Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 16, No. 21)

13 Jun, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Have You Heard about Harry?
When it comes to CAD code, Hot Tip Harry knows a good tip when he sees it! Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your LISP routines. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a $25 gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store.

Use Fields for Repeated Text and Attributes
Frequent tipster Danny Korem demonstrates how using fields in AutoCAD can save time and revision work. "In many detailed drawings, text annotations are fully or partially repeated. In this tip, I will show how to use fields in text to minimize changes and to keep notes consistent." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Pan with Mouse Wheel
Dale Miksch's latest tip helps ensure that your mouse's scroll wheel is set to pan in AutoCAD. "Panning with the scroll wheel is a great innovation that saves time and effort," says tip reviewer Brian Benton. "Moving the mouse to reach for the pan button is more work — get more accomplished by doing less work!" View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Change Hatch Angle
Senior Engineering Assistant Steve Knopf demonstrates how to adjust the angle of a hatch pattern in AutoCAD. "I use the Hex pattern to identify truncated domes, and when the panel is not square to the sheet I rotate the hatch pattern to match the panel so it looks right." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Display Block Coordinates
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky has created a dynamic block that will display its current coordinates in AutoCAD. "It is easy enough to determine the coordinates of any point in AutoCAD," says tip reviewer Brian Benton. "However, if we manually update this type of information we can make a mistake. This block does the work of finding and displaying information for us." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

June Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Hot Tip Harry, Cadalyst's mysterious purveyor of customized AutoCAD code, has dispatched another great bundle of tips from readers. View and download each of the latest tips using the links below, or get the entire the entire June 2011 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Copy Text Strings
STS2 is a routine by Robert L. Zipprich that allows you to copy one text string to multiple others in AutoCAD. Start by loading the LISP routine, then type in the command STS2. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Drawing Utilities
If you are a keyboard junkie, you will probably like this tip. Nick Johnson has put together several short LISP functions that are executed with a short key-in command in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Calculate Area from Picked Points
Alan Thompson is back this month with a routine that calculates area from points you select. The routine gives you feedback in the form of a "rubber band" line so you can see what you have picked. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Precise Panning
Real-time panning has been around a long time in AutoCAD — so long that many people have forgotten about the old Pan command. Sanjay Kulkarni's code adds some new features to the old command, enabling you to pan a specific distance and direction. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Label XYZ
Frequent contributor Leonid Nemirovsky submits a routine that you can use to label the x, y, and z — or a picked point — in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Delete Object by Handle
All entities created within a given drawing file in AutoCAD have a unique tag assigned to them, called a handle. DOH is a routine by Raymond L. Foren that allows you to delete entities by this handle. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Paul Aubin


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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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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CAD-Related Hashtags for Twitter: Here's the List!
If you use Twitter, you know about hashtags are those sometimes-cryptic tags that pepper tweets, always set off by a hash sign (#). Whether you're sending an update from an event such as #SWW11, spreading the word about a new #BIM or #PLM tool, or seeking #AutoCAD advice, understanding and using hashtags can bring a good deal of professional value to Twitter. Help Cadalyst build a central resource for the CAD community!

Report Compiles Resiliency Recommendations for Infrastructure
The Report of Findings from Designing for a Resilient America: A Stakeholder Summit on High Performance Resilient Buildings and Related Infrastructure is now available for download. Sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, and organized by the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Summit brought stakeholders together to develop recommendations for buildings and related infrastructure.

Bentley Summarizes 2011 User Conference Keynotes
Bentley Systems has published a summary of the keynote speeches given by CEO Greg Bentley, Senior Vice-President Bhupinder Singh, and the Bentley Software team at the Be Together conference held May 23–26, 2011, in Philadelphia. The report also includes an overview of the LIVE Zone exhibit area.

