Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 36)

28 Sep, 2008

This Week's Software Tips

Quick Leader Attach
John Damman sent this tip, which he uses for AutoCAD Land Desktop 2007, though it also works in vanilla AutoCAD 2007 and later. "The routine to grip, copy, then hold the Shift key works for additional quickleaders for labeling multiple like objects. This works for multiple copies. Or you can use Qlattach (quick leader attach) to attach the new leader to the text of the first quick leader mtext so that when the label needs to be relocated, all of the leaders follow.

"Qlattach even works if the leader is to label an object in the opposite direction. Merely draw the quick leader without a tail, then use Qlattach in the same manner. The new leader gains a tail and moves to the beginning of the mtext of the original quickleader. Then move the tail end to the other end of the mtext. This leader will move with the others. The routine to grip, copy, and then hold the Shift key works again in this position as well, and Qlattach should be employed again. All the new leaders move with the mtext."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip! It will definitely save time with future editing of already completed drawings.

AutoCAD 2009 Tips
Leonid Nemirovsky sent these tips for those who have jumped to AutoCAD 2009.

"The new Find Text toolbar is helpful because it does reduce the time for finding text in the drawing and replacing it if needed. The new toolbar prompts a slightly different dialog box with a "^" button (to open more options in the dialog box).

""The new Action Recorder option (found in Ribbon / Tools / Action Recorder) is very useful and has a lot of potential, especially for people who depend on running script files. I used it to xref a PE engineering stamp to a bunch of drawings. I initiated the Action Recorder, clicked on the Record button, then attached the stamp to current drawing like I usually do, from its proper location. Then I clicked on the Stop button in Action Recorder and followed the prompts to save it under some meaningful name. I then saved and closed the drawing, opened the next one and initiated Action Recorder again, clicked Play, followed the prompts, and the stamp was attached. You can add some intelligence to your recordings by including user input and inserting notes.

"To toggle on and off the ribbon bar when you need to save some space on your screen, use the CUI to create a new command and call it something like Ribbon Toggle. Add this code:


"Now you can add your new command wherever you like: toolbars, tool palettes, etc. Or, using CUI, drag your new command to Keyboard Shortcuts / Shortcut Keys Panel, and assign a keyboard key to it."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Thank you, Len. The text editors in AutoCAD 2009 now resemble word processors like Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. The new Action Recorder, found in other applications as well, will be a big time saver.

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

Follow-Up: Rotate View in Paper Space
Our September 15 tip inspired a few follow-ups from readers. Dave Hein wrote, "I also use Mvsetup in paper space to rotate views without affecting the UCS, but I also have to work between a full version of AutoCAD 2008 in my office and AutoCAD LT 2008 at home where the Mvsetup command is (still) not available. So I have created prerotated paper space layout templates for those times when I need a rotated view over the weekend."

Shawn Evjen wrote, "In AutoCAD 2000, 2008, and 2009, and Architectural Desktop 3.3, I like the UCS to be rotated to the screen so that my arrays work properly. I have two routines I use, one to rotate the UCS and plan in model space or a paper space view. These are “2rt” for two-point rotate, and “world” to reset them. The “2rt” command asks for a base point and the X-direction. You can align the view to any line by selecting points along the line, or leave the default at 0,0.

;; 2RT - Rotate Screen using UCS 3 point command (Y is calculated)
(defun c:2rt(/ org xdir ydir osm)
(setq org (getpoint "\nEnter point of Origin <0,0>: "))
(if (or (= org "")(= org nil))
(setq org (list 0 0 0)))
(setq xdir (getpoint org "\nEnter X direction: "))
(if (and (or (= xdir "")(= xdir nil)) (equal org (list 0 0 0)))
(command "ucs" "world" "plan" "")
(setq ydir (polar org (+ (/ pi 2.0)(angle org xdir)) (distance org xdir)))
;(setq ydir (getpoint org "\nEnter Y direction: "))
(setq osm (getvar "osmode"))
(if (< osm 16384)
(setvar "osmode" (+ 16384 osm)) )
(command "ucs" "3point" org xdir ydir "plan" "")
(setvar "osmode" osm)))
;; WORLD - Reset Screen to world coordinates
(defun c:world()
(command "ucs" "world")
(command "plan" "world")

"I would also replace the line (setq a1 (* a1 57.29578)) with (setq a1 (/ (* a1 180) pi)) because if you use the command five or six times, some of your lines will get skewed and not be true to ortho. At least that is the experience I had when testing my routines."

We received this from Sally A. Higgins: "I use paper space for plot setup with my title block only. All drawing is done in model space and then xrefed into the drawing containing the title block. The tabs are then set as needed for site, erosion, utility, etc., viewports. I also use the Dynamic View (DV) command with the Layer Manager. I've never used the Locked command and never had a problem as Layer Manager holds the view/windows. DV also does not affect the original model space UCS. In paper space, toggle (floating) model space. Type DV and select all or window all; use T choice to rotate to desired position, then X to exit. Check the window model scale to be sure it is still to scale; in some cases you may have had to zoom out to get all of the drawing. Now save the layer view with the Layer Manager. Note: This is not an actual rotate, so it does not affect your UCS in model space.

