Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 12)

1 Apr, 2007

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What's New at Cadalyst.comp>

New Quick Poll: Who Calls Your CAD Shots?
The latest Cadalyst Quick Poll is live online. This month, we want to know who on your staff has the most say in CAD-related software purchasing decisions -- users or managers? Take the poll (go to any page of and scroll down to find the Quick Poll in the margin), then check out how you compare with your CAD peers in "Cadfidential" in the May edition of Cadalyst magazine.

3D in AutoCAD? You Tell Us!
Do you use AutoCAD for 3D product design? If so, Cadalyst contributing editor Mike Hudspeth would like to hear from you. Readers' responses will appear in Mike's MCAD Modeling column in the June issue of Cadalyst magazine (and online). Send your 3D design story, as well as a design or two, to

Learning Curve (AutoCAD Tutorial): To Whom Do You Attribute That Information?
This month, Cadalyst's Bill Fane tells how to use attributes to attach a quality or a value to a block insertion in AutoCAD.   Read more

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on, subscribe to the Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every Monday we bring you a full-length feature article you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, interviews, event reports, AutoCAD tips and more! Here's a sample of what you missed recently:

  • Lining Up for Virtual Tours: One real estate company uses digital CAD floor plans and photographs to create online virtual tours for residential listings.

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This Week's Software Tips

Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish it, we'll send you a "Cadalyst: CAD the Way You Want It" T-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and send $100 to its author. Please submit only code and other tips that are your original work, or provide the original source so we can include proper credit. By submitting code to Cadalyst, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your code in print, digitally and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to the code; published code is not to be used for commercial purposes.

Sequential Numbers
Ravi Prakash wrote NUM.LSP to change serial numbers in sequential form. He explains, "Imagine you have to give serial numbers in a table or in a set of rows in a paragraph.” Follow these steps:

  1. Load NUM.LSP.
  2. Enter Num at the Command prompt.
  3. Select the text entities to number.
  4. Enter the starting number of the sequence, and the selected entities are automatically changed.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our Patrol points out, "This routine requires that you select the text entities in the order that you want them renumbered. Also, the local variables must be declared. I've updated the first line with the code below."


Oblique Text
OBL.LSP is S. Ramakrishna's program used to change the oblique angle of a text entity so it looks italicized as in a Word program. Follow these steps:

  1. Load the OBL.LSP file.
  2. Type OBL at the Command prompt.
  3. Select the text to be modified to oblique (italics).
  4. Enter the degree of the oblique angle (20 works well).

To change back to the text's standard format from italic, enter 0 (zero) for the degree of angle.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol finds that this routine works as described, but suggests a few changes and offers a revised version of the program with these updates, if readers are interested:

  1. Declare the local variables.
  2. Change (getint) to (getreal) so you can set the oblique angle to a real number, such as 22.5.
  3. Have the routine remember the last entered oblique angle (instead of it being hard-coded to 20).

Break Number List
Perry Medina explains how to break a numbered mtext list without changing the original numbering: Open a numbered list in the Mtext editor. Right-click and under Bullets and Lists uncheck Allow Bullets and Lists. Now you can delete any portion of the notes without affecting the original numbering. When done, check Allow Bullets and Lists so they're turned back on, and any new entries are numbered based on the numbers already there.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: The Patrol agrees that this is a "good tip and works well. We tested it with AutoCAD 2006, 2007 and 2008 beta."

Battman to the Rescue
Tip Patroller Don Boyer has a client whose border sheet had a bad habit of mixing attributes. Don explains, "Imagine if you took all the attributes for the title block, tossed them into the air and they landed all over the place. What a mess! The remedy for this problem is the Battman command. At the top of the dialog box is a window. Find the relevant block (in my case, it was the D-Border) and press the Sync button right next to it. It should clear up the problem instantly. In all fairness, it was the client who told me what I needed to do to clear up the problem."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: "Good information," says the Patrol.

Follow-Up: Inspect and Chspace
Original author, Scott Volz, of the March 12 tip about the Chspace command tells us that our follow-up in the March 19 edition is incorrect. He says, "Chspace command works with paper space and model space. It moves objects from model to paper and vice versa with all work done in paper space. Note that you must have a viewport to switch objects from model to paper or from paper to model. If you don't have a viewport, the command won't work." Thanks for the clarification, Scott!

Additionally, we checked with Scott Volz about the Inspect command he mentioned in the March 12 edition, and confirmed that that there should not be a – (minus sign) before the variable number.

Command line type: Autosnap
Variable type: 63

Follow-Up: Access Drafting Standards in AutoCAD
In our February 12 edition, Leonid Nemirovsky suggested how to share drafting standards via a PDF file. One reader wrote in asking if this wasn't what the Enterprise Customization file was used for. We went to Robert Green,Cadalyst's CAD manager extraordinaire, for input.

Robert Green agrees: This is a useful tip, but the concerns that the Patrol mentioned about a big company are valid. One way to approach the task that will always work (whether using Enterprise CUI or local CUI) is to point to an HTML page of linked documents using the AutoCAD Browser command.
The macro would look like this:

^C^C(command "browser" "p:/cad standards/standards.htm");

The STANDARDS.HTM file may be authored in an HTML editor or just saved from Microsoft Word in HTML format. The file itself can then contain any number of links to other standards. And, since this one standard file resides in a network location, you'll never have to touch the user's CUI file again.

MicroStation Tip -- Dimensions Settings Dialog Box Key-In
Question: Is there a key-in to bring up the Dimensions Settings dialog box so I can assign it to a function key?

