Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 6)

27 Feb, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Feel the CAD Love!
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!

Find the Center of a Triangle
Dean Culver explains two methods for finding the center of a triangle in AutoCAD. "I have found that there is usually more than one way to accomplish a task in AutoCAD. For example, I occasionally need to find the center or centroid of a triangle, and I've found two different ways to do so." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Control Colors of Referenced Files
Frequent tipster Danny Korem sent in a tip on controlling the display color for layers that are referenced in an AutoCAD file. "If your AutoCAD file has a bunch of cross-references attached to it, you might want to change all the xrefs' layers' colors to gray. That's when you use the filter at the left side of the Layer Manager." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Use Overkill on Multiple-View Drawings
Engineer Robert Moore has a tip for using AutoCAD's Overkill command to manage file objects. "A former member of the Express Tools team, the Delete Duplicate command is now a native AutoCAD command," explained tip reviewer Brian Benton. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Autocomplete Commands
Hayden Clarke, an engineering technician, tells us about Autocomplete Command Entry, a feature that came with AutoCAD 2012. "Autocomplete Command Entry is a helpful new feature added to AutoCAD that assists with searching or autocompleting commands as you type on the Command line." View the complete tip and post your feedback.


February 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 February 2012 batch at once.

Ellipse Sampler
Although AutoCAD has offered full 3D modeling capabilities for some time, users still draw and sketch things in 2D as well. This routine from Ramakrishna Acharya will project circles in one view as an ellipse in another view. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Resize Text and Mtext
This small routine from Theodorus Winata will help you scale multiple text and/or mtext entities individually about their insertion point in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Draw Formed Shapes
This routine allows you to draw a variety of formed shapes including angles, channels, and U or J shapes. Tip author Jay Thomas claims this will draw most anything that can be made with four bends or fewer. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Join Multiple Entities by Layer
This AutoCAD routine by Alan Thompson will join supported entities on the same layer into polylines. For example, if you pick a single object, all lines, arcs, and polylines on that layer will be joined into one or more polylines. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Quickly Freeze and Turn Off Layers
A recently published CAD Tip, No. 3755, allows you to select layers to freeze and if you choose the current layer, it switches the current layer to layer 0, allowing you to continue. Kent Cooper has added more functionality to this idea by allowing you to pick layer 0 to freeze it, in which case another layer will be set to current. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Quick Xref Control
Frequent contributor Matt Sibum is back with a nice set of xref display–related commands. There are five shortcuts for unloading, reloading, and isolating xrefs 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'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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Motor Design Software Site Includes Automated Design Resources
Software provider Cobham has launched Motor Design Software, a new web site intended to educate engineers about the contribution that finite element analysis (FEA) software can make to motor design cycle efficiency and design optimization. Research material on the site includes technical papers and details of training courses. Users may also register for a webinar on rotating machine design.

Fiatech Whitepaper Explores AEC Interoperability Issues
Fiatech has released "Advancing Interoperability for the Capital Projects Industry: A Vision Paper." The whitepaper presents an overview of current activities for advancing interoperability and presents the four building blocks necessary for the industry to achieve its vision. The paper provides insight into the challenges, opportunities, and implementation methodology involved in advancing interoperability.

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Deals & Freebies

GRAITEC Releases Free Trial of 3D Steel Detailing Software
CAD software provider GRAITEC is offering a free trial of Advance Steel, BIM (building information modeling) software that automates the structural design process, from engineering design to detailing and fabrication. Advance Steel is designed for structural engineers and steel detailers who need automated production of drawings, bills of materials, and numerical control files.

Autodesk Offers 0% Financing on Software for Limited Time
Customers who move to an Autodesk suite or other Autodesk software product can get 0% financing if they purchase by April 13, 2012. Autodesk design and creation suites provide users with tools to manage comprehensive project workflows.

CadFaster Provides Free Trial of Cloud-Based Collaboration Plug-In
CadFaster is offering a free 14-day trial of its CadFaster|Collaborate plug-in. This cloud-based collaboration plug-in for Autodesk Revit, Bentley MicroStation, and Bentley Architecture allows sharing, markup, and co-viewing of building information models in real time. CadFaster|Collaborate is available for 32-bit and 64-bit CAD platforms.

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Opportunities & Honors

ATMAE Offers New Certification in Engineering Graphics
The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)'s new Certification in Engineering Graphics (CEG) exam evaluates an individual's ability to read and comprehend technical drawings. The exam uses illustrations from engineering drawings and requires examinees to apply their analytical knowledge of drafting.

