This Week's Software Tips
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Quickly Print a PDF
Reader Frank Roegiers says his template drawing has several paper spaces: A4/A3/A2/A1/A0, etc. He explains, "In the page setup, I have the company's plotter. However, if I need to quickly make a PDF, I use the toolbar button with this code to plot an A4:
(command "-plot" "y" "" "A4.pc3" "custom" "" "portrait" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "")
"I made several of these buttons, one for each format and for each orientation. The A4.pc3 is actually the Amyuni PDF converter."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This tip is valid, but keep in mind that different companies use different plotting procedures, even for PDF outputs. One of us used AutoCAD 2007 on this tip and got a similar result; however, the Command line input was a bit different. A few tweaks should produce the expected results -- be sure to follow the Command line. The printer/plotter drop-down list in the Plot dialog box should show a PDF plot selection. Choose the one that's most efficient for your task.
Also keep in mind that automated plotting and printing sequences can quickly become unusable and must be updated. Plotters and printers are often replaced, software is upgraded, and so on.
Perry Medina contributes these external reference tricks. If you ever need to externally reference a file so you can see it as you work on your drawing but don't ever want it to plot, place the external reference on its own layer. Set that layer to No Plot, and it won't ever plot. If you want to see an xref in one viewport and not in another, place the external reference on its own layer and freeze the layer with the xref on it in the appropriate viewport.
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip! Thanks, Perry.
Follow-Up: Add Layers to Purged Drawings
Cord Struckmann has another suggestion to improve the use of AutoCAD's DesignCenter, as suggested in the October 22 tip, Add Layers to Purged Drawing. He says, "It's possible to create a home within the DesignCenter. Right-click on any file or folder in the DesignCenter window, and select Set as Home. Wherever you are in the Design Center, the file can be accessed with one click on Home. This is great also because AutoCAD 2006/2007 DWT template files are listed in the DesignCenter, too."
Follow-Up: Centralized Sheet Sets
In addition to the advice in Centralized Sheet Sets in the October 22 issue, Genaro Enierga suggests creating a template project with all the folder structure and generic drawing sheets (with cover sheet) with a template DST file in it. Then, when you start a new project, the full folder structure is copied into your project drive. Rename the DST to the new project and in Properties change the project name and number and custom fields. In minutes you have a good start of a project package. "It's like magic using Sheet Set Manager," Genaro says. "If you set your cover page with fields linking SSM, such as job name and number, project address, and the like, plus the ability to insert sheet list -- 'WOW,' is all you can say!"
MicroStation Tip: Taking Cell Libraries to Other Dimensions
How do you convert a MicroStation v7 3D cell library to a v7 2D cell library and vice versa? It can be done easily using MicroStation's Export function. Learn how to use the Export function in this step-by-step tutorial.
Axiom offers many Microstation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.
Submit 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 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.
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.