Layer Properties Per Viewport

For the past couple weeks The CAD Geek Blog has been rather quiet.  Rest assured I haven’t abandoned my little corner of the CAD blogosphere, but rather took a little end-of-year vacation (Dec 17-Jan 1).  I started my vacation with grand plans of blogging almost non-stop, and finding new ways to break AutoCAD and Civil 3D.  What actually happened was a lot of Christmas shopping, followed by a number of excursions.

Proclaimed as the birthplace of the Tacky Christmas Light Tour, I had a chance to visit the many tacky homes in and around Richmond, VA.  My mothers home is among those on the Richmond Tacky Light Tour.  Getting Christmas off to a somewhat comical start was me attempting to calculate and balance the electrical load for her light display.  2-30 Amp and 2-20 Amp breakers later – we had lights!

Other highlights of my long Christmas break included visiting Baltimore, MD for their Miracle on 34th Street; Newport News, VA for their Celebration in Lights, and Virginia Beach, VA for their Holiday Lights on the Boardwalk.  Finally I had the pleasure of bringing in the new year with my favorite band – Carbon Leaf.  Needless to say, all that fun didn’t leave much time for blogging.  But 2008 is here, and so am I!

AutoCAD 2008 introduced a handy feature for managing layers properties on a viewport-by-viewport basis.  Pre-2008 we could only freeze and thaw per viewport, but now we can change Color, Linetype, Lineweight, and Plot Style.  In the short time we have had 2008 installed, the feature has already proven helpful a number of times.  So just how does one use this feature?

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Better than AUDIT, Better than RECOVER, the new RECOVERALL

Yesterday morning got out to a rather chaotic start for me. Within the first couple hours of the day I had 3 support requests in queue, all urgent, and for a mid-day submittal. Not to bore you with details, but essentially one was related to Sheet Set Manager crashing in the middle of the job. The second with AutoCAD only plotting the viewport, and not the titleblock.  Putting the icing on the cake was the final request where the user couldn’t even get into her drawing (even after running a RECOVER).

So why am I boring you with my morning activities?

All mind you without the aid of coffee.

My reason it simple – the solution for each of the above support requests ended up being the same. Those familiar with troubleshooting quirky drawing behavior are likely yelling two commands at the monitor about now; AUDIT and RECOVER. Both of which have been my best friends when troubleshooting such issues in the past.

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Perpetual Annotation Scale List

annotation scales

In just the last few days alone I have received 5 support requests from my users about this issue. Seeing that I haven?t seen a lot written about it, I thought I would make a quick post about the Perpetual Annotation Scale List bug in AutoCAD 2008. This issue is most often noticed when users click on the “Annotation Scale” list from the drawing status bar. Generally this list simply contains a list of commonly used drawing scales. On the other hand; if you’re not careful this list can soon be plagued with “_XREF” scales.

What?s happening here is both your host drawing and your reference drawing contain these annotation scales. Suddenly once you attach a couple external references, your Annotation Scale List is virtually unusable. The screen shot above shows one example of this. I write this post with both good and bad news.

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Quickly Link Excel Tables to AutoCAD

Quickly Link Excel Tables to AutoCAD 081507 2048 quicklylink1Since being posted back in April my post titled Linking Excel and AutoCAD with Data Links has been one of the most visited pages here on The CAD Geek Blog. In that post I go through what I will call the manual way of linking an Excel table to AutoCAD. Thus unless you are a part of the Slowskey family, you’ll likely prefer this quicker more efficient way of making the link.

  1. Start off in Excel by simply selecting the cells you want to link to AutoCAD. Right-click and select “Copy“. This will place the Excel table on your clipboard so we can paste it into AutoCAD.
  2. Open the AutoCAD drawing you wish to insert your Excel table into, and go to the “Edit” menu, selecting “Paste Special”.
  3. From the resulting dialog box, Select the “Paste Link” radio button, and then select “AutoCAD Entities” under the “As” heading.

    Quickly Link Excel Tables to AutoCAD 081507 2048 quicklylink2

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Upgrading to AutoCAD 2008

Alas, my firm has finished our AutoCAD 2008 upgrade. In the timeframe of about a month we upgraded a little more than 250 users in our 7 engineering offices. Some would call the mere thought of upgrading that many users in such a short timeframe crazy, but even still we did it. Thankfully we have two individuals (including myself) dedicated as full-time CAD Managers, and an awesome IT helpdesk and infrastructure staff to back us. Each year as the new release of AutoCAD nears; bloggers and columnists such as me begin building quite a hype for the upcoming release. Oftentimes such articles and such are written using beta releases of the software. To be frankly honest the articles almost always celebrate everything about the software, consequently making users drool for that cool new feature such as Sheet Set Manager, or in 2008 Annotative Scaling.

