Bug Watch: June 2003

31 May, 2003 By: Steve Johnson

Commentary: AutoCAD 2004 coexistence and compatibility

I'm glad to see that Autodesk allows AutoCAD 2004 to coexist peacefully with its predecessors, unlike 2000i and 2002. Many organizations that exchange drawings with others will need to keep an AutoCAD 2000-2002 license around, because AutoCAD 2004 won't save to Release 13 or Release 14 formats, not even as a DXF file. Thus, 2004 earns the dubious distinction of being the only release in a 20-year history to drop backward compatibility with two earlier releases at once. AutoCAD 2004 does retain Release 12 DXF support, but going back that far is rather destructive to a drawing's integrity. For example, AutoCAD 2004 mtext reverts to the ugly old TXT font in Release 12. A multiline mtext object is converted into several text objects, then combined into anonymous blocks that you can't edit as text until you explode them. If you have customers using Release 14, they won't be happy.

Return of the scream menu (2004)

Submitted by Jack Foster

If you turn on the archaic but functional screen menu feature (Options / Display / Display Screen Menu) and dock the menu on one side of the screen, it seems to work fine. But when your AutoCAD window is maximized and you close and restart AutoCAD, only the top bar of the menu survives the experience. Turning the screen menu feature off and back on again doesn't restore the menu. To get it back, you need to drag the stubby little thing from its docked position and drop it into free space. You can then click and drag its bottom edge to resize it, then drag it back into its docked position.

Workaround: This bug doesn't occur when the screen menu is floating or turned off at the time AutoCAD closes, which presents the opportunity for a workaround or two. One possibility is to grab the docked menu and drag it to a floating position just before you close AutoCAD. Then, when you start AutoCAD, dock it again. That's fiddly, but not quite as fiddly as restoring it when you leave it in place.

An alternative workaround is to arrange your screen space so that AutoCAD is not maximized. For example, you can make the AutoCAD main window a little narrower and place the floating screen menu off to the side. You might also place floating toolbar menus to use up the rest of the spare space outside the main AutoCAD window.

If you want to keep the AutoCAD main window maximized, you may still be able to arrange your docked toolbar menus in such a way as to leave room below them for a floating screen menu. Just hold down <Ctrl> as you drag the screen menu into place, and it won't dock.

Finally, you can turn the screen menu off just before closing AutoCAD and turn it back on again later. Instead of using the Options dialog box to do this, a little Visual LISP does the trick.

This file adds to AutoCAD a Screenmenu command that toggles the menu on and off. If you make a toolbar button to invoke the command, toggling the screen menu on and off becomes a one-click operation.

Gray area (2004)

Submitted by Alireza Parsai

The Bhatch dialog box, which is shared by the Hatchedit command, has three tabs: Hatch, Advanced, and Gradient. The OK button is grayed out in the Advanced tab. This could easily lead you to believe, for example, that it's impossible to change the island detection style of a hatch once you create it.

Workaround: Change the settings in the Advanced tab, then switch to another tab before picking OK.

Extension exasperation (2004)

Submitted by Mark Martinez

AutoCAD 2004 has broken the Extension object snap on arcs. It works fine on polyline arc segments, though.

No known workaround.

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