As CAD designers, drafters and managers we all use blocks with attributes. In some cases we have to filter through the attributes to find the one we need to edit. Have you ever become tired of scrolling through those dialog boxes to find the attribute you need changed? Figure 1 below shows a title block containing attributes along with the standard dialog box for editing.
All I need to change is the AU2014 to AU2015. There is a quicker way to do this by using the ATTIPEDIT command.
Figure 1: Title block with attributes.
Simply type ATTIPEDIT at the command prompt and select the attribute as shown above (AU2014).
You will now be able to edit the text as if it was a single entity. If you select a single-line attribute (as shown in Figure 2), AutoCAD displays the In-Place Text Editor without the Text Formatting toolbar and the ruler.
Figure 2: Select the Attribute you wish to change.
If you select a multiple-line attribute, AutoCAD displays the In-Place Text Editor with the Text Formatting toolbar and the ruler. Depending on the setting of the ATTIPE system variable, the Text Formatting toolbar displayed is either the abbreviated version shown, or the full version.
BONUS TIP: Instead of typing the ATTIPEDIT command try holding down the Ctrl Key as shown in Figure 3 and selecting your attribute. A great shortcut with no typing involved just a click of the keyboard.
Figure 3: The CTRL Key Combination
It’s August and that means we are getting closer to registration for Autodesk University 2015. You can get a sneak peak at some of the classes by clicking on the image below.
If you are looking to learn more about the Sheet Set Manager (SSM) in AutoCAD then join me for No Sheet on Day 1. We will cover the very comprehensive topic of Sheet Sets in AutoCAD and learn how to leverage the power of this tool. My handout will be complete with examples and a dataset for you to take back to the office and customize to your needs.
I Hope you all are having a happy and healthy summer….until next month
Here we go again!!! You just received a file from the client and over 10 utility lines (and other features) were converted from another source and you also notice some interesting line type names. In order to adhere to our standards we need to change those lines to match our company standard linetypes.
My good friend Paul Munford www.cadsetterout.com was kind enough to let me guest write for his blog on the topic of using the CAD standards manager to convert text styles. Check out his website and my posting at http://cadsetterout.com/autocad-tutorials/autocad-standards-manager/
I will continue with this topic on CADproTips moving to those rogue linetypes we receive from survey and/or client files. We are going to use the same technique as the text styles but this time standardizing our linetypes the easy way. Figure 1 shows several linetypes from an outside source that we would like to convert to our standard.
Figure 1: Linetypes from an outside source
Let’s take a closer look at the file and see what needs to be changed. We have 7 linetypes shown in Figure 2 that need to be converted to our standard. Keep in mind when I say my standard I use linetypes that our current to a standard I created, your company may have a slightly different result. Figure 2 shows an example of the linetype styles that we need to change. We could go and correct the lines individually but why not use the CAD Standards checker to do that for us automatically? Close out of your drawing (the client/outside source file) and start a new drawing where we will add our standard linetypes.
Figure 2: The Linetype Violations
One of the first things we need to do (if we have not already) is take one of our company existing drawings and load up the linetypes we need to use for those layers. Review the client/outside drawing file, take a look at the linetype and it’s properties this will help you determine a suitable replacement. For this example I created a blank drawing file and loaded up the linetypes that I I felt would be suitable replacements as shown in Figure 3. Then save the file to MY_LINETYPES.DWS
Figure 3: My Standard Linetypes
Now that we have a standards file to compare to and we are aware of the linetypes we need to fix let’s move over to the Manager tab on the Ribbon. We need to load up and configure our CAD Standards checker. On the CAD Standards panel select configure as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: CAD Standard s Panel
The configure standards window will open then select the + image and add our MY_LINETPES.DWS file under the standards window as shown below and in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Configure the CAD Standards Manager
Move to the Plug-ins tab as shown on Figure 6. We need to only check this file for linetypes therefore we are going to uncheck all of these leaving only the linetypes button checked. I am not concerned about the other objects at this time. Hit OK. You have now setup your standards file to check your linetypes.
