Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 16, No. 3)

24 Jan, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

New Year, Old Tips
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!

Create Blocks with Wipeouts
CAD Designer Beau Bebout shares an in-depth description of creating blocks that utilizes the Wipeout feature in AutoCAD to assist in cleaning up your linework. "This tip explains how to insert a block over a line — or any other object — without trimming the line or object underneath the block. It also allows annotation of blocks that will automatically change scale depending on the scale of the viewport or drawing." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Trim Overlapping Lines
Tipster Eng Cheong shows us a trick when trimming overlapping lines in AutoCAD. "When you want to trim a line that is overlapping say, a rectangle, but this line is located behind the object, then you are likely to select the item in front by mistake." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Sheet Sets, Templates, and Named Views
Leonid Nemirovsky of the Better Than Nothing AutoLISP site shows us a method of creating new drawings with special scales using AutoCAD's Sheet Set Manager and a template file. According to tip reviewer Brian Benton, "The Sheet Set Manager allows you to manage redundant data, like Project Name, number, titles, and more. You can also use it to create new files with a template file." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Following are this week's reminders, tidbits, and miscellaneous updates from the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.

We had two tipsters — Aaron Ollero and Nicholas Thompson — send in a great idea about the Change Space command: Type in CHSpace to move objects from model space to paper space, or vice-versa, while keeping their relative scale.

January Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Label Station and Elevation
Bijoy Manoharan submits a LISP routine to label the station and elevation in a civil engineering profile view. Although applications like AutoCAD Civil 3D include this functionality, this routine could be very useful if you are using an application without this capability. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Three VBA Point Functions
Brian Sardeson gives us three VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) functions: SnapMidPoint returns the midpoint of a given line entity, SnapPerpendicular returns a point perpendicular to a given object from a given point, and MakePoint accepts three real numbers (x,y,z) and returns a three-element array of doubles. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create Batting Line from Polyline
Frequent contributor Raymond Rizkallah is back with a routine that mimics the Batting linetype included with AutoCAD, but using only a polyline. No custom linetypes are involved. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Summarize Object Areas
Juan Villarreal has submitted a great LISP program named AC_Area-Calc. This routine allows you to select any number of closed objects in AutoCAD, such as polylines, circles, splines, etc., and a summary table will be constructed to report the area of each object and the total area overall. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Incremental Numbering Suite
This is a comprehensive routine from Lee McDonnell for placing incremental alphanumeric text labels in an AutoCAD drawing. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Zoom To Objects
Zoom To, a powerful routine from Jan Bath, can be used for many things, but its primary purpose is to help you navigate through large AutoCAD files. The dialog interface can help you build a selection set of objects that the routine will then iterate one at a time, zooming to each entity location. 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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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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OptiTex Makes Past Fashion-Design Webinars Available Online
OptiTex, a developer of fashion design software, is now providing selections from its second series of webinars on its web site. On-demand offerings include Introduction to OptiTex, Guide to Pattern Making in OptiTex CAD, and Guide for the Technical Designer: Converting Patterns, Correcting, and Fit.

PTC Videos Answer Creo Questions
PTC is continually updating its YouTube channel with details about the Creo family of CAD applications launched last fall. In the brief videos, Mike Campbell, PTC's divisional vice-president, Creo Product Development, addresses questions such as:

  • Will Creo be available on Apple platforms?
  • Will Creo work with Windchill ProductPoint?
  • What is the future for Creo Elements/Direct Model Manager?


Daratech Study Reports Geospatial Sales Rose 10.3% Last Year
According to a new report available for purchase from Daratech, sales of GIS (geographic information systems)/geospatial software, services, and data grew 10.3% in 2010 to $4.4 billion. The industry analyst group also forecasts growth in excess of 8.3% in 2011, and states that GIS data is the fastest-growing segment of the industry, having grown at a compound annual rate of 15.5% for the past eight years.

Design Learning Community Offers Five Free Webinars
After completing a free registration process, visitors to the CGschool's web site can view on-demand recordings of one-hour webinars by various industry experts. Each class provides an overview of a course currently offered at the CGschool. Topics include Texture Baking in 3ds Max, mental ray, V-Ray 2.0, Architectural Photography, and Photoshop Advanced.

