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Creating Palettes in AutoCAD-Based Products (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

11 Mar, 2008 By: Robert Green

Can I deploy tool palettes over a network? I've had trouble with my tool palette files (ATP file types) becoming corrupted.


Robert Green replies: In the last edition of CAD Manager's Toolbox, I gave some hints for creating large tool palettes quickly. I received a number of follow-up questions that mainly had to do with deploying the palettes over a network.

You certainly can deploy your palettes via a network connection. The way to control where the palettes reside is within the AutoCAD Options command. Read more

figure
Setting a network directory for Tool Palette placement.

In this case I've used a local area network (LAN) directory on a server that is at my office. Since I have a good connection and high speed to the LAN server, I don't experience problems with the palette (more on this in a moment).

In fact, you can even make the LAN directory read only for your users, and they'll be able to use the palettes but not modify them -- great for CAD managers trying to standardize things!

Now back to the bandwidth issue: I have experienced problems when trying to standardize palettes across a wide area network (WAN) connection. Simply put, if AutoCAD can't find the palettes as fast as it thinks it should due to a slow connection, you may find that corruptions can occur, especially when trying to edit the palettes. I simply don't think Autodesk has designed the palettes to be fault tolerant for very slow networks, and I understand their logic.

Click for larger image LAN versus WAN topologies illustrated. (Click image for larger version)
To get around the problem I recommend keeping your palettes located at the LAN server in your building and not on a server somewhere else in the WAN simply because of speed considerations. You could copy the palette files at night when you need to update them to keep remote sites synchronized and not have to worry about the problem any more.

In the next edition I'll provide more configuration tips and tricks that you can place in your CAD Manager's Toolbox. Until then.


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green