Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 19, No. 18)

18 May, 2014 By: Cadalyst Staff

Dear Readers: There will be no Tips & Tools Weekly on the Memorial Day holiday; the newsletter will return on June 2.

This Week's Software Tips

Could You Use $25 at Amazon?
Do you know a better way to work — in AutoCAD or any other CAD software tool? Why not take a few minutes to share your tips with your fellow CAD users? When you give, you'll also receive: If we publish your tip, you'll earn an Amazon gift card and be entered in the quarterly prize drawing. Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your tip today!

Use AutoLISP Shortcut Commands
"I execute most of my AutoCAD commands from the keyboard," says Levi Connolly, author of this time-saving tip. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Civil 3D Tip: Save Steps While Using Layer Filters
This tip from Trey Hair may help you avoid a snag while working in AutoCAD Civil 3D. "Many AutoCAD users take advantage of the layer property filters to navigate quickly through the multitudes of layers while working in Civil 3D." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Inventor Tip: Find a Buried Part in Your Browser Bar
Frequent tipster David Gaskill shares another useful Inventor tip. "Have you ever had a part you could not find in your browser bar, even though you know where it is on the screen?" View the complete tip and post your feedback.

May Tips from Hot Tip Harry

Hot Tip Harry, Cadalyst's mysterious purveyor of customized AutoCAD code, has dispatched another bundle of great LISP tips from readers. View and download each of the latest tips using the links below, or get the entire May 2014 Hot Tip Harry batch at once.

Save an Extra Copy of Your Drawing
Normally when you save a drawing in AutoCAD, the DWG file is updated and the previous saved file becomes the BAK file (assuming you have BAK file creation enabled). In contrast, this routine from Theresa Lowe creates a totally separate copy of the DWG file, uniquely named, that will never go away until you delete it. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Quick Dialog for Reloading Xrefs
Matt Sibum has created a routine to quickly unload and reload external reference drawings. If you load and unload xrefs frequently, you will find this to be faster than using the Xref palette.. View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Convert Text to Mtext Without Changing Justification
Kent Cooper's first routine this month will change single text entities into mtext and preserve the original text's justification (or equivalent, for text justifications that are not used with mtext). View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Color Command Names
Here is an enhanced version of CAD Tip No. 3645, "Change Entity Colors." This new version by Kent Cooper also defines the color-name words, as well as the words "ByLayer" and "ByBlock," as commands that can be used in the same way as the color number command names. 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 original, previously unpublished tip, you can earn a gift card (learn more about prizes here). 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 R.K. McSwain. 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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Deals & Freebies

Engineering Calculations Software Free from PTC
PTC has made available its Mathcad Express free of charge, providing unlimited use of the commercial version's most popular capabilities. In addition, those who download PTC Mathcad Express can choose a 30-day trial option to access additional capabilities found in PTC Mathcad Prime v3. After the 30-day trial period, users can continue using Mathcad Express.

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Opportunities & Honors

Inventor of 3D Printing Nominated for European Inventor Award
Chuck Hull, founder of 3D Systems, has been nominated by the European Patent Office (EPO) for the 2014 European Inventor Award. Hull invented the stereolithography 3D printing process and co-created the STL file format. On May 21 he will be inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Australian Student Honored for Study Using Geospatial Data
Curtin University doctoral student Grace Lin has won the 2014 Esri Young Scholars Award competition. She used geographic information system (GIS) data to develop a study that maps the accessibility of Perth railway stations for older passengers. Lin used government information and data gathered directly from transit users. She will showcase her project in July at the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, California.

LightWave 3D Issues Call for 3D Content
The LightWave 3D Group is accepting content submissions for its SIGGRAPH 2014 Live Stream event and is looking to feature video, tutorials, demo reels, and more from 3D artists and studios using LightWave 3D software. The deadline for submissions is June 19, 2014. For information, send an e-mail to Cody Burke.

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Mark Your Calendar

i GET IT Release 8 Preview
May 19–21, 2014
10 a.m. MT
A new version of the i GET IT learning system will be the topic of this webinar, which will be held on three successive days. Read more

NAFEMS UK Conference 2014
June 10–11, 2014
Oxford, United Kingdom
This conference will focus on existing best practices and the state of the art in finite-element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, and associated technologies. Read more

ESRI International User Conference 2014
July 14–18, 2014
San Diego, California
This conference for GIS professionals promises five days of innovative best practices, inspirational tech demos, and hands-on learning. 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

CAD Manager: CAD Is the Least of Our Problems, Part 2
It's time to set your own bring-your-own-device (BYOD) rules. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Bring-Your-Own-Device Advice
Read more about how to handle personal handheld devices in the workplace at Read more

Get Your 3D On with PressPull
Adding or subtracting material from your 3D models is a common practice in AutoCAD. Watch the video

Circles and Lines: AutoCAD 2015 Focuses on User Comfort
The updated workhorse CAD program features a passel of UI updates that will make your day-to-day work easier and more efficient. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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