Bug Watch: The Trials of Typing Text in Tables

14 Apr, 2005 By: Steve Johnson Cadalyst

Two handy features that don't work together, and typing the wrong text in a table makes AutoCAD LISP.

Xopen Doesn't (2005 SP1)
AutoCAD's Maximize Viewport feature is handy, but not all commands function properly when you're using it. For example, Xopen should let you select an Xref drawing and then open it for you. But when selected while using Maximize Viewport, it doesn't work. You select the Xref, but nothing happens.
Workaround: Un-maximize the viewport before using Xopen.
Stop press: This one is fixed in AutoCAD 2006.

Lost In Stupid Parentheses (2005 to 2006)
If you click once on a table cell and start typing, AutoCAD places the text at the start of the table cell. Now try doing that to add some text in parentheses. Let's say you have a cell containing this text:


Now you want to change it to read like this:


Click on the cell and start typing. As soon as you type the opening parenthesis of the text (HELLO), the command prompt will look like this:

Command: (_>

It appears that AutoCAD is treating your input as a LISP expression, rather than text. Each character you type will add another (_> to the line. Typing Enter just adds a new line containing another (_>. Typing further opening parentheses will change this to ((_>, (((_>, and so on. Typing closing parentheses changes it back to ((_> and (_>, until the number of opening and closing parentheses matches, at which point AutoCAD displays a LISP error message. Thus, if you type the characters ( ( ( ) ) ), the command line will look like this:

Command: (_> ((_> (((_> ((_> (_> ; error: no function definition: TABLEDIT

If you type an extra closing parenthesis at this point, the text TABLEDIT is added to your table cell, thus:


You are left in the normal cell text editor, so at least you can fix this problem with the Backspace key. The alternative method of getting to this point is to click once on a table cell, type an opening parenthesis, and hit Esc. The Command prompt will look like this:

Command: (_> *Cancel* ; error: Function cancelled

The command line itself will be completely blank, with the cursor flashing 27 character positions from the left. Hitting Esc a second time cancels things properly; pressing Enter puts you in the normal cell text editor, but typing a different character adds TABLEDIT to your table cell as described above.
Workaround: Double-click on the cell instead..

Last month I pointed out some problems with Microsoft's Tilt Wheel mice. Here's another bug that applies to Microsoft mice, reducing their worth for AutoCAD users. A design bug in the IntelliPoint 5.x mouse driver does not permit you to assign the Esc key to any of the buttons. The IntelliPoint 5.0 software that comes with the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 4.0 will not let you assign any custom keystrokes to the buttons, but you can download version 5.2 to work around that problem. That version allows you to assign almost any keystroke to a button. Unfortunately, you can't assign the Esc key, because using Esc cancels the keystroke input dialog box! That is a shame for AutoCAD users because Esc is one of the most commonly used keys in AutoCAD.

We Don't Need No Education, Revisited
In January's Bug Watch, I described how innocent parties could end up with their drawings infected by Autodesk's educational version "virus." It seems I touched a nerve, because I can't remember any other Bug Watch item triggering so many emails from readers. It appears that Autodesk's over-enthusiastic attempt to keep its educational version customers in line is not greatly loved by its full-price customers.

One reader suggested a drawing clean-up method that involves using a specific command in a specific AutoCAD release. That works too, but an easy method is available to all AutoCAD users, no matter what release they own. No, I'm not going to tell you! Autodesk's lawyers are bigger than my lawyers. But it's not hard to work it out for yourself.

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