The superstitious AutoCAD users out there will not upgrade to an odd-numbered release of AutoCAD. That superstition likely stems back to Release 13 which was not an overly celebrated release in industry. To make things interesting Autodesk has changed the way they market their AutoCAD releases. We now refer to things as AutoCAD 200_, not AutoCAD Release _ _. Thus depending on how you count; AutoCAD 2008 could be considered both an even and odd release. The year 2008 is of course even, but its official release is 17.1 which is odd.

As anyone who has used AutoCAD for some time now knows, pre-release demos, and post-release deployments and real-world usage are two totally different things. Those of us in the Civil field know that feeling all too well, as Autodesk Civil 3D 2004 was the greatest thing had an incredible WOW factor associated with it. Of course as we got our hands on the product and started using it, we soon discovered the product was not yet mature enough to sustain real-world design. Thankfully Civil 3D has come a long way since then, maturing to the point where real-world design is now possible. Even still a bigger question remains, what’s up with AutoCAD 2008?

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Multileaders – Part 2

Flowers at the Elizabethan Gardens After a much needed and most enjoyable vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I am back in the office. My first two days back to the office have been both busy and exciting, as Monday kicked off our AutoCAD 2008 upgrade training and deployment. Two offices down – five more to go. Needless to say July is going to be an incredibly busy month. Regardless of how busy or chaotic the month may become, it’s all still incredibly exciting as the users I support will be able to take advantage of the seemingly endless list of new features I have been blogging about for months now. If the excitement I have received while conducting upgrade training is any indication, multileaders are destined to become an indispensible tool within AutoCAD.

My previous post on multileaders effectively provided a quick onceover of the new multileader feature. As you will find in using multileaders, they put the aging quick leader on the fast-track to retirement. Their power is truly harnessed in their versatility.

Creating a basic multileader really isn’t all that different from our old friend, the quick leader. As mentioned in my last post multileaders are their own little piece of AutoCAD. I restate fundamental fact as a common misconception is that multileaders are configured with dimension styles. Although a multileader, and quick leader look a lot alike, their similarities end there. Multileaders are configured in their own interface, which I discussed in part 1 of this series.

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Multileaders – Part 1

Multileaders - Part 1 windowslivewritermultileaderspart1 13558187125670 36f7b9599a b2

So this post actually comes to you from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This week I am getting some much needed rest & relaxation by soaking up some rays along the Atlantic coast. Being a bit of an avid photographer I am definitely looking forward to capturing some good shots. The seagull picture I have posted is from my 2006 Outer Banks gallery. On a topic more related to engineering, while taking a walk earlier today the civil engineer came out in me as I noticed some familiar marks on the road. Every 50′ along the road outside the house I am staying in is the road station. Admittedly I was caught off guard as I have never really seen road stations painted on a finished road back in Richmond, VA. But I digress.

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Managing Layout Tabs in AutoCAD 2008

If you have kept up with the new features packed within AutoCAD 2008 you have likely read a small novel worth of articles about Annotative Scaling. Now don’t get me wrong, Annotative Scaling is a really cool new feature, but lots of other smaller features have gone without a lot of fanfare. My firm is currently gearing up for our AutoCAD 2008 upgrade, and as a result I am now starting to pick up on these lesser known features packed within this latest release. One area that I was happy to see some enhancements was the way layout tabs can be managed. Admittedly these features aren’t going to revolutionize the way you do your job, but they should allow you to streamline the way you work with layout tabs.

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Separate Annotation Scales Per Viewport

Dana Probert over at the Engineered Efficiency blog wrote about quickly changing your Civil 3D Drawing Scale with the new Annotation Scale. Using the Annotation Scale fly out on the Status Bar we can quickly change our Civil 3D Drawing Scale. Those familiar with previous versions of Civil 3D will recall having to go to the “Settings” tab from the Civil 3D Toolspace. So that tip helps us out when working in Model Space, but what about Paper Space.

Separate Annotation Scales Per Viewport 050807 0602 separateann11

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Making Blocks Annotative

If you have been keeping up with AutoCAD 2008, you know the idea behind Annotative Scaling as it relates to text. The general concept to make it possible to do in one object what once required we use multiple objects. I am of course speaking about copying a piece of text numerous times just so we could plot a drawing at different scales. Personally I would have been happy just to get Annotative Scaling with text in AutoCAD 2008, but the folks at Autodesk were apparently swinging for the fences as they have hit a home run. See, Annotative Scaling isn’t just for text; we can also dynamically scale things like blocks and hatches.

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