for MTEXT (and you don't bother much with looking at the Command line), Doug Kochel suggests that you add this code to your ACADDOC.LSP. Make sure your text style names don't exceed ten characters.

.....(setvar "MTJIGSTRING" (getvar "textstyle"))

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol agrees. This tip is handy when you first open the file, but it is limited to showing you the text style that was set when the drawing was opened. Keep in mind that if you change styles while working in the drawing, the indicator doesn't change until you reload the file.

Keyboard Knowledge
Jon Myron
advises users to "Learn the keyboard!" He explains, "By printing out the ACAD.PGP file and highlighting commands that you use the most, you can quickly learn to use keystrokes instead of buttons. Each day, highlight a few more and try to use them when you can. You'll increase your production noticeably and reduce the wear and tear on your neck by not looking up to your screen and down to your notes or designs."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol agrees that it's always a good idea to know keyboard shortcuts. With the advent of the CUI, they're even more easily edited. Be certain that the printed version of the PGP file reflects the actual PGP file on your machine.

Attribute Editing
One aspect of attribute editing that Michael Hollingsworth finds particularly useful is the width factor setting in the Enhanced Attribute Editor. "We use a block with four attributes in our bills of materials for our detail drawings, and the space set aside for the description attribute is occasionally not long enough for the text needed, which (being left justified) runs over slightly into the next text space. By reducing the width factor of the attribute by 5% to 20%, we can fit the whole description into the space allotted, and the compressed text is still acceptable from a reading standpoint."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol gives a thumbs-up for this tip for times when you find yourself in a tight situation. Take care to ensure that the text is still readable and be careful if you copy that block to use elsewhere in the file. The modified attribute will still be shortened even if you change the data in the field.

MicroStation Tip: Fence and Load Plot Dialog
Here is a key-in command link that will fence the edge of your element and load the plot dialog:


Add it to a Function key so that it loads with just one keystroke. It works best if you only have a drawing sheet or border in the design plane, but it will work on any snappable element in the design plane.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Tip Patrol before publication. Use all tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. We're sorry, but editors and Tip Patrol members cannot provide assistance with technical problems; please refer to Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry-Help discussion forum.

Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Don Reichle, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda and Billy Wooten.

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Deals & Freebies

Free Photoshop Plug-In for Google 3D Warehouse
Adobe Systems and Google announced last week the launch of a Photoshop CS3 Extended plug-in for the Google 3D Warehouse, enabling Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended users to take advantage of the software's free compositing, painting and image-editing toolset for editing 3D content.

Mid-Year Bundled Promotion for Geomagic and Handyscan 3DT
Customers who purchase the Handyscan 3D laser camera with Geomagic as the post-treatment software will receive a 5% discount from list price on orders received and paid for by June 28, 2007. Also offered is an additional six-months on the standard warranty for a total coverage of 18 months on the Handyscan 3D product. This promotion will be available globally to existing or new customers and is not combinable with any other promotions from Creaform or Geomagic.

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Opportunities & Honors

Flow-3D Conference Call for Papers
Abstracts are now being accepted for the FLOW-3D World Users Conference to be held September 20-21, 2007, in Dallas, Texas. Abstracts should be 500 words or less and can be submitted by email to or by fax to 505.982.5551. The due date for abstracts is July 2, 2007. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by July 9.

RuleStream Named One of Start-IT's Hottest Companies of 2007
RuleStream, a provider of engineering and design automation solutions to the discrete manufacturing industries, has been named as one of Start-IT magazine's hottest companies of 2007. According to the magazine, RuleStream was honored for its strong accomplishments in 2006 and its ongoing dedication to providing innovative design automation solutions to the industrial market to improve their product competitiveness.

NASA Names ALGOR V20 Product of the Month
NTB (NASA Tech Briefs), an official NASA publication that features reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors, announced that ALGOR V20 FEA (finite-element analysis) software was selected as the Product of the Month for June 2007. ALGOR V20 is the latest release from ALGOR, a provider of design, analysis and simulation software.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: PowerDesk-SE 2.04 Display Driver
Matrox product features include Joined graphics card mode and improved support for widescreen resolution. Read more

General Software: Adept Explorer
Synergis' Web-based tool for engineering review features simplified user interface and provides the same viewing capabilities as many CAD programs. Read more

General Software: XVLstaff
Lattice Technology and Hitachi Software Engineering unveil 3D data product designed to prevent leaks of confidential data. Read more

General Software: ShareSafe File Security Solution
Software from Pinion Software adds transparent level of data protection for ProductView Graphics Server. Read more

Visualization: Conduit Module for Pro/ENGINEER
Mechdyne software enables real-time, virtual reality capabilities. Read more

AEC: ParkCAD v3
Updated release from Transoft Solutions is designed to provide a more intuitive approach to parking lot design. Read more

ESI Group solution offers direct link between digital simulation of liquid composite molding processes and CATIA V5 composites part design. Read more

CAM: linkTools for Windchill PDMLink and Pro/INTRALINK v8
Fishbowl Solutions product enables users to automate tedious manual tasks.
Read more

CAM: aPriori v5 Enterprise Cost Management Software
Solution includes mechanistic process models for high-volume electronic systems design and manufacturing. Read more

CAM: Seemage 4.2
New Seemage version enables production of product deliverables directly from 3D CAD models and via direct integration with PLM systems. Read more

PLM: Collaboration Suite Launches Web-based PLM solution to support engineered-to-order and new product information environments. Read more

PLM: Windchill v9
PTC update release to include Windchill MPMLink, which enables simultaneous development of product designs and manufacturing process plans. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Optimizing Process Frameworks
June 27, 2007
2 p.m. EDT
This Webinar presented by Collaborative Product Development Associates will review a framework for transforming product development processes and summarize the basic elements of the framework and how they support accurate process modeling, root-cause analysis and consensus building to establish the on-going environment required for continuously improving and standardizing design processes. Read more

FIATECH 2007 Member Meeting
September 17-19, 2007
Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Looking Outward to Inspire Innovation & Improve Internal Operations" is this year's member meeting theme. By collaborating and sharing resources from among FIATECH's membership, its internal processes can be modified, streamlined and molded to better suit the demands within the industry within individual companies. Read more

2007 FLOW-3D World Users Conference
September 20-21, 2007
Dallas, Texas
FLOW-3D users from around the world will present their studies, analyses and results obtained using FLOW-3D, including benchmarks, case studies and research projects. The Flow Science team will present their ongoing development plans, demonstrate the new capabilities of Version 9.2 and be available to answer users' questions about the software. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

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!
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