Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 25)15 Jul, 2007
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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 t-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and award 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 any tip or code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute that tip or 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.
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Zoom to Page Layout
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Our Patrol agrees that this button works as described, but adds that it only works for a drawing that is 24 units tall. "When working on an A-size sheet, there was space around the sheet and the edge of the screen. Performing a Zoom Extents zooms to the page layout size unless there are items outside of the drawing border. If you never do this, then you don't need this button. If you work on different size drawings, edit the macro to fit the height of the sheet you are using. I would also suggest making different buttons for each size you need."
Old School Tips and Tricks
"Many firms and users now use AutoCAD palettes as a way to easily access the specialized blocks that they've built. Often these are organized by discipline, such as furniture, electrical, ceiling, and the like.
"A similar 'old school' method (but one that is much more portable if you're the sort of user who frequently works away from your home site) is to create stand-alone drawings, one for each discipline, with all the blocks, layers, text styles, and dimensions styles that you might need for a particular purpose. Then, when you need to, you can insert (I prefer explode) your specific DWG and get to work. Of course, any layers, text styles, blocks, and such that are already defined in the drawing that you are inserting into will take precedence.
"The real advantage of this trick is that it's easily portable -- or e-mailable -- while palette customizations are less so. And, even when palette customizations are (with permission) transferable, this technique requires no customization time (other than accessing the file for insert) while the palette transfer requires time for CUI customization.
"Next, I often use prebuilt standard sets of details, sections, symbol legends, and the like. With these sets, I generally try to build them so I have tagged them (on the DEFPOINTS or other do-not-plot layer) with some descriptive information (such as the paper space viewport scale). But, I also set them up so that they are regularly spaced. For example, my standard Partition Details are spaced 8'-0" apart Left-to-Right (in model space), so if I need to add a P3 detail to a sheet which already has the P1 and P2 details (in paper space), I simply to these steps:
"I find this generally much more efficient that creating, scaling, resizing, and layer controlling a newly created viewport.
"None of the above are particularly high-tech tricks (no LISP was harmed in their creation), however sometimes we can learn some useful techniques from the old school."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This are good "Old School" tips. In fact, this file may already exist on your company's server. The items in the tool palettes are probably referencing one file that holds all of the blocks. Check with the powers-that-be at your office to verify. If so, then you can copy that file to take with you. I recommend placing all relative blocks and the like in one file such as this to make it easier to set up Tool Palettes through the Design Center, and for ease of maintenance. It also keeps your Tool Palette File Paths simplified.
Follow-Up to Follow-Up: TileMode Toggle
One of our tip patrollers answers a reader's question in the July 9 edition and follows up with more information on the April 9 TileMode tip. "I'm afraid I didn't look closely enough at the suggested shortcut key/menu Toggle's DIESEL code:
"My excuse is that I already had a similar bit code to perform this task:
"If you assign the above, shorter example of DIESEL code to a shortcut key or a menu button, it permits the user to toggle between model space and paper space with a single keystroke or menu pick -- and no additional typing.
"If I understand the DIESEL code correctly, it essentially reads the state of the TileMode (set to 1 or 0) and increments it, for example if it's 1, it changes to 0, or the reverse. In my eagerness to promote these sorts of shortcut keys and menu toggles such as these examples for the DIMSE1 and DIMSE2, I didn't examine the actual code closely enough:
"I hope that the above, more functional code, answers the reader's question."
MicroStation Tip: Using Level Symbology to Plot Thinner Lines
There is a way to plot the lines in some reference files thinner, without changing the drawing and keep the other reference files the same. The easy way to handle this is to use Level Symbology. (The following directions are for MicroStation/J.):
If you use this procedure often, it would be good practice to set up this up in an unused view. This gives you a plotting view that you can modify however you want, without modifying the actual drawing.
Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.
Opportunities & Honors
Autodesk Names Winners of Inventor Student Design Contest
Spatial Announces Second Annual 3D InterOp Model Contest
CADalog Announces Second SU Podium Render Image Contest
The Week's New CAD and Related Products
General: Pixdim for Google SketchUp
General: DwgGrid for AutoCAD
AEC: CADWorx Plant Design Suite 2008
AEC: CADWorx fieldPipe
MCAD: Electrical Designer eXtender Layout Module
CAE: CloudWorx v3.3
PLM: Parasolid v19
Mark Your Calendar
Adobe and Maxon Power Integration Tour
Webcast: The Document Management Wake-Up Call
For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com.