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Deals & Freebies

PROCAD and Tech Soft 3D Offer Free Trial of Plant Design Software
PROCAD, a developer of plant design solutions, and Tech Soft 3D, a provider of component technology to the engineering software industry, are offering a free trial of the PapriCAD line of plant design applications, powered by the AutoCAD OEM platform. The newly released PapriCAD line combines PROCAD's plant, piping, and electrical technology with AutoCAD technology in standalone products.

Archway Discounts Rhino and Keyshot Packages
Through March 31, 2011, CAD products provider Archway Systems is offering a number of 3D modeling software discounts, including:

  • Rhino: $270 off
  • Rhino plus Flamingo: $315 off
  • Rhino plus KeyShot 2: $320 off


DuctiSoft Offers GeoRef Image Insertion Tool Free of Charge
Reader Andrea Andreetti recommends a free utility called GeoRef, which is available for download from his company, DuctiSoft. The tool enables insertion of multiple geo-referenced images in AutoCAD.

CTC Releases Revit Family Tools as a Free Download
CTC, a provider of Revit add-on solutions, is offering the Revit Family Tools program as a free download. Developed for use with Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and Revit MEP, the Revit Family Tools assist with Revit file management, including tools for type catalogs, a family file version detector, and the ability to compare and merge shared parameters, and to efficiently delete backup files.

Users Can Try Pro/ENGINEER Collaboration Tool for 15 Days
Product lifecycle management solution provider Geometric is offering a free 15-day trial of the newly released eDrawings Professional for Pro/ENGINEER version 8.0. The e-mail–enabled collaboration tool is designed to ease the sharing and interpretation of 2D and 3D product design data and features support for Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 and eDrawings 2011.

Esri Releases Free ArcGIS App for Microsoft's Windows Phone Platform
Geospatial information system developer Esri has released an ArcGIS for Windows Phone app that enables users to find, use, and share maps as well as deploy GIS data and functionality on Windows Phone devices. The free app can be downloaded directly from the Windows Marketplace. Esri previously released the ArcGIS API for Windows Phone.

Exlevel Discounts Plant Modeling and Animation System by $65
Exlevel, a provider of visual simulation software, is offering a discount on GrowFX 1.5.0 SP1, an upgrade of its plant modeling and animation system for Autodesk 3ds Max. Until February 1, 2011, GrowFX can be purchased for $260 for a single-user license (regular price $325). Users can also try a demo version of the software free for 30 days.

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Opportunities & Honors

Autodesk Supports Student Robotics Competition
For the 19th consecutive year, Autodesk is sponsoring the FIRST Robotics Competition program by contributing its software, mentoring resources and, for the first time, funding grants to U.S. teams. The annual competition challenges high-school students to collaborate and build a working robot in six weeks, promoting science, technology, engineering, and math.

Cyon Research Opens Engineering Software Survey
Cyon Research's 2011 Q1 Global Survey of Firms that Use Engineering Software is open to employees of any firm that uses CAD, CAE, PDM, PLM, and/or BIM software for design, engineering, manufacturing, and or construction. The final survey report will be published in Q3 2011 ($2,000); respondents from qualifying firms can receive a copy of the survey results, for their personal use, at no cost.

Autodesk Names ECAD Reseller of the Quarter
Autodesk has named ECAD as North American Reseller of the Quarter for the third quarter of the 2011 fiscal year. Autodesk is recognizing ECAD for its strong growth across several industries, including architecture, engineering and construction, manufacturing, and government, as well as its continued commitment to customer success.

InspectionXpert Earns SolidWorks Certified Gold Product Status
Extensible CAD Technologies, a global provider of CAD and product lifecycle management productivity software, has announced that InspectionXpert for SolidWorks has achieved Certified Gold Partner status with DS SolidWorks. With this certification, the software becomes the first Certified Gold Partner application for automating quality inspection documentation that is fully integrated into SolidWorks software.

IMAGINiT Announces Winners of Rendering Contest
Rand Worldwide, which provides technology solutions to organizations with engineering design and IT requirements, has announced the winners of its IMAGINiT Technologies division's Render Us Speechless contest. Winning renderings in each category — Architecture/Building, Civil/Mapping/GIS, and Manufacturing/Mechanical — may be viewed online.

