Showing posts with label AutoCAD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AutoCAD. Show all posts

AutoCAD: Format your Fractions

Control how your fractions are stacked in AutoCAD texts
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Lazy Drafter just published a quick tip on how to format your fractions in AutoCAD. One of this little tips that in case you need to use it is really useful. Sometimes this little things are the ones that make us waste a lot of time because we do not know how to do it, si memorise this tip for the day you work with fractions in AutoCAD texts.

When typing fractions on MText, AutoCAD will rpompt you asking if you want to "Stack" the Fraction. If you say yes, then you will be able to select that fraction and modify the way it is Stacked. To do this, select the fraction, right click on it and Select "Stacking properties". See below.


With the different options you will be able to change the format of the fractions.



Via Lazy Drafter.

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AutoCAD: Know the properties of a Nested Object

What is the layer of an Object in an Xref? Does it use color byLayer? List the properties of a Nested Object with this easy to use command.
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If you need to know the layer of a nested object (to switch off that layer for instance) or other of its properties, you might want to use the XLIST command.
This command allows you to see the Object Type, the Block Name (in case the object is neted in a Block), the layer, the Color and the Linetype properties. The image below is an example of the results of using the XLIST command.


The command can also be called on the command line bar, using the -XLIST version. LazyDrafter reported recently that this helps when having very long XREF or Layer names, as the dialog box is sometimes too small to allow you to see the layer name complete.

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AutoCAD: Manage Layers with the LAYWALK command

Manage layers in a simpler way than using the Layer Manager
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Even from the colleagues that know less about a program you can learn something new. This happened today at work. I was asked some very simple questions about AutoCAD commands. Siting near my colleague to teach him how to do things, I realised he was using a command I didn't know and that is quite useful.

LAYWALK, is a command that allows us to handle Layers very nicely. It opens a dialog where we can see all the layers listed. The objects on the highlighted layers will be shown on the screen.



In case we have a lot of layers we can use the filter bar to only show the ones we want. Use * in front and/or after the text to include all layers with that text in it.


Selecting a layer or several layers and doing "Right Click --> Inspect" will show us some information about the layers and the amount of objects contained.


If there is any layer without any objects, we would be able to purge directly from here using the purge button. We have also the option to "resotre on exit" or not. If restore on exit is active, it means that when we close the LAYWALK window, the layer state will go back to how it was before running the command, if we uncheck this option, the layers will stay as we set them in the LAYWALK window. See a summary of fucntions below (click to enlarge).


Very useful command to manage layers and much faster (although with less functionalities) than the Layer Manager.


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AutoCAD or AutoCAD Architecture??

How many of you are still using plain AutoCAD? Try to move to AutoCAD Architecture at least, you'll work much much faster.
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I've been recently struggling with the experience of working with plain AutoCAD after 3 years of working with AutoCAD Architecture in a professional environment. It is hard for me to understand (other than pure commercial strategy) why plain AutoCAD still exists.It might sound weird if you are working with plain AutoCAD, but once you've tried AutoCAD Architecture, plain AutoCAD feels like someone has cut one of your arms.

The tools I miss the most are the AEC Modify Tools (see them in this post) accessible via right click context menu. Other functions that are not available and that really speed up the work are the "Select Similar" and "Add selected". Select Similar allows us to select all similar objects 8same type, layer,etc) directly from the right click context menu too. And Add Selected allows us to add an object that is the same as one selected, saving tons of time on remembering commands.

These last two functions are available in AutoCAD if you have a Subscription Advantage Pack. Here is the Autodesk page that showcases these functions. But you should know, and this is the main reason I write this post, that these functions are available in AutoCAD Architecture, so to mee, no point paying for some functions, when you could have them all.

Also, considering that the transfer to BIM will happen sooner or later, consider next time you want to upgrade , to go for the AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite. This one contains AutoCAD + AutoCAD Architecture + Revit Architecture.

So just to wrap up and up to my own curiosity to know what my readers use every day. Could you answer this poll? What program do you use every day at work?


Thanks!




