Automate Sheet Setup with Action Macros

Although there’s no shortage of ways to customize AutoCAD, nearly every one requires some familiarity with programming. Given the barriers of learning a programming language, I find so many of the AutoCAD users I come across simply survive with the tools they already have verses learning to create new ones. This is the fundamental reason I love Action Macro’s so much; they allow users, with or without programming experience, to create new AutoCAD tools in an instant.

The beauty of Action Macros is the way that anyone who can use the command line inside AutoCAD can also customize AutoCAD. Given how simple they are to create, I have found a wide range of ways to create and apply Action Macros over the years. One of my longtime favorites is using them to automate the setup and creation of new drawing sheets.

The best way to ensure all of the sheets for a project plot the same is to create every sheet from a common layout template with the same page setup applied. While the procedure for doing this isn’t especially hard, it does involve several steps, and frequently becomes cluttered among the library of different sheet sizes used by most companies (Letter, Ledger, Arch D, etc). Using Action Macros I can dramatically simplify this process by creating a series of custom commands that will automatically create a new layout tab at the desired size.

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Use Performance Monitor Gadget to keep AutoCAD Virtual Memory in Check

Use Performance Monitor Gadget to keep AutoCAD Virtual Memory in Check

In July I provided a first look at Project Photofly, an uber-cool technology from Autodesk that lets you build 3D models from photographs. Now I’ll admit it’s difficult to exceed the cool-factor of something like Project Photofly. Still that doesn’t mean Photofly’s slightly less glamorous cousins are any less attractive and/or useful.

Performance Monitor for AutoCAD; it’s small, lightweight, and very useful Windows Gadget that monitors the virtual memory usage of your AutoCAD based products. Don’t feel bad if that doesn’t sound cool enough to spend (waste) your time downloading and installing; I too nearly skipped past it without ever looking back. At first glance I thought, oh that’s nifty, but was pleasantly surprised after finally downloading and installing.

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AutoCAD for Mac and iOS Announced

AutoCAD for Mac and iOS Announced

BIG NEWS – after an 18-year absence, AutoCAD is returning to the Mac! Of course, much to Autodesk’s dismay, this hasn’t exactly been a secret to nearly anyone following who follows the CAD industry. Now for the part I hadn’t expected (but makes perfect sense); AutoCAD is also coming to the iOS (aka. iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad).

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Learn what’s new in AutoCAD 2011 this Wednesday in Richmond

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Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the AutoCAD 2011 Product Launch Event here in San Francisco, CA. After the webcast I got to attend several breakout sessions where many of the product managers demonstrated some of the most compelling features inside AutoCAD 2011. I’ll write more about the event later, but suffice to say the day was packed with technical insights, and even gave us a chance to voice our opinions about the software and where it’s headed. Having the chance to attend the launch event for the past two years, I can vouch for how seriously Autodesk takes feedback from users like you and I. Not only were product designers, Q&A staff, and others in attendance at the feedback session, but so was Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass. Again, more on the launch event later; how can you get a chance to learn about the new features inside AutoCAD 2011?

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First look at Surface Modeling in AutoCAD 2011

DSC_3734 Hopefully everyone caught the AutoCAD 2011 Product Launch Webcast this morning. For those of us here in San Francisco we’re getting to meet with many of the key players behind the AutoCAD product. Right now Guillermo Melantoni from the What a Mesh! blog is presenting the 3D modeling enhancements found inside AutoCAD 2011. Earlier I was able to record a video introducing some of these enhancements. View the video after the jump:

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