Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 18, No. 3)

28 Jan, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Hot Tip Harry Is Looking for LISP
Hot Tip Harry is always keeping an eye out for the best CAD code! Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your AutoLISP routines. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a $25 gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store.

Hyperlink to a Saved View
Frequent tipster Danny Korem shares a trick on how to use hyperlinks in AutoCAD text objects. "If you have named views or layout viewports in your drawing, this tip may change the way you see things." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Trace PDFs with Polylines
Perry Pattiz shares a tip on how to get other drawing data from a PDF file into your AutoCAD drawing. "I frequently have to rely on PDF drawings of equipment to use in my AutoCAD drawings. Many people may not know that you can easily trace these drawings with lines and arcs to snap on the osnap locations on an embedded PDF file." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Avoid Making No-Print Layers
Tip guru Leonid Nemirovsky shares a method for dealing with strict clients who limit what you can do with layers in AutoCAD files. "Our client is very strict about layers. I am not allowed to create layers with nonstandard names. Often I need one that does not print." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Load the Express Tool Menu
Michael Nelson wants to make sure that all of us can access the express tools in AutoCAD. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

January Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Hot Tip Harry, Cadalyst's mysterious purveyor of customized AutoCAD code, has dispatched another great bundle of tips from readers. View and download each of the latest tips using the links below, or get the entire January 2013 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Insulation Hatch Pattern
What better way to start off 2013 than with a new hatch pattern for AutoCAD? Harold Detlaff has given us a nice hatch pattern to represent batt insulation. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Perform Dview Twist Quickly
This LISP routine from Forrest Judd automates AutoCAD's Dview command with the Twist option. All you have to do is pick a line; the LISP code does the rest, figuring out the angle of the line and using this data to push the Dview command. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Copy an Array of Items
Quick Array is a good name for this LISP routine by Phil Clark, because it does exactly what the name says: it lets you perform a quick array in AutoCAD. The result is copies of your selected items — not a true Array object, but this is desirable in many cases. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Three Polyline Stationing Functions
This polyline stationing LISP file from Raymond Rizkallah contains three related functions for use in AutoCAD. They all operate on entities such as polylines, lines, arcs, and splines. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Find the Fermat Point
This is a neat AutoCAD routine from Owen Protheroe that allows you to join any three points with the shortest path. Think of the three points as vertices of a triangle, and you may realize that what this LISP routine actually does is find the Fermat point of any triangle. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Migrate Drawing Settings
This AutoCAD routine by Dave Kimme enables you to export drawing settings to a file, then import them into a different drawing. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Submit Your Tip

Review Cadalyst's Tip Submission Guidelines, then Submit Your Tip for your favorite CAD software. Be sure to tell us which software version you use. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Please submit only tips or code that are your original work. By submitting code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your tip in print, digitally, and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to submitted tips.

By submitting code, you agree that your code can be reused as-is or modified by other users in conjunction with AutoCAD or other software programs to gain efficiencies in that software for professional or personal use, and that your code can be shared freely among users. Users do not have the right to republish code in any manner or format (such as on a blog web site or in a printed document) for personal or commercial gain without written permission from Cadalyst and the original author.

Got Feedback? To share feedback about one of today's tips, navigate to the tip using the link provided above, then click Comment. The Comment tool is available to registered users of Cadalyst'sCAD Tips site.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed in the latest version of AutoCAD by Contributing Editor Brian Benton. Use all tips at your own discretion, please. We're sorry, but Cadalyst staff cannot provide assistance with technical problems. Please refer to Cadalyst's LinkedIn and Facebook communities for assistance with AutoLISP and other AutoCAD customization questions.

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Autodesk University Classes Free Online for Members
For the first time, anyone with an AU account can access the entire library of screencasts and class handouts from AU 2012 and AU Virtual for free. Viewers can even submit questions via the Ask a Speaker a Question button. Answers will arrive via e-mail and will also appear on the class details page.

Free E-Book Advocates Streamlining the Design Process
The concept design process is typically a mishmash of tools that slow creativity, lack fidelity, and force data recreation, according to a new e-book, Making the Case for Modernizing Concept Design, from PTC. Author Chad Jackson describes an approach that relies on modern, interoperable tools and direct modeling. The e-book is free to those who register.

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Deals & Freebies

3DSync Mechanical CAD Editor Free to Use until May 15
3DSync ($1,995), a new tool from Siemens PLM Software, allows users to edit 3D mechanical parts and assemblies from virtually any CAD system. The software supports STEP, IGES, JT, Parasolid, and other CAD formats. 3DSync is available for use at no charge until May 15, 2013.

