Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12 No. 24)

8 Jul, 2007

What's New at

AEC Quick Poll: What Are Your CAD Standards of Choice?
What has your AEC firm selected as its primary CAD standard? What are other AEC firms doing? Visit the Cadalyst AEC Quick Poll to cast your vote, then bookmark the page and check back for results beginning August 1.

Cadalyst July Print Content Now Live Online
A fresh batch of Cadalyst Labs reviews, CAD Central news, Cadalyst exclusive columns, and much more is ready to view on

Cadalyst' s Exclusive AutoCAD Tutorials for July Now Live Online
The latest editions of all your favorite AutoCAD tutorials, including Steve Johnson's "Bug Watch," Lynn Allen's "Circles and Lines," and Bill Fane's "Learning Curve" are now available on

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:

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This Week's Software Tips

Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, 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 a $100 gift card 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) and tell us which software version you use. By submitting code, 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.

We Will Miss You, Don
Cadalyst is sorry to report that Don Reichle, a long-time tip contributor and, more recently, a member of the Tips & Tools Weekly volunteer Tip Patrol, passed away in June due to health complications. The sad news affects us deeply, as it does his many peers in the AutoCAD community, where he was a frequent participant in Autodesk Discussion Groups. Don was known as a go-to guy for help with Land Desktop, always willing to help a peer in need -- a real professional and a really nice guy. We are all grateful to have known Don and to have benefited from his expertise over the years. The CAD world will miss you very much, Don.

Get the Code!
Cadalyst'sJuly code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Michael Kolomiyets won $100 from Hot Tip Harry for this month's Top Tip, Complex Linetype Flip.

Attention Hot Tip Harry Fans
Cadalyst is undertaking some modifications to the functionality of our Get the Code! Web site, home of the monthly installments of LISP and VBA code provided by Hot Tip Harry, AutoLISP Solutions and more. We'd like to hear from you. How would you like this site to function? What options would best serve your needs? Send your feedback and suggestions to

Break Perpendicular Lines
Robert L. Zipprich
shares a route he created, BREAKLINES.LSP, which breaks two crossing perpendicular lines into a center mark.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: One patroller likes this routine because it takes the current Dimscale into account. He adds, "A suggestion for further code: Allow the user to modify the length of the center marks or have the length match the DIMCEN system variable."

Another patroller points out that this code doesn't work at certain zoom levels. For example, draw two perpendicular lines that are 10,000 units long and you'll see that it doesn't work in this case.

Get Distances
Brock Narum
noticed that in AutoCAD 2008 you can use the Distance command in paper space to get model space distances as long as you pick your points that show up in one viewport. He explains, "It won't work if you pick one point in one viewport and another point in a different viewport. It also won't work if you pick one point in a viewport and another outside that viewport. All of this picking of points is with TileMode turned off and still in paper space. There's no need to switch to model space."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Note that this also works in AutoCAD 2007. And, our patrollers add that it only works when object snaps are toggled On. If you select points without using osnap, it gives you paper space distances.

Chspace Reminder
Ren Smith's company likes to dimension and annotate in paper space. Smith explains, "One problem I find myself constantly fighting is unknowingly activating the viewport and I end up with dimensions or text in model space. After browsing through the Command list I found a command that I'd never heard of that has saved me a lot of time with this problem. The command is Chspace and it moves selected objects between paper space and model space, keeping the relative scale."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our Patrollers remind users that Chspace was an Express Tool until AutoCAD 2007, when it was finally added to AutoCAD. One comments, "This is an oldie but a goodie -- it's a very helpful and powerful command."

Follow-Up: Toggle TileMode with F4
One reader just got around to setting his F4 key to toggle TileMode contributed by Kevin Pohlgeers in the April 9 edition. He asks, "This is a cool tool but did I miss something? If I am in paper space it takes me directly to model space as advertised, but when I want to go back I need to enter a new value for TileMode at the Command line." Any answers out there?

MicroStation Tip: Linking to Database Records
To link any element to database records, do the following:

  • Place fence.
  • Key-in: FIT TOFENCE.
  • Save view.
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: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda and Billy Wooten.

