Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 18, No. 22)

24 Jun, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Take Time for Tips
Do you know a better way to work — in AutoCAD or any other CAD software tool? Why not take a few minutes to share your tips with your fellow CAD users? When you give, you'll also receive: If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use toward a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your tip today!

Grip-Edit a Polyline
Longtime tipster Leonid Nemirovsky shares a tip for working with polylines. This tip will help you create new vertexes in a polyline, stretch a segment, and more, using AutoCAD's ability to grip-edit polylines. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Effort-Saving Macros for Unit Conversion and More
Jerri Thompson, a CAD specialist, shares a few macros for saving time and effort while working in AutoCAD. "I made some macro buttons on my personal toolbar. One is for converting millimeters to inches." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Adopt New Tools and Templates
Frequent tipster Danny Korem shares a method he used long ago that took advantage of new tools in AutoCAD. "Adapting to new tools (and adopting them) is very important to a user's workflow," commented Cadalyst tip reviewer Brian Benton. "Make sure to learn the new tools in each new release you work with, and take advantage of time-saving tricks, such as developing a template file to start new projects." 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 2013 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Offset Line to Midpoint
Jan Bath offers up a nice little AutoCAD routine to offset a line — and this one has a twist. Once you pick two lines, this routine will draw the new line midway between the existing two. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Hatch Creator
Frequent contributor Raymond Rizkallah sends us a unique AutoCAD routine that can generate hatch patterns on the fly. Raymond has also provided a depiction of sample hatch patterns created with this routine. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Copy Attribute Position
This routine from Patrick Evangelista will allow you to match attribute locations among like blocks in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Generate User-Defined Closed Areas
This routine from Juan Villarreal projects points and generates closed polylines in AutoCAD according to a user-defined area and number of areas. Juan's routine contains plenty of comments to help you see how it works. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Swap Attribute Values within the Same Block
SwapAtt is a function that will push attribute values from a certain tag into other tagged attributes in AutoCAD. It is designed to be used inside other LISP functions. Tip contributor Patrick Evangelista provides an example at the bottom of the LISP file. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Create a Nonplotting Layer
Frequent contributor Leland Leahy uses this routine to create an AutoCAD layer like defpoints, meaning that it will display on screen but not plot. You can use this as a guide for creating your own layers via code too. 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. Be sure to tell us which software version you use. 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 submit only tips or code that are your original work. By submitting code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your tip in print, digitally, and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to submitted tips.

By submitting code, you agree that your code can be reused as-is or modified by other users in conjunction with AutoCAD or other software programs to gain efficiencies in that software for professional or personal use, and that your code can be shared freely among users. Users do not have the right to republish code in any manner or format (such as on a blog web site or in a printed document) for personal or commercial gain without written permission from Cadalyst and the original author.

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.

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Deals & Freebies

GrabCAD Launches Free 3D CAD Viewer App for Android
GrabCAD has released the GrabCAD Android app, which allows Android users to view 3D CAD models on their mobile devices, regardless of the format they were created in. The app allows users to access both the public GrabCAD library, with more than 200,000 models, and GrabCAD Workbench, where they can share models privately with selected team members. The Android app is available in the Google Play Store.

Early BIMForum Registrants Can Save $100
Organizers of the Fall 2013 BIMForum, which will be held October 8–9 in Denver, Colorado, are offering a discount for early registration. The registration fee is $495 for those signing up before September 6; then it rises to $595. The event will examine the issues, advantages, and challenges of using BIM (building information modeling) for prefabricating building systems and constructing modular building sections.

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Opportunities & Honors

General Electric Issues Design Challenge to GrabCAD Community
General Electric has challenged GrabCAD's engineering community to design a high-performance, 3D-printable jet engine bracket. Participants will use additive manufacturing as the basis for optimizing an existing aircraft engine bracket. The top ten designs will be selected for fabrication and testing and their designers will share $30,000.

QuadriSpace Accepting Participants for Beta Program
QuadriSpace, a supplier of 3D communication and documentation software, announced a new beta program for Share3D, which enables users to share 3D designs for collaborative review. This cloud and mobile solution was designed to extend the use of CAD into manufacturing, service, and customer-centric applications. Interested persons can apply to participate in this limited beta program.

Chinese Engineering Firm Wins Two Bentley Systems Awards
HydroChina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation has won two 2012 Be Inspired Awards from Bentley Systems. The firm won in the Sustaining the Professions category for its utilization of the Bentley LEARN Training Subscription. In addition, the corporation's Standard Design and Application for the Pumped Storage Power Station project in Zunyi, China, won in the Innovation in Power Generation category.

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

New Products

AEC: Graebert OnlineMaps Plugin for DraftSight
Graebert has released a new plugin that integrates the Esri ArcGIS Online mapping platform with DraftSight, a professional-grade, free product that enables users to create, edit, and view DWG files. Graebert OnlineMaps Plugin for DraftSight allows AEC CAD users to browse and reference any maps in the Esri ArcGIS Online map base and integrate them into their CAD drawings.

AEC: BricsCAD BIM Module Beta
Bricsys, developer of BricsCAD engineering design software, has released the beta version of the BricsCAD BIM Module for Windows. This module, which adds building information modeling functionality to BricsCAD based on standard technologies such as XML and DWG, is free to users of the Pro and Platinum editions of BricsCAD V13.2 (32-bit).

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mark Your Calendar

CADWorx Pipe Modeling
June 25–26, 2013
Houston, Texas
ECE Design will host these half-day workshops, which will focus on increased productivity with Intergraph's CADWorx 2013. Read more

What's New in ZWCAD+ 2014?
July 9, 2013
6 p.m. PT
In this webinar, Daniel Huang, product manager of ZWCAD+, will introduce the new features of ZWCAD+ 2014. 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

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What's New at

Create a Plugin for AutoCAD
Expand your customization skills as you program a command using Visual Studio.NET. Read more

First Look Review: Contex IQ 4490
High-quality 44" wide-format scanner makes it fast and easy to digitize documents. Read more

IMAGINiT Launches Health Check for Civil 3D Firms
New service examines current workflows and recommends a path to increased productivity. Read the blog post

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

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!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use any augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR) technologies in your workflow?
Not yet, but we are planning to implement it.
No, but we think these technologies could hold value for us.
No; these technologies do not hold value for us.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition