Dialog Box September 2005

14 Sep, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Letters from our readers

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Digitizer Denial
After reading the (Bug Watch, August 2005) on the 2006 menu ruin, one must determine whether this is Autodesk's way of telling users they don't care about us, the way we work, or our loyalty for all these years. I am a tablet user and a customization freak, and have been since the inception of open architecture, previously Autodesk's best advantage over all other CAD systems.

I have setup my system to complete repetitive tasks with a tablet click that takes a millisecond. Without this capability, Autodesk loses all the respect I once had. I have been a constant voice proclaiming the superiority of AutoCAD and Mechanical Desktop because of the programs' customization capabilities.

I also use SolidWorks and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2 and I hate them both. Now that Autodesk has stabbed us tablet users and customizers in the back, I may be forced to use Pro/ENGINEER more often.

If there was any way to voice my anger and frustration to Autodesk, I surely would. It seems it would be of little or no effect, observing the company's apparent lack of care or value of its long time supporters and users.

Farewell, Autodesk.

Thanks for the years of service. R.I.P.

— Ed Galicki
San Diego, CA

Autodesk Responds:
AutoCAD 2006 does support digitizer customization. The customization interface is split up into sections. One of the sections is for older menu interfaces that are not used as widely in our customer base as they were in the past. Find the Digitizer tablet, Screen and Image menus in the Legacy section of the CUI menu (figure 1).

Figure 1. AutoCAD 2006 does support digitizer customization.

Hatch Hassles
I'm absolutely amazed that nobody is addressing AutoCAD's hatching problems. Simple hatching commands that cheaper CAD packages accomplish transparently are a nightmare with AutoCAD 2005. Simple cross-sections often don't hatch, only hatch by drawing false lines or must be redrawn.

The Gaptol tool is irritating-the GAPTOL default of 0.00 or resetting the HPGAPTOL gives little or no feedback as to what it needs to resolve a hatching problem. Autodesk doesn't appear to have any real quality-control processes in its programming department. Although I like using AutoCAD, the time I spend resolving bugs has a measurable negative effect on my ability to produce a simple drawing quickly. If I had the funding right now, AutoCAD would not be on my top list as the main software package in my office because of its poor track record in resolving bugs of this type.

— John Falkenstine, via Internet

Flawed Fields
I agree that fields are a great addition to AutoCAD (Learning Curve, August 2005), but I need to point out a bug I discovered that is now known to Autodesk. The FIELDEVAL variable controls field updates. The bug is that the default setting or user setting gets changed to 4 every time you print, plot or publish. Set FIELDEVAL to 31 (default) and then publish or plot your drawing. Magically and unfortunately when you type FIELDEVAL again, it is reset to 4, which doesn't allow the automatic update when saving. I use fields in my title blocks to update revisions, dates, customers, etc. in Architectural Desktop 2005/2006, and this is where it can cause havoc for me. My solution has been to create a toolbutton 31 that I press after each plot or publish to reset FIELDEVAL to 31.

— Gilles Jalbert, via Internet

Thank you for the bug report. We'll forward this to our resident collector, Steve Johnson, in hopes that it makes the bug big time.

Going Dotty
I read "Pick an Object, Any Object" in hopes of finding an answer to a quirk I can't get rid of in my CAD system. In Mechanical Desktop 2006, when I'm in model space with no command active and I move the crosshairs over a part, the part turns into a dotted line representation without selecting the part. This doesn't occur in Mechanical Desktop 2004. Do you know of any command that will turn off this dotted line representation? I've searched through Autodesk's Q&A forums and cannot find an answer. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.

— Lane Moultrie, via Internet

Bill Fane responds:
This is not a quirk of your system-it's a highly touted new feature that Autodesk spent a lot of time developing. Autodesk will be most disappointed that you don't like it.

This effect can be turned on or off, or the appearance changed, by selecting Tools / Options, then the Selection tab. In the middle of the left side of the dialog box, you'll see the Selection Preview area where you can turn the effect on or off either when a command is active, or when a command is not active, or both. This sets the SelectionPreview system variable.

The Visual Effects Settings button lets you set the linetype, colors, objects to which it applies, etc.

Help Desk
I am new to the world of LISP, but was wondering if any script exists that would export selected elements to ESRI shapefile format?

— Zach Perdue, via Internet

I'm trying to a find a solution to a strange problem that has been happening for a while now. The (lr-dwg-reactor) function has ceased to be defined on some computers at my office. The users claim they did nothing to make this happen. We tried reinstalling AutoCAD several times to no avail. We are all running AutoCAD 2002. I did find this old discussion group thread, but no answers.

— Paul Nylander, via Internt

If you have a solution to either of these problems, please drop us a line at We'll print replies in a future installment. -Eds.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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