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AutoCAD: 90 Tips to Work Faster and Smarter

This is the Lynn Allen lecture at Autodesk university 2009
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Lynn Allen Lectured at Autodesk University 2009. The Lecture contained 90 quick tips to work faster with AutoCAD. The tips range from things you might find very obvious to little pearls that will open your eyes to a new and quicker way to do what you had been doing somehow differently for so long. You can find the video here. It is a long one (around 90 minutes) so you might wanna watch it in little sessions to be sure you get the most of it.


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AutoCAD: Load LISP and Applications Manually or Automatically

Hot to load LSIP routines and other applications
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I wrote recently some posts about using LISP routines to speed up certain tasks. I forgot to mention, how to load these Files. The manual way is to use the command APPLOAD. This will call the Load Application Dialog Box where you can browse for the saved LISP.



Alternatively, if it is a LISP that you use regularly, simply drag and drop it into the icon saying Startup Suite in the APPLOAD dialog box. This will make the LISP or application load automatically at start of the AutoCAD session.


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Excel: Turn numbers exported from ACAD into European Format

There is a quick way to turn numbers in Excel into European format and to remove apostrophes.
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European Number Format, uses a coma as a decimal separator instead the period of the English format. When exporting data from AutoCAD to Excel using the DATAEXTRACTION command, the numbers exported are in English format, so to transform them to the European Format we need to replace the points for comas. This can very done very easy by using the find and replace function in Excel. Type CTRL + F or click the Replace button on the Editing area of the Home Tab (Excel 2007). Find Points and replace them by comas, and select Replace All.


There is an extra step needed if we want to be able to use the data from AutoCAD in Excel as numbers. All the Cells exported from CAD start with an apostrophe ('). See below.


This makes the numbers not usable as such. Luckily there is a trick to batch remove this sign. If you have a column with numbers, insert a new column to its right. On the cell next to the first number in the row enter the follwing fórmula.


Where D2 is the Cell with the numbers with the apostrophe you need to eliminate. Then copy the cell next to all numbers you want to transform. You will see now the result of the formula as the number you want to use. Something like this:


The left cell is the one still containing the apostrophes, and that is why the numbers are aligned to the left. The one on the right is the result of the formula we have applied.

A final step I would recommend is to copy all these new cells and paste them in a new column using Paste Special. Paste Special can be accessed after copying some cells by right clicking on a cell. Then On the Paste Special Window Select "Values".


That's it, now you can delete the other columns (the one with the apostrophes and the one with the formulas, and you have just the new column with plain numbers. The explanations is long, but the process takes lest than a minute.


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AutoCAD: AutoLISP to Generate Multiple Hatch Boundaries

Do you need to re-generate the boundaries of multiple hatch patterns? An AutoLISP routine will do it.
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I had to work on some files converted from ArchiCAD to AutoCAD and needed to use the AEC Space entities to get the areas. Unfortunately, plain AutoCAD doesn't read the are of this objects, and by exploding them, it generated Hatch Patters that would not show their area on the properties palette.

The solution for a single AEC_SPACE, was simple, explode it, regenerate the boundary of the Hatch Pattern, and select the resulting Polyline to see the area (or to extract the area to an excel file as explained on a previous post). The problem came becuase there were a lot of this AEC_SPACE objects,and AutoCAD does not allow to regenerate boundaries of multiple Hatch Patterns at the same time.

The solution was found via DigitalCAD, in the form of a LISP routine called HATCHB.LSP. This routine when used, allows you to select as many Hatch Patterns as you want and obtain their boundaries in the form of polylines. The polylines will be generated on the current layer, and properties.

Some thoughts: This real life situation is a clear case that shows how format incompatibilities makes us waste a lot of time. In this case the lead architect works in ArchiCAD, but we as Contruction Managers have only AutoCAD, so everytime we get files from them there is a lot of information in those files that is wasted, because we can not read it properly, so we have to waste hours on retracing polylines to be able to double check the information we have received...


