Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 20, No. 3)

26 Jan, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Lynn AllenVideo Tip: Are You an AutoCAD Offset Wizard?
Although the Offset command is a fairly basic one, there have been some amazing additions over the past few releases. Do you know them all? Watch this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen to learn the ins and outs of the command, and you'll become an Offset wizard! Watch the video


Display More Layout Tabs in AutoCAD 2015
Tawfik Shehata shares this AutoCAD tip for dealing with AutoCAD 2015's smaller status bar. "You have probably noticed that the bottom area of the workspace has become thinner than before." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Contextual Help Is a Button Away
Here is another quick AutoCAD tip from Levi Connolly. "If you sometimes find yourself stuck in a command and wish you could just press a button that would give you more information about the command you are using, you're in luck." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Inventor Tip: Show Interference Edges and Tangent Edges
If you have ever created an isometric view in Autodesk Inventor and were disappointed to find that the view did not show interference edges or tangent edges, David Gaskill has a tip for you. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

January Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Hot Tip Harry, Cadalyst's mysterious purveyor of customized AutoCAD code, has dispatched another bundle of great LISP tips from readers. View and download each of the latest tips using the links below, or get the entire January 2015 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Draw Polynomial Functions
The latest tip from frequent contributor Kent Cooper is used to draw polynomial functions on the current layer in AutoCAD. The routine will draw the curve defined by a polynomial function in the form y = a sum of coefficients on x raised to a descending series of any number of integer powers, and a constant. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Express a Number as a String to a Specified Number of Significant Digits
Kent Cooper created this AutoCAD function in response to a question in the Autodesk customization forums. The result of this function will be returned as a string. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Change Xref File Names Without Detaching and Reattaching
Michael Partenheimer gives us a slick way to change xrefs in AutoCAD without losing your layer settings. There is also a second function in the included LISP file that is an example of combining several rename operations into one function. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Insert Attribute Numbered Blocks
This AutoCAD routine by Ramakrishna Acharya allows you to insert sequentially numbered blocks. The supplied block is a circle with a number in the center. 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 original, previously unpublished tip, you can earn a gift card (learn more about prizes here). 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 R.K. McSwain. 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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Autodesk Publishes Free AutoCAD Shortcut Guide for Mac Users
Autodesk has published a set of downloadable keyboard shortcuts and commands to help users type faster and work more efficiently while using AutoCAD for Mac. Also available are a printable version of the shortcuts and a template for keyboard stickers.

TraceParts Portal Announces Support for Six More Formats
Digital engineering 3D content company TraceParts has recently added six CAD formats to the list of supported formats on its platform. The inclusion of PLY, COLLADA, OFF, WAVEFRONT OBJ, VTK, and THREE JS is meant to assist design professionals in rendering, gaming, and 3D animation.

New CAE Market Report Predicts 11% Growth
A new report from Research and Markets concludes that the global computer-aided engineering (CAE) market will grow at 11.34% over the period 2014–2019. The market is divided into two product segments: finite-element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). "Global CAE Market 2015-2019" ($3,000, single user) covers the global region, the market landscape, major vendors, and more.

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Opportunities & Honors

GrabCAD Launches First Design Challenge of 2015
GrabCAD has issued a design challenge intended to make parcel delivery more efficient. GrabCAD community members are asked to create a drawer solution for a self-service parcel terminal that includes a locking system and guarantees 100% functionality. $7,500 in prizes will be awarded. Entries must be uploaded by February 9, 2015.

Zuken Innovation World Calls for Presentations
Zuken is now accepting presentation abstracts for the ZIW 2015 Conference. Presentations can be based on a case study, challenging design experience, new technology trend, a solution to a common design problem, or any topic related to the use of Zuken's products. The deadline for final submissions is February 6, 2015.

Design Competition Seeks Bridge Design Proposals
Central Atlanta Progress and the Midtown Alliance are sponsoring the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition, which seeks a broad range of proposals for conceptual redesigns for two existing interstate bridges. The competition, in collaboration with the Architecture and Design Center, will coincide with the American Institute of Architects Convention 2015. Each winning team will receive $8,000.

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New Products

General: HP True Graphics
HP's new thin-client software HP True Graphics offloads rich multimedia content to local hardware decoders, thereby providing lossless video and graphics presentation from the cloud, according to the company. HP True Graphics comes preinstalled on HP thin clients starting with HP ThinPro v5.2 and will be available on HP ThinPro v5 or higher as an add-on through Easy Update for ThinPro or via HPDM in early 2015.

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Mark Your Calendar

Dot Product to EdgeWise to Revit: A Revolutionary New Workflow
January 28, 2015
10 a.m. PT
WorkFlow 4.0 will showcase a new workflow that combines the collection of the Dot Product handheld scanner with the automated modeling power of EdgeWise. Read more

Emerging Facade — Swarm-Designed Structure in Grasshopper
January 28, 2015
11 a.m. PT
This Novedge webinar will demonstrate several ways of utilizing swarm behavior in producing various complex facade structures. Read more

What's New in Bluebeam Revu 2015
February 4, 2015
11 a.m. PT
In this webinar from Novedge and Bluebeam, viewers will see Bluebeam Revu 2015's new features in action. Read more

FME World Tour 2015
April 8–June 30, 2015
Various cities worldwide
Safe Software will sponsor one-day FME user meetings in more than 60 cities in 22 countries around the world. Read more

AIA Convention 2015
May 14–16, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
This year's American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention promises nearly 300 educational opportunities, a first look at new materials and technology, anda keynote speech by President Bill Clinton. Read more

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) Australasia
May 14–16, 2015
Queensland, Australia
Those who attend the eleventh Australasian Revit Technology Conference will have the opportunity to explore the latest trends in Autodesk Revit and related technologies, and to share ideas and insights with an international community of their peers. Read more

North American Revit Technology Conference (RTC) 2015
July 23–25, 2015
Washington, D.C.
The fifth North American RTC will offer an opening plenary session and keynote address, multiple concurrent sessions over three days, and lab sessions. 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

Learning Curve Tutorial: Yet Another Way to Go from 3D to 2D in AutoCAD
To create 2D views from 3D models quickly, try the ViewBase family of commands. Read more

Internet of Things: What It Means for Designers and Their Companies
The growing network of web-connected products demands a new approach to product development. Read more

SPECapc Releases PTC Creo 3.0 Benchmark
Users can measure and compare the performance of PTC Creo 3.0 on the latest generation of CAD workstations. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Required Reading for CAD Managers — Automation Makes Us Dumb
WSJ article explains that tools only improve efficiency; they can't replace involved, thoughtful users. 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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