Figure 6: Plug-ins Tab
We are now ready to run our Check. Select the Check button on the Ribbon.
After selecting check the Check Standards dialog box will appear as shown in Figure 7. You now will have 4 or 5 steps to complete while going through each line.
- The problem will be listed in the opening window.
- The replacement linetypes from our standards file.
- Preview of the changes. I like this window as it displays a snapshot of what you are changing.
- Hit Fix and you will be moved to the next problem. Continue until complete.
- This step is for managers that want to ignore a problem. Maybe there was a special line or client requested file that you need to keep within the drawing. If someone else runs the checker they will see that it was ignore by you.
Figure 7: Fix the Problems
When you are finished you will get a nice dialog box as shown in Figure 8 that tells you the problems found and fixed and or ignored. Hit Close.
Figure 8: Check Complete
This concludes another segment related to the CAD Standards tools provided in AutoCAD. As I mentioned in my previous posts I typically remove the standards file by going into the configure button and removing from the settings. You can do that or set the standards violation system variable to 0 to suppress the warning if the standards file is missing.
As a CAD Manager I load and unload standards files to check work from my team. This is a great way to provide feedback and to catch those little things that can be missed during the busy design phase of a project. The CAD standards manager can help you check, correct, and maintain standards within your company.
Don’t forget to look up Paul www.cadsetterout.com as well, you soon learn and know how much you appreciate people like him to help you with those solutions that we all encounter day in and day out.
Check back soon as I will add a video on how to complete this task.
My plug for Autodesk University continues as I preface my layers with AU.
Learn – Connect and Explore with your peers at Autodesk University 2015, Early registration begins in August and you can also purchase early passes today!
Until next month….Sam
Have you ever received a drawing from a surveyor or another outside source and it contains geographical information? Or maybe you received an address from a project manager and you just need to create a quick layout for a field visit to the site. You can use the AutoCAD online map function to check your location and/or add objects that are currently not on your map. One drawback is the map is a temporary graphic which is dynamically supplied by the online map service. Which means you will have to be logged into A360 to view the map. Since the release of AutoCAD 2015 you do now have the ability to clip the image and/or viewport and paste into the file as a clipped image and this will give you the ability to print the image.
Let’s take a look how to do this in AutoCAD. On the insert tab location panel of the Ribbon Set Location by hitting from map as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Set Location
Since I am a big Detroit Tigers Fan we are going to search for Comerica Park, Detroit Michigan (Home of the Tigers) as shown in Figure 2. If you do not see this map image then you are not connected to Autodesk A360. In the address area type the location you would like to find. Type in Comerica Park Detroit Michigan as shown or your desired location.
Figure 2: Comerica Park – Detroit, Michigan
AutoCAD will now come back with the results and our location has been found. Drop the marker will place the location in the blue 1 as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Drop the marker in AutoCAD
Next we move to the final step which is extremely important as we need to set the coordinate system for our map and or project. For this location we will use the Michigan East Coordinate System. If you do not know the coordinate system you can use the standard UTM coordinate system which can be found in the list below.
Figure 4: Select your coordinate system
Hit next and you will be prompted for a location, hit return twice once for the location and next for the rotation angle. These will both be determined by your coordinate system. My map of Comerica Park is displayed as a georeferenced image within your drawing.
Figure 5: Image displayed in AutoCAD
On the Geolocation tab of the Ribbon you now have several options for your map. You can edit the location which in some cases may be necessary if you have an incorrect coordinate system. Reorient the maker and Remove the Location are options as well. At times I will remove the location after I complete a project and I no longer need the map for reference. If you are signed in to Autodesk 360, you can change the resolution of map images, modify their extent, adjust their opacity, or update them to the latest version available on the online maps service.
One last thing I would like to cover is since AutoCAD 2015 you can now capture the area and put a static image into your drawing. Note: This option is available only if the current view is plan view of the WCS and will be shown prior to the AutoCAD 2015 release.
