Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 25)7 Jul, 2008
This Week's Software Tips
Congratulations, June Winner!
Polylines from Metes and Bounds
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: We love it! No need for VBA code or Excel linking. All the work is done in the Excel spreadsheet. One little modification: On cell G26 of the spreadsheet, simply hit the Enter key. Include this cell in the clipboard copy list (Crtl+C), as Mark states. When pasted in the Command line, that extra polyline won't show. For those interested, Wikipedia offers a brief synopsis of Metes and Bounds.
Mirrored Text Workaround
"The workaround is to change the scale x value into the positive (i.e., from -1 to 1) then set the rotation back to 0. When dealing with rotation and UCSs with these blocks, I have found setting the text rotation in the Enhanced Attribute Editor back to 0 is sometimes needed. (If it's on 0, you may need to replace with 1, then change back to 0.)
NOTES FROM CADALYST: We ran this tip past Steve Johnson, author of Cadalyst's "Bug Watch" column. Steve explains, "While this behavior almost certainly isn't what you might want AutoCAD to do, it's not exactly a bug, either. The Attsync command updates a block insertion's attributes to match the block definition, discarding any changes that may have been made to the attributes in that block insertion. According to Help:
Warning: Attsync removes any format or property changes made with the Attedit or Eattedit commands. It also deletes any extended data associated with the block, and might affect dynamic blocks and blocks created by third-party applications.
"It's not explicitly stated, but those discarded changes include the unmirroring that was done by AutoCAD during the Mirror command if Mirrtext was set to 0 at the time."
Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.
Follow-Up: Align Crosshairs to Odd Angles
Ken Largent wrote to remind readers that changing the rotation of crosshairs is not the same thing as changing the coordinate system. "While defining a different coordinate system may change the rotation of the crosshairs, it also changes the origin. When working in a team environment, the one thing that needs to remain constant is the origin. If someone else needs to reference the drawing you are working on and needs it to line up with theirs, it must have the same origin. By changing the UCS, you are in effect changing the origin, and the drawings won't line up all by themselves."
Cord Struckman responded, "Some refer to using the UCS from Object tool. It is important to understand that this will redefine the base point of the file. It will be set to the base point of the selected object. Most often, people are not aware of this fact. If this is not desired, you need to reset the base to 0,0,0 manually."
Bryan Nakkan followed up on the follow-up tip about Snapang: "Rather than pick an angle, I use Snapang, Near, Near to select the angle, picking two points on a line that is already at the desired angle for the crosshairs."
Follow-Up: Dynamic Block Visibility States
Cord recommends another approach, which he believes works in AutoCAD 2006 or 2007 and later. "Use the Reverse Lookup parameter in the block editor. It looks like the visibility parameter. Each individual combination of the various parameters — of which the author seemed to have many — can be accessed by giving each a name and defining it in a lookup table with a meaningful name. It is important that Allow Reverse Lookup is selected in the Lookup Properties.
"I submit ROOF-SLOPE_REVERSE-LOOKUP.DWG with a roof slope block that uses this concept in a very simple way. More parameters and possible combinations in a block certainly increase the number of reverse lookups. Programming the block takes more time, and it is not the most interesting job to do, but the end user should appreciate the ability to access a specific combination of parameters instantly.
"I must say that the dynamic blocks are one of the few features that were really thought through from the beginning. Thanks, Autodesk."
MicroStation Tip: Printing Combined Key-ins
Today's MicroStation tip courtesy of The Envision Group.
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Deals & Freebies
Plastic Injection Simulation Software
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The Week's New CAD and Related Products
Hardware: HP xw4550 Workstation
MCAD: Clarizen v2.1
MCAD: VariCAD 2008 v2
CAE: e-Simpoe 2008
CAM: Pictures by PC v3.2
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Mark Your Calendar
Webcast: Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical 2009
Webinar: Image to Map — Turn up Your Stereo
Webinar: Rapidly Connect and Share Your World
Webcast: Improving Data Management with Autodesk Productstream
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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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 Tips & Tricks Tuesdays free e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is available. All exclusively from Cadalyst!