Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 32)

25 Aug, 2008

This Week's Software Tips

Bullet Lists in Revit
Paul Hildebrandt shared this tip for Revit converts: "If you select a few lines of text in a multiline text object and hit Ctrl + Shift + L, Revit will create a bulleted list for you. If you keep pressing this key combination, you will cycle through multiple list styles and back to normal text."

This is a great way to reduce the time in setting up complex documents. The same procedure in AutoCAD mtext (Ctrl + Shift + L) will change the selected text into lower-case characters; Ctrl + Shift + U will produce upper-case characters.

Profiles from the Desktop
Leonid Nemirovsky shared his method for saving profiles, which he uses with Autodesk Land Desktop 2006 and Civil 3D 2006: "If saving profiles for different projects is a common practice in your company and profiles (ARG files) are saved somewhere on the network for everybody to use, you can create a copy of the AutoCAD launching icon on the desktop, right-click on it, select Properties, and in the Target window type something like this:

C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2007\acad.exe /P YOURPROFILENAME.ARG

"YOURPROFILE.ARG must include the full path to your presaved profile, for example c:\profiles\myprofile.arg (or somewhere on the network). In case you do not have these icons created but need to start another AutoCAD session with a different profile while still in AutoCAD, at the command prompt type SHELL and then something like this:


"Again YOURPROFILE.ARG must include the full path to your presaved profile, for example c:\profiles\myprofile.arg (or somewhere on the network)."

This is an excellent method for allowing multiple users access to the same computer. /P is called a switch and, along with other types, is used primarily to open AutoCAD a specific way. Cadalyst Tip Patrol member Brian Benton wrote Start-Up Switches, an article about switches in relation to AutoCAD 2007.

Exploding Splines
Len also sent this tip, which, although tiny, eliminates a lot of frustration. "If you have created a spline using AutoCAD's Spline command, the Explode command does not work. As a workaround, first use the Express Tools command Flatten, select the spline, and accept the default option N or just press Enter. The spline then becomes a pline that can be exploded if needed.

Good tip. For those without Express Tools installed, you can also download a free routine SPL2PL.VLX from Note that this tip does not work in AutoCAD LT.

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

Follow-Up: Layer Filter Clean-Up
Regarding the tip published in the August 18 edition, John MacFall told us that he has reduced some AutoCAD files to as little as 2% of the original size by deleting layer filters. ?One drawing had some 650 filters!? he wrote. He created a button he calls the Delete AutoCAD Layer Filters routine from Jimmy Bergmark?s JTB World Web site. ?I'm presently using ADT 2007, and the routine works in the blink of an eye.?

Correction: Express Tool Reminders
A typo in the August 18 edition mistakenly identified the update drawing properties command as Populate. The correct command is Propulate. Thanks to Scott Ansley for setting us straight!

MicroStation Tip: Level Control and Password Protection in PDF
In Microstation v8 2004 edition, your files can be printed in Acrobat PDF format. You can assign level control and password protection to these documents. To learn how, download this tip as a PDF.

Today's MicroStation tip courtesy of The Envision Group.

VectorWorks Tip: Subclasses
In VectorWorks, you can create a class structure that has main classes and one or two levels of subclasses. If you intend to have a large number of classes in a document, decide on a logical structure before you begin to create objects. This makes it easy to assign classes as objects are created. For example, a drawing of a building might have a structure that includes main classes for architecture, plumbing, and electrical objects. Within the main architecture class, there might be door, window, and wall subclasses. Those subclasses in turn can have subclasses. For example, the wall subclass might have interior and exterior subclasses.

Today's VectorWorks tip courtesy of Nemetschek North America.

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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Deals & Freebies

Bricscad v9 Beta Available for Download
Bricsys has unveiled Bricscad v9 for application developers of engineering solutions. Bricscad v9 is designed to bring applications for AEC, GIS, civil, and mechanical engineering to the DWG community. The English version of Bricscad v9 will be officially released in September. The beta version of Bricscad v9 is available for download to those who register. Read more

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Books & Training

Training Videos for Adobe Acrobat v9 Pro
Titled Total Training for Adobe Acrobat v9 Pro: Essentials, the five-hour video series instructs viewers on features available in Acrobat v9 along with techniques for creating, managing, and using PDF files. Read more

Land Desktop to Civil 3D Training Book
Cadapult Software Solutions released Digging Into AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009, a training book for facilitating the transition from Land Desktop to Civil 3D. The 384-page book walks the reader through a real-world project using AutoCAD Civil 3D. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: Infinity WF 42 and WF 48 Scanners
BOWE BELL + HOWELL's wide-format scanners are designed to convert documents as wide as 42" and 48", respectively, into digital images in bitonal, grayscale, and color. Read more

AEC: Munsys Geo-scan Tools
Designed for AutoCAD Map-based products, the tools enable the capture, integration, and use of scanned images for utility asset inventory recording and other applications. Read more

MCAD: Lattice Technology 3D CAD Conversion Tools
The converters are available as plug-ins into a CAD seat or as servers that work within a manufacturing IT system or enterprise workflow. Read more

CAE: FLOW-3D v9.3
Flow Science reports its CFD software now has more powerful solutions for a wider variety of multiphysics modeling environments and other upgrades. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

AUGI One-Day CAD Camps
Various U.S. Cities
September 18 - November 5, 2008
AUGI CAD Camps offer a full day of training, expert advice from top instructors, networking opportunities, technology updates, and more. Read more

GITA 2008 GIS for Oil & Gas Conference
September 21-24, 2008
Houston, Texas
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association's 17th annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition is the world's largest gathering of oil and gas GIS professionals. Events will include targeted educational sessions, a forum for best practices, a sold-out exhibit floor, networking events, and much more. Read more

GITA GIS for Oil & Gas Conference — Calgary
November 6-7, 2008
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Canada and the United States have significant differences in rules and regulations, and this GITA (Geospatial Information & Technology Association) conference promises real solutions to Canada's biggest oil and gas challenges. Read more

Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall
December 8-11, 2008
Washington, DC
Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall covers green building, sustainable design, renewable energy, environmental planning processes, and more. Attendees include AEC professionals, owners, developers, and facility managers. Read more

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

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist 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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