Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 39)28 Oct, 2007
This Week's Software Tips
"The second routine, XRP.LSP, changes all xref paths to relative. This is beneficial if your drawings are moved around for any reason, such as for archiving. Xrefs that are absolute pathed can become unresolved when the files are moved to a different folder or drive. This little routine strips the path back to just the xref drawing name. Again, you can easily modify it for a particular xref-ing scheme."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: These two routines just show there's more than one way to skin a cat when you use fairly advanced programming techniques to carry out fairly easy processes. To the less experienced, there are easier ways to manipulate xrefs via AutoLISP, but the routines above show the power of Visual LISP and the more advanced aspects of AutoLISP.
I'm glad the tipster added that you can easily change this layer setting so that you can still maintain full control -- and in some instances, better control -- over your xref layers, no matter which layer you're working on.
"Go to the drop-down menu and choose Format / Layer Tools / Layer Merge. Type N for [Name], then select the layer you want to remove. Then do the same for the layer you want to merge onto. I use 0, since I can't delete that one anyway.
"You can merge multiple layers at the same time, and the utility automatically removes the layer(s). This is very handy, and you won't lose any objects."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Excellent! Using a different approach, Delete Layer, sometimes results in a surprise or two. Layer Merge is so much easier and safer, plus you end up with an organized, clean drawing.
A whole host of useful features like this one are embedded in AutoCAD pull-down menus. With today's graphics-based user interfaces, it's so easy to rely on AutoCAD icons and not explore the menus. Take a few minutes to have a look around -- you may be surprised by what you find.
Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.
Follow-Up: Easy Insertion Scale
John wrote this routine to locate the base point in a large survey or site plan. "It works graphically to show the base point, easier for us visually oriented people than looking up the coordinates. Once drawn, the circle locator helps to orient two or more surveys, and shows immediately whenever the surveys no longer align."
Follow-Up: Add Layers to Purged Drawings
"Your master drawing won't contain physical entities, only what AutoCAD considers named objects, such as layers, text styles, and dimension styles," Michael explains. "Be sure to put the drawing name in quotes if it has a space in the name. You must enter the Insert command in Command line mode (by putting a hyphen in front of it) because the macro will come to a screeching halt if it runs into a dialog box.
"Now, any drawing I get from anyone on this planet can be instantly updated with my named objects with a single click."
Frank Roegiers also replied to Stacey's suggestion, adding, "This is exactly the way I do it, except I have one block for dimstyles, one for text styles, etc. These blocks are in my tool palette, so they're always at hand.
"For inserting or making layers current, I have a pull-down menu. I click on a layer name, and if it doesn't exist yet, it is created and made current. If it does exist, it is just made current."
Ken Buccellato wrote to say he believes the tool palettes offer an easier solution. "I've added several Line commands (the flyout creates any standard entity) on a locked network tool palette, such as Each Entity, Top of Curb, Road Centerline, or Median, just to name a few. These create the required entities and the correct layer. (Do we really need every layer and all the other stuff on the standard template?) On another palette, I have dimension and text styles, and once again each entity is created on the correct layer even if it doesn't exist. Layers, dimension styles, multileader styles, and text are automatically created only when needed.
"I have other tool palettes for our standard blocks, including title blocks, all inserted on the correct layer. Take a look at tool palettes -- they offer too much to ignore."
MicroStation Tip: Defining Projects with Desktop Shortcuts
"The standards for each project aren't different just to make life interesting. Clients have their own reasons for wanting the projects presented in a certain way. I can't change any of that. It's simply how things work in a typical MicroStation shop. What I do want to do here is pass on one little way you might be able to simplify your day-to-day work. I want to show you how to load the right project from your desktop shortcuts. If nothing else, it will guarantee you the right project is selected every time, so you minimize mistakes."
Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.
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Opportunities & Honors
X-Factor Challenge Design Contest 2008
Imaginestics Wins 2007 Indiana Entrepreneurial Award
Modeling and Rendering in Cinema 4D
NX5 Software for Designers Textbook
The Week's New CAD and Related Products
General Software: ShareCAD for AutoCAD
General Software: AutoProject
Visualization: Strata 3D CX
AEC: Task Navigator for Civil 3D
MCAD: STEP Import for AutoCAD
MCAD: Scribe-iT DCC
MCAD: HumanCAD v1
MCAD: SYCODE DWG and DXF Add-ons for Alibre Design
CAE: SINDA/G for ANSYS Workbench
CAM: KeyCreator v6
PLM: Teamcenter for Medical Devices
Mark Your Calendar
Z-DAC 2007 American Conference
European CATIA Forum 2007
FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show 2007
Z-DAC 2007 European Conference
Advanced Manufacturing Expo
WESTEC 2008 Exposition & Conference
MicroManufacturing Conference & Exhibits
NanoManufacturing Conference & Exhibits
For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com.