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AutoCAD: Project Butterfly Works as a Free Version Converter

Use the new Autodesk cloud CAD tool as a free translator between AutoCAD versions
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I discovered recently the so called Project Butterfly (update: now released as AutoCAD WS) from Autodesk. See this previous post for a more general overview to it. It is basically a lite version of AutoCAD that resides entirely on the cloud, meaning you can use it by simply having an up to date web browser.
What i recently realized, is that this "program" can be actually used to convert files from a newer version of AutoCAD to an older one. In case you get some AutoCAD file in the newer 2010 format, but you are not using AutoCAD 2010, you will not be able to open the file. normally you would have to ask whoever sent you the file to "please save it in 2007 / 2004 version". Using Project Butterfly you can skip that request and do the conversion to an older version yourself.
Project butterfly can read files in the new 2010 format. This files then can be downloaded. the trick is that when you click on the download as DWG button on the upper right part of the PB interface, it asks you in which version of AutoCAD you want to download the file. See the image below.


Although this is not the main goal of this application, well, it can be used for that. The limitations are that it saves only in 2004, 2007 or 2010 versions, so if you are working on an older version than that, this won't work, although maybe you should consider Upgrading...
This is the link to the Project Butterfly website, you'll need to register to be abel to use it, but it takes 1 minute.


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AutoCAD: PEDIT Command Without Confirmation

A trick to speed up the PEDIT command
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PEDIT is a command that allows us to edit Polylines. It also allows us to edit lines, arcs and splines, by asking us the question we many hate
"Object selected is not a polyline
Do you want to turn it into one? "
Although this might be useful to remember that the geometry selected is not a polyline, it turns to be an extra click that we would love to skip. We will skip it from now on thanks to Josh from Lazydrafter.
Josh posted recently about the PEDITACCEPT system variable. The variable is by default set to "0", and that is why AutoCAD asks us that annoying question. Well, set it up to "1", and the question is gone. Now it takes no extra step to edit lines, arcs. Spline still ask for the conversion factor, but still you'll be saving couple of clicks. All to work faster!


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AutoCAD 2010: New System Variable to Fade XREFs

AutoCAD 2010 has a new system variable to fade XREFs.
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New versions come sometimes with some nice surprises. One I just discovered by using AutoCAD 2010 at work is the XDWGFADECTL system variable. We had seen long ago on a previous post how to control the fading of locked layers and the objects seen outside the REFEDIT mode. Just as a quick reminder on that since that is a very old post.

LAYLOCKFADECTL directly controls the intensity of the fading of locked layers.
XFADECTL is used to control the fading when we enter the REFEDIT mode (everything that does not belong to the XREF that we enter to edit in place will be faded).

This was what we had available so far. In case we wanted to fade the XREF, my common procedure was to set the fading of the LAYLOCKFADECTL to between 30 and 50% (depending on the screen), be sure that all my XREFs where in one layer, and lock that layer. This would allow me to see my XREFs fades, making very easy to understand what was in the current drawing and what was a reference.
The only problem with this is that sometimes, when we had to move those XREFs, we had to unlock the layer and lock it after finishing the operation. Minor nuisance maybe, but it has disappeared from now on.

XDWGFADECTL is one of the new system variable added to AutoCAD 2010 that allows to control how XREFs are faded. It is useful. It might seem a minor tweek, but when you are using a dwg as an underlay to draw something else, it is really practical to see this dwg faded. And although this could be done before with the locked layers fading, now we have a second way to do it to suit every situation (or almost every)

Remember that there is a list of all the system variables that have been explained at CAD-Addict following this link.

