Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 15, No. 14)

19 Apr, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips


Open Design Center to Specific Folders
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky sends us a tip and some code to help open AutoCAD's Design Center in a particular folder and avoid browsing to the drawing you're looking for. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

AutoCAD Keyboard Map
Space Management Specialist Mitch Hirschklau shares with us a drawing he created that visually depicts some keyboard shortcuts in AutoCAD. He also shares some tips on customizing them. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Connect Parallel Lines with an Arc
Renee Willis sends us a tip on filleting two parallel lines. "Instead of going through the process of creating [an arc] from scratch, just use the Fillet command without a radius." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Toggle Geo-Marker in Map or Civil 3D
Kevin Heinrich sends us a Civil and Map 3D tip that applies when using geo-referenced objects. "Do you ever wonder what the pesky circle with lines through it is?" View the complete tip and post your feedback.


April Hot Tip Harry Tips

Hot Tip Harry Needs Your AutoCAD Code!
Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry (aka R. K. McSwain) is on the lookout for the latest and greatest customized routines and hatch patterns for AutoCAD. Exercise your programming prowess and submit the results to If Harry accepts your tip for publication, you'll receive $25 to spend in the Cadalyst Store. Review our tip submission guidelines and send your code today!

Automatically Draw Arrowheads on Circles and Arcs
Frequent tip contributor William Townsend presents an update to tip #2123. This routine draws single- or dual-headed directional indicators based on the radius of an existing arc or circle. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Fastener Dimension Tables
This tip has little to do with AutoCAD, but it has tremendous value. Senior CAD Tech J.D. Henman has submitted an HTML file that will open in your browser to display a "Mobile Fastener Slide Rule" for both imperial and metric fasteners. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Auto-Draw Railroad Tracks
CAD Systems Manager Don Bruce has submitted a routine to quickly draw railroad tracks based on preset rail gauge and tie spacing. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Zoom Extents on All Sheets
Derek Beals submitted Ze-all-sheets, a routine that iterates each layout in the current drawing, performing a zoom extents. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Xref Report
XREF_PATH is a routine from CAD Systems Manager David Hammer that will generate an xref report for the current drawing. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Submit Your Tip

Review Cadalyst's Tip Submission Guidelines, then Submit Your Tip for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Please remember to submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit) and to 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'sCAD 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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AutoCAD Migrates to .NET; Visual Basic Module Available for v2011
As Autodesk phases out support for VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) in AutoCAD and transitions to .NET, VBA macros will not work in AutoCAD 2011 unless the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications Module is installed on your system or enterprise network. VBA components are available for AutoCAD 2010 and all industry-specific versions of AutoCAD as well.

DOSCH DESIGN Launches Stock Media Portal for Architects, Designers
Computer graphics products developer DOSCH DESIGN has unveiled its new web site, which comprises more than 300 computer graphics products for professionals who use 2D and 3D stock media. The company offers royalty-free 3D models, textures, audio, movie, and animated environment clips, as well as high dynamic range image (HDRI) environment maps from locations all over the world.

Nemetschek Releases White Paper for BIM Practitioners
Nemetschek North America's Vice-President of Integrated Practice, Robert Anderson, has authored a white paper titled "An Introduction to the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Workflow for Vectorworks BIM Users." This resource is intended to define building information modeling (BIM), clarify the legal and contractual implications, and explain how a practitioner can properly respond to a client who wants a BIM delivery.

Realistic Simulation Webinars Available on Demand from SIMULIA
SIMULIA, a Dassault Systèmes brand, is offering on-demand webinars to help users gain insight into solving challenging engineering problems, improving product performance, reducing physical prototypes, and driving products to market more quickly. Recently added topics include:

  • Simulation-Driven Design for Containers
  • Simulation Solutions for Spacecraft and Satellites
  • Accelerate Cost-Effective Development of Wind Energy
  • Abaqus for CATIA V5R20 Highlights.


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Deals & Freebies

Autodesk Launches Free Home Design Software
Autodesk has announced the launch of Autodesk Homestyler, free online software for 2D and 3D home design and remodeling projects. The web service helps homeowners and design professionals create room layouts and floor plans with generic and branded content. Homestyler was previously available on Autodesk Labs as a technology preview called Project Dragonfly.

E-on Software Reduces Cost of Maintenance Plans
E-on software, a provider of solutions for natural 3D environments, has announced a policy update and price drop on its professional maintenance programs for Vue Infinite and xStream users, as follows:

  • Standard Maintenance for Vue 8 Infinite: $295 (was $395), one year extension: $195 (was $295)
  • Standard Maintenance for Vue 8 xStream: $395 (was $595), one year extension: $295 (was $395).