You can capture the area by selecting the Capture area button shown above. You will be asked to select two points to specify the rectangular area. The map is captured to a map image and placed over the online map. The second option is to capture the viewport which will capture viewport button. This will capture the current viewport area and place on a static image on the screen.
Figure 6: Map area options
You will now be able to print the image and keep in your current drawing file. Remember saving back to AutoCAD 2014 or below will just give you the proxy outline and no image. You do not have to be logged into AutoCAD A360 to view the static image. This is an improvement in AutoCAD to have the ability to add images which are georeferenced into your drawing.
The following video has been uploaded to demonstrate how to use the online map function in AutoCAD
Over the past year, I have had several questions come up on how to make the original size of the layer combo control bar a little longer. There is more to it than just making it longer on the Ribbon. Many people place this bar on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) as shown in Figure 1. If you do not know how to add this to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) simply perform a right-click on the layer combo control on the Home Tab – Layers Panel on the Ribbon and select add to Quick Access Toolbar. Once added you will see the bar as shown below.
Figure 1: Layer Combo Control on QAT
Now that we have the Layer Combo Control bar in the QAT we want change the default width to see those long layer names that are current.
Let’s go into the CUI and make a quick edit. Type CUI at the command prompt.
- Uncheck the Quick Access toolbar to pull down the menu
- Select Layer Combo Control.
- Change the value from the default value of 208 to 320 (I am using AutoCAD 2016).
- Hit apply and OK to get out and watch how your Layer Combo has changed.
Figure 2: Layer Combo Control in CUI
The final result should look something like Figure 3 as shown below. I made a long layer name as shown. Keep in mind since AutoCAD 2014 when you pull down the layer combo box the width will expand to your longest layer name. I do not recommend long layer names, keep consistent with industry standards and use 4 letters to abbreviate long strings. The type of monitor you have can affect this setting as well, change the number to best suit your setup and remember you can always put it back to default by entering 208 in the minimum width column.
Figure 3: The final version
How cool is that!
On a final note, I am proud to accept an invitation to become a member of the Expert Elite Program at Autodesk. All of the tips, tricks, and items posted are derived from personal experience through work, collaborating with my peers, and blogs I have followed over the years. I have always been very busy with my work and tried to find new ways to decrease my picks and clicks to become more efficient with AutoCAD. I share what I know and always have a great feeling when I help someone solve a problem with CAD. It helps me grow as a CAD designer and respected individual in the community.
Look me up at Autodesk University 2014 and on the knowledge network at Screencast as I will be providing updates on my proposals to teach again as well as some of my favorite tips and tricks I have collected over the years. I hope to meet new friends and see some old ones in December 2015 at Autodesk University.
Until next month…..Sam
I am sure we have all had to calculate an area of a pond, footprint, or some other irregular shape in AutoCAD. What about those times when we need to convert to acres, simple – right? We just get out our calculator or use the onscreen calculator and do the math. Let’s let AutoCAD do that for us. We are now going to locate or create a closed object or polyline in a drawing and place a leader with mtext on an object and use a field to label the area (in acres) of the object. Let’s first drawing an irregular shape on our drawing. Next type the mleader command and place a leader pointing to the object as shown in Figure 1
Figure 1: Object – Mtext – Label
Notice how we do not have anything after the “=” sign for the area. Right click and highlight (red box) where you want the number to be in your mtext and select insert field as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Right click-Insert Field
You now need to change the field category to Objects (1) and then hit the Object type button (2) and you will be sent back to out to the AutoCAD screen to select the object.
Figure 3: Select the Object
Select the outer bold line (boundary) in your drawing. The field selection window will pop up. Select Area then Decimal. But wait, we want acres and this is in standard units 1-1 which would be square feet. We are assuming that the coordinate system is setup to decimal units or 1-1. Therefore the value displayed in the field will be in square feet and not acres. We just need to additional format to the field. Checking the coordinate system is very important for any type of calculation. Make sure you are in the correct coordinate system and your drawing units are correct.
