AutoCAD Dad Jokes

The Best of The CAD Geek's AutoCAD Dad Jokes

To all the dad’s out there – Happy Father’s Day! I hope you’re able to spend the day with your own father and/or your own children.

With my son turning three at the end of the month, I couldn’t be happier to celebrate my third Father’s Day with him. He’s such an incredible dude, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. The biggest word he knows how to say and apply is doppelganger, and most recently we’ve been working on learning our shapes.

The Best of The CAD Geek's AutoCAD Dad Jokes Fathers Day

After mastering basic shapes like triangle and square months and months ago, we’ve started work on more complex shapes. Things like equilateral, isosceles, acute, and right triangles, and even some parallelograms for good measure. My son can say the names of all those shapes, but we still have some work on identifying them. Of course, should it be any surprise geometry is a front-and-center topic when your father is a CAD Dad?

Odd geometric terms for an almost three-year-old aside, something synonymous for all types of dads are jokes. But not just any jokes – dad jokes! As much as I’d like to say I’m immune to such jokes, my Twitter feed tells a different story.

There’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about if you follow me on Twitter. My good friends on the AutoCAD team at Autodesk sure have. In fact, in celebration of Father’s Day, the AutoCAD team scoured my Twitter feed for a compilation of what can only be described as CAD Dad jokes.

You can read the full post on the Official AutoCAD Blog, but here’s a preview of some of the tweets they found (plus a few they didn’t):

Of course, even the AutoCAD team couldn’t resist to join in the fun of that one.

And although I didn’t end up using the titles for my Autodesk University 2018 proposals, it doesn’t mean the thought didn’t cross my mind.

Speaking of Autodesk University, there were the t-shirts my company, CADD Microsystems, gave away in 2016.

You’ll have to wait until Autodesk University 2018, but we already have some AutoCAD-related t-shirt ideas in the works.

The Best of The CAD Geek's AutoCAD Dad Jokes home from autodesk university

Although every Father’s Day is special in some way, this one is extra special as it will be my last with just my one son. Arriving home from Autodesk University 2017, my son surprised me at the airport with the incredible news he’s going to be a big brother. Next year, I’ll be blessed to celebrate Father’s Day with my (two) SONS!

The CAD Geek Joins Autodesk's Expert Elite autodesk expert elite abstract

The CAD Geek Joins Autodesk's Expert Elite

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to share what a day in the life of The CAD Geek is like during my takeover of the @AutoCAD twitter account. Being the first ever AutoCAD Twitter Takeover, I had little idea what to expect of the whole event but knew I was in good hands with the phenomenally talented AutoCAD marketing team. A core reason I've continued The CAD Geek for more than a decade is out of a sincere desire to help fellow design professionals. As an Eagle Scout, you might argue helping other people is simply part of my DNA - because it really is.

AutoCAD Twitter Takeover

AutoCAD Twitter Takeover

The Twitter Takeover was as exciting as it was fun. Seeing people from across the globe follow along with my day as the Technical Product and Online Manager at CADD Microsystems was so very humbling. If you followed along with my Twitter Takeover, there's a good chance you saw the following tweet by Heidi Hewett, AutoCAD Insider, and Technical Marketing Manager at Autodesk:

https://twitter.com/HeidiHewettACAD/status/905897883928371201

Heidi announced that I was the latest person to be invited to Autodesk's Expert Elite program.

What is Autodesk Expert Elite

Autodesk Expert Elite Logo

If you're not familiar with the Autodesk Expert Elite program, it recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the community by sharing knowledge, providing community leadership, and exemplifying an engaging style of collaboration that drives a healthy and valuable Autodesk community. Simply stated, Expert Elite recognizes individuals not only for their software expertise, but their willingness and history of giving back to the community.

What started as a relatively small group of 60 has today grown to approximately 300 members. Members of the Autodesk Expert Elite program are the people others turn to through blogs, the Autodesk forums, and more. The simple act of being able to help others through my numerous publications, presentations, and more is a reward by itself, but to be recognized for those collective contributions is undoubtedly a highlight of my career.

You can learn more about the Autodesk Expert Elite program by visiting the Autodesk website. Of course, if you or someone you know is an Autodesk software expert who makes significant contributions to the community – consider nominating them for Autodesk Expert Elite.

 

Finally, you can check out all of the tweets from my AutoCAD Twitter Takeover (including Heidi’s) on my Twitter Profile.

Updating AutoCAD Block Attributes using Microsoft Excel Excel Attribute

Updating AutoCAD Block Attributes using Microsoft Excel

Block Attributes are an integral component of nearly every AutoCAD-based project I've worked on. Beyond the ubiquitous title block, Block Attributes are commonly used for Room Tags, to display calculations, and more. Whilst it isn't too difficult to update a couple of Block Attributes, when the blocks to update ventures beyond that - the task quickly becomes as tedious as it is time-consuming.

I've long wished AutoCAD had a command that would let you link a block to something like an Excel spreadsheet. Although that wish has never been granted, the next best thing exists in the form of AutoCAD's Express Tools. Two of my favorite Express Tool commands are ATTIN and ATTOUT. Put simply, the commands will export Block Attribute values to a Tab-Delimited text file (ATTOUT), and update Block Attribute values from a Tab-Delimited text file (ATTIN). In the video above I demonstrate how to use these commands in tandem with Microsoft Excel to quickly renumber the room tags in a floor plan.

