Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 34)

14 Sep, 2008

This Week's Software Tips

Add Symbols to Dimensions
Koby Maxwell offered this quick tip: "When needing to add symbols into dimensions, it is efficient to know the quick codes for those most used. Open Properties for the dimension, scroll down to Text Override, and type the following:

  • almost equal symbol: \U+2248
  • centerline symbol: \U+2104
  • squared symbol: \U+00B2
  • cubed symbol: \U+00B3

"Don't forget to type <> to keep the relative dimension."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip, Koby! While in the Mtext Editor, you can also right-click and choose Symbols. A list of these ANSI codes will appear. This tip works as far back as AutoCAD 2002, which is not as robust, but will provide access to the Windows Character Map by selecting Character / Symbol / Other.

Rotate View in Paper Space
Swaraj Baral sent ROTATE_VIEW.LSP, an AutoLISP routine to rotate your view in paper space without affecting your UCS in model space. He uses AutoCAD 2008 and says the program will work with all versions of AutoCAD after R14.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This is a great tip! Just make sure the viewport selected for rotation is unlocked. If the drawing has multiple viewports, select the one being rotated before executing the command. The Tip Patrol offers ROTATE_VIEW_MODIFIED.LSP, a modified version of this routine that automatically unlocks all locked viewports.

Note: Follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.

Follow-Up: Multiclouds
In response to the Multiclouds tip in the September 8 edition, Marc Boyer sent this quick routine for generating revisions. "This routine will first insert the revision tag on the A-RVSN-TAGS layer (even if the layer does not exist), prompting the user for placement and revision number. Then, the routine will create an A-RVSN- layer and will start the REVCLOUD command. I've included the code below that can be modified easily to your company's requirements. I've highlighted in red the portion of this code that would need to be modified to meet a potential user's standards." (Note: This is one continuous string of code.)


"AutoCAD legend" Jack Foster wrote, "I created two small LISP programs similar to the latest revcloud tip, only these offer instant gratification. Instead of Pline, the Rectang command could be used for quick square boxes. I prefer to use different layers for different-weight lines to control line thickness. The key to this is using the CMDACTIVE so you can pick all you need to before closing. If you just press Enter before you are done, that terminates the Pline command and you still get the revcloud."

(defun C:revcloudnormal ()
(command "-layer" "m" "revcloud" "c" "1" "revcloud" "lw" "0.40" "revcloud" "")
(setvar "orthomode" 0)(setvar "osmode" 0)
 (command "pline" )
 (while (= (getvar "cmdactive") 1)(command pause))
(command "revcloud" "o" "last" "n")
  (defun C:revcloud03 ()
(command "-layer" "m" "revcloud03" "c" "1" "revcloud03" "lw" "0.03" "revcloud03" "")
(setvar "orthomode" 0)(setvar "osmode" 0)
 (command "pline" )
 (while (= (getvar "cmdactive") 1)(command pause))
(command "revcloud" "o" "last" "n")

MicroStation Tip: Change View ToolBox Location
Oscar Albornoz, vice-president for technology, Axiom International, shared this tip on how to change the location of the View ToolBox.

  1. Select Workspace / Preferences from MicroStation's main menu bar.
  2. Select the View Options category along the left side.
  3. Click on the Show View ToolBox option list and select where you want it to appear (Left, Right, Top, or Bottom).

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

Follow-Up MicroStation Tip: Preferences in a Pop-up Menu
Jim Jordan wrote with these additional options related to the MicroStation pop-up menus tip in the September 8 edition. "After the pop-up menu option is selected, using the Shift and Ctrl keys in conjunction with Reset will produce different menus," as follows:

  1. Reset only = element command menu
  2. Reset + Shift = viewing command menu
  3. Reset + Ctrl = main command menu

"Another tip: Holding down the Shift key and pressing the Data key will display a very dynamic pan tool!"

Submit Your Tip

Submit Your Tip 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 send a $100 gift card to its author. Please remember:

  • Submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit).
  • 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.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Tip Patrol before publication. Use all tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. We're sorry, but editors and Tip Patrol members cannot provide assistance with technical problems; please refer to Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry-Help discussion forum.

Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Kevin Sawyer, and Billy Wooten.

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Downloadable Architectural Symbols
The CAD Architect Web site was recently launched to assist architects, interior designers, and professional building designers with CAD symbols, predesigned details, and building types. The Web site includes more than 2500 CAD symbols, plus details and drawings, and more than 100 CAD building templates in AutoCAD 2007 format. Read more

Offshore Outsourcing Management
CCE launched PowerLink XG v5, a Web-based work order management system that is designed for communication and management of an offshore outsourcing program. PowerLink XG was developed with ASP.NET AJAX, SQL server-side scripting, SOAP-based Web services, and an ergonomic, customizable user interface. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: TESAVISIO 200 Vision
Measuring machine from Brown & Sharpe TESA is designed for smaller parts, shop floor measurement, and inspection applications. Read more

Hardware: Quantum, Platinum, and Fusion FaroArm
FARO Technologies' extended offerings in measuring devices aim to meet the needs of a wider range of applications. Read more

General Software: RxAutoImage v9
Rasterex Software release is an ARX application that runs directly inside AutoCAD to incorporate scanned raster data into AutoCAD. Read more

General Software: RxSpotlight v9
Software from Rasterex is for raster editing and raster-to-vector conversion as a stand-alone application for Windows operating systems. Read more

AEC: Revit Global Light Utility for Max
IMAGINiT Technologies' utility for Autodesk 3ds Max allows users to toggle each specific kind of light such as daylight, photometric, or other selected lights. Read more

AEC: Document Locator v5.2
ColumbiaSoft's product includes optional email compliance components designed to help users better manage electronic communications according to regulations and corporate email policies. Read more

CAD: Bricscad v9
2D and 3D CAD platform from Bricsys is designed to bring applications for AEC, GIS, civil, and mechanical engineering to the DWG community. Read more

IPG Automotive and AVL interfaced a powertrain simulation tool, AVL CRUISE, to the driving dynamics simulation platform, CarMaker. Read more

MCAD: CAMWorks 2009
Geometric Technologies' software reportedly has more than 80 user-driven features and enhancements to enable users to program parts faster. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Virtual Construction for Contractors
September 19, 2008
12 Noon EDT
This free, educational event with Vico Software shows virtual construction from the general contractor's perspective. Topics will include BIM trends, case studies, best practices, and new concepts for the industry. Read more

Autodesk Public Works and Utilities Lunch and Learn
September 25, 2008
Richmond, Virginia
DLT Solutions, in partnership with Autodesk and CADD Microsystems, will host this event that shows how Autodesk solutions for utilities can extend the reach and value of infrastructure asset information. Read more

Webinar: Unlock the Potential of Your AutoCAD Map 3D Object Data
October 1, 2008
10 a.m. PDT
This Webinar for AutoCAD Map 3D users, presented by Safe Software, will include a series of demonstrations and customer examples that show how the software converts and integrates Map 3D object data. Read more

Managing and Using Materials Information for Eco-design and REACH
October 15, 2008
Marseille, France
This half-day seminar, colocated with the first meeting of the Environmental Materials Information Technology (EMIT) Consortium, will provide a general introduction to the use of materials information technology to improve productivity, enhance innovation, and reduce risk. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on