Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 31)

18 Aug, 2008

This Week's Software Tips

Layer Filter Clean-Up
Mike Carter offered this tip regarding layer filters: "Your drawing file sizes may be oversized due to having large numbers of layer filters in there. You may have never created a layer filter yourself; they get brought in any time you insert or copy/paste a block from another drawing that has filters. If you don't delete them, you wind up with hundreds or thousands of filters from years back that aren't being used. This can hog a lot of hard disk space unnecessarily.

"The Purge command doesn't get them out. If you type La to get the Layer Settings dialog box, it will ask you if you want to delete them if there are too many. If you answer No, you can see the filters on the left side of the dialog box. You can delete layer filters from there as well just by selecting them and hitting the Delete key."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: You can also use the _Filters command to delete named layer filters. Note that you may or may not get the warning dialog box when you open the Layer Manager. It depends on the setting of the system variable LAYERFILTERALERT. (Check AutoCAD Help because this variable has four possible settings.) Also, we believe layer filers are not being carried from drawing to drawing in AutoCAD 2006 and later.

That said, drawing housekeeping is (and should be) the responsibility of each and every user. Ideally every drawing should be purged of unused and unnecessary layers, blocks, dimstyles, textstyles, linetypes, xrefs, and images as well as layer filters. This is especially critical with xref drawings because of the ability to attach unused and unneeded layers, etc.

Express Tool Reminders
Leonid Nemirovsky sent some reminders about Express Tools, including the excellent features under File Tools: Save All Drawings and Close All Drawings. His favorite is Update Drawing Property Data, which allows quick, automated population of the Drawing Properties dialog box fields. This data is seen when using the Dwgprops command or when viewing the properties of a DWG file through Windows Explorer, outside AutoCAD. Drawing property data can be updated, listed, or removed from the current drawing or a subdirectory of drawings. For example, it is very helpful to have access to a list of external references to a drawing without opening AutoCAD. Just initiate the command from the Express Tools menu / File tools / Update Drawing Properties or via the Command line: Populate.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip! It is always worth reminding folks about stuff they may already have (and paid for).

Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.

Follow-Up: Revision Changes
Two readers sent in their methods to check revision changes in response to our August 11 tip. John Jordan prefers to xref one file to the other and change the color in the Layer Manager to something that stands out. By moving the xref to the front and back, you can see the changes in a similar manner as described by the original tip. Jane Hand reminds us that Autodesk Design Review has a Compare tool that allows you to overlay one revision of a drawing with another and show the differences. You can choose the colors, and it will show only the areas that have been changed. Download Autodesk Design Review at no charge from the Autodesk Web site.

Follow-Up: Create Construction Layer
In response to our August 11 issue, Ray Baird shared his office's method for creating a construction layer using AutoCAD 2008 LT: "We set up our office AutoCAD template to include the construction layer. The color for the layer in the template is magenta, and we don't use magenta for any other layer or item. So when we see magenta, we always know it is the construction layer. The layer is set to not plot using the Layer Property Manager. The drawback to this method is that if construction is the current layer, when you insert an xref or block, the item will show up on the screen but will not plot."

MicroStation Tip: Dimension Tips
Looking to dissociate a dimension, justify dimension text, or lock out the ability to drop dimensions? Check out these quick dimension tips.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

Submit Your Tip

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 remember:

  • Submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit).
  • 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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CIMdata Offers Review of Dassault Systemes V6 Program
CIMdata, a PLM consulting and research firm, has published a review of Dassault Systemes' V6 Program. The review identifies the challenges facing businesses today that are driving development and deployment of PLM solutions, Dassault Systemes' history and position in the PLM market, and a review of its new V6 program. Read more

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Opportunities & Honors

Irrigation Project Designer Wins Award
Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. (KBL) received a Technology Innovation Award from the Government of Gujurat for a pump engineering solution and siphon designed to provide drinking water, hydroelectric power, and irrigation to 4,000 drought-afflicted villages in the Saurashtra and Kutch regions of India. KBL used PTC's Pro/ENGINEER software to design the innovative pumping scheme. Read more

Autodesk Announces 2008 Recipients of Masters Award
Paul Neale, Dario Passariello, Andrea Maiolo, and Piyush Patel were the recipients of this year's Autodesk Masters awards. Through this annual program, the company recognizes exceptional Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya software artists and technical specialists whose work and dedication have significantly contributed to the advancement of computer graphics. Read more