Pictometry Introduces First iPad Application for Connect Mobile
Pictometry has released Pictometry Connect Mobile, a free iPad app for Pictometry Connect and Pictometry Online customers. The app provides visualization of high-resolution geospatial imagery with navigation, panning, and zooming capabilities. Pictometry Connect Mobile is available on the Apple iTunes App Store.

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Opportunities & Honors

Call for Entries Opens for RTT Student Visualization Contest
Realtime Technology (RTT), a provider of 3D visualization software, has launched its annual RTT Student Visualization Award competition. Participants will complete a short story using computer-generated images. College and university students can submit their entries through March 15, 2013. Awards will be presented at the RTT Excite 2013 conference in April.

Bentley Systems Becomes IACET Authorized Provider
IACET (the International Association for Continuing Education and Training) has awarded Bentley Systems the authorized provider accreditation. IACET-authorized providers are the only organizations approved to offer IACET continuing education units. To achieve the status, Bentley Institute completed a rigorous application process.

Doug Mockett & Company Names Design Competition Winners
Doug Mockett & Company has announced the winners of its 28th Annual Design Competition, which rewards entrants' innovative ideas for furniture parts, components, accessories, and hardware. The winners are Ofir Zucker, Chris Granneberg, Harold Baltodano, and Andrew Elliot.

Creaform Opens 3D Engineering Contest
Creaform has opened its Put Us to the Test 2013 Challenge. The contest is open to all schools and businesses and must involve 3D scanning, long-range scanning, dimensional inspection, reverse engineering, the design or engineering of a product, finite-element analysis, or any combination of these. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2013.

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Mark Your Calendar

Use Your BIM as a BEM
January 29, 2013
12 noon ET
Those who tune into this GRAPHISOFT webinar will get a preview of EcoDesigner Star, a building energy modeling (BEM) solution to be released later this year. Read more

Mobile Learning Is Here and Now (Finally)
January 30, 2013
9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ET
In this webinar, Techsmith and Lectora representatives will demonstrate the new features of Camtasia v8 and Snagit v11, both included in Lectora Inspire v11. Read more

Going from PDF to CAD
January 31–February 13, 2013
3 p.m. ET
BackToCAD Technologies will present this first in a series of free instructional webinars about converting PDF designs and drawings into DWG and DXF files. Read more

GEO North
March 7, 2013
Bolton, United Kingdom
This event is designed for everyone involved in the capture and application of geospatial information for construction, civil engineering, development, local and national government agencies, professional survey practices, and consultancies. Read more

May 14–16, 2013
West Springfield, Massachusetts
New features at this year's manufacturing exposition and conference will include a panel discussion about workforce development, a competitive manufacturing event for regional high school students, and area plant tours. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

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What's New at

Cadalyst Poll: Is 3D printing part of your design workflow?
Do you ever wonder whether your peers are adopting 3D printing? Simply scroll to the bottom of the Cadalyst home page and vote in the latest Cadalyst poll to find out! You can even bookmark the results page and come back later, to see how the results change as more voters weigh in.

SolidWorks World 2013, Part 2: A Sampling of Product Debuts
More than 100 solution partners took part in the event, filling the Partner Pavilion with hardware and software offerings for all types of mechanical CAD users — including these new releases. Read more

At SolidWorks World 2013, Users Get a Peek at What's Coming in Version 2014
Company reveals long list of new features, discusses the move to the cloud, and announces web portal and new Mechanical Conceptual tool. Read more

Project Chronicle: Create Video Tutorials With a Twist
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Free utility from Autodesk Research records CAD workflows and makes them easy to share online. Read more

Improve CAD Production Quality by Annoying Your Users, Part 2
Learn 'basic annoyance transfer' — and what to do if users don't respond — and you'll be on your way to improved CAD workflows. Read more

Combine Multiple AutoCAD Layers into One
Have you ever wanted to combine many layers into just one? LayMrg to the rescue! This handy command even deletes the empty layers when it's finished. Join Lynn Allen and check it out! Watch the video

Q&A with Rick Rundell: Technology, the Contractor, and the Future
Autodesk director says construction will become a more precise, more efficient endeavor based on "digital reality" rather than abstract geometry. Read more

Mapping Technology Saves $3 Million for Australian Tunnel Project
With GIS, project managers were able to reliably map areas of soil settlement concern and prevent costly asset relocation. Read more

IRIS Produces Full-Color 3D Models from Printer Paper
New 3D printer from Mcor Technologies uses inexpensive, readily available material to produce models for AEC, manufacturing, and geospatial applications. Read more

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