Tips for Updating Attributes with Excel

Whislt the blocks can be anything you wish, there are a few tricks to using this method in production:

  1. Blocks are updated based on their Handle ID: Every object (including blocks) are assigned a unique Handle ID. No two objects in an AutoCAD drawing will have the same Handle ID, and the ID itself is designed to function as a unique identifier in the DWG database. This means you can move a block anywhere you wish in the drawing (even a different Layout tab), but you cannot erase the block. Erasing the block will change the Handle ID for the object, and thus break this method.
  2. You may combine multiple TXT files: The ATTOUT command will generate a separate TXT file each time you run the command. Especially if you're updating the same block (not to be confused with block insertion), you can combine multiple TXT files into a single TXT file if you wish. Using the example in the video, you may export the Room Tag block attribute values for each floor in your design - thus resulting in a TXT file for each floor. You can combine these TXT files into a single TXT file to simplify things a bit.
  3. Save as Tab Delimited Text File in Microsoft Excel: I will typically create an Excel spreadsheet that performs various calculations. When exporting your data from Excel, be sure to select tab delimited as the file type.
Converting PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs using Adobe Illustrator Illustrator

Converting PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs using Adobe Illustrator

The ubiquity of PDFs make them a great choice for collaboration when you're not sure what software a recipient is using. By sending a PDF you can rest assured whomever the recipient - they'll be able to open it. But what if you're the recipient, who has AutoCAD, and you really needs a DWG version of the PDF?

Modern versions of AutoCAD come packed with lots of great PDF functionality. Still the closest AutoCAD comes to converting PDFs into a DWG format is the PDF Underlay function. PDF Underlays do not change the original PDF in anyway, instead they create a reference to the original PDF. The functionality mirrors that of Xref's where you can snap to object, control the visibility of objects, and clip the reference.

Whilst I will typically start with the PDF Underlay functionality built into AutoCAD, sometimes I just need a DWG to work with. In those cases I typically turn to Adobe Illustrator. As an Adobe product, Illustrator does an excellent job working with PDFs. As luck would have it, Illustrator also includes the ability to export to the AutoCAD DWG file format. In the video above, I'll share how I use Adobe Illustrator to convert PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs.

AutoCAD Light Interface

Brighten up AutoCAD with a Lighter Color Scheme

Customization has long been among AutoCAD's core strengths. Even as changes are made to the program it's typically always possible to tailor the interface to your liking. One recent change that some users love, and others could do without is the graphite interface. Those who enjoy the graphite interface cite the reduced eye strain, whereas others seem to prefer the contrast of the former (lighter) interface.

Whilst I don't have a strong preference either way, I have found the light interface to work a little better for me when presenting to an audience with a projector. Given the number of presentations I do for my job at CADD Microsystems, it likely goes without saying I typically change the AutoCAD interface to its former - lighter interface. Watch the video above to learn how to make this change on your own system.

Disabling AutoCAD Layer Output when Plotting to PDF

As the near ubiquitous electronic plotting format, chances are more than one client has asked you for a PDF version of your drawing. Although more robust PDF tools certainly exist, the DWG to PDF.pc3 driver that's included with AutoCAD is more than sufficient for many users. By default, the out-of-the-box PDF driver includes the layer information from your drawing. When the resulting PDF is opened in an application like Adobe Reader, users see a list of layers as shown below, which also allows the viewer of your PDF to turn layers on or off.

Autodesk Reader Layers
List of layers displayed within Adobe Reader.

Although the default PDF driver includes this information, creating a custom PC3 file provides the ability to disable this feature if you prefer. Here's how:

  1. Choose Manage Plotters from the Application Menu. This will open the Plotters directory on your computer.
    Manage Plotters
  2. Click the Add-A-Plotter Wizard shortcut within the Plotter directory. The Add Plotter dialog opens.
    Add Plotter
  3. Click Next from the Add Plotter - Instruction Page to begin the wizard.
  4. The Begin page of the wizard allows you to designate where to install the new plotter from. The default PDF driver included with AutoCAD is available by selecting My Computer. Click Next to continue to the Plotter Model page.
  5. From the Plotter Model page of the wizard select Autodesk ePlot (PDF) as the Manufacturer, and DWF to PDF as the Model.
    AutoCAD PDF Driver
  6. Click Next three times to advance to the Plotter Name page. From this page, enter a name for your plotter. In the example below I've used the name DWG to PDF no Layers.
    Plotter Name
  7. Click Next to advance to the Finish page. From the Finish page, click the Edit Plotter Configuration button. The Plotter Configuration Editor dialog opens.
    Add Plotter Finish
  8. Navigate to the Custom Properties node within the Plotter Configuration editor, and then select the Custom Properties button. The DWG to PDF Properties dialog opens.
    Custom Plotter Configuration
  9. Uncheck the Include Layer Information checkbox under the Additional Output Setting group. Click OK to save your changes. The DWG to PDF Properties dialog is dismissