Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 31)

27 Aug, 2007


Cadalyst Tips & Tools Weekly

Note to Readers: Tips & Tools Weekly will take a break next Monday, September 3,
to observe Labor Day. We will resume our normal publication schedule
on Monday, September 10. Have a wonderful holiday.

What's New at Cadalyst.com

Learning Curve (AutoCAD Tutorial): DWF, Part 4 -- The Final Chapter
Come along with Cadalyst's Bill Fane as he digs deeper into the use of DWF files in AutoCAD. Read more

Solid Thinking: Share More CAD Data with SolidWorks
As more companies integrate their 3D CAD data into their manufacturing and other downstream processes, the need for digital procedures and standards increases. Read more

Get the Code!
Cadalyst's August code from Hot Tip Harry is available for download. AutoCAD Tables to Excel is a utility that quickly converts tables of text in an AutoCAD drawing to a comma-delimited file suitable for loading directly into Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs.

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on Cadalyst.com, 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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Resources

Bluebeam Integrates PDF Technologies into Online Plan Room
PDF technologies allow BB-Bid users to select multiple documents to open at once, view documents side by side, add markups and takeoffs to bid documents, and save changes in BB-Bid to access online from any computer. Read more

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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: CAD the Way You Want It" T-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and send 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 code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your 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.

Plot Previous
Kevin Loth liked the tips from earlier this year about special printing buttons. He commented, "I call this three-point printing because you click the icon and then the two corners and you're done. One that I use that might not be as intuitive is the following code.

^C^C-PLOT;N;;previous plot;;;;;

“This allows a single copy of the previous plot to print. For parts books, we make four copies of a lot of prints. Using this code, we do the regular three-point printing followed by the Previous Plot icon -- the quantity is a flyout.

“Another good use is if you make a print, then make a correction or change and then want to print again.”

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our patrollers agree that this tip is useful.

One patroller says, "The short macro works well. It took all of about three minutes to set it up. It's nice to have some extra buttons ready for use or to change one that has outlived its usefulness. I think it will get a lot of use. I added a bit of extra fluff. Of course it can be altered to suit your personal preferences."

^C^CTILEMODE;0;-PLOT;N;;previous plot;;;;;
TILEMODE;1;ZOOM;E;ZOOM;.9X;QSAVE

A second patroller adds, “The whole plotting process is a set of known command responses that can easily be parsed to a script routine and tailored to suit any plot device, plot area, scale, and sheet size. These are the basic variables that can be set by a LISP routine or script file that can then be run via a single (or, in this case, three) click button. The problem here is that by the time you have offered all the different settings for these variables, you can end up with so many flyouts and/or buttons that it can be a bind locating the correct one for your desired output. At this point it may just be better to use the standard AutoCAD Plot dialog box, which of course offers endless flexibility on your system.

“In our office we have buttons for the most popular outputs: full-size/scale hardcopy, the same but to a file, half-scale (check) plot, fit-scale (A3) print, and a partial print of your drawing at full scale on either an A3 or A4 sheet for a quick check of the final clarity of display of any part of your drawing. This limits our plot toolbar to only six buttons. This normally takes care of about 95% of our everyday plot requirements, while the remaining 5% is done via the Plot dialog box.

“The Plot / Previous routine above is fine provided you remember what your last plot parameters were and merely shows that known command sequences can easily be programmed into a macro to suit any requirement. Just don't get carried away with these!”

MicroStation Tip: Specifying a Logical Name for a Reference in the Pentable
Question:
In my pentable, I'm trying to select reference files by logical name. I want anything with a certain name in the logical name to be selected for postprocessing. Are there any wild-card characters I can use in the logical name selection?

Answer: When specifying a logical name for a reference in the pentable, you can enter the complete logical name or you can enter an expression pattern consisting of one or more wild cards. The following identifies the wild cards that you can use for matching logical names.

A wild card can be used to:

(.) Match any character. Serves as a single-character wild card

(*) Match zero or more occurrences of the preceding character. Used in combination with any character or the single character wild card (.). Automatically includes the root word

(+) Match one or more occurrences of the preceding character. Used in combination with any character or the single character wild card (.). Automatically excludes the root word

Examples are .*<name> or <name>.*.

These options can be found in the MicroStation documentation under Printing Guide / Print Resymbolization and Pen Tables / Modify Pen Table dialog box.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.

Send in Those Tips!
The pace of life slows in the summer -- so they say -- and the same seems to be true for tips! Tips & Tools Weekly could use a few good tips for our readers who are hard at work this time of year. Send us your favorite tip, code, or shortcut you've devised to help you save time and/or do your job better so that we can share it with other readers. We welcome tips related to all CAD software systems. If we publish your tip, you'll receive a Cadalyst T-shirt, and one contributor will be selected randomly to receive a monthly $100 prize.

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, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda, and Billy Wooten.

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Opportunities & Honors

Caligari Launches Ambassador Program
Caligari announced a new Ambassador program for all users of Caligari trueSpace. The trueSpace Ambassador program is designed to reward those trueSpace users who help others and share their work within the broader 3D community. Read more


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Books & Training

AutoCAD 2008 Courseware
ProSoft released its AutoCAD 2008 Fundamentals Reference Manual. The 506-page manual provides an introduction to the tools, concepts, and workflows required for proficiency with AutoCAD 2008. It includes step-by-step workflows, diagrams, and illustrations. Read more

Revit Architecture Book
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2008 for Architects & Designers covers Revit Architecture 2008 concepts and commands and includes real-world building designs and architectural examples that guide users through the learning process. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

General Software: Sage Master Builder v13
New version from Sage Software features compatibility with Microsoft Windows Vista Business and capabilities for drill-down reporting. Read more

AEC: AutoCAD P&ID 2008
Autodesk's new version features improvements for project management, data access, DWF publishing, and ISO standards support. Read more

AEC: ArchBlocks.com 2007
Saddleback CAD releases New Block Library for Architects, which features furniture, appliance, doors and windows, lighting, and other libraries that can be purchased as a set or in modules. Read more

CAM: Virtual Machine v17
ICAM Technologies' machine tool simulation/NC postprocessing solution allows programmers to visualize and test corresponding NC postprocessors for maximum output. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Introduction to the Cadastral Editor in ArcGIS Survey Analyst 9.2
September 13, 2007
9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. PDT
This webinar will provide an overview of the features of Cadastral Editor such as the ability to add new parcels from subdivision plats, split parcels, add control points, and improve the spatial positions of parcels without changing the original survey record data stored in the database. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com.

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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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