CIMdata Publishes 2011 Executive PLM Market Report
CIMdata has announced the release of its 2011 Executive PLM Market Report, the first of five modules in the CIMdata PLM Market Analysis Report Series. The series provides information and analysis about the worldwide PLM market during 2010. According to the consulting and research firm, the PLM market returned to overall growth in 2010, and many segments grew back to the levels achieved in 2008.

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Deals & Freebies

NorthRidge Software Releases Free Search Solution for Aras PLM Suite
NorthRidge Software has released a search solution for the Aras Innovator PLM solution suite. Discover Innovator offers users access to the full range of data sets managed in Aras Innovator, as well as information stored in other locations across the enterprise, including intranet sites, SharePoint, file shares, and more. The Community Edition of Discover Innovator is freely available for download.

Autodesk Discounts Digital Entertainment Creation, Manufacturing Software
Autodesk customers can save 20% on Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Premium or an upgrade to the 2012 version of software such as 3ds Max, Maya, or Softimage. Autodesk is also offering discounts of $200–400 off the MSRP of AutoCAD LT and Inventor LT 2012 upgrades. All these offers expire July 15, 2011.

Laser Design Offers Free iPad with Purchase of 3D Scanner
For a limited time, Laser Design is offering a free iPad to customers who buy any Laser Design 3D scanner. In addition, tax incentives are available to decrease the cost of the scanner.

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Opportunities & Honors

Nissan Wins Siemens PLM Customer Award
Siemens PLM Software has announced that Nissan Motor Company has won its 2011 Asia Pacific Innovation Award. The award is presented to the Siemens PLM Software customer in Asia that has achieved exceptional business success through the use of PLM technology.

Bentley Names Student Design Competition Winners, Educator of the Year
Bentley Systems has announced the winners of the 2011 Bentley Student Design Competition and named Maria-Paz Gutierrez, professor, University of California, Berkeley, as Bentley Educator of the Year. The Student Design Competition awards technically advanced projects created using Bentley software by university, high school, and middle school students around the world.

German Research Institute Honors FiberSIM Composites Engineering Software
DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luftund Raumfahrt), the German Aerospace Center, has conducted a study that deemed VISTAGY's FiberSIM composites engineering software superior to all other tested draping simulation software when fiber simulation, design functionality, and interfaces are collectively considered. Visitors to VISTAGY's web site can register to download the study in English.

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Mark Your Calendar

Latest Open Release — What's New in Aras Innovator
June 16, 2011
11 a.m. ET
This free webinar is part of the Aras Community Events (ACE) Innovation Series and will be presented by Rob McAveney, director of product management at Aras. Read more

Real-time 3D Collaboration with CadFaster|Collaborate
June 22, 2011
11 a.m. PT
In this webinar, Tuomas Holma will demonstrate how CadFaster|Collaborate works, both on a desktop and on an iPad, and how it is used as a plug-in for CAD programs such as Autodesk Revit, SolidWorks, and Bentley MicroStation. Read more

BIG I.D.E.A.S. Virtual Conference
June 23, 2011
11 a.m.–5 p.m. ET
Rand Worldwide's IMAGINiT Technologies division will host the inaugural BIG I.D.E.A.S. (Increase your Design & Efficiency Advantage) virtual conference to showcase ways that manufacturers can innovate through simulation, analysis, and better design processes. Read more

Experience the Power of tsElements for SolidWorks
July 06, 2011
11 a.m. PT
This webinar introduces tsElements for SolidWorks, a new add-in that enables designers and engineers to transfer designs from Rhino and subdivision surface modelers to SolidWorks. 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

From the Trenches: Rules of File Referencing
These rules will help you keep multi-person CAD and BIM projects in order on a file server. Read more

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Manage Large Assemblies Using Substitute Levels of Detail
Live large by cutting unmanageable assemblies down to size in Autodesk Inventor. Read more

On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial: Navigate Folder Paths Efficiently
These tricks will help you move through directory structures quickly. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: FileZilla Stomps Expensive FTP Utilities
This useful FTP program features a price point you can't argue with — free. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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