Don't Get Your Ys in a Knot (Bug Watch AutoCAD Tutorial)

30 Sep, 2007 By: Steve Johnson

AutoCAD 2008 doesn't always cooperate with Explorer -- or let you save your drawing.

Y Knot (2008)
Submitted by Earl Kubaskie
In the Units command, you can change the Insertion Scale setting to represent the units in which you are working. If you do so, AutoCAD will automatically change the display of certain scale factors. If you change the units from inches to feet, a block with a scale of 1 will have its scale displayed as 12 by the List command and in the Properties palette. Although that can be confusing, it's not a bug -- it's a feature! The information about the insertion units and the unit conversion is displayed in both cases to let you know what's going on. The scale factor is 12 in the inches/feet case, but 1,000 in the millimeters/meters case, and so on.

No new feature would be complete without its corresponding bug, and here it is. If you enter modified block-scale factors into the Properties palette, the y-scale factor goes wrong. The x- and z-scale factors are multiplied by the appropriate scale, but the y-scale factor is multiplied by that scale twice.

In this example, a block is being scaled up to twice its original size. It is shown occurring normally as well as after the insertion units have been changed from inches to feet.

AutoCAD 2008 messing up its calculations on the y-scale factor.

This case shows things going wrong by a factor of 12. But depending on the units being converted, the calculation could be 1,000 times too small, 39.37 times too large, and so on.

Workaround. You can mentally divide the y-scale factor by the appropriate amount before entering it. In the above case, entering a scale factor of 2 will yield the correct scale of 24.
Fix. Install AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1. I'll have more about SP1 in next month's column.

Explorer Deplorer (2008)
If you have no AutoCAD session running, select 10 DWG files in Explorer, and then hit Enter. The end result in AutoCAD 2007 and earlier versions is one AutoCAD session with 10 open drawings. That makes sense. If you do the same thing with AutoCAD 2008, the end result is 10 AutoCAD 2008 sessions with one drawing each. That doesn't make sense.

Workaround. None known, other than starting an AutoCAD session before attempting to open multiple files.
Fix. Install AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1.

Explorer Ignorer (2008)
If you have an AutoCAD session running, select 10 DWG files in Explorer, and then hit Enter, the end result should be one AutoCAD session with all 10 drawings open. But that doesn't always happen. Depending what AutoCAD feels like, you might get one drawing open, all 10, or any number in between.

Workaround. None known, other than dragging and dropping the files from Explorer onto the AutoCAD title bar instead of pressing Enter.

Unsafe Orbit (2002 to 2008)
After using the 3DOrbit command, AutoCAD can become uncooperative when trying to save the drawing. It will report that the drawing "has a command in progress. Hit enter to cancel or [Retry]." This may apply to both the QSave (File > Save) and SaveAs (File > Save As . . .) commands, making it appear that you have no way of saving your changes.

Workaround. Another command is available for saving your drawing. The Save command isn't available from the File menu, so you will need to type it in instead. It might look just like the SaveAs command, but it's not exactly the same. Like SaveAs, the Save command will allow you to save the drawing under a different name or a different location. Unlike SaveAs, it does this without actually changing the current drawing's name. Also unlike SaveAs, it will usually still allow you to save your work when this bug strikes. You should then be able to close the current drawing, open the new drawing, and continue working without closing AutoCAD.

Annoyance Watch
Your AutoCAD annoyances have been flooding in! I'm sorry I can't reply to all of your messages, but I would like to thank you for passing on all your irritants. Look for a selection of those not-quite bugs in a future "Bug Watch" column. If your annoyance isn't published, rest assured that it will get to the right people at Autodesk -- with any identifying information removed.

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