Figure 4: Field selections
Select the additional format button as shown above in Figure 4 above and another dialog box will pop up and you can add some custom formatting. We need to convert the value to Acres and we also would like to add a suffix as shown in Figure 5 .
- Step 1 you are going to divide the value by 43,560 which is how many square feet are in an acre.
- Step 2 you will add a Suffix, in this case we are adding the word ACRES.
Figure 5: Additional Format
You now have linked a field with additional format to an object in AutoCAD. If you revise the boundary the field will automatically update with the new area shown in Acres. If you break the link between the object and the field, simply right click and reselect the object following the steps above. Your final output should look just like Figure 6 below. Don’t forget to change the precision to your desired output, you can change this in the additional format window as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 6: Area Calculation Shown
I am still working on a video file for No Sheet! You can do that with the SSM in AutoCAD, this cold Michigan weather has slowed me down a bit. If you attended Autodesk University 2014 you know I covered Sheet Sets and took it to the lab but was not able to cover all the material in my handout. I would like to review publishing using the SSM in Autodesk AutoCAD using a .dsd (publishing) file. What happens if I want to print some sheets 11 x 17 and the others 22 x 34? In the past I have used subsets and printed those sections at different sizes but let’s not forget about the publish dialog box.
Hint: The beauty of subsets is you can right click those and publish using an override and AutoCAD will just publish those drawings within the subset.
Within the publish dialog box we can create a .dsd (publishing file) and then just load that up and print using that file, similar to a one click on the page setup override. Click on the publish icon as shown below in Figure 1. Then select Publish Dialog Box…
Figure 1: Publish Dialog Box
You will now see all of the sheets in your sheet set in a nice orderly fashion. Change the page setups as shown. HINT: If you do not see your page you will have to import the page setup into the template and/or drawing file.
Figure 2: Publish Dialog Box
Change one as shown in Figure 2 to 22 x 34. You will now be able to publish your drawing set using different sizes. Then save your publish settings file as shown in Figure 3 to your pdf folder for quick access the next time you need to print.
Figure 3: Change a file and save the publish (.dsd) file
Notes About Publishing (from Autodesk Help)
Publishing provides a streamlined alternative to plotting multiple drawings by providing compressed representations of drawings in a file that is easy to view and distribute. An electronic drawing set is the digital equivalent of a set of plotted drawings. You create an electronic drawing set by publishing drawings to a DWF, DWFx, or PDF file.
You can publish an entire sheet set from the Sheet Set Manager. With one click, you can create an electronic drawing set by publishing the sheet set to a single, multi-sheet DWF, DWFx, or PDF file. You can create a paper drawing set by publishing the sheet set to the plotter named in each sheet’s page setup.
Using the Publish dialog box, you can assemble a collection of drawings to publish and save the list as a Drawing Set Descriptions (DSD) file. You can customize this collection of drawings for a specific user, and you can add and remove sheets as a project evolves.
Once you’ve created a list of drawing sheets in the Publish dialog box, you can publish the drawings to any of the following:
- The plotter named in each sheet’s page setup (including drawings that you want to plot to file)
- A single, multi-sheet DWF or DWFx file containing both 2D and 3D content
- A single, multi-sheet PDF file containing 2D content
- Multiple single-sheet DWF or DWFx files containing both 2D and 3D content
- Multiple single-sheet PDF files containing 2D content
- Using 3D DWF publishing, you can create and publish DWF files of your 3D models and view them with Autodesk Design Review.
Attached please find the pdf files from the appendices from No Sheet!
Have a great week my friends! Sam
After teaching a at Autodesk University 2014 and having my hands on lab class navigate to project folders was something I did not anticipate taking much time. With all those long names and paths we have for the datasets at AU2014 I soon realized that it can become confusing and hard to explain where the files are located. This all taking off valuable time I needed for the hands on lab. What people do not know is before my second lab I went into the room at 6am and setup the project folders. I knew I was already under a bit of pressure due to a 90 minute lab on Sheet Sets and I needed to get to the files quickly.