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Deals & Freebies

Free OneSpace Modeling Personal Edition Offer Extended
CoCreate Software has extended its international free 3D CAD program, CoCreate OneSpace Modeling Personal Edition. CoCreate reports that it has extended the worldwide program -- with no planned end date -- based upon the phenomenal success and the continuing growth rate. Read more

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Opportunities & Honors

Vue 3D Environment Competition 2007 Now Open
e-on software, makers of Vue solutions for natural 3D environments, has partnered with Softimage, Cornucopia3D, and 3D World magazine to announce the second "Vue 3D Environment Competition," which will showcase the capabilities of 3D technology for computer gaming environments. Any version of Vue -- including the free Vue 6 Personal Learning Edition (PLE) -- can be used to enter the competition. Read more

SolidWorks Named One of Journal's Best Places to Work
For the fourth consecutive year, the Boston Business Journal has named SolidWorks Corporation as one of the Best Places to Work in Massachusetts. The honor recognizes the company's achievements in creating a positive work environment that attracts and retains employees through a combination of employee satisfaction, working conditions, and company culture. Read more

Onuma Receives Technology Awards
Onuma, a Graphisoft Solution Partner, won two American Institute of Architects (AIA) Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) awards in building information modeling (BIM) for projects that use Web-enabled portals to make 3D models more accessible.
Read more

VectorWorks User Wins Landscape Architecture Award
Dirtworks, PC, was awarded the 2007 Honor Award for Excellence in Landscape Architecture from the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) and the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education for its efforts in the Courtyard and Outdoor Learning Environment for Natural Sciences at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: VA Series of LCD Monitors
Windows Vista Basic-certified monitors from ViewSonic feature high dynamic contrast ratio for better overall display. Read more

Hardware: DMX-SL 100
DSM Somos resin combines SL accuracy with the durability of a sintered nylon.
Read more

Hardware: Precision M4300
Latest Dell 15.4" mobile workstation replaces M65 and is powered by Intel's Santa Rosa mobile platform. Read more

Hardware: Tesla GPU Products
Developers can compute on NVIDIA Tesla products using the company's C-language development environment CUDA. Read more

General Software: CADVault v5 for Drawing Security
New CADLock release improves portability of secure content across different AutoCAD releases. Read more

General Software: Photoshop Lightroom v1.1
Adobe's latest update offers new functionality, improved raw processing, and support for Windows Vista. Read more

General Software: RenderPipe AV6
Latest version from ARTVPS features 64-bit support and enables the exploration of 3D objects from multiple viewing angles. Read more

General Software: Adept PrintWave
Generate native-application-quality PDFs or hardcopy from inside Adept document-management software from Synergis. Read more

Visualization: HDR Imaging Studio
Software bundle from REALVIZ combines Stitcher v5.6, VTour v1.2 HDR, and Photomatix Pro for the creation of high dynamic range (HDR) environments. Read more

AEC: TurboCAD Deluxe v14
IMSI/Design release includes photorealistic rendering and Vista, AutoCAD 2008, and Google SketchUp compatibility. Read more

AEC: DataCAD v12
New version allows users to change features on walls, doors, and windows without having to erase and redraw. Read more

AEC: Luban Steel v12.1
Lubansoft's 3D AEC application uses HOOPS 3D/AF to produce real-time 3D steel and building model visualizations. Read more

AEC: ROBOT Office v20
New version from Robobat features enhanced data exchange between programs and integration with industry-standard BIM solutions. Read more

MCAD: SurfaceWorks v6.6
AeroHydro's free-form surface-modeling add-on for SolidWorks offers enhanced surface-flattening and pattern-making functions. Read more

MCAD: Seat Design Environment v2
VISTAGY release allows engineers working within familiar CAD environments to create a single 3D virtual product definition of seat architecture and cover. Read more

ITI TranscenData product features enhanced comparison of 3D CAD models in multiple formats for improved data quality. Read more

CAE: VisualDSS
ESI Group's decision-support system for CAE allows companies to build and manage simulation models for multidomain use. Read more

ANSYS software for the analysis of polymer processing and glass forming provides extended library of viscoelastic models. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

VisMasters Design Modeling & Visualization Conference
August 9-11, 2007
San Diego, California
This two-day event focuses on the business, art, and technology of design visualization, bringing together like-minded designers and industry leaders from around the world to share their accomplishments and vision for the future. Session topics are intended to benefit architects, designers, students, and professional visualization artists. Read more

Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall
December 10-13, 2007
Washington, DC
Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall is an annual event that covers green building, sustainable design, renewable energy, environmental planning processes, and information collaboration strategies for commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential construction. Read more

Click here to view the complete calendar of events at

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