This Week's Software Tips
Get the Code!
Cadalyst's April code from Hot Tip Harry is available for download. Alan Butler earned last month's Top Tip honors for Break All Selected Objects, a robust set of command functions for breaking lines, lwplines, plines, splines, ellipses, circles, and arcs.
Speedy Script Files
Reader Terry Fritz wrote, "Rather than go to the trouble of creating a new button, modifying a menu, or writing a LISP routine, I make use of script files. These are especially useful for tasks that are performed only occasionally. For these types of tasks, I prefer script files because they are easy to write and do not reside in memory or leave any defined variables behind. I save them to the desktop and drag-and-drop to run them. Since they do not require loading at startup, my startups are faster. Also they are loaded only when I need them, so I use less memory. And best of all, I never have variables conflicting with one another or conflicting function names.
"To make this more efficient, I leave the right edge of my desktop screen open. I place all the script files down this edge of the monitor. When I need one, I just click and drag it to the AutoCAD screen. It runs automatically. Just about any LISP routine that uses AutoCAD commands to set up or clean up a drawing can be done this way. I use mine to create layers for revisions, purge drawings, and attach xrefs."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Great tip! Script files are very easy to create: Just use a text editor, create the commands in the file, and save. You can also have AutoCAD load script files every time by placing them in the AUTODOC.LSP file. If you tell the AUTODOC.LSP file to run a script on a network, you ensure that all users on a network have certain settings correct when they start their drawings. The uses are endless.
Gene Shingaki wrote to share his way to address revisions in the border sheet using the Sheet Set Manager. "Since we do not have the same revisions on every sheet, populating the revision block was a problem," he says. Here's how he did it.
- In Sheet Set Manager, highlight the project name and right-click to see the properties.
- Select Sheet Set Custom Properties / Edit Custom Properties / Add / Create New Custom Revision Properties Similar To.
- Also, it is a good idea to make a revision custom property for your as-built revision. (I use an A for the revision number.)
- Open your border sheet template drawing and create one set of fields for your revision number, revision date, revision description, revision by, etc.
- Now you can link first the revision number field to the custom property REVISION-1_NUMBER, then the revision date field to the REVISION-1_DATE custom property, etc.
- When you finish linking the REVISION-1 fields, block these fields into one block called REVISION-1 (make the insertion point at the bottom left corner of your revision number box).
- After creating the block, you can revise the fields to link to REVISION-2_ ? custom properties, and reblock the fields as REVISION-2, and repeat.
- Save your template with these new blocks.
- When it comes time to do revisions, you can input the information in the Sheet Set Manager and insert the revision block into only the sheets required for that revision.
- This also gives everyone a running tally of all the revisions in the Sheet Set Manager without looking at transmittals.
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Wow! That's a mouthful, but it works. Users can set up the blocks to fit the needs of their title blocks, borders, clients, and more. The important part is setting up the properties in the template file. Experiment with this approach to get exactly what you need for your projects.
Welded Assemblies in Autodesk Inventor 2008
Margherita Perini sent in Welded Assemblies, her procedure for working with a welded assembly model in Autodesk Inventor 2008.
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This procedure documents a nice standard. Thanks, Margherita!
Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.
Follow-Up: Scale List in Civil 3D 2008
Brandon Pachol writes, "Cleaning out extraneous xref scales can also be done by going to Options / User Preferences / Edit Scale List / Reset. However, this doesn't always work. If the list is too long, it just locks up and does nothing. The Scale List in Civil 3D 2008 tip in the April 14 edition appears to work no matter what; that's what makes it great."
Chris Micallef, prompted by the Oops! tip in our April 14 edition, offers another way work with objects: "When multiple objects overlap or are very close together, hold your mouse over the objects, hold the Shift key down, and repeatedly press the Space Bar until the object you want to edit is highlighted. Click on it with your left mouse button and the object is selected. In previous versions (AutoCAD 2007 and earlier, I believe), the Tab key did the same thing. Another option is to select all the objects in the area that you are working in. Once selected, hold the Shift key down and select the objects that you do not want to work with. The Shift key will deselect objects from a selection set."
The Oops! tip also inspired Jerry Landes to share the following: "The beauty of the Undo command for me has been the Mark option. You can set a mark before doing some major trial-and-error modifications, and when you are done with the experiment, simply Undo back to the mark you previously set. You can even set multiple marks, working like bread crumbs back to the beginning of your scenic trip."
MicroStation Tip: Adding a Cell to a Tool Box
Adding a Cell to a Tool Box is a quick tip for MicroStation V8 users: You can add a frequently used cell to a button on your tool box. Then you can just click on an icon and place the cell, instead of having to find the cell in the cell library.
Today's MicroStation tip courtesy of Axiom and MicroStationTips.com.
Submit Your Tip 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, and Billy Wooten.
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Mark Your Calendar
Autodesk Experience Tour
April 22 - June 26, 2008
Various U.S. and Canadian Cities
These sessions promise to show how to visualize, simulate, and analyze the real-world performance of your ideas; optimize and improve designs before creating anything; and achieve higher-quality designs in less time. Read more
Los Angeles AUGI CAD Camp
May 21, 2008
Los Angeles, California
AUGI CAD Camp, Los Angeles, offers a variety of courses as well as opportunities to network and browse the exhibit area. 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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