On starting the CUI command you may receive alerts about unresolved files that can no longer be found.  To clean these up, expand the ‘Partial Customization Files’ section and look along the list for items with an (Unresolved) suffix.  If you can’t resolve the item, right click and choose ‘Unload’.

The component geometry used to create blocks should be created with a layer of 0, and other properties (especially color) set to a BYBLOCK setting.  That way it will take on the properties of the layer it’s inserted onto, or the specific properties you specify in the properties dialog.

Failure to do this can mean confusion.  For example if you create your block geometry on layer BLOCKGEOM, then insert them on a layer like INSERTS, you will find that layer INSERTS cannot be purged, even though there are no visible objects (when the layer BLOCKGEOM is frozen).  In this case the invisible insertion point prevents the layer purging.

This variable is often set to off (value of 0) when it should be turned on.  Newly created polylines take on the status of this variable.  This can create many negative effects.  For example when a dashed linetype is applied to polylines having dense vertices, the dash may not appear at all as the mask is reset on each vertex.  A second example is text based linetypes, if the linetype generation is turned off the letters will usually read wrong on curve segments.

If you have existing polylines created while the PLINEGEN variable was turned off, you can use the PROPS dialog to turn the linetype generation back on.

When using the background masking of Mtext, the extents of the box often reflects the window used when creating the mtext.  To resize this box to the minimum, double click the mtext object to bring up the mtext editor, then double click the <> icon in the ribbon that is just above it in the ruler bar.

If you have multiple mtext object to process, ToolPac contains a Mtext Minimum Size tool that processes a selection set.

You can use AutoCAD’s Block Editor to create copies of a block.  Simply issue the BEDIT command, choose the source block, then use the Block Editors ‘Save Block As’ icon and designate the new name.

Beginning users often assume that elevated polylines must be created as 3dPolys.  If the elevations of a polyline vary, that is the case.  However, if the elevations of a polyline are consistent (such as a proposed contour) a standard (lightweight) polyline is best.

If you are creating them with the PLINE command you can assign the elevation with the first pick.  In response to the start point enter .XY and press enter (or space), AutoCAD will let you pick the point then asks for the elevation.  All remaining picks will be on that elevation.

Command: PLINE
Specify start point: .XY of *PICK LOCATION* (need Z): 1300

If polylines are already created, click on the polyline and use AutoCAD’s PROPS dialog to change the elevation.

AutoCAD FIELDS are extremely useful.  In previous newsletters we have discussed some of the more complex uses, such as in block attributes.  However, you can easily use them at the command prompt with the FIELD command.  Here is an example of an auto updating plot stamp.

Enter the FIELD command.

Scroll down the list on the left and select PlotDate.

Choose the way you want the date to appear in the center.

Choose the [OK] button to place the field in the drawing.

Complete placement which is similar to the Mtext command.

Note that initially, this field will appear as four dashes, but it will be automatically updated by AutoCAD every time you plot!

Take a few minutes to review some of the other field names on the left, the use of fields can greatly expand the capabilities of your drawings!

You may open a drawing and find what has been described as a “black daisy” in the viewport that you can’t get rid of.  This is the AutoCAD GeoMarker and it’s controlled by the GEOMARKERVISIBILITY variable.  Simply enter that at the command prompt and enter a new value of 0.

Newer versions of AutoCAD (mainly 2008+) contains the capability to automatically create a DWF or PDF (added in 2010) file when you save or close your drawing.  To setup the system go to the OPTIONS dialog, then choose the |Plot and Publish| tab.  In the lower left you can turn the system on/off and control the settings.

The settings dialog allows you to designate when the publish is to take place, where the files go, etc.  Various options exist in 2010 for things like layer information, merge control, and more.