Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 16, No. 38)

24 Oct, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Here's a Tip for You
Do you have any tips for using AutoCAD — or any other CAD software tool — more effectively and efficiently? Send them to us! 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. Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your tip today!

X On, X Off
Sam Lucido, a CAD designer, wrote a short and simple macro to instantly unload or reload all xrefs in an AutoCAD file. "I often find myself working in a drawing with one or two very large external references attached. Sometimes I just want to unload (not detach) those files to focus on the area I am working in." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Merge Layers
Systems Manager David Shultz shows us how to merge layers in AutoCAD. "The LayMrg command gives you the ability to merge two or more layers together so that the objects end up on the final target layer that you choose." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Array Along a Path
Tipster Danny Korem introduces us to a new command feature in AutoCAD 2012. "One eye-catching new feature in AutoCAD 2012 is the Array Along a Path command (found in the new Array Toolbar). First, it's very nice that the feature became dynamic, meaning an arrow grip can be used to change the array configuration along a polyline." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Leonid's List of Things to Remember
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky shares with us a list that compiles several memorable tips and settings to use in AutoCAD. "Don't be afraid of settings," said tip reviewer Brian Benton. "Turn them on and off one at a time and see what happens. Most settings are very straightforward and can help you in your work." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

October 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 October 2011 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Determine Distance between Points on an Entity
Alan Thompson is back again with another great routine. This one reports the distance between two points along an entity in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Zoom Extents in All Layouts
Alan has also provided a quick way to ensure that all your AutoCAD layouts are zoomed to their extents. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Linear Entity Bisector
Kent Cooper used Cadalyst Tips No. 979 and No. 1114 for inspiration in creating his own version of a bisector routine for AutoCAD. This version will create a bisecting angle entity for virtually any two linear objects selected. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Rename a Pasted Block
Kent's second tip this month allows you to rename a block in AutoCAD without knowing the original name of the block. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Rotate Multiple Blocks
This simple but powerful routine from Theodorus Winata allows you to rotate multiple blocks about their insertion point. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Modemacro Tip
This is a special kind of AutoCAD routine from Matt Sibum. It comes inside a file named ACADDOC.LSP, but if you already have a file by this name, do not overwrite your copy. Instead, just append the contents of this file to your existing version. The code itself is designed to change the status bar area of AutoCAD by displaying useful information. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Improved Layer Freeze
With Matt's second contribution this month, if you pick an object on the current layer, the current layer is changed to layer 0, and the layer freeze proceeds. 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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Common BIM Files Help Verify Exchange of Building Information
The National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance has released a free set of three building models to help building practitioners and software vendors improve their use of open-standard building information models (BIM). The Common BIM Files include an apartment building, a medical clinic, and an office building.

Aras Expands Open-Source PLM Project Site
Aras, a provider of enterprise open-source product lifecycle management (PLM) software, has announced the ongoing expansion of the Aras Community Project Site. New functionality enables crowdsourcing along with enhanced abilities for PLM solution co-creation, giving community members worldwide the ability to participate.

CIMdata Publishes 2011 PLM Market Industry Analysis Report
CIMdata, a global product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, has released the CIMdata 2011 PLM Market Industry Analysis Report, the fourth of five modules in its PLM Market Analysis Report series. The series provides detailed information and analysis on the worldwide PLM market during 2010.

Nemetschek Releases First Service Pack for Vectorworks 2012
Nemetschek's first service pack for Vectorworks 2012 addresses recently discovered issues in the areas of worksheets, referencing, plants, hidden line rendering, and the Push/Pull tool. This Service Pack is available for all licenses as a free download.

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Deals & Freebies

LizardTech Offers Free Trial of GeoExpress V8.5
LizardTech, a provider of software for managing and distributing geospatial content, is offering a free 30-day trial of GeoExpress v8.5. This newly released version enables geospatial professionals to compress and manipulate satellite and aerial imagery, and to choose different compression ratios for different bands in their images.

HP Releases New HP ePrint & Share Mobile App
HP has unveiled a mobile version of its HP ePrint & Share for users of web-connected HP Designjet wide-format printers. The tool allows designers in the AEC industry to locate and access large-format plans on the cloud. The mobile version will soon be available for download through Apple's App Store, at no additional cost as a launch offer. The app is compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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Opportunities & Honors

Microdesk Named Autodesk Reseller of the Quarter for Q2
Autodesk named Microdesk its Reseller of the Quarter for the Americas for the second quarter of the 2012 Autodesk fiscal year. Autodesk selected Microdesk from more than 200 Autodesk partners, citing its exceptional growth in horizontal products and continued performance in and dedication to the architectural, engineering, and construction industry.

Fiatech Accepting CETI Awards Nominations Till December 9, 2011
Fiatech has announced that nominations are now open for the CETI (Celebration of Engineering and Technology Innovation) Awards. The awards honor individuals and companies that have implemented, researched, or developed innovative technologies in the large capital assets industry. Award categories include scenario-based project planning and automated design.

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Mark Your Calendar

Exploring the Effective Implementation and Migration to ENOVIA V6
November 2, 2011
9:30 a.m. ET
Join Geometric for a live and interactive webinar as PLM specialists help attendees learn how companies utilize ENOVIA v6 through implementation and migration from legacy systems. Read more

Maps in the Cloud Workshop
November 17, 2011
Everett, Washington
Attendees can bring Wi-Fi–enabled laptops to participate in this hands-on workshop from WAURISA (the Washington State Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) and Esri demonstrating how to create intelligent web maps without having any GIS software installed. Read more

EuroMold 2011
November 29–December 2, 2011
Frankfurt, Germany
EuroMold is a world fair for mold making, tooling, and design and application development where attendees can see the latest products, services, and technologies. 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

CADspeed Blog Post:
Tips on Buying Wide-Format Printers for CAD, Part 2: Choosing the Right One

Determine what will be printed, who will print, when, and how often. Read more

First Look Review: Dell Precision M6600 Mobile Workstation
Desktop-caliber performance combines with portability in a single unit. Read more

Temple Team Captures 3D Data to Craft Traditional Hindu Sculpture
Using laser scanning to create a CAD model of a sacred bull makes a mammoth custom manufacturing project more manageable. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: System Restore Is Your Friend
Installing that new program probably won't create any major problems — but if it does, you'll be ready. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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