This is not CAD specific but is still worth mentioning. Sometimes when you try to refer to a long link URL in an email or news post, the link can become broken because the mail/news tool wraps the link into two (or more) lines. Unknowing users are frustrated because the link doesn't appear to work when they click it, and even experienced users have to paste it into a notepad and remove the line breaks.
In this situation, head to http://www.tinyurl.com and paste in your long link. A tinyurl 'mapped' link will be returned that's usually 20-30 characters and will never break.
How do I change the default drawing open directory?
Right click on your launch icon and choose Properties, choose ShortCut, then change the path shown in the 'Start In' field. Note that if your new path contains spaces like "C:\My Drawings" it should be enclosed in parenthesis, otherwise they are not necessary.
The default behavior beginning in 2000i is for the application to remember the last folder accessed, even between sessions. This can controlled by the REMEMBERFOLDERS variable which defaults to 1. This is an integer (0/1) and is stored in the registry, meaning you only need to set it once. When set to 0 it causes AutoCAD to behave as previous versions, honoring the settings described above.
AutoCAD 2000 Properties Dialog doesn't do Previous
A favorite procedure for some in older versions of AutoCAD was to build a selection set, then issue the DDCHPROP command and specify P for the previous set. With the new AutoCAD 2000 Properties command, which totally replaces the DDCHPROP command, you can't specify the previous set. A little bit of LISP to the rescue. Place this code snipped in your ACAD.LSP file so that its automatically loaded, and simply type issue CHGPREV command to wake up the properties dialog with the previous selection set.
(defun C:CHGPREV ()
(setq sset (ssget "P"))
(sssetfirst sset sset)
How do you DXFIN into an existing drawing?
In the old days of R12/R13, you could be in a drawing full of objects, and do a DXFIN to merge additional objects from a DXF file. But that changed in R14, requiring you to begin a new drawing, DXFIN, saveas a DWG, reopen the original drawing, and insert the newly converted file. Now using AutoCAD 2000, you can once again bring DXF based geometry directly into the existing drawing.
- Issue the INSERT command.
- Choose the BROWSE button.
- Pull down 'Files of Type' and choose *.DXF.
- Select your DXF file and choose Open.
- Turn on the 'Explode' toggle.
- Turn off the rest of the toggles.
- Choose OK to complete the operation.
Starting AutoCAD 2000 with no starting drawing!
If you would like to start AutoCAD 2000, but don't want a blank empty drawing, and you are not using the 'Startup Dialog' you can put this in your ACAD.LSP and it'll create this effect.
(defun-q mystartup ()
(while (eq 1 (logand 1 (getvar "CMDACTIVE"))))
(setq S::STARTUP (append S::STARTUP mystartup))
In LISP code, don't (regapp) until you have to!
It may be tempting to place the (regapp) code at the top of your LISP code so that you won't have any problems adding EED during your application. But doing so changes the status of the DBMOD, and disables the already fragile ability to DXFIN. Place the (regapp) in the specific function that creates/modifies the object, right before the code that actually creates it.
On the subject, its not a bad idea to check to see if its already registered like:
(if (null (tblsearch "APPID" "MYAPPID"))
AutoCAD Temp & Backup Files
In AutoCAD, other than the DWG file, there are other files you are working with, whether you know it or not.
- BAK files: Unless you turn it off in OPTIONS, when you save a drawing that already exists on file, the .DWG is renamed to .BAK, then the new data is written to .DWG. Don't rely on this for true safety of your files, because .BAK files have been known to become corrupt.
- AC$ Files: These are temporary files created by AutoCAD during the process of creating the drawing. They are only of value to AutoCAD during editing and are usually cleaned up when AutoCAD closes. These files are useless if AutoCAD crashes.
- SV$ Files: These are autosave files, controlled by the setting inthe OPTIONS dialog. These files are the equivalent of a DWG, you would only need to rename them if AutoCAD crashes. It's important to note that if AutoCAD closes normally, these files are deleted!
Launch without the Logo
Save yourself a second and eliminate some visual noise every time you start AutoCAD by turning off the logo. Right click on your launch icon and choose Properties. On the Shortcut tab, in the Target field, carefully append a space and the /nologo switch.
How do I restore from a BAK file?
By default AutoCAD makes a backup file with the extension .BAK as you work with drawings. Some users aren't aware of how to use this file when the DWG becomes corrupt. The problem is mostly to the fault of Microsoft and their explorer defaults.
- Launch Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder that contains the file(s).
- Choose Tools > Folder Options.
- Click on the View Tab.
- In the 'Files & Folders' section, turn off the toggle on 'Hide extensions for known file types'.
- Choose OK (extensions should now show).
- Left click on the BAK file to highlight it.
- Right click and choose Rename (or press F2).
- Change the name to something like RECOVER.DWG.
- Open the file as normal in AutoCAD.
Note that AutoCAD has been known to sometimes corrupt the BAK file as well.
Educational Plot Stamp
Be careful when inserting blocks or drawings from outside sources, especially those you have never worked with before. If the party providing the file was using an educational version of AutoCAD, you can find your plots from a full license of AutoCAD saying "PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT".