Here is what I did and what you can do to start your week of right with AutoCAD and it’s verticals.
Move to the Ribbon and select Open to launch the select file dialog box. Figure 1 shows that I simply navigated to my class folder at AU2014 then left-clicked the project folder and dragged and dropped right into the AutoCAD start up places on the left. Simply hold down your mouse and drag that folder over there. I did the same for the start folder as well as the root class folder. This made things much easier for us to navigate through the files.
Figure 1: AutoCAD Open Dialog Box
After the project folders are setup just hit Cancel and select Yes as shown in Figure 2. The next time you launch AutoCAD your folders will be located in the start up places.
Figure 2: Save my Places
That is it! When you arrive to work on Monday morning, look at your project list and setup the Places list in AutoCAD. It will save you a great deal of time trying to locate projects which are deeply nested on your company’s network drive. Note: After you get all your projects setup they may be by a number or some other name of the folder. You can right-click that folder and select properties and rename the folder as shown in Figure 3. This only renames the folder in the AutoCAD places and does not affect anything on your network
Figure 3: Rename the Folder
Look for my next post to be about my classes at AU2014 and Yes, I will provide that every popular word search puzzle I passed out at class. Setup your projects using Start up places and avoid searching your network for the files you need.
The Application Menu
Have you ever upgraded your software and things were not exactly where they were in the previous release? Where is that command I use all the time? It was right there? I just cannot find it anywhere on the Ribbon! Many users I have talked with load up the menu bar and never even take a look at the application menu (the big red A).The AutoCAD Application menu is a great way to find a command if you cannot locate it on the Ribbon. Select the application menu as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The Application Menu
First let’s take a look at some of the basic functions of the menu. I have highlighted items 1 -3 below in Figure 2. When selecting item 1 you will have an ordered list of documents that you had recently opened. Hint: You can control the number of documents to be recently displayed by going into the options menu and setting that number. After selecting item 2 AutoCAD will display the documents that you have currently open. Lastly, item 3 is the window area where all of your documents you recently opened can be viewed as a thumbnail (by hovering) or opened by selecting the document. The pane on the left will give you some standard AutoCAD file management tools including drawing settings and export.
Figure 2: Menu Functions
Now on to the topic of this post. Let’s say you just cannot find your favorite command on the Ribbon. Type the command you are looking for in the search window of the application menu and like magic you have a list of all locations for that command including a best match. For this example we typed the Move command.
As shown in Figure 3, the move command can be found on the Ribbon Home Tab-Modify Panel-Move.
Figure 3: Find my command
The application menu also gives you other alternatives or related results with the move command involved. Review and look through the menu and see the power behind being able to find and access information that may have been lost in the upgrade.
A final note about Autodesk University 2014
I will be teaching two classes at Autodesk University 2014 in December this year. My first class is a hands on lab using the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD. I have always believed in the power and efficiency of the Sheet Set Manger and will teach a hands on lab named: No Sheet! You can do that with the SSM in Autodesk AutoCAD. I plan to setup a project with you and go through some of the benefits of using the Sheet Set Manager.
My second class: Mighty Macros: Pumping Up Productivity One Character at a Time: In this session we will go through the action recorder, tool palettes and finally dive into the CUI to pull out some code and create some cool new macros that you can use back at the office to make your every day design and drafting just a bit easier.
I look forward to meeting new friends and colleagues at AU2014 in December. See you in Vegas!
Have you ever looked at the drawing preview window or the view within the SSM (sheet set manager) and noticed that it does not display the correct drawing? There is a quick fix. Go into Tools and Option (or right-click in the command area) and move to the Open and Save tab. There you will find a button for Thumbnail Preview Settings.
Figure 1: Open and Save Tab
Click the Thumbnail Preview Settings as shown above. Thumbnail previews are stored as PNG images, providing higher-quality thumbnail previews in a smaller file size. Image resolution is still controlled by the THUMBSIZE system variable.