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Books & Training

Archway Announces Rhino and Keyshot Classes
CAD products provider Archway Systems is offering several software training classes, including:

  • Rhino Level 1: February 28–March 2 ($695)
  • Rhino Level 2: February 1–3 and March 29–31 ($795)
  • Intro to Photorealistic Rendering Using Flamingo & KeyShot2: April 11 ($100)


For more information about these classes, contact Linda Grubb at 714.374.0440 or

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Achieving Lean Goals through Automated Remastering
January 27, 2011
11:30 a.m.– 12 p.m. ET
At this webinar from ITI TranscenData, attendees can learn how to use a process-centric approach to engineering systems interoperability. Topics will include how to apply lean principles with automated CAD remastering. Read more

Webinar: 7 Ways to Simplify Your Business with SaaS/Cloud Computing
January 27, 2010
4 p.m. ET
Read more

Webinar: Novedge's Best of the Best: KOMPAS-3D
February 2, 2011
11 a.m. PT
The key features and functionality of KOMPAS-3D, a CAD solution from ASCON Group, will be presented during Novedge's Best of the Best webinar series. Topics include working with advanced surfaces based on the new functionality of KOMPAS-3D. Read more

Webinar: How to Manage MicroStation Drawings & Views
February 3, 2011
2 p.m. ET
This 45-minute webinar from First Trace will discuss how MicroStation users can effectively manage their DWGs, DGNs, metadata, and reference files. It will also introduce additional engineering document management (EDM) capabilities enabled by First Trace's Kinnosa system, including the ability to manage unique file versions, property sets, Views, and business processes. Read more

Webinar: Accelerated Engineering, Analysis, and Simulation
February 3, 2011
12–1 p.m. ET
This free webinar will discuss how hardware solutions from Dell and AMD can accelerate 3D mechanical design, visualization, and simulation. Read more

Australian Autodesk University Extension Summit
February 9–11, 2011
Various cities
This Las Vegas–themed technical event for manufacturing, architecture, and building professionals brings several Autodesk University speakers to two Australian cities, Adelaide and Melbourne. Read more

Webinar: The Five Biggest Mistakes in Engineering
February 15–17, 2011
Various times
Webinar topics will include the most common breakdowns in CAD management, manual engineering activities that can be automated, and how to standardize engineering design, review, and release processes. Read more

Hagerman Autodesk Technology Showcase
February 15–17, 2011
Various cities
Hagerman & Company, an Autodesk value-added reseller, will host a series of Technology Showcase events featuring Autodesk software demonstrations, including sessions for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); manufacturing; and plant design. Read more

Cloud Connect
March 7–10, 2011
Santa Clara, California
This technology event produced by UBM TechWeb will focus on technologies, strategies, and innovations within cloud computing. Read more

SPAR International 2011
March 21–24, 2011
Houston, Texas
SPAR International will focus on the 3D imaging and positioning markets. Attendees can learn how organizations are applying this technology to mitigate risk, boost efficiency, and improve safety. Read more

Cityworks 2011 User Conference
May 16–18, 2011
St. George, Utah
At this conference, Cityworks users, business partners, and others can learn about product enhancements, meet one-on-one with Cityworks client services specialists, and share experiences and knowledge with others in the Cityworks community. Read more

RAPID 2011 Conference & Exposition
May 24–26, 2011
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The RAPID conference and tradeshow, co-located with the 3D IMAGING event, explores how additive manufacturing and 3D printing are being used to reduce design and development time, cut timeframes, and lower production costs of products. 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

Equip Yourself for Global Competition
Industrial designers and engineers compete in a global market. In Cadalyst's free Accelerated Engineering, Analysis, and Simulation webinar, you'll learn how increasing the speed with which you work can make your work more valuable worldwide. Sign up now!

On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial: Navigate the Design Window with View Manipulation Shortcuts
Try these mouse-and-keyboard command combinations to navigate around your 3D design without interrupting your workflow. Read more

CAD Clinic Civil 3D Tutorial: AutoCAD Civil 3D and Pay Items, Part 2
Learn the ins and outs of the formula file, the last of the three files that create a master pay items list. Read more

Revit Tutorial: Making the Switch — AutoCAD to Revit, Part 2
Building design firms transitioning to Autodesk Revit should plan for setup and troubleshooting before anything goes wrong. Read more

FME 2011 Clears Up Point Clouds
Safe updates its spatial data transformation software, adding support for laser-scanning data and cloud-computing formats. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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