Bring All Text To Front and a Wii Tip

snowboard This time last week I was at the beautiful Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.  Slope conditions were rather nice for the entire weekend, so myself and the group I was with got some great runs in!  In the evenings when we were not skiing we ended up playing Nintendo Wii.

Of course the Nintendo Wii play almost didn’t happen because yours truly forgot to pack the sensor bar.  Might I add the group I was with consisted of some top-notch geeks, one of which is a programmer.  JJ, the programmer, knew that two candles would do the trick when without a Wii sensor bar.

Commas in Sheet Set Manager


Sheet Set Manager has certainly made it much easier to create, manage, and plot drawing sheets.  Even still, SSM is not without it’s flaws.  Perhaps one of my all-time SSM annoyances is the fact you cannot insert a comma in a SSM field.  So how did I put a comma in the illustration above?

Adding LISP, VB apps, and more to Tool Palettes

image By now Tool Palettes have probably become a staple of your workspace.  We can put all sorts of things on Tool Palettes; lines and blocks being the most common.  While lines and blocks on tool palettes add a degree of sanity for many, wouldn’t it be nice if we could say add a LISP routine, VB app, even execute a script from a Tool Palette?

Well the good news is that we can, although the process isn’t necessarily obvious for many. 

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?

Utilize your Multi-Core Processor in AutoCAD

Core 2 Duo Processor It’s no secret, the modern-day processor race isn’t measured so much on how fast the processor is, but rather how many cores you have.  First we saw the Core Duo (2 cores) processors, then the Core 2 Duo’s (4 cores).  While your inner-geek can certainly brag about the number of cores inside your machine, what about actually using them for some real processing?

A lesser-known AutoCAD System Variable might just be your ticket to utilizing some of that extra power.  The system variable is WHIPTHREAD.  Depending on how you set this variable, AutoCAD can use that extra processor to improve the speed of operations which require a redraw or regenerate the drawing such as ZOOM.  I have copied an excerpt from the AutoCAD help file, documenting what each value does:

Inserting DWG’s into MS Word or PowerPoint

image Just this evening I received an e-mail from Autodesk letting me know my AU Unplugged session "The Training Trinity: Fundamentals of a Successful Training Program" was accepted.  Thank you to everyone who voted for my session.  If you’re attending AU, be sure to check out the AU Unplugged Schedule.  There you will find the full list of, and information on each of the AU Unplugged sessions.  I do look forward to meeting some of you guys!

Throughout the years, I have seen both high and low-tech ways of inserting AutoCAD DWG’s into Microsoft Office documents.  I believe the most low tech way I have seen included printing each the MS Word file, and the AutoCAD DWG, then using Scotch Tape to insert the DWG onto the printed document.  Run it through a photocopier, and no one will ever know (unless you were a messy Scotch Taper).  But what do you say we jump into the 21st century?

Staying in the 21st century, AutoCAD does actually provide us with a fair number of options for inserting AutoCAD DWG’s into MS Office documents.  Although a Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + V (Paste) will work, it will insert your AutoCAD DWG just as it looks in AutoCAD – including the black background.  My guess is you would rather have it look similar to the way your DWG plots?

GROUP Therapy

image More often than not, when the GROUP command comes up in discussion it’s because a user can’t figure out why their selection sets are going crazy.  Hence the reason I titled this post “GROUP Therapy”.  But in all seriousness, GROUPS can prove handy when you, and more importantly, your co-workers understand what they are and how to use them.

Blocks are of course quite powerful in the way they collect some number of AutoCAD objects, and package them into a single object.  As we all know the number of uses of blocks and duct tape are directly proportional to one another.  On the other hand wouldn’t it be nice if we could toggle a block on and off?

Make an Entire DWG Annotative

While I was unable to get a blog post put together last week, I did manage to finish developing a course on Annotative Scaling for my firms internal training program.  One nifty discovery I came across in developing the course was the variable ANNOTATIVEDWG.  So what exactly does this guy do? Quite simply – it

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.

Man that’s OVERKILL!!

On a somewhat frequent basis I get a call from a user desperate to rid their drawing of the plethora of duplicate objects that in one way or another has plagued their drawing. There is of course the grueling method of individually selecting each duplicated object and running the ERASE command, but surely there is

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