Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 30)

20 Aug, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Summer of Love? No, Summer of LISP!
Hot Tip Harry never takes a vacation from investigating the best CAD code! 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.

Insert Your Start-Up Preferences into Any Drawing
Mechanical engineer Perry Pattiz shares an AutoCAD tip for using your start-up (or template) file to set up other files. "I frequently work with other people's drawings, and I used to spend a lot of time creating the dimension styles and layers that I prefer to work with. There is a simple solution for this." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Reverse to Enable Fillet
Senior engineering technician Carl Lowrey describes a trick to make sure filleting polylines in AutoCAD works the way you want it to. "Ever tried to fillet between two polylines, only to get the fillet trim the wrong way? View the complete tip and post your feedback.

An Obstacle to Using Sheet Sets in Older Versions of AutoCAD
Maria Tzanetakou alerts us to an issue with sheet sets that are created in one version of AutoCAD, then used in an older version. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Work with the Cloud and Autodesk Exchange Apps
Frequent tipster Danny Korem points out two new, key features in the latest release of AutoCAD. "New versions of CAD software usually are installed with no drama, as users have become accustomed to the annual switch. AutoCAD 2013 is as straightforward as its predecessors, plus it also has many ultramodern features." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

August 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 August 2012 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Report Length and Area Automatically
Frequent contributor Alan Thompson is back this month with a nice little AutoCAD routine; it creates a reactor that detects when you select one or more entities with a length and/or area. When these objects are selected, the length and area properties are displayed in the AutoCAD status bar. You do not have to do anything other than select the entity! View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Mirror Both Ways
This AutoCAD routine from Kent Cooper mirrors a selection set both ways — about a user-specified point at the intersection of two perpendicular axes, and at a user-specified axis angle — in one step. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Change Object Linetype
Another submission from Kent Cooper, this routine lets you quickly change linetypes of selected objects in AutoCAD, with immediate feedback. This file includes a main function that does the actual work, plus several wrapper functions — one for each of the AutoCAD linetypes. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Easily Reload Xrefs
When working in AutoCAD, you will sometimes want to operate on an object without stopping to query the object for its layer, name, or other property. This routine by Leland Leahy enables you to reload an xref by simply picking it on the screen. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Save Extra Backup Files
Leland Leahy's second tip this month contains three functions, all designed to enhance the autosave functionality in AutoCAD by providing you with extra backup copies of your working drawing. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Place Dimensions Automatically
Amir Sattarian sent us a unique routine that works by asking you to pick two points; think of it as if you were specifying a fence to select objects. Any supported entity that is crossed by your "fence" will be dimensioned. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Access a Drawing Template Quickly
This is a quick little AutoCAD routine from Mat Kirkland that has a very specific purpose: to open your predefined QNEW template. This code could be modified to open any frequently used drawing — use your imagination. 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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Video Demonstrates Augmented Reality for Showcase
A video on the Autodesk Labs web site demonstrates the basic features of the Augmented Reality plugin for Showcase 2013 and Showcase Professional 2013. The plugin enables the user to overlay graphics, text, video, and sound onto a live video feed in real time. Users can also access a free, downloadable technology preview of Augmented Reality for Showcase until October 31, 2012.

CIMdata Analysis Shows PLM Market Growth
PLM (product lifecycle management) consulting and research firm CIMdata announced the release of the "2012 PLM Market Industry Analysis Report," which reveals that most segments of the market the company tracks saw double-digit growth in 2011, with strong license sales. The report is the fourth module of CIMdata's 2012 PLM Market Analysis Report Series.

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Mark Your Calendar

Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace
August 28, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This webcast, by Sustainable Minds, will demonstrate how educators from various disciplines are teaching greener product innovation. 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

New Accelerated Processing Units for CAD from AMD
AMD launched the AMD FirePro A300 Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) for entry-level and mainstream desktop workstations. Featuring AMD Eyefinity multidisplay technology, the AMD FirePro A300 Series APUs are designed for CAD and media and entertainment workflows. Read the CADspeed blog post

Master Your Workspaces
Do you have a saved workspace of your favorite user interface setup? Well, you should! In this video from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll learn the ins and outs of organizing your workspaces. Watch the video

Newforma Strives to Make PIM More Widely Accessible
The project information management (PIM) provider acquires new software and developer resources to support its expansion to cloud-based and mobile platforms. Read the blog post

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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