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Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 15, No. 37)

18 Oct, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff


See Your Work on the Cover of Cadalyst Magazine!
Cadalyst editors invite designers and rendering artists to share your best rendering work, demonstrating the effective use of visualization techniques and technologies for communicating the intent of building, infrastructure, mechanical, product, or other CAD-based design. Our favorite entry will appear on the cover of Cadalyst magazine, fall 2010 edition. Sponsored by BOXX Technologies. Learn more


This Week's Software Tips

Standing the Test of Time
Some tips just never get old. Is there a classic tip that you still rely on today? Use the "Submit Tip" button below to tell us about your favorites from the past, so we can dust them off and share them with your fellow CAD users. Tip Patroller Brian Benton will also be sharing some of his all-time favorites; check out his first pick in today's tips!

Batch Plot with the Publish Command
Dale Miksch sends us this tip on batch plotting while you work. "Often, I have to print several dozen drawings at once. Using this command to place them in the correct order and print in the background allows me to work on other drawings as they print." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Use Quick Keys in Windows Applications
CADD Manager Don Brown has a Windows-based tip to increase efficiency in AutoCAD. "Something I've noticed is that drafters commonly overlook the 'ready-made' shortcuts within most Windows applications (not just AutoCAD), such as using Alt+F+S to save, Alt+F+P to print, etc." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Redefining Dynamic Blocks
CAD Technician Murray Clack advises us on working with unit settings of dynamic blocks in AutoCAD. "In the past, you could use the Block command to change the insertion units and redefine a block. However, if this method is used on blocks that contain dynamic properties, those properties will disappear after the block is redefined." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Classic Tip: Background Mask for Dimensions
James Olszewski authored tip number 3234, which Cadalyst published in July 2009. Background Mask For Dimensions may be more than a year old, but it is a fantastic tip to revisit. It shows you how to add a background mask to dimension text. Just make sure your printer or plotter can handle wipeouts and background masking!


October Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Import Coordinates
This tip from Shahrokh Sobhani allows you to import an ASCII file of coordinates into an AutoCAD drawing as text objects. Most civil and survey users already have this capability, but occasionally users of plain AutoCAD require this ability, and this routine provides it. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Xref Control by Picking
Benzigar Peter has added functionality to a previously published tip by Murray Clack, which allowed users to detach an xref by selecting the object in an AutoCAD drawing. Benzigar has added the ability to do other things with a selected xref, including open, bind, and unload. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create QR Codes
QRCodes is a unique LISP routine by Ian Vogel that creates a QR code from a user input string. QR codes are patterns of black modules on a white background — similar to barcodes — that can be read by scanners, mobile phones, cameras, etc. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Sum Values in Text Strings
Scott Botting shares a routine for adding up numerical values in text strings. Scott frequently labels the area of polylines in AutoCAD, then uses this routine to add up the areas in each label. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Simultaneous Fillets
Hugo Valenzuela shares a routine that scripts the Fillet command in AutoCAD, allowing you to fillet multiple lines at once. The lines are filleted with a zero radius forming a corner. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create Wipeouts Two Ways
JustWipe helps you create wipeouts in a variety of ways. In order to shape the wipeout, this LISP routine by Andrea Andreetti lets you select just about any linear object in an AutoCAD drawing, or you can draw your own polygonal or freehand shape. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

3D Navigation and UCS Control
This tip is from Mitch Thaxter, who has added functionality to an existing LISP file by William J. Blackmon. The end result is a LISP file that creates more than 20 useful AutoCAD commands for 3D navigation and UCS (user coordinate system) control. 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'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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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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Resources

Roland Launches New Spanish-Language Printer Web Site
Printing and 3D modeling technology provider Roland DGA has launched a Spanish-language version of its consumer website designed to better serve Spanish-speaking businesses across the Americas. The site comprises more than 400 translated pages of product overviews, applications, company news, and case study articles.

First Service Pack Released for Vectorworks 2011 Line
Nemetschek Vectorworks has released a service pack that addresses many minor issues with the Vectorworks 2011 product line, especially in the areas of the new 3D environment, the latest building information modeling features, and the CINEMA 4D engine integration to Renderworks.

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Deals & Freebies

Autodesk Offers Free 30-Day Trial, Educational Licenses of AutoCAD for Mac
Autodesk is making a free 30-day trial of AutoCAD for Mac available for download, and will also offer free educational licenses to students and educators. The newly released AutoCAD for Mac features graphical browsing of design files with Cover Flow; use of Multi-Touch gestures for pan and zoom on Mac notebooks, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad; and native creation and editing of files in the DWG file format.

Procedural Offers Free Trial and Lower-Priced Version of CityEngine
Users can test-drive the newly released CityEngine 2010.2 — an update of Procedural's software for the creation, visualization, and analysis of 3D cities — free for 30 days. The 3D software developer has also released CityEngine STUDIO ($1,695), a new version that's more affordable for small architecture and entertainment studios than the PRO version ($4,950).

Live Rendering Plugin for Google SketchUp Available for 14-Day Trial
Rendering solution developer ArtVPS is offering a free trial of its Shaderlight plugin, which introduces interactive rendering to Google SketchUp 7 and 8. Users can experience all the features of the Pro version ($199) free for 14 days. The software enables users to see their image develop on screen as they continue to work inside SketchUp.

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Mastering Revit 2009 book by Paul F. Aubin

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Opportunities & Honors

Revit Technology Conference Accepting Abstracts through November 8
Experienced Revit users are invited to share their knowledge and expertise at the RTC (Revit Technology Conference) 2011, North America. The inaugural North America event will be held in Huntington Beach, California, June 23–25, 2011. Online abstract submission is open through November 8, 2010; users are welcome to submit abstracts for both the North America and Australia conferences if desired.

FIATECH Issues Call for Technology Conference Presentations
FIATECH is accepting abstracts for its 11th Annual Technology Conference and Showcase, which will be held April 18–20, 2011, in Chandler, Arizona. The industry consortium is seeking the latest research, innovations, achievements, and technologies for advancing the design, construction, and facility industry.

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Books & Training

Revit Architecture 2011 Guide Explains Principles of BIM
Wiley has published Introducing Revit Architecture 2011, which provides an overview of Revit's concepts, interface conventions, tools, and tasks. The guide addresses topics including BIM (building information modeling), parametric modeling, and rendering. The book was written by Cadalyst contributing expert Patrick Davis and three co-authors.

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Construction Automation — Laser Scanning, BIM, and Machine Control at Turner Construction
November 3, 2010
1 p.m. ET
In this webcast, Autodesk and Turner Construction will present technologies and processes that can enable more efficient ways of completing heavy highway and land development construction projects. Topics will include using laser scanning and machine control in BIM (building information modeling) workflows. Read more

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) 2011, North America
June 23–25, 2011
Huntington Beach, California
Having run in Australia for the past 6 years, the Revit Technology Conference (RTC) will hold its inaugural event in North America in 2011. RTC is an independent conference covering all things Revit: building information modeling and the whole ecosystem that supports it. 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

Siemens PLM Software Announces Solid Edge ST3
The latest version upgrades synchronous technology to further improve design, validation, and collaboration. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Enhancing Your CAD Management Career
Everyone wants to be happier and make more money. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can improve your career outlook. Read more

CAD Manager's Survey 2010
How much money do CAD managers make? How old are they? Do they work part-time or full-time? How has the economic roller coaster affected their jobs? These questions and more are answered with the help of your fellow CAD managers! Read more


About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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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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