Answer: Try the key-in dialog Dimplace Open. For V8, you can use "mdl load dimstyle; dialog dimstyle".

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Cadalyst Tip Patrol before publication. Use tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. Many thanks to our volunteer Cadalyst Tip Patrol members: Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Don Reichle, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda, Billy Wooten and Ben Young.

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Deals & Freebies

Trial Version of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire v3 Available
PTC announced that the company is offering a free 30-day trial of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire v3 as well as a variety of tutorials about using the 3D product design software. To download the trial version, visit the company's Web site.

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Opportunities & Honors

CoCreate Accepting Votes for 2007 Design Competition
The public voting period is now open for CoCreate's 2007 Design Competition, which includes entries of more than 150 different products from companies all around the world. Votes can be cast through April 13, 2007, with the winners announced soon thereafter.

AVEVA Receives PLC Company of the Year Award
AVEVA was recognized as Company of the Year for 2006 at the PLC Awards ceremony earlier this month. The PLC Awards, started 21 years ago by PricewaterhouseCoopers, are intended to reward excellence in the smaller quoted company sector. The winner was selected by readers of The Financial Times. AVEVA received the award during the ceremony on March 8, 2007, in London.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: LE1700
Motion Computing introduces tablet PC with WriteTouch display for dual-mode writing and touch-screen input. Read more

Hardware: GTCO Calcomp ScanPlus 6 LF652
The Other Solutions will distribute the 600dpi wide-format scanner with built-in copy system. Read more

Hardware: Quatra EIS
Paradigm Imaging Group introduces a large-format printer/copier/scanner. Read more

Hardware: NextDimension
NextComputing offers NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600 by PNY Technologies graphics board on its family of portable, flextop computers. Read more

General Software: Adobe Creative Suite v3
Six configurations are available for print, web, mobile, interactive, film and video production. Read more

AEC: Draft IT Architectural
CADlogic releases a 2D CAD system with intelligent commands to assist in the construction of walls, insertion of windows and doors, roof definition and automatic elevation creation. Read more

Building services application from includes HVAC, piping and structural solutions bundled with progeCAD 2007 Professional. Read more

MCAD: Collaboration Gateway v6
Proficiency launches new version of CAD interoperability system. Read more

MCAD: D-Cubed 2D DCM v51
UGS releases new version of dimensional constraint manager with direct support for splines. Read more

MCAD: Template Manager for KOMPAS-3D
Add-on from ASCON enables users to create their own parametric 2D/3D libraries connected to tables. Read more

MCAD: E3.series 2007
CIM-Team and Zuken launch updated electrical control design and documentation software. Read more

Updated FEA and simulation software includes design scenarios, allowing one FEA model to contain numerous analyses. Read more

Software integrated with PCA Engineers' Vista to improve turbomachinery design and simulation. Read more

CAM: Mastercam X2 MR1
CNC Software's maintenance release includes improved toolpaths for high-speed machining and multiaxis enhancements. Read more

Training: modo 203
Luxology produces 10-video training series to show users how to model and render an athletic shoe. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webcasts: Autodesk Building Systems
April 4, 2007
10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. ET
The webcasts, presented by Avatech Solutions, are designed to show people who are currently not using Autodesk Building Systems how the latest CAD technology for MEP can improve workflow efficiency and reduce design time, allowing companies to complete more projects with existing resources. Read more

Autodesk Building Systems Test Drives
April 6 and 27, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Various U.S. Locations
Avatech Solutions invites CAD managers, IT managers and mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineers who currently use AutoCAD to experience the benefits and uses of Autodesk Building Systems. Read more

Computational Fluid Dynamics Seminar
April 11, 2007
Rungis, France
ESI Group, maker of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and multiphysics software, will host this one-day free technical seminar on CFD. The agenda will include an overview of ESI Group's CFD-ACE+ and CFD-CADalyzer; Biotech and Biomedical Simulation; Multiphysics Simulation of MEMS and Microfluidics Applications; Plasma and Chemical Vapor Modeling; and CFD Simulation of Semiconductor Process and Design. Read more

Webcast: Next Generation Product Documentation
April 11, 2007
11:00 a.m. EST
Aberdeen Group and Right Hemisphere will sponsor this live webcast for engineering, manufacturing and management personnel involved in 2D and 3D technical or product documentation processes. Participants will receive a free copy of the Aberdeen Group's white paper "New Dimensions in Product Documentation." Read more

Autodesk Revit Test Drives
May 4 and 18, 2007
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Various U.S. locations
Avatech Solutions invites architects, designers and CAD managers to take Autodesk Revit for a spin in a practical, hands-on session. These sessions will give participants an understanding of how the components of Autodesk Revit Building can help deliver everything from optimizing workflows and ensuring cross-platform interoperability to complete organizational transformation through building information modeling. Read more

Third Annual Synergis Technology Expo
June 19, 2007
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
At this third annual event, Synergis and Autodesk will host more than 30 classes featuring solution experts and Autodesk keynote speakers. Learn about industry trends from experts in manufacturing, building, infrastructure, government, data management and education, who will cover various topics relating to your Autodesk solutions. Read more

18th Annual National Collegiate FM Technology Conference
August 7-10, 2007
Boston, Massachusetts
The National Collegiate FM Technology Conference is an annual forum that facilitates the development of ideas and the exchange of information between college and university managers of CAD, CAFM, GIS and related technologies; industry experts; and professional societies. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at