Customization, What Customization? (Bug Watch AutoCAD Tutorial)

28 Feb, 2007 By: Steve Johnson

What to do when drawings give multiple errors and how to fix pesky pixels.

Now I See You, Now CUI Don't (2007 to 2007 SP1)
Let's say you're in the middle of some particularly tricky customization work using the CUI command when you take a phone call. You need to do something else with your computer for a few minutes, so you minimize AutoCAD or right-click on the Windows Task Bar and pick Show the Desktop. After you finish your other business, you restore AutoCAD to carry on with your customization. Hmm, what customization? The CUI dialog box has disappeared, along with your CUI changes.

AutoCAD 2006 refuses to minimize at all with CUI open unless you use Show the Desktop. That's a little antisocial but not nearly as bad as throwing away your work without warning.

Workaround: None known other than remembering to pick Apply before minimizing.

Pixel Pedantry (2000i to 2007 SP1)
What sizes are the bitmap images used in AutoCAD toolbars? The correct answer has varied over time, but one thing has stayed constant for the past six releases, and that is that AutoCAD gives the wrong answer.

Why does it matter? Maybe you want make your own toolbar images using a proper editor (because AutoCAD's bitmap editor is dreadful) and you need to know the image size. If you get it wrong, AutoCAD still displays the images, but they are scaled to fit and aren't attractive. You may also want to migrate your old toolbars to a new release or support multiple releases, in which case you need to know what (if anything) you need to do with your images to make them work properly.

AutoCAD 2000 was the last release to get it absolutely right. The actual size was 16x15 pixels for small buttons and 24x22 pixels for large ones, and that's what it said in Help. AutoCAD 2000i and 2002 changed the large bitmap size to 32x30 and this is correctly stated in Help. However, the same Help also shows an example with a filename of MYCMD24.BMP, just to confuse you. This was corrected in AutoCAD 2004.

From AutoCAD 2004 on, the bitmaps have been fixed at the eminently sensible sizes of 16x16 and 32x32, which is what they started off as when fully customizable toolbars were introduced in Release 13. Also from AutoCAD 2004 on, the old 2000i sizes have been incorrectly listed somewhere. In AutoCAD 2004 and 2005, Help gets it wrong. In 2006 and 2007, that all changed. The actual sizes remained at 16x16 and 32x32, and Help was updated to list the correct sizes. Unfortunately, the incorrect old sizes are shown in the brand new CUI Properties pane.

AutoCAD 2006 and 2007 display pixel sizes that are correct only for AutoCAD 2000i and 2002.

Workaround: This table shows the actual sizes used by various AutoCAD releases.

13 16x16 32x32
14 16x15 24x22
2000 16x15 24x22
2001i 16x15 32x30
2002 16x15 32x30
2004 16x16 32x32
2005 16x16 32x32
2006 16x16 32x32
2007 16x16 32x32

Prior to AutoCAD 2004, the images have a crisp 256-color Windows NT look about them. However, all AutoCAD releases save the files using 24-bit full color depth.

Save Back Attack (2007 Verticals Affecting 2006 and Earlier)
Does your AutoCAD 2006 or earlier report multiple errors when opening drawings from other people? Are the errors ARX_ERROR: eDuplicateKey or ARX_ERROR: eNotThatKindOfClass? If so, it's likely that an AutoCAD 2007-based vertical product is causing the problem when saving back to an earlier drawing format. It's trying and failing to save complex new AEC objects in the old format. This problem can also prevent you from binding xrefs.

Workaround: Autodesk has released three Object Enabler hot fixes to suppress the error messages in AutoCAD 2004, 2005 and 2006.

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