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AutoCAD: SaveAs 2004 Script

A script to save your drawings on a previous AutoCAD version.
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As I promised on a previous post about Running Scripts on Multiple AutoCAD files, here comes the script to save your files as 2004 version. I found the need of this script recently, when a collaborator of mine was working with AutoCAD 2004 (i didn't know that in advance) and I was working with 2010. After finishing the tweaks on some of the files, he asked me "can you convert them to 2004, otherwise I can't read them". Well there were nearly 40 drawings, so I had no intention to save them one by one to 2004 format. I set myself to generate a script to do that for me.
This is the script file SaveAs2004.scr and let me easily explain how it works. Let's analyse it line by line.
FILEDIA 0 - This line turns off the dialog boxes (see this post for more info)
SAVEAS 2004 Y - this part is the proper saving as 2004 version. we call the saveas command, stipulate 2004 (or any other version we want) and then click yes, because the program will ask us if we want to overwrite the existing file. note here that there are 2 spaces between 2004 and Y, this is due to the fact that the first is to enter 2004, and the second is needed, to confirm the file name. (If you want to understand this better, run the different commands manually with the FILEDIA system variable set to 0, and you will be able to see all the steps I am following).
FILEDIA 1 - here I simply wanna make sure that after running the script the settings return to what they were, so i set the FILEDIA SV back to 1.
CLOSE - Closes the file, be sure that there is a space or an enter after close, since it is easy to forget that being the last text in the script file. This is generally not neecessary if you use a batch scripting program such as Autoscript or ScriptPrp, but in case you run the script directly in one file, this will close the file after running it.
That's it, now you have a script to save as 2004 version. Replace 2004 by, R14, 2004, 2007, 2010, Standards, DXF or Template, and you will save in that format.


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AutoCAD on the Cloud: Project Butterfly

AutoCAD goes cloudy! The future is here!
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I just learned through Revit3D.com of the existence of something called project butterfly. What is it? It is basically AutoCAD running on a web browser.
One of the latest tends in software development is to turn regular Programs into programs that can run "on the cloud". Run on the cloud means that you don´t need to install any other software other than a web browser, and that the files are stored on a public server, not in your hard drive or intranet.
For many years I have been using Google Docs, which allow you to create Word and Excel Type of files (the functionalities are less than with MS Office or Open Office) and the files can be edited collaboratively by different people.
Well, this has now arrived to AutoCAD. With Project Butterfly you can upload a file to the cloud, share it with collaborators/consultants and edit it without even having AutoCAD installed in the computer. Of course, do not expect the speed and easy of use of "real" AutoCAD, but for small corrections and collaboration, it seems like an awesome idea.See a snapshot of the Project Butterfly Interface (click the image to enlarge it)
.

You can read more on the Autodesk labs blog and try Project Butterfly here.

via revit3d.com


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AutoCAD: Run scripts on multiple files

You can run scripts on multiple files using ScriptPro
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Imagine that you want to purge 100 files to be sure that not unnecessary information is saved, wasting space. Or imagine that you want to save all the drawings of a project to a previous version of AutoCAD so a consultant of yours can read your files. You don't want do it yourself or appoint someone to do it manually.
What you want is a software to Batch process scripts on multiple files, Autodesk actually provides the application for free.
This application is called ScripPro. You can directly download it here, or go to the information page.


For versions of AutoCAD previous to 2007, you'll need this version instead.
For thsoe who don't know what scripts are in AutoCAD, just imagine them as entering a set of commands without typing them manually. You can save them in a text file, and when you run the scrip file (by entering the SCRIPT command) all the set of commands will run one after the other.
I will post an example script soon, so those who are new to scripts can get a better idea of what they do. I already posted another example before explaining how to create a script to generate all your standard layers.

Update: The installer of ScriptPro is for 32Bit windows only...my 64bit windows doesn't like it, i get "not compatible with operationg system,,,crap!"
Update 2: I found this freeware software called Autoscript that runs on Windows 7 64bit. It adds a new menu called autoscript, that actually doesn't work!!! but if you type AUTOSCRIPT as a command it will run a program that works the same way as ScriptPro. Via Cadig.



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AutoCAD: Set of Free AutoLisp Routines

A set of free AutoLISP routines for AutoCAD
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My friend Aarti just sent me a link to a website that has collected a bunch of free AutoLISP routines. I haven't had time to check them one by one but I thought I'd post the link here in case you want to give it a look.

The one she told me she used was TLEN.lsp, that allows you to callculate the total length of a set of linear objects (lines, polylines, ecs) etc. Saving a lot of time when you have to do some measurements.