Free Trial of Updated Rendering Application Available from SimLab Soft
SimLab Soft is offering a free trial of the newly released SimLab Composer v2, a 3D sharing and rendering application that allows users to create 3D scenes from a range of CAD and 3D design formats, including SketchUp, Rhino, Solidworks, STEP, IGES, FBX, Collada, 3DS, OBJ, and STL. The new version includes a renderer that enables the user to create photorealistic rendered images of created 3D scenes.

LEDAS Offers 30-Day Free Trial of RhinoAssembly Plugin v1.1
LEDAS, a provider of variational design tools, technology components, and software development services, has announced version 1.1 of its RhinoAssembly plugin module for Rhinoceros 3D modeling software. This version introduces improvements including support for seven languages, the ability to record movies of animated 3D mechanisms, and integration with several Rhino commands. A 30-day evaluation version of the RhinoAssembly plug-in can be downloaded at no charge.

1st Pricing to Release Free ArchiCAD Plugin
1st Pricing, an e-commerce and technology company, plans to release a free plugin that links its building information modeling (BIM) technology to Graphisoft's ArchiCAD version 13 on July 1, 2010. The plugin nearly doubles the number of available windows for use in the CAD program. Also, 1st Pricing has created a standardized platform that can integrate directly with any object-oriented CAD program.

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Mastering Revit 2009 book by Paul F. Aubin

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Opportunities & Honors

Tenlinks Founder Wins 2010 CAD Society Community Award
Not-for-profit industry association the CAD Society has announced that Roopinder Tara has won its 2010 Joe Greco Community Award. Tara founded of one of the first independent CAD sites,, which has grown to encompass seven web sites and several newsletters. Tara has raised funds for college scholarships, promoted and participated in charity events with Autodesk and SolidWorks to support multiple sclerosis and cancer research, and partnered with SolidWorks to create Innovate3D, an outsourcing operation that creates 3D solid models as part of the Rwandan government's exploration into the modern economy.

CAD Society Awards Michael Payne the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award
The CAD Society has named Michael Payne the winner of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award for his technical and business contributions to the CAD industry. Payne is the cofounder of both SolidWorks and SpaceClaim, and is currently chairman of the latter's Board. He has also served as CTO for Dassault Systèmes.

CAD Society Honors Geomagic CEO with Leadership Award
The CAD Society has announced that Ping Fu, cofounder, CEO, and president of Geomagic, is winner of its 2010 Leadership Award. Under Fu's leadership, Geomagic has earned six patents for streamlining the process of transforming 3D scan data into high-quality parametric CAD models. Most recently, Geomagic pioneered design-intent modeling, which speeds product development by structuring scan data and extracting key engineering features that are required for creating parametric models.

1st Pricing Receives Notice of Allowance for BIM Technology
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued 1st Pricing, an e-commerce and technology company, a "notice of allowance" that will grant additional intellectual property protection for the company's building information modeling (BIM) technology, which works as an add-on to CAD programs. This plugin allows architects and other designers to utilize libraries of real-world, commercially available products by accessing an Internet portal and pulling comparison pricing of multiple brands to fill out a detailed bill of materials.

Graphtec Wide-Format Scanner Receives Reader's Choice Award
Paradigm Imaging Group, a distributor of large-format scanning and printing solutions, has announced that the Graphtec CSX300-09HD scanner is the recipient of Wide Format Imaging Magazine's Reader's Choice Top Product Award. One of Paradigm's best-selling products, the scanner was the top choice of readers in the Wide Format Scanner (24+ inches) category.

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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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Books & Training

Engineered Software Teaches Piping System Training Course
Engineered Software is offering a new course, Piping System Assessment and Optimization ($1,295), to teach attendees how to evaluate energy consumption within piping systems. The three-day course is based on the recently approved American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) "Energy Assessment for Pumping Systems Standard" (ASME EA-2-2009) and awards 2.4 continuing educational credits or 24 professional development hours.

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Mark Your Calendar

CADD Microsystems Tech Tour
May 4–6, 2010
Various cities
At this seminar, CADD Microsystems will present the Autodesk 2011 rollout and take attendees through the new features and enhancements for the latest Autodesk releases. Read more

3D Test Drive
May 6–14, 2010
Various cities
Stratasys and NextEngine are hosting a free 3D scanning and printing seminar at various locations around North America. Read more

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

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What's New at

The Future of Software for AEC? Autodesk's Direction Offers Some Clues
At an international media event, the company reveals insight and trends that are driving its product development. Read more

Programming for CAD Managers, Part 1
By honing your skills, you can create solutions customized to the needs of your users and increase your value as a CAD manager. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Your Weekly Report
Keeping track of the details at work can help keep you on track — and keep your boss in the loop. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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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