If you find yourself in this situation, you can usually save the file in a DXF format, then reopen it to strip the message. If you're concerned about files of this nature lying in wait to be batch plotted, you can scan for these files with a tool from ManuSoft.
EDU-Scan at http://www.manusoft.com/Software/EDU-Scan/Index.stm
Little Known Reference Manager
Because it's not shown on the AutoCAD menus, it's often overlooked. For recent versions of AutoCAD, click the Windows Start Menu, choose Programs > Autodesk > AutoCAD. In the same group as the AutoCAD launch you will find the Reference Manager, which can be used to repath xrefs, images, etc.
Prevent Unnecessary Problems with Autodesk Service Packs
Many AutoCAD users don't realize that after installation their system still needs service packs applied. Failure to do this can mean that they suffer through problems that have already been fixed. Autodesk does a good job of making service packs available for all the versions you are likely to run. We found patches going all the way back to R12 for DOS!
- Click on this link http://www.autodesk.com/support
- Pull down the list and choose the Autodesk product you use.
- In the lower left corner of the menu at left, click on "Data & Downloads"
- Under that section, click on "Updates & Services Packs"
- Find the version you are running and the patches available.
Third Generation of OS Commandline Copy
First there was the DOS copy command, then people discovered XCOPY which was faster and more capable. Now there is a third generation called ROBOCOPY, which stands for 'Robust Copy'. Take for instance the need to create an exact backup of an entire drive to a folder on another drive, including the ability to remove files from the copy if they have been deleted from the source. Essentially a mirror backup!
RoboCopy is one of many handy tools in the 'Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools', but you don't need to be running server to use them. You can download it directly from Microsoft using this link.
Microsoft Download: http://tinyurl.com/6p6cy
Viewing Slides (Inside Libraries)
Although interest has dimenished over the past few years, users still want to work with Slide (SLD) and Slide Library (SLB) files. One process thats not well known is how to view a slide that is contained within a slide library. Use this procedure:
Enter new value for FILEDIA <1>: 0
Enter name of slide file to view <Drawing1>: ACAD(ANSI31)
Enter new value for FILEDIA <0>: 1
Note the syntax on the VSLIDE command. You specify the library name, then the slide name in parenthesis.
AutoCAD 2007 on Vista
While Autodesk provided a service pack for this case, there was a remaining issue with file dialogs (they constantly show as large icons). To fix this, use this procedure.
- Right click your launch icon, choose properties.
- Switch to the Compatibility tab.
- Turn on the top toggle 'Run in compatibility mode'.
- Pull down the list and choose 'Windows XP SP2'.
Using Design Center
The Design Center included with AutoCAD several versions back can be used for many purposes. To launch it you can use the ADCENTER command or the alias DC.
First consider it as a Symbol Manager. You can navigate to a folder in the left pane and it fills the upper right pane with the symbol drawings in that folder, with a small preview. Clicking on one of the icons shows a larger preview, then dragging the icon to the AutoCAD drawing window initiates the insert process.
Next is symbol table imports, such as layers. Navigate to a folder on the left pane, click the [+] box to the left of a drawing and the tree will expand to the available tables. For example, clicking the Layers item under the drawing shows all the layers for that source drawing. Select one or more layers and drag them to the drawing window and they will be created in the current drawing. Objects contained in the source drawing will not be imported, only the definition (including the default color, linetype, etc).
You may want to consider creating a backup of your profile(s) in AutoCAD. Some add-ons may modify the profile in code (ours don't)
and you may make unintentional changes to the profile yourself.
- Issue the OPTIONS command.
- Select the PROFILES tab (your current profile is highlighted).
- Click the [Add to List] button.
- Enter a useful name, like MyProfileBackup.
- Issue the OPTIONS command.
- Select the PROFILES tab.
- Select the backup profile in the list.
- Click the [Set Current] button.
- Select the old (corrupt) profile.
- Click [Delete] and confirm to remove it.
- Select the backup profile in the list again.
- Click the [Add to List] button.
- Enter the original profile (recently deleted) name.
- Select the original profile in the list.
- Click the [Set Current] button.
Many users are not aware of this tool because it's not on the menus inside AutoCAD. Instead use Start > All Programs > Autodesk > AutoCAD and you will find a shortcut. If you need additional control take a look at ToolPac's Repath tool.
Sometimes users may issue a command and expect a dialog to appear and it doesn't (and AutoCAD seems locked up). Often pressing the escape key returns the command prompt. This can be caused by the user having dragged a dialog to a screen location that is no longer available because of a second monitor being disconnected or screen resolution being lowered.
For those comfortable with RegEdit, you can find the dialog's coordinates in this area.
Once the item is found, changing the first two numbers to 0,0 should push it back to the upper left.
New Trick for Command Prompt (DOS)
For those that still use the 'Command Prompt' in Windows for what some call the 'DOS box', you can now cycle through folders when using the CD command. After typing CD, press the Tab key to cycle forward through available folders, Shift+Tab to cycle backwards.