We are now going to go through each section and explain what these variables and buttons control. Figure 2 shows the standard dialog box when selecting the Thumbnail Preview Settings.
Figure 2: Thumbnail Preview Setting Dialog Box
The following list corresponds to the Red bullet numbers within Figure 2.
- The system variable that stores the thumbnail preview in the Windows registry is THUMBSAVE. This system variable replaces RASTERPREVIEW. By checking this box the variable is set to 1 and a preview will be generated.
- Defines the current view of the drawing as the home view. A preview of the current view will be generated for the image.
- Resets the Home view back to default.
- Controls the updating of thumbnails for views and layouts. These Settings are stored in the UPDATETHUMBNAIL system variable. The settings is stored as a bitcode using one of the following values.
|0||Does not update previews|
|1||Updates previews for model space views|
|2||Updates previews for layout views|
|4||Updates previews for layouts|
|8||Updates previews when layouts or views are created, modified, or restored|
|16||Updates previews when the drawing is saved|
These previews are displayed in the Sheet Set Manager. Sheet previews are displayed on the Sheet List tab, sheet view previews on the View List tab, and model space view previews on the Resource Drawings tab.
Hit OK and save your settings. One last item you may want to check is when you are saving a drawing notice the update thumbnail check box right under your preview as shown in Figure 3a. If you HIT this and run a save on your drawing you will notice on the status bar that the previews are being generated.
Figure 3a: Check that Preview Box
You will notice when saving your drawing or saving an entire Sheet Set that the Previews will be updated as shown in Figure 3b. This may take a few seconds longer but it is worth the wait.
Figure 3b: Check that Preview Box
The background color, though, is taken from the drawing view when a drawing is saved. For the background to be saved as white in the thumbnail, the drawing needs to be on a white background when it is saved. The background color is selected on the Display tab in Options.
Note: if you are looking for more information on preview images in Widows explorer please visit R.K. McSwain’s blog CAD Panacea at http://cadpanacea.com/node/434. There are many instances in AutoCAD 2013 and 2014 where this can be corrected by changing a registry setting or even running a lisp routine at startup. To check this go to a folder and set the list view to large thumbnails as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Windows Explorer Views
Check your previews and give yourself a thumbs up! The next person who loads the file(s) will be thankful you took the time to be sure the correct images are displayed when opening a drawing file.
Have you ever moved a block attribute (text) around to an area that is open and you have no lines or objects crossing the text? I bet some of you have even trimmed the area to the block or created a wipeout to mask out behind the text and/or the symbol. There is a solution. We want to take one of our standard symbols and create a new block. We are going to use a standard boring symbol location as shown below. Make sure this object is exploded as we are going to create a block.
Next we are going to create an attribute but this time we are going to check the box for multiline text as shown in Figure 1. Type ATTDEF at the command prompt and enter the data as shown below. Note: we are not going to click the annotative button for this example. Yes, you can do that but we need to start with the basic symbol to see how the mask works.
Figure 1: Attibute Definition Dialog Box
Your geometry should look like what is shown in Figure 2. Double-click the attribute (text) and then click the ellipsis (…) as shown. You will now be taken to the text formatting editor.
Figure 2: Edit Attribute Definition
Right-click on the attribute (text) and select background mask from the menu as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Background Mask
Apply a background mask and select Use drawing backgrond color as shown in Figure 4. Of course you can select an alternate color if that is preferred.
Figure 4: Apply the Mask
Almost done. Complete the symbol by typing the block command to create your new block. Enter the name SB and select all of the objects on the screen and use the base point as the center of your symbol. Figure 5 illustrates how to name and add a description to the block.
Figure 5: Create the Block
You have now created a block with a multiline text attribute that has a background mask as shown in Figure 6. Note: as with multi-line text you need to check the mtext width, the background mask will be applied to the entire width of the text (attribute). Adjust that accordingly in your design to produce an effective looking scenario. Remember, create a new symbol and check the annotative button for the same properties to be developed with an annotative block.
Figure 6: Test your new block