Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 7)25 Feb, 2008
This Week's Software Tips
Outside the Box
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This is a good reminder that you can tell AutoCAD OK without clicking on the OK button. This also works with single-line text, although two clicks are needed.
Customized Complex Linetype
"One of the more common requests for a linetype that starts with a shape is for flow arrows, and I am providing instructions for that particular linetype. This could be easily modified for other shapes. As always, make sure you back up any files you may be editing for this.
"First, create a linetype definition as you normally would for your desired linetype. The example below will place open arrows along the line, but in reverse direction of how the line is placed. (You'll see why in a minute.)
"Next add this shape to LTYPES.SHP (or wherever you place custom linetype shapes; just be sure to change the above code accordingly).
"Use the Compile command to create an SHX file from your SHP file. Alternatively, you can use Express Tools to create the shapes and linetypes that you want.
"Now the sneaky part: Create a dimension leader style that uses Closed blank as the arrowhead. Create your flow lines with Qleader set to None for annotation type and No Limit to number of points. (I also like Spline leader line.) Because you are actually creating a leader, you must pick in reverse direction of flow.
"Modify the leader's linetype to the customized Openflow linetype. If you want to use a different arrowhead style, just create a shape that matches the arrowhead. If you don't like any of the stock symbols in Dimstyle, you can also make a custom block from the shape for a user arrow.
"Drawbacks: Entity is a leader and is restricted to the editing and data information of such. You may have to adjust Dimasz and/or Dimscale if the arrow sizes don't match or Ltscale is changed. There is nothing that locks the initial arrowhead size to the remaining line if things start getting changed."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: We applaud this detailed explanation of linetype creation. Here’s a resource from KX CAD that provides more information about AutoCAD 2008 custom linetypes. This is a complicated procedure that will require special handling in both implementation and regular use. Some users will prefer to buy rather than build complex linetypes.
For those who are resetting variables after getting a new computer, he writes: "WHIPARC controls whether the display of circles and arcs is tessellated or smooth."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip! The WHIPARC setvar is worth reminding folks about. It’s another classic feature that can trip up new users.
Blast from the Past
"Additionally, for those who like to use the Command prompt for a bunch of forgotten functions, in response to the Move, Stretch, and Erase commands at the Command prompt, enter something odd at the Select objects prompt, such as NNN, then press Enter. You will find on the Command prompt something like this:
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Thanks for the blast from the not-so-distant past, Leonid. (At least for some of us!) The old Attedit dialog box has its uses still. We hope not all of the old Command functions are forgotten. We Tip Patrollers still regularly use C for Crossing selection, A for Add, R for Remove, W for Window selection, and P for Previous set selection. It is useful to remind folks that there are additional options: CP for Crossing Polygon selection, WP for Window Polygon selection, U for Undo that last selection, and more. Note that almost any keystroke on the Command line will access the Command selections prompt (except, of course, one of the selection options prefixes such as R or C). For example, just typing N will give you the same response.
Exporting Custom Tool Palettes
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good idea. Be sure to right-click inside the docking bar to get the Customize option. Autodesk probably prefers that we export palettes one at a time. After all, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be AutoCAD.
Follow-Up: Check an Entity’s Properties
Dave Jansson also sent in this code for finding entity data using the Nentsel command. He reports, "This gives more information on a nested, or regular, entity and is especially useful on xrefs, where I employ this code most of the time."
Dave reports that he uses I for the Defun because he prefers to keep his character typing to a minimum. The routine is placed in ACADDOC.LSP, so it is loaded automatically. Other useful bits of code may be
as well as
Dave says, "The nice thing about this LISP code is that it retains a previously set fillet radius as long as you don't quit this routine, as it has no error handler."
Follow-Up: File-Sharing Best Practices
David suggests using the eTransmit command found on AutoCAD's File menu. He says, "You can set the xrefs to be relative or all in one directory. AutoCAD will do the rest."
Rick Gill also recommends the eTransmit tool, which he uses in Land Desktop 2005. Offering further explanation, he says, "It not only gathers all the files associated with your drawing file -- such as fonts, linetypes, xrefs, jpegs, gifs, and more -- it also creates a printable, professional-looking transmittal report with every detail you could want to know about the file you just received. You can enter notes with the transmittal package, add additional files, and save standard transmittal setups so you don't have to redo them every time.
"You can also save these for future reference, say if someone has a problem with a package you've sent in the past. All this is compiled in a nice, condensed, standard ZIP file that you can archive for future use and use to keep track of submittals. I think this has to be one of the most useful commands out there, saving me tons of time hunting down all of the associated files linked to a drawing file, no matter where the file resides."
MicroStation Tip: AccuDraw Focus
Today's MicroStation tip courtesy of The Envision Group.
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Deals & Freebies
IDX Variable Constraint Plug-In for AutoCAD Beta
CADalytic Media Offers SpecifiCAD Beta for ArchiCADCADalytic Media released SpecifiCAD beta for Graphisoft ArchiCAD v10 and v11. The company reports that designers can access CAD details, SketchUp 3D models, catalogs, three-part specifications, and green design information. The beta release is available free on the CADalytic Media Web site. Read more
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Opportunities & Honors
NVIDIA, CGSociety Sponsor Design Competition
Etrage Launches the IWBIWYBI Challenge
BIM Experience Kit a 2008 CODiE Award Finalist
Autodesk Product Receives Scientific & Technical Academy Award
DSM SOMOS Announces Winners of X-Factor Challenge
Books & Training
Solids Modeling Exercises
AutoCAD Architecture Guidebook
Solid Edge v20 Training
The Week's New CAD and Related Products
General Software: Chronos for AutoCAD v3.2
General Software: Deep Access
Visualization: Artlantis Render and Studio
Visualization: Penguin v2.0
Visualization: Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 and 3ds Max Design 2009
AEC: ARQ Landscape 3
GIS: GeoBlade Crimes
MCAD: CFdesign for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4
CAE: SymLab v1.2Unified simulation environment from Symscape can be extended using add-ons such as the SymLab Professional into a complete CAE system for fluid flow analysis. Read more
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Mark Your Calendar
Webinar: Integration of the RAM Structural System and RAM Connection
Webcast: Staying Billable for CAD Users
Model-Based Definition for the Masses CPDA Roundtable
Using the Functionality of AutoCAD MEP
Webcast: Staying Billable for CAD Managers
Ninth RTT Conference
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!