Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 14, No. 31)

17 Aug, 2009 By: Cadalyst Staff


Note to Readers: Summer Break for Tips & Tools Weekly. Cadalyst's Tips & Tools Weekly will take a summer break through Labor Day, September 7. We'll see you back here again on September 14 with more great tips and lots of new and useful tools and resources for CAD managers and users. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

This Week's Software Tips

Xref Tips for AutoCAD, Part 1
Thanks to all who answered the call for xref tips. We received a lot of great tips — so many that we'll be running them in two parts. Stay tuned for the next edition of Tips & Tools Weekly on September 14 for the second installment.

Xref Best Practices
Don Bentz shares guidelines he uses when working with referenced files in AutoCAD 2008 and Civil 3D 2008. "No real tricks here, just a few basic things I do to manage xrefs. I prefer to prefix all the files I use as xrefs with an X (for example, X-BASEPLAN.DWG) and keep them all in one folder, with subfolders if needed." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Xref Directory Structure
Mechanical designer Kent Wallace keeps his xref files under control through specific storage requirements. "This is how I store xrefs (and require my contractors to do the same) so I'm not hunting for 'lost' xrefs. This has been working for me since AutoCAD R12. My office is currently running AutoCAD 2008. We are planning on the move to AutoCAD 2010 soon. I hope this can be used to help others." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Determining Layers in a Referenced File
Rebekah Wolf, CAD technician, uses xref files and often needs to know which layer holds an object in that referenced file. "The regular List command will tell you which layer the xref is on, but nothing about the objects within the xref. I frequently use the Xlist command to identify objects and their respective layers that are referenced into a sheet." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

General Xref Tips
Senior engineering technician Carl Lowrey provides a few tips to help us use referenced files in AutoCAD. "It's winter here in the southern hemisphere, so we are very much in work mode. Here are a few xref tips in response to your request. Hope these tips can be useful for some. Cheers!" View the complete tip and post your feedback.

AutoCAD Electrical Tip: Modify Text Size
Designer Kendra Hathaway sends a tip for AutoCAD Electrical users who need a faster way to convert the width of mtext. "Sometimes we receive drawings with the 1.0 width font and have to convert them all to 0.8 width.  Because Properties does not allow the width of mtext to be modified, we would usually have to modify the text, highlight it, then select the width factor. For those with AutoCAD Electrical, this is an easy fix."  View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Reminders
Through the weeks, Cadalyst receives a number of tips that we don’t publish -- perhaps they don’t pass Tip Patrol inspection or they are really just reminders about an existing function in AutoCAD. These tiny tips often appear here in Tips & Tools Weekly, but won’t be published on the CAD Tips site — a little bonus for all you dedicated newsletter readers.

Turn On (or Off) Image Frames: If you use images in AutoCAD (or any AutoCAD-based software) you may not want the frames around the images to show when printing/plotting the files. Set the system variable IMAGEFRAME to 0 (zero) to turn off the frames. Set it to 1 to turn on the frames (and to print them).  Set IMAGEFRAME to 2 to turn on the frames in AutoCAD but not print/plot.

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.

 

Got Feedback? To share feedback about one of today's tips, navigate to the tip using the link provided above, then click Comment. The Comment tool is available to registered users of Cadalyst's CAD Tips site.

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. 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 for assistance with AutoLISP and other AutoCAD customization questions.

Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer,
Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, and Billy Wooten.


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Mastering Revit 2009 book by Paul F. Aubin

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Resources

Cyon Releases 2009 Survey of Engineering Software Users
Cyon Research, a provider of analysis and consulting for engineering technology markets, announced the availability of its 2009 Survey of Engineering Software Users ($2,000). The report focuses on information of value to companies that sell technical software to the manufacturing and AEC markets and to those that invest in such companies.

Water Industry Experts Lead Free Bentley Webinars
The Water and Wastewater Be Connected series from Bentley presents real-world infrastructure projects and the best practices and software products used to design, build, and operate them. Topics include water efficiency and climate change, hydrologic and hydraulic network modeling for sustainability, and Bentley's water and wastewater solution overview.

