Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 21)

18 Jun, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

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.

2D Rotate in the Third Dimension
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky demonstrates that you can use 2D tools even when working on 3D models in AutoCAD. "While working in 3D in AutoCAD, you are still working in a 2D plane if you are using 2D commands," explained Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Match Properties Between Files
In his second tip this week, Leonid Nemirovsky explains a little-known use of AutoCAD's Match Properties tool. "By sheer accident I found out that the Match Properties command works between all open drawings." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Use Formulas to Fill in a Scale Bar
Alex D. Fry, a civil drafting technologist, sends an AutoCAD table tip that uses formulas to create a scale bar. "Setting up this block is simple enough if you have used tables in AutoCAD or a spreadsheet before," said Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Adjust the OFFSETGAPTYPE System Variable
CADD technician Rebekah S. Wolf shares a tip about an AutoCAD system variable that manages how the Offset command handles vertices of polylines that it creates. "Sometimes I have to offset a stream or wetlands line in order to create a buffer." 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 June 2012 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Set Your Own Units in the Distance Command
Bill DeShawn presents a tweak to AutoCAD's built-in Distance command. Bill works in architectural units, but he likes to spot-check distances, and he wants to see the result in decimal units. This LISP routine changes your Units settings for you. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Send Xrefs to the Back
This LISP routine from Scott Botting will allow you to send selected external reference drawings to the back by using the Draworder command in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Add Text under Dimensions
Mosad Elewa has submitted a quick method for inserting text under an existing dimension in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Draw a Cap or Pipe End
Frequent tipster Kent Cooper is back this month with another improved version of an existing tip. Cadalyst CAD Tip No. 1260 by Jason Cox draws a pipe end in AutoCAD, and Kent has expanded on this. The new routine will draw one of four types of end (Line, Cut-Line, Pipe-end, or Arc). View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Standardize the Radii of Multiple Circles
This is a short, but effective bit of code from Theodorus Winata that automates what would otherwise be a more lengthy task. This routine takes a selection set of circles in AutoCAD and changes each radius so that they are all the same size. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Control Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock Status
This routine from Mat Kirkland and Tim Spangler includes a compiled file to report and/or control the status of three AutoCAD keyboard functions: Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock. Also included are a few LISP functions that demonstrate the power of controlling these keys. 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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Deals & Freebies

Kubotek Offers Free Trial of Updated KeyCreator 3D Modeler
Kubotek USA is offering registered users a free trial of KeyCreator 2012, the latest version of the 3D direct modeling software. KeyCreator 2012 includes three optional add-on modules: KeyCreator Machinist for integrated 2–3 axis NC milling, KeyCreator Compare CAD for validation and comparison, and KeyCreator Analysis multiphysics simulation software.

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Opportunities & Honors

Bentley Issues Call for Submissions for 2012 Be Inspired Awards
Bentley Systems, a provider of software for sustaining infrastructure, is accepting submissions for the 2012 Be Inspired Awards. The deadline for entries is August 3, 2012. The global competition, open to all users of Bentley software, is designed to promote excellence and innovation in the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure projects.

Bentley Names Design Competition Winners, Educator of the Year
Bentley Systems recently announced the winners of Bentley Institute's 2012 Bentley Student Design Competition and named Guenter Maresch, professor at the University of Salzburg and University of Education Salzburg, as Bentley Educator of the Year. The competition recognizes technically advanced projects created by high school and advanced education students using Bentley software.

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Books & Training

GeT Interactive Launches 2013 Series of Autodesk Software Training Courses
Global e-Training, an authorized Autodesk training center, has launched its 2013 GeT Interactive series of online, on-demand training courses. The Complete Guides to AutoCAD 2013 and Revit Architecture 2013 are available now; the remaining courses will be released throughout the summer. Corporate customers who purchase the 2012 course library before June 30, 2012, will receive a 10% discount and full access to the 2013 library.

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Mark Your Calendar

Four Extraordinary Ways to Expand Your PLM Search
June 19, 2012
1:30 p.m. ET
Viewers of this webinar will learn how to extend their PLM searches to find and use data regardless of object type, location, or file format while using Aras Innovator. Read more

Transforming Your Software to a Next-Generation Platform
July 3, 2012
11 a.m. ET
This webinar, presented by Geometric, will demonstrate how to apply NextGEN CAx product consulting to design and engineering software. Read more

Solid Edge Fundamentals
August 14–17, 2012
Huntington Beach, California
This course, presented by Archway Systems, will introduce the basic concepts of part, sheet metal, and assembly modeling in the design process. 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

Intel's Ivy Bridge Processors Hit the CAD Workstation Marketplace
The incessant pace of progress and innovation for workstation technology never slows. Less than a quarter after every major workstation OEM launched a full trio of models based on Intel's Sandy Bridge-EP (a.k.a. Xeon E5), the industry leader in CPUs has already released its follow-on processor generation, code-named Ivy Bridge. Read the CADspeed blog post

PTC's Heppelmann Declares 'New Era of Manufacturing'
At PlanetPTC Live customer event, the CEO says technology will drive the strategy that sets manufacturers apart. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Convincing the "It'll Never Work" User
Learn how to cope with those users who are always pessimistic about new ideas. Read more

When Your Problem User Is Management
Change your CAD management priorities to accommodate financial goals — and use hard facts to make your case. Read more

Create PDFs from AutoCAD Drawings
You already know you can create PDFs out of DWG files, but do you know how to get the exact PDF file you need? Don't settle for the default settings any longer! Watch the video

All-in-One CAD Tip #6:
AutoCAD's Alias Editor, Sketchbook Designer, and Office Etiquette

Three great CAD tips in one! AutoCAD's Alias Editor puts your favorite commands at your fingertips; tap into your creative site with Autodesk Sketchbook Designer; and make your CAD office refrigerator a place that welcomes everyone's lunch. Sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation. Watch the video

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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