Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 9)

19 Mar, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Dust Off Those Golden Oldies
Some tips just never get old. Is there a classic tip that you still rely on today? Use the "Submit Tip" button below to tell us about your favorites from the past, so we can dust them off and share them with your fellow CAD users!

Swap Selection Sets
Tipster Richard Paquette shares a LISP routine called Swap that he has been using for a long time in AutoCAD. He has had it so long that he doesn't know where he got it, but he loves it. "The Swap routine does exactly what its name implies: It swaps one selection set with another." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Nudge Objects
Engineering technician Hayden Clarke discusses one of AutoCAD's newest features, the Nudge tool. "This tip is about a new and controversial command called Nudge. This command is initiated by holding the Control key and using the arrow keys. In AutoCAD 2012 there are two types of Nudge: one with Snap Mode off, the other with it on (pressing F9 toggles between the two)." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Coordination through Standardization
Tipster Danny Korem shares his philosophy for the systems he has in place to coordinate various CAD and BIM (building information modeling) systems in the design process. "In my everyday life, I switch between two hats several times a day." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Highlight Dimension Text
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky shares a tip for highlighting dimension text in AutoCAD. "This method will set up a background color for dimension text, in case you ever need to highlight or emphasize some dimensions." View the complete tip and post your feedback.


March 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 March 2012 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Update Attributes Quickly
QuickAtt is a comprehensive routine by Ricky Medley designed to let you update the attributes of various blocks in AutoCAD, based on a settings file. You can populate this settings file from existing blocks with attributes or edit the file directly. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Edit the Radius of a Fillet
This routine from Alan Thompson allows you to select an existing fillet in AutoCAD and interactively edit the radius. You can pick a new length, enter a numerical value, or use the keyboard to increase or decrease the radius by whatever value you choose, one step at a time. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Mark Midpoints of Entities
Kent Cooper's latest LISP routine allows you to mark the midpoint(s) of various entities in AutoCAD. For polylines, you can choose to mark the midpoint of each segment, or the single midpoint of the entire polyline. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create Homerun Arc with Chained Polyline Arrows
Jay Thomas submitted this routine to create homerun arcs with chained polyline arrows, which are used in AutoCAD for electrical circuit drawings. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Extract Layers to TXT File
This routine by Robert Zipprich allows you to generate a nicely formatted text file of the layers in the current AutoCAD drawing, including the layer name, linetype, color, and current status. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Change Attribute Height
Theodorus Winata's latest contribution is a simple routine to operate, and it can save you some time when working in AutoCAD. Its only purpose is to change the height of attributes. 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

MecSoft Offers Free Demo Version of RhinoCAM 2012 Machining Plug-In
CAM software provider MecSoft is offering a free software demo of its latest release of RhinoCam. The plug-in, which runs inside Rhinoceros software, features a new five-axis continuous milling module, new toolpath generation methods, and a parts nesting add-on module that allows users to perform rectangular and true-shape nesting.

K2D-KeyToData Provides Free Trial of Kubotek KeyView CAD Viewer
Software provider K2D-KeyToData has released a free trial version of its CAD viewer, Kubotek KeyView v11.5. Highlights of the new version include exploded views of CAD models, new functions for the mold and die add-on module, and projected area and draft angle analysis.

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Opportunities & Honors

GrabCAD Opens Design Challenge for Automotive Design Conference
GrabCAD, a community founded by mechanical engineers, is seeking entries for its car design competition, which asks designers to create a 3D urban, electric micro-vehicle. The winning design will be selected by experts and speakers at the Auto 2012 Automotive Design Conference, and its creator will receive GrabCAD prizes. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2012.

COMSOL Conference Seeks Modeling and Simulation Papers
The program committee of the 8th annual COMSOL Conference is accepting paper and poster abstracts. Papers should highlight multiphysics modeling and simulations using COSMOL Multiphysics software. Suggested topic areas for papers and posters include structural mechanics, optimization, and quantum mechanics. The deadline for abstract submission is July 27, 2012.

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Mark Your Calendar

Autodesk Vault Professional 2012
March 23, 2012
1 p.m. CT
This one-hour webcast from Hagerman will demonstrate the functionalities of Autodesk Vault Professional. Read more

March 27, 2012
9 a.m. PT
This webinar from Graphisoft will explain how Rift Architects applied Open BIM (building information modeling) to design and build a high-end residential complex. Read more

ACE 2012
May 1–3, 2012
Troy, Michigan
Attendees will have the opportunity to network with peers, gain expert insight, and learn about Aras Roadmap and Future Vision in this event from Aras. Read more

2012 Americas HyperWorks Technology Conference (HTC)
May 15–17, 2012
Detroit, Michigan
HTC will highlight industry trends in enterprise simulation and showcase how manufacturers are enabling innovation through simulation. 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

Cast Your Vote in Cadalyst's New Poll
Do you wonder how much time your CAD peers spend working in 3D? Simply scroll to the bottom of the Cadalyst home page and vote in the latest Cadalyst poll to find out! You can even bookmark the results page and come back later, to see how the results change as more voters weigh in.

CADspeed Blog Post:
Mobile CAD: Discover Three Cool New Features of AutoCAD WS v1.4

This blog post discusses the three major additions to the mobile AutoCAD application, including 3D support, plot from mobile, and GPS integration. Read more

Bentley Systems Reports 10% Growth for 2011
Rebounding AEC market and heavy infrastructure investments in China contribute to $523 million total revenue. Read more

Employee Buy-In Is Key to a Successful BIM Transition
A productive, positive workforce of new Revit users starts with communication, training, and a dose of reassurance. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Prioritize Your CAD Crises
Which workplace crises are giving you the most grief? Here's an easy way to focus your problem-solving efforts. Read more

A Mobile CAD Reality Check, Part 2
Phones and tablets won't take the place of your workstation, but they can make field operations more efficient. Read more

Circles and Lines Tutorial: 2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models
New AutoCAD 2012 tools make documentation easy. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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