Economy Spurs Mid-Year Update of CIMdata PLM Forecast
PLM consulting and research firm CIMdata has released a mid-year update of its PLM (product lifecycle management) industry forecast to reflect less-than-expected investments by industrial companies in the current economic downturn. CIMdata is now forecasting that comprehensive PLM investments in 2009 will decline 2.1% from 2008 results. The free report, PLM Market Growth in 2008 — Mid-Year Look in 2009, provides a full description of forecasts.

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Deals & Freebies

3DScanCo Offers Deals on 3D Scanning Software
Buy any license of Rapidform 3D scanning software from 3DScanCo on or before September 30, 2009, and receive an additional year at no cost. In addition, users can convert the one-year license into a permanent license for 50% off the normal license price. For more information, e-mail webinfo@3dscanco.com.

SpecifiCAD for SketchUp v7 Available by Free Download
CADalytic Media is offering a free download of the updated SpecifiCAD for Google SketchUp v7. Windows-based SpecifiCAD delivers Sweets Network and Google 3D Warehouse content directly within BIM (building information modeling) applications. Users can click on a hyperlink or icon in the SpecifiCAD Sweets Network window to get more detailed building product information, then incorporate BIM and specification data into design documents.

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Opportunities & Honors

Future City Student Competition Seeks Engineering Mentors
Engineers are needed to serve as volunteer mentors for the 2009–2010 National Engineers Week Future City Competition for seventh- and eighth-grade students. The program is designed to provide a fun and exciting experience for students, who are challenged to create a city of the future. Participants and volunteers can register via the Future City web site before October 31, 2009.

Mastercam Announces Innovator of the Future Winners
The 2009 Mastercam Innovator of the Future competition challenged participants to create a one-of-a-kind gas cap using Mastercam CAD/CAM software tools. Judges Jim Quinn and Jason Pohl of Orange County Choppers chose Justin Amos, Brian Flenar, and Gregg Nemec as the winners.

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Books & Training

Roland and TechSoft Offer Kits for Design Educators
Roland has teamed with TechSoft to create two new Education Kits for career and technical educators in the United States and Canada. Each kit includes the tools and technology needed to teach skills including product and packaging design, CAD/CAM, graphic design, sign making, and apparel decoration. Versions centered on Roland’s sign making technology and 3D prototyping technologies are available.

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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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Mark Your Calendar

CMI Tech Tour
August 25, 2009
Washington, D.C.
CMI (CADD Microsystems, Inc.), a reseller of Autodesk software for the AEC market, and Autodesk experts will present 12 sessions that address current industry trends to help attendees be proactive with the changing industry conditions. Read more

ISEIT 2009
October 6–7, 2009
Berlin, Germany
The International Symposium for Engineering Information Technology, hosted by AVEVA, features a two-day agenda of presentations and workshops plus opportunities to network with fellow professionals from across the engineering industries. Read more

ECC Conference
September 9–12, 2009
Bastrop, Texas
This year's conference from the Engineering and Construction Contracting Association will address the amplification of risk and change in capital projects and provide tools and strategies to navigate the industry toward success. Read more

 

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com. Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to news@cadalyst.com.

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What's New at Cadalyst.com

Alibre Cuts 3D CAD Price to $99; Cadalyst Calls on Vendors to Clarify Overall Software Costs
Where are the best CAD deals now, and what does the future hold for those dropping maintenance contracts? Read more

CAD Management in a Continuing Recession, Part 3
In Australia and New Zealand, where the recession isn't hitting so hard, CAD managers are taking the opportunity to optimize technology and do more with less. Read more

New Backup Strategies (CAD Manager's Toolbox)
Mobile methods for backing up your key CAD management data can enhance accessibility — and save money too. Read more

Cadalyst Launches Redesigned Web Site
Cadalyst introduces a revamped web site sporting a new, cleaner design and improved navigation and functionality for visitors. Read more

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

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 free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
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