Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 17)

14 May, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

HP All-in-One Video TipAll-in-One CAD Tips: Xrefs in AutoCAD, Map 3D Polylines and Training Kickstarts
Three great CAD tips in one! Learn best practices for AutoCAD xrefs, discover simple tricks with lines in Map 3D, and kick off a CAD training program that will make a difference for your whole team. View the video.

Do You Speak 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.

Automatically Insert Standard Page Setups in Multiple Files
Frequent tipster Danny Korem shares a tip that will help you insert page setups from a template into multiple AutoCAD files in a few steps. "This is a great workaround," said Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. "Typically you either create a new file from your template, which has already been set up with page setups, or you insert them one file at a time." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Set Units for Xrefs
Stephen Houghton talks about setting the units of an AutoCAD file when it is going to reference other files, and why it is important to do so. "I was having trouble attaching an xref into my drawing at the correct scale. When I checked the InsUnits system variable (it sets the units in the drawing) I found that they were correct, but the drawing would not insert correctly." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Change Paper Space Background Color
James J. Olszewski, a CAD technician, shares some advice about AutoCAD's paper space display settings. "This is a problem that annoys me more as I age: not being able to see the items I have set outside my sheet layout." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Angle Override in the Line Command
Tipster Ramakrishna Acharya shares a tip to help you draw lines at specific angles in AutoCAD. "You can use this shortcut value in the Line command to draw a line with a specified angle and length. This is very handy, and saves a bit of time." 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 in the latest version of AutoCAD by Contributing Editor Brian Benton. Use all tips at your own discretion, please. We're sorry, but Cadalyst staff cannot provide assistance with technical problems. Please refer to Cadalyst's LinkedIn and Facebook communities for assistance with AutoLISP and other AutoCAD customization questions.

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PLM Whitepaper Addresses Application Migration, Integration
CIMdata, a PLM (product lifecycle management) management consulting and research firm, has published a free, downloadable whitepaper about the use of the eQube-MI solution to facilitate application data migration and integration in PLM environments. This paper explains the pressures that motivate the use of data migration and application integration; their value and future; and how one company is developing data migration solutions for the PLM market.

New Web Site Offers Free CAD Blocks
CAD outsourcing company CAD-man-do Design & Drafting Solutions has launched CADBlocksfree, a new web site that offers a variety of free, downloadable CAD blocks. Large thumbnail views allow users to see the content before downloading blocks. In addition, the site sells some collections of CAD blocks.

ArchiCAD Whitepaper Surveys Six Firms' Experience with BIM
CAD software developer Graphisoft has released a new downloadable whitepaper, "Get There Faster with ArchiCAD," in which six designers share their experiences with the ArchiCAD BIM (building information modeling) solution. The paper explains how ArchiCAD BIM software provides real-time collaboration and can help firms remain flexible and competitive.

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Deals & Freebies

CAD Schroer Offers 3D Plant Design Software Free to Universities
Engineering solutions provider CAD Schroer is offering free licenses of its MPDS4 plant design system to engineering students, researchers, and lecturers at universities, research institutes, and technical colleges. The MPDS4 3D plant design software can be used for research projects, or as part of the curriculum. The free licenses provide the full functionality available in the commercial version.

Autodesk 123D Catch for 3D Model Creation App Released for iPad
Autodesk's 123D Catch is now available for iPad on the App Store. This free app lets users upload images from an iPad camera to the Autodesk cloud service, which transforms the images into a 3D model. Autodesk also introduced a new feature for 123D products called My Corner, which provides cloud storage for all 123D design projects while connecting 123D product workflows.

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Mark Your Calendar

Data Management, Visualization, and Knowledge Discovery for Advanced Infrastructure Systems — the Civil Engineering Perspective
May 15, 2012
10 a.m. CT
During this live Fiatech webinar, Lucio Soibelman, professor and chair, University of Southern California, will introduce the results obtained from several studies developed by his research group, including a study that developed methods for integrating unstructured text documents and pictures in AEC model-based systems. Read more

Creating Sustainable Sites Using CAD
June 7, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This Nemetschek Vectorworks webinar will address the "Areas of Focus," such as soils, hydrology, vegetation, materials, and human well-being, as proposed in the latest Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks. Read more

Open BIM – Real Interoperability, Practical Collaboration
June 14, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This webinar from Nemetschek Vectorworks will address Open BIM — the use of internationally recognized open standards to exchange building information. These open standards include the use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) for building geometry and data. Read more

RTC 2012 North America
June 28–30, 2012
Stone Mountain, Georgia
The second annual Revit Technology Conference (RTC) North America will feature hands-on lab sessions, networking events, and an exhibition displaying products, content, and services from a range of vendors. 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:
Use of Point Clouds for Revit Modeling

Here at CADspeed, we've touted the need for CAD hardware that will get the job done. We are equally intrigued by the growing use of building information modeling (BIM) in our industry, which requires even more hardware capacity and usage power than standard CAD programs. Read more

Femap Tips and Tricks: Use Femap's Meshing Toolbox to Extend and Inspect Meshes
Learn how to merge surfaces that don't meet up, and locate problematic geometry entities. Read more

The World of AutoCAD Programming Platforms, Part 2
VBA, Visual Studio.NET, and AutoLISP each offer unique benefits and drawbacks for customizing AutoCAD. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Enhance User Communication During Upgrades
Reaching out to users can make them feel more positive about new CAD software — and a free lunch helps, too. Read more

Build a CAD Proving Ground
The best way to test new software is to have skilled "test pilots" put the product through its paces before deploying it to all users. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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