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Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 16, No. 33)

19 Sep, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff


This Week's Software Tips

When Harry Met LISP
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.

Manage Your BAK Files
Tipster Nicholas Thompson adds to Danny Korem's tip "Files So Nice They Saved Them Twice" (Tip No. 3699). "I agree with Danny Korem: BAK files are a great way to keep one older version of the file you are working on, but they can also clutter up your folders." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Dynamic Block: Matrix Grid
Gary Evenson shares a block that he uses often to generate a scalable grid for his AutoCAD drawings. "Using the grips in the block, you can quickly change its height and/or width. This is a good use of dynamic blocks," said tip reviewer Brian Benton. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Two Quick Navigation Tips
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky of the Better Than Nothing AutoLISP site shares a tip on panning in AutoCAD with the mouse, and a method of retrieving AutoCAD's keyboard shortcuts for review. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Set Units When Xrefing and Scale Automatically
Frequent tipster Danny Korem discusses procedures to follow when coordinating with AutoCAD users working in other disciplines. "While working in a design team environment, you will interact with a variety of disciplines and applications. Sometimes, drawings are created with design rules, standards, and regulations that are different from your own." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

 

September 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 September 2011 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Find Station and Offset
Alan Thompson has crafted a great routine for finding a station and offset on an alignment in AutoCAD. This routine will work with any object, such as a polyline or spline, and it also works with Civil 3D alignments. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Detect AutoCAD Type
Mathew Kirkland has put together a routine that will determine whether the version of AutoCAD installed on a particular machine is 32-bit or 64-bit. This is useful if you manage various machines in a mixed environment, because some third-party routines require different files to be loaded depending on the version. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Match Four Text Properties
This Match Text Properties routine may seem redundant with the Match Properties command that's now built into AutoCAD, but Jim Olszewski needed more control over exactly which properties were matched. In his routine only the textstyle, height, layer, and oblique angle are matched to the original. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Improved Text to Mtext
Kent Cooper has written an improved text-to-mtext conversion routine based on code by Joe Burke. This version allows you to select any combination of text and mtext entities, and the selections will be joined into a single mtext object in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create Layers from Text
This routine from Matt Sibum enables you to create layers from text objects in AutoCAD. The program uses the string of text as the layer name, and optionally the color and linetype assigned to the text object as properties of the new layer also. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Toggle Model and Paper Space
Doug Merkley's routine is simple in nature, but it could save you a lot of thinking — and clicks. This routine switches you from model space to paper space (or vice versa) in AutoCAD. 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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Resources

Autodesk Offers Revit IFC Exporter Code as Open-Source Software
Autodesk has made its Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) exporter for its Revit products accessible as open-source code, licensed through a LGPL v2.1 licensing agreement. This release provides users of Autodesk Revit products, including Revit Architecture 2012, Revit MEP 2012, and Revit Structure 2012, with greater flexibility to customize their Revit IFC file output.

CIMdata Releases 2011 PLM Market and Solution Supplier Analysis Report
CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, has released the third of five modules in its PLM Market Analysis Report Series. It contains measures of and forecasts for the overall PLM market and key segments, including tools, cPDm, and digital manufacturing. The Tools section includes additional details on sub-segments including MCAD and AEC.

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Deals & Freebies

Contex Bundles Scanner Discount with KODAK Software Purchase
Contex, which provides scanning and imaging solutions, will offer special introductory pricing for its XD2490 or SD4490 wide-format scanners when purchased with KODAK Capture Pro Software and KODAK Service and Support. The bundle, available through September 30, 2011, is a result of the recently expanded relationship between Contex and Kodak. Contact the Contex sales team at (877) 226-6839 to learn more.

ArtVPS Offers Free Version of Shaderlight, 50% Off Pro Upgrade Price
ArtVPS, developer of Shaderlight — an interactive rendering plug-in for Google SketchUp — is offering existing users an upgrade to the recently released v2 for $25. The software enables users to render animations directly from SketchUp, developing their 3D concepts into photorealistic animated presentations. Discount offer expires September 30, 2011. A 14-day trial version is also available for download.

