Bug Watch November 2003

31 Oct, 2003 By: Steve Johnson


In July's Bug Watch, I described the demise of the drawing history feature along with the rest of AutoCAD Today. Several readers wrote to point out that AutoCAD 2004 does have a drawing history feature of sorts, inherited from AutoCAD 2002. The Open dialog has a History icon. Select this, then select Views / Details. Enlarge the dialog box to show the date, and then click on Modified to show the files in date order.

However, if you were a regular user of the Today history feature, don't get too excited. The Open dialog's history is missing several useful features. Because the history uses shortcuts, the dialog does not display a drawing preview. Also, you can't review the history by week or by location.


Autodesk released AutoCAD 2004 Service Pack 1, then withdrew it. The Service Pack introduced a plotting problem with some HP devices, and Autodesk moved commendably quickly to correct it. A minor patch to correct the plotting problem, the HPGDI8.HDI Service Pack 1 Update, appeared within 24 hours. This was followed by an updated Service Pack 1a, which replaces Service Pack 1 and includes the plotter patch. You can apply Service Pack 1a on a virgin AutoCAD 2004 installation or on one with the original short-lived Service Pack 1, with or without the HPGDI8.HDI patch.

So what will Service Pack 1 or 1a do for you? According to Autodesk, it:

  • Fixes the causes of several intermittently encountered failures, including ones in 3D Orbit, the Customize dialog box, and when dragging objects between drawings.
  • Corrects a problem with draw order when using the Bind option of the Xref command.
  • Fixes several problems with hyperlinks in DWF files. To take advantage of the fixes when viewing DWF files, download the latest version of the Autodesk Express Viewer from the Autodesk Web site.
  • Corrects the problem of the command line disappearing under some circumstances.
  • Fixes a problem so that a space or semicolon now acts correctly as an Enter with the SETENV macro in the system registry.
  • Fixes several problems with Revdate blocks in AutoCAD LT 2004. Corrects other miscellaneous issues.

Autodesk could be a little less coy about exactly what its Service Packs fix. A vague phrase like "other miscellaneous issues" is useless to somebody who wants to know if installing the Service Pack will stop the screen menu from being squished, or attributes from left-justifying themselves, or diameter dimensions from leaping to another circle. In case you're wondering, no, it won't fix those things. It does allow you to use the Extension object snap on arcs, though! A full list of fixes would help users make a much better-informed decision about whether to take the risk that is inherent in any software update.


AutoCAD 2004's new tool palettes offer an alternative and interesting insertion interface. As usual for an Autodesk first attempt at something new, they are somewhat half-baked in certain areas. I'm sure somebody at Autodesk is working away right now to bring tool palette customization interfaces up to scratch. Mind you, I was equally certain that Release 13's woeful multilines would be made usable in the next release. Five releases later, they're still woeful.

In the meantime, here's a straightforward tool palettes bug. If you right-click on a tool and pick Properties, you can change various insertion properties of the block or hatch. If you set the insertion layer to 0, this is ignored. AutoCAD uses the current layer instead. This is unfortunate, because inserting blocks on layer 0 is a common convention.

No known workaround.


The Express Tools command Txtexp (Express / Text / Explode Text) explodes text objects into individual polylines. This command has a number of problems. The most obvious one is that the exploded text is put in the wrong place. For example, a piece of text at 0,0 might end up as a bunch of polylines at somewhere like 20.5, 14.5. Another Txtexp issue follows. Tune in next month for more Txtexp troubles.

No known workaround.


The Txtexp command does not respect the PLINETYPE setting. Instead, it always creates old-style heavyweight polylines, which went out of fashion some years ago. The same applies to the Wmfin command and the Express Tools LISP function (acet-wmfin).

No known workaround.

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