WAURISA Seeks Paper and Panel Proposals for GIS Conference
WAURISA, a nonprofit association of GIS professionals, is looking for papers and panel discussions for the WAURISA 2012 Washington GIS Conference. Topics may include mapping in the cloud, GPS-enabled mobile devices and apps, public safety GIS, and return on GIS investment. The deadline for abstract submissions is March 26.

SBIC Names Winners of 2011 High-Performance Building Awards
The National Institute of Building Sciences' Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) has announced the recipients of the 2011 Beyond Green High-Performance Building Awards. These awards recognize buildings, initiatives, and products that shape, inform, and catalyze the high-performance building market.

CAD Studio Named Autodesk Platinum Partner
CAD Studio, a provider of CAD, GIS, and PLM (product lifecycle management) software, has elevated its Autodesk partnership level to Platinum Partner, the highest level of cooperation. CAD Studio provides customers in the Czech Republic with Autodesk products, professional services, training, and customization and application development.

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Books & Training

Vico Video Tutorials Teach 4D BIM for Schedulers
The Vico video series for schedulers is a step-by-step guide for those wanting to learn about 4D BIM (building information modeling). For scheduling, there are eight different levels that illustrate how to use a particular piece of functionality. Level topics include applying a location breakdown structure, connecting the estimate to the schedule, and refining the construction schedule.

Scenario Virtual Project Delivery Offers Free Training to LinkedIn Users
Users who follow Scenario Virtual Project Delivery (PVD) on LinkedIn can get a free 30-day software trial that includes a 4-hour training block. The LinkedIn page includes updates on the company's latest news, offers, and product information. Scenario VPD provides technology software for the design, construction, and operation of complex, large-scale projects.

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Mark Your Calendar

Cloud Computing: Its Impact on Engineering Software Development and Use
February 29, 2012
10 a.m. ET
In this Geometric webinar, attendees can explore the impact of cloud computing on the development and use of engineering software. Read more

BIM Collaboration for Revit, MicroStation, and Bentley Architecture
March 1–15, 2012
London, UK, and online
In this training session from CadFaster, attendees can learn how to export, markup, and manipulate models. Read more

Making Beautiful Maps
March 9, 2012
Everett, Washington
This visually intensive workshop from WAURISA focuses on the processes and techniques users can use to develop cartographic products. Read more

What's New in Aras EPLM for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM?
March 22, 2012
11 a.m. ET
During this webinar, Aras representatives will explain the newest features and functionality in Aras EPLM for Solidworks. Read more

March 27–29, 2012
Los Angeles, California
WESTEC 2012 will comprise nearly 400 manufacturing software providers, showcasing the latest in machine tools and technologies. Read more

Point Cloud Processing and Scalable Terrain Models in Bentley Descartes
April 11, 2012
11 a.m. PT
At this complimentary webinar from Bentley, attendees can learn about the capabilities of Bentley Descartes v8i. Read more

2012 Washington GIS Conference
May 7–9, 2012
Tacoma, Washington
This event from WAURISA offers three days of GIS workshops and conference sessions. Attendees can learn about upcoming technologies and interact with peers. Read more

Be Together: Bentley User Conference
May 15–17, 2012
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The theme of this Bentley event is "Working Smarter, Together." Here, Bentley software users can enhance their skills and view the latest in software technology. Read more

3D Collaboration and Interoperability Congress
May 21–23, 2012
Denver, Colorado
Now in its ninth year, 3DCIC is an event that addresses collaboration and interoperability in manufacturing and business communications. This event includes the second annual Collaboration Management Forum. Read more

NAFEMS UK Conference
May 30–31, 2012
Lincolnshire, UK
This two-day conference from NAFEMS focuses on existing best practices, as well as state-of-the-art FEA, CFD, and associated 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:
AutoCAD WS for Facilities Management, Part 4: Managing Your Move to AutoCAD WS

A look at AutoCAD WS from a management level, rather than an operational level. Read more

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Improve Autodesk Inventor Template Files
These simple changes can save you time when you start new part, assembly, and presentation files. Read more

ReadyBoost Update for 64-Bit Windows 7
Many users overlook this utility, but all you need is a memory card to improve disk access and performance in CAD and database applications. Read more

A Mobile CAD Reality Check
There's a lot of buzz around the technology right now, but does it hold any value for your users? Read more

Why Did You Hire Me?
How clearly a manager communicates a worker's responsibilities can affect everything from morale to company success. Read more

IMAGINiT Technologies' Clarity Software Enhances BIM Collaboration
Autodesk Revit Server–based solution can provide dispersed teams and property owners with additional security, task automation, and reporting capabilities. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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