"In AutoCAD 2009, you have to be in floating model space to save the view. When layers are set as you want them, save the view using the Layer Manager icon. It will hold all your settings with no freezing needed. This allows me to move through my tabs with no unfreeze/freeze slowdowns. All my work is actually done in the model space mode, so I have no fear of losing or moving a viewport setting. And if I do, a simple reset at the Layer Manager brings the saved view back. Once the window view is saved in Layer Manager, there is no reason to return to paper space until it is time to plot.

"On long curving roads, where it is required to hold the road as close as possible to horizontal with the bottom of the sheet, this is a very fast and easy way to set up your sheets: Hold model space at the original UCS and rotate all views to save plot views with very little fuss."

MicroStation Tip: Editing Placed Dimension Text
You can apply a slant angle to dimension text/numbers after the dimensions have been placed. Click to read more.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its Web site.

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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Autodesk P&ID Productivity Study
Autodesk made available the AutoCAD P&ID Productivity Study, conducted by the U.K. research firm Cambashi Limited, to demonstrate the benefits of using AutoCAD P&ID software. The study is available for free download. Read more

2008 Market Report and Survey
Longview Advisors announced the upcoming release of the Collaboration & Interoperability Market Report and Survey. The free report, to be released in early October, will include results and analysis from the firm's fourth annual survey of strategies and best practices in interoperability and collaboration. Read more

New Whitepapers on Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library
Two new whitepapers are now available on Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library free to those who register: "The Personal CAD Revolution," by Alibre, and "ONE Enterprise: Breaking Down the Wall," by First Trace.

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Deals & Freebies

Free 3D Communication, Documentation Software
QuadriSpace released Document3D Personal Edition, a free edition of its 3D communication and documentation suite. The company reports that the new release provides an easy-to-use approach to document creation by allowing users to share 3D PDF documents through email and Word documents with embedded 3D images and image attachments. Read more

Free New 3D Viewer
Siemens PLM Software is offering its 3D viewer, JT2Go free to users. According to the company, the new viewer now enables users to more effectively work with digital models created in the JT format, a 3D data format for product visualization, collaboration, and CAD interoperability. Read more

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Opportunities & Honors

Fifth Annual Extreme Redesign Contest
The Dimension 3D Printing Group has launched its fifth annual Extreme Redesign: The Ultimate 3D Printing Challenge, a global design and 3D printing contest for high school and college students that awards scholarships to the winners. Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: VIUscan
Creaform's self-positioning, handheld, high-resolution 3D color scanner reportedly achieves hyper-realistic results. Read more

Hardware: Ricoh Wide-Format Color Scanner
Ricoh's scanner can handle both high-speed full color and monochrome scanning for businesses in large-format printing environments. Read more

AEC: Data Reduction Software
Eagle Point Software's Data Reduction runs directly on AutoCAD Civil 3D and provides a link for those who need to import survey data. Read more

GIS: Geo Blade Viewer
Geographic Technologies Group's viewer allpication allows local government agencies to query and analyze GIS data. Read more

MCAD: Alibre Design v11
Alibre's latest version includes Alibre Vault comprehensive product data management system with Windows integration. Read more

MCAD: RP Export Plug-Ins
SYCODE has developed new rapid prototyping export plug-ins for Inventor, Solid Edge, SpaceClaim, and Alibre Design. Read more

CAD: VersaCAD 2008
Archway Systems' software uses new .2dx file format extension and can also read or write older file formats. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webcast: ArchiCAD 12 -- Accelerating the Design Experience
September 30-December 16, 2008
Various Dates and Times
These free seminars are developed expressly for those new to ArchiCAD. They introduce the basic concepts and tools of ArchiCAD and demonstrate how to work in a virtual-building environment. Read more

ArchiCAD 12 Seminars: Accelerating the Design Experience
October 7-9, 2008
Various U.S. Cities
In this series of seminars, experts will present an overview of ArchiCAD and show several case studies describing how architects use virtual buildings in their everyday practice. Read more

Webcast: BIM on Small Projects -- Focus on Residential
October 15 and November 19, 2008
12 Noon PT
This Webcast will review how to use BIM tools on a residential project for design and construction documents. Hosted by Archvista. Read more

Gerber Technology: Software Users Conference
October 16-17, 2008
Nashville, Tennessee
Gerber Technology's Tenth Annual Software Users Conference will cover collection-planning software components, planning considerations for PLM implementation, and more. Read more

Webcast: Affordable BIM for Small Firms -- ArchiCAD Start Edition
October 21 - December 11, 2008
Various Fall Dates and Times
This Webcast demonstrates how small practices can use the Start Edition's building information modeling (BIM) technology to develop their concepts, compete for business more effectively and boost business efficiency. Read more

Webcast: BIM on Mid-Size to Large Projects -- Focus on Commercial
October 29 and December 3, 2008
12 Noon PT
This Webcast will review how to use BIM tools on a commercial project for design and construction documents. Hosted by Archvista. Read more

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

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