Here is the link to the list of free LISP



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AutoCAD: Get Back the Menus and Toolbars - aka Ditch the Ribbon

Do you hate the ribbon? Do you want to get back your old menubar structure with toolbars? Easy and simple
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I hate the ribbon, I confess it. It is not only the Ribbon in AutoCAD, its the whole Ribbon concept, I hate it too since it appeared in the new version of the Office package (2007).
Fortunately, AutoCAD allows you to switch back to the old system, it is a pretty simple process. You just need to do the following:
  • Type RIBBONCLOSE (it will close the ribbon)
  • Enter MENUBAR in the command line and type "1" as a new value (it will show the menubar)
  • Then go to the EXTRAS Menu and go to Toolbars, here you will be able to select the toolbars you want to see displayed

Update: On the bottom right of the screen there is a Workspace control button that by default reads "2D Drafting and Annotation". If we change that to "AutoCAD Classic" we will get the standard interface we were used to before the ribbon appeared. Thanks to Helen for this tip.


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AutoCAD: PREVIEWFILTER system variable

Control which objects are highlighted in the selection preview
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The selection preview is very useful to know before clicking which object you are going to select. The only problem it has is that if your objects are very complex, generating the preview might take some time, slowing down your workflow.
A clear example of objects that create issues if previewed are hatch patterns. Some time ago, I already wrote a post on How to Disable selection preview for Hatch Patterns. This post just wants to be a more comprehensive overview of how to control which objects are highlighted.
There is a system variable that allows us to control which objects are "selectionpreviewed". Te SV is PREVIEWFILTER, and as in other SV, the sum of the following values will result in some objects beeing excluded from the preview feature.

- 0 all objects are previewed
- 1 Objects on locked layers excluded
- 2 Objects in XREFs are excluded
- 4 Tables are excluded
- 8 Multiline objects are excluded
- 16 Hatch patterns excluded
- 32 Objects in groups are excluded

To exclude several object types, you need to enter the sum of the different values for this objects. For instance, if you want to exclude Hatch Patterns and Groups from selection previews, you will need to enter 48 as the value for the PREVIEWFILTER System Variable.
Alternatively, the controls for which objects are previewed can be accessed through Format --> Options --> Selection -->Visual Effects Options --> Advanced Options








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How do you Export SketchUp Layers to AutoCAD?

This is an open question, not a solution. Is there a Plugin for that?
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I've been asked if there is a way to export the SketchUp layers when exporting to AutoCAD as 2D drawing. All my Google searches have been useless, so here comes the question in case someone can help with this.
Is there a Plugin to Export as 2D Drawing from SketchUp to AutoCAD and get the geometry to keep the layers from SketchUp?. Right now the only thing that seems possible is to separate the geometry in Cut Edges and Profile Edges.
SO please, if anyone knows how to do this share it here! THanks


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AutoCAD: List of Objects

The list of all the AutoCAD object types. Links to the different categories of objects and relevant posts about them.
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Back in September I started the series "AutoCAD list of Objects". As the series is finished right now, I thought i would be good to have a main post that works as a directory for all of the posts of the series. So here are the links to all those posts.
Remember that you can access this typo of posts that work as a directory of the website by clicking on the "directory" link on the orange navigation bar on the header.

If you find any missing objects, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll add them on the right category. Thanks!!


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AutoCAD: Updating Fields Automatically

A system variable controls how fields are updated, play with it if you are having trouble.
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My post about using fields in dynamic blocks has aroused some comments (mostly on the spanish version of the post) about the fact that the field of the sample block does not update automatically. I set myself to find why was that and if there was a solution.
This is the block I am talking about.The idea is that when you stretch the dynamic block, the field that shows its width should stretch too. Unfortunately this seems to not be possible, as fields require at least a "REGEN" to be updated. The research let me to discover the FIELDEVAL system variable, that actually controls how fields are updated. This are the options on setting the value of this system variable:
  • 0: Not updated
  • 1: Updated on open
  • 2: Updated on save
  • 4: Updated on plot
  • 8: Updated on use of ETRANSMIT
  • 16: Updated on regeneration
At least I didn't waste my time completely...and you get to learn something new too.

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