Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 44)24 Nov, 2008
|Dear Readers:Tips & Tools Weekly will take a holiday break next week and will resume publication Monday, December 8. To our U.S. readers, have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.|
Attention Cadalyst Fans at Autodesk University 2008
Join Cadalyst at Autodesk University during the AUGI Beer Bust on December 3 for our first-ever Meet & Greet. Readers are invited to stop by the Cadalyst booth (# 238) to meet the editors and some of your favorite Cadalyst authors. Come by between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. to say hello and enter our drawing for Cadalyst freebies.
This Week's Software Tips
Attach Quick Leader
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This is useful LISP, especially because with mtext, it will allow you to "connect" your leader not only to the top line of text or the bottom line of text, but even to the second or third lines of text. Starting with Release 2008, a separate toolbar for leaders called Multileaders was included.
Add Function Calls to Entities
Raymond writes, "I drew a small circle in our DWT file at the edge of the title block. Then I converted the circle to a region. (We generally do not use regions in our work.) In the DCA menu, I assigned the following code to the region:
^C^C^C(if (not Action) (Load "Action")()) (Action);
"Whenever anyone double-clicks the small circle, the command is run. Just remember, any region used in your DWG file will react to this command. This command launches a dialog box to select options for display in the title block. Also, we use shared menus that reside on our server.
"You can assign commands to entities and use to display geometry of an arc, display the inverse of a line, display attribute information of blocks, and the list is limitless!"
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Great tip! The user just has to determine which entities must be "sacrificed" to use this procedure. This tip can lead to a lot of efficient time-saving ideas. Thanks, Raymond.
Another Tip Patrol member agrees this is a good tip, but offers this caution: This is one of a group of customizations by which users, if they are not careful (careful in their documentation as well as in a professional sense), can customize their system to the point at which it becomes "myCAD" and not AutoCAD. Customizing the short-cut keys, toolbars, palettes, (in 09 the Ribbon) -- heck even customizing the PGP -- all allow the user to create a personal and idiosyncratic work environment.
Creating double-click commands for (typically in your usage or your firm's) unused entities is one more (double-edged) tool. In a sense, it is a method of REDEFINING or RENAMING commands. If users do so, they will always need to document their changes (on paper as well electronically) and -- if in a multiuser firm or as a visiting contractor -- be prepared to quickly (and easily) change things back to "normal."
Customization should always be balanced with its utility and its impact on one's skill set. A highly customized and thereby "personal" environment may make you much less functional (and marketable) to an outside employer!
Erasing Layers in Land Desktop
"I find this command useful for cleaning up layers in drawings that are not needed coming from outside sources, thus saving time by erasing all objects from a layer with a single selection. I then use the purge (PU) command to remove all unused layers from the drawing file. This helps to reduce unnecessary xref layers in all drawings associated with it in the future."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: In 2007 and 2008 the Layer Delete command (in the Layer Properties Box) and in 2009 (in the Layers Ribbon dropdown) will provide the desired results. The Tip Patrol did not locate such an alias (YE) for Layer Erase in Civil 3D 2009.
AutoCAD Icon Switches
/w "myworkspacename" (replace "myworkspacename" with your own
"This switch specifies which workspace is to be restored at startup. The workspace must be in one of the loaded CUI files, main, enterprise, or partial. So the icon property Target box may look something like this:
"c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2009\Acad.exe" /w "myworkspace
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: As always, Lee Ambrosious' www.hyperpics.com continues to be a great user resource.
This tip, of course, would be of the greatest utility in a multiple-users-on-one-workstation environment. Single users probably won't have a real need for this (unless they have seriously different workspaces for different disciplines and prefer to "switch" from, for example, architectural to electrical via a desktop AutoCAD icon rather than within AutoCAD via the Workspace toolbar or command.
It's always a good idea to review the usefulness of switches, especially if most of the drawings being used are notably similar. The default Workspace can also be set by typing in Workspace and selecting setCurrent.
Grid Display Variable
"Note: Setting 4 is ignored unless setting 2 is specified."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This tip works as stated and is explained in the AutoCAD Help file under GRIDDISPLAY. As the HELP entry (and the tip) note, if the GRIDDISPLAY setvar is not (initially) set to 2, then the adapative 4 setting cannot be applied. Not included in this tip, the AutoCAD HELP entry also references the VSCURRENT settings, which will let the user adjust the color and style of the GRID.
Quick 3D Solid
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: True, it's undocumented, but it works just as Pedro says. A 3D solid is created on top of the objects used to make it; these objects are not erased. It also works in 2009 versions of AutoCAD MEP and Civil 3D.
Note: Follow-up tips are not reviewed by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.
Follow-up: Mask Background
Deals & Freebies
Free Alibre Design Xpress
Cosateq Offers Free Trial of SCALE-RT
SCALE-RT is a scalable product based on open-source software, which includes a Linux kernel and real-time Xenomai extension. Read more
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Opportunities & Honors
Call For Papers: Share Your Knowledge at Siemens PLM Connection 2009
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The Week's New CAD and Related Products
Hardware: Capturx Forms for Excel
Hardware: Eden260V 3D Printer
General Software: Mathematica v7
Visualization: XVL Software Packages
Collaboration: Brava! Desktop v2.2 and Brava Enterprise v6.1
Collaboration: Online Meeting for 3DXplorer V4.2
MCAD: CADSTAR V11
CAE: ALGOR V23
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Mark Your Calendar
Improving Data Management with Autodesk Productstream
Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical 2009
AIA National Convention and Design Exposition
Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2009
For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com.
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!