programmer?s Web toolbox

28 Feb, 2003 By: Barry Bowen

Shareware may solve your programming problem.

Many AutoLISP and VBA (Visual BASIC for Applications) programmers face the daily challenge of creating routines and programs that automate their AutoCAD projects. Often the routine or solution to your programming task may already exist somewhere on the Internet, but where, and how do you find it? The amount of information out there is overwhelming. Although this is not an exhaustive list of resources, it's a start, and the hardest part of anything is just getting started.

Many Web sites provide resources for AutoLISP, Visual LISP, and VBA, alone or in combination. The place to start is Cadalyst's Web site. This resource is chock full of articles, columns, reviews, and code to increase your programming expertise. Code archives go back to 1993, and you can search by topic or by keyword. You need to register before you can download code.

Follow that up by going to, an extensive collection of AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA, Win 32API, and .NET programming code, articles, downloads, links, and how-to articles. This site has a wide variety of resources for programmers at all levels.

If you're looking for shareware, hosts more than 5,345 shareware, freeware, and evaluation files for CAD users. All files are free to download, but you first need to register. The Open Source page includes programs and articles, including a series on using and writing AutoLISP and ARX programs.

Programmer’s bookshelf

The Internet can’t duplicate the convenience and thoroughness of a print reference. Here are some of the books available for AutoCAD programmers:

  • AutoCAD Database Connectivity, First Edition, by Scott McFarlane
  • AutoCAD 2000 VBA Programmer’s Reference, by Joe Sutphin
  • AutoLISP Programming, Principles, and Techniques, by Rod Rawls and Mark Hagen
  • AutoLISP: Programming for Productivity, by William Kramer
  • AutoLISP to Visual LISP: Design Solutions for AutoCAD 2000, First Edition, by Kevin Standiford
  • Practical AutoLISP, by Thomas A. Stellman
  • Using Visual Basic with AutoCAD 2000, Second Edition, by Andrew Roe
  • Visual Lisp: A Guide to Artful Programming, First Edition, by Phil Kreiker

You can find price and publishing information at your favorite book seller.

Want more downloadable routines? The CAD Depot bills itself as the ultimate free online CAD shareware archive for personal and professional use.

For some tricky AutoLISP examples, go to xarch. This site features AutoLISP library tutorials, tools, programs, compilers, DWG tools, a news collection, and AutoLISP FAQs.

To find help on almost every aspect of using ActiveX Automation and VBA with AutoCAD, visit the ActiveCAD site hosted by Michael J. Hunter, who has written several articles on VBA for Cadalyst.

The VBA Design Network offers more than 2,000 Visual BASIC procedures and modules. All are open source, free for use in any project.

For general Visual BASIC assistance, visit Planet Source Code. This site is the largest public source code database on the Internet, with 6,660,471 lines of code, articles, and tutorials in 11 languages.

Finally, your software vendor may offer customization information and, better yet, forums to connect with other users. Autodesk, for example, hosts separate user discussion groups for Visual LISP, AutoLISP, Visual BASIC, and ObjectARX customization. Bentley also offers a VBA discussion group.

In closing, I'd like to mention one of the best tools I've found for creating dialog boxes-ObjectDCL from 3rd Day Software. ObjectDCL is a brand-new dialog control language editor that replaces AutoCAD's DCL technology. This visual dialog box design system lets AutoLISP and Visual Lisp programmers create modal, modeless, and dockable dialog boxes similar to VBA dialog boxes.

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

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