Tekla BIM Model Coordination Tool Available on MyArchiCAD.com
GRAPHISOFT has begun offering Tekla BIMsight as a free download from MyArchiCAD.com. The software is designed for BIM (building information modeling) model coordination. With it, construction companies and others can use their own design files for 3D project collaboration purposes — for example, to detect clashes.

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Opportunities & Honors

Bentley Systems Student Design Competition Open Till March 6, 2012
The call for nominations for Bentley Systems' 2012 Student Design Competition is now open. University, college, high school, and technical school students are invited to submit projects designed using Bentley software, along with a short essay describing their work. Scholarships will be awarded to winning individuals or teams: $2,000 at the college/university level, and $1,500 at the high school/technical school level.

Stratasys Announces Student 3D Printing Challenge
Dimension, a Stratasys brand, has launched its eighth annual Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. The global contest encourages students to submit an innovative new product design, a redesign of an existing product, or an original or redesigned work of art or architecture. Dimension 3D Printing will award nine student winners either $2,500 or $1,000 scholarships.

ANSYS Ranked in Software Top 100 for Fifth Straight Year
The 2011 version of the Software Top 100, an independent online overview of the world's largest software companies, ranks ANSYS in 92nd place — up from 96th in 2010. In the list, which is compiled by the not-for-profit Top 100 Research Foundation, companies are ranked according to their annual software revenues from the sale of licenses, maintenance, subscription services, and support.

Student GIS Challenge Addresses Global Problems
Claremont Graduate University's School of Information Systems and Technology has partnered with Esri to offer more than $70,000 in scholarships and cash prizes to college students for geographic information system (GIS) development. Recent graduates and undergraduates can enter GIS software applications in two categories: public health and humanitarian issues, or transportation safety.

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Books & Training

FM:Systems Offers Online Training Program
FM:Systems, a provider of computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software, has announced a new series of distance learning labs, which provide live, instructor-led online training classes to customers and business partners. Students receive one-on-one attention from instructors, have the ability to ask questions, and must complete hands-on assignments.

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Paul Aubin

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Mark Your Calendar

Top 3 Overlooked Ways to Maximize Your Scan Data Collection
September 20, 2011
1 p.m. ET
This Leica Geosystems–sponsored webinar from Spar Point Group will explore three techniques to boost your laser scanning efforts: capturing field data properly, including utilizing black and white targets, traversing, and paying attention to site characteristics. Read more

BIM Workshop Featuring ArchiCAD 15
September 24, 2011
Coral Gables, Florida
3DCADCO will lead this whole-day introductory BIM workshop where attendees can learn fundamental BIM concepts, how to work in a virtual building environment, and how to use ArchiCAD's 3D Design and 2D Documentation tools. Read more

Creating Interactive 3D PDF Documents with Share3D PDF
September 28, 2011
11 a.m. PT
At this free webinar, attendees will learn how to create interactive 3D PDF documents using only a 3D model and Share3D PDF software. Read more

How to Compress LiDAR Files
October 4, 2011
11 a.m. PT
This free webinar from LizardTech is intended for geospatial professionals and decision makers exploring LizardTech's geospatial image products, including LiDAR Compressor software. 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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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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What's New at Cadalyst.com

Cadalyst Labs Report: How to Configure a Workstation for CAD
Performance, longevity, value: Your next system can have it all if you know how to shop. We're here to help. Read more

ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial: IFC Made Easy
An IFC file is the best solution for transferring BIM models — but what is it? And how can you export to the IFC format from ArchiCAD? Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Learning 3D Is No Cakewalk — and I Can Prove It
It's easy to speculate about how long it will take users to transition from 2D to 3D, but how can you be sure? Read more

From Order to CAD Chaos, Part 2
Has your company's disregard for standards become pervasive? Try these tips to get back to an orderly, productive workplace. 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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