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Books & Training

Transoft Solutions Training
Transoft Solutions launched a line of self-paced training modules specific to the company's CAD software. Transoft Solutions' Desktop training modules are designed to help users understand the features and functionality in AutoTURN, ParkCAD, AeroTURN, InVision for AutoTURN, and InVision for AeroTURN. Read more

AutoCAD Map 3D 2009 Book
Cadapult Software Solutions, an Autodesk authorized publisher, released Digging Into AutoCAD Map 3D 2009 (304 pages), a revision of the company's Map 3D 2008 book that incorporates the changes in the current version of Map 3D. Read more

Autodesk Training
U.S. CAD is offering interactive online training in the latest Autodesk software solutions to customers worldwide. U.S. CAD's LIVE! Online Training is based on Autodesk-recommended courses and uses Autodesk Official or Autodesk Approved Training Courseware materials. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: ThinkPad W700
Lenovo's 17" wide-screen mobile workstation incorporates a built-in digitizer and color calibrator. Read more

Hardware: NVIDIA Quadro FX mobile GPUs
The notebook series includes the Quadro FX 3700M, with 128 CUDA parallel computing processor cores, which offers 1 GB of dedicated graphics memory. Read more

Hardware: NVIDIA D Series Quadro Plex Systems
Company's visual computing systems were developed for the styling and design, geosciences, and scientific visualization industries. Read more

General Software: InnoCielo Global Collaboration Framework 2008
ECM Solutions' updated version of the InnoCielo Meridian Enterprise module enables collaborative workflow between geographically dispersed teams. Read more

Visualization: SU Podium v1.5 for Mac
New version of Cadalog plug-in for Google SketchUp runs on Mac OS X on both Intel and PowerPC computers. Read more

Visualization: Autodesk Stitcher Unlimited 2009 and ImageModeler 2009
The first versions of the former REALVIZ products enable the creation of 3D models from simple 2D images. Read more

Visualization: CINEMA 4D v11 3D
Animation software suite from MAXON Computer includes a nonlinear animation system, new global illumination render engine, and improved render speed. Read more

Visualization: RTT DeltaGen v8 and RTT PictureBook v4
Latest versions include an interface redesign, improved real-time raytracing, a fluid dynamics module, and enhancements to the asset management system and presentation platform. Read more

Visualization: HyperMove
Bunkspeed's animation tool includes a palette of photorealistic materials and accurate, real-time visuals. Read more

Online network for data sharing supports additional services and provides interoperability to other geospatial solutions. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Mid-Continent MicroStation Community Conference 2008
August 26-27, 2008
Overland Park, Kansas
The MCMC user conference will include sessions covering MicroStation, GEOPAK, InRoads, BIM, and CAD management in addition to a Bentley keynote, technology exhibition, and networking. Read more

Webcast: Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical 2009
August 28, 2008
10:30 a.m. CST
This webcast, hosted by Applied Engineering, will feature a high-level overview of AutoCAD Electrical 2009 for companies that are evaluating an electrical design package to increase productivity and design detail. Read more

Webcast: Autodesk Inventor 2009: The Foundation for Digital Prototyping
September 4, 2008
10:30 a.m. CST
This webcast will introduce the features of Autodesk Inventor 2009 including migrating 2D data into the Autodesk Inventor 3D environment, creating a part and a drawing using Autodesk Inventor, and more. Hosted by Applied Engineering. Read more

Autodesk Northeast 2008
September 18, 2008
Boxborough, Massachusetts
The focus of Autodesk Northeast 2008 is digital prototyping and how use of the Autodesk Digital Prototyping tools can connect disparate departments into one cohesive team. Hosted by M2 Technologies. Read more

AGIC 2008 Geospatial Education and Training Symposium
October 8-10, 2008
Prescott, Arizona
Three days of workshops, technical demonstrations, and activities will keep participants current on the latest geospatial technologies. Sponsored by the Arizona Geographic Information Council. Read more

Basic Geospatial Intelligence Workshop
October 20-21, 2008
Arlington, Virginia
Sponsored by the Homeland Defense Journal, this workshop will introduce the processes, methods, and products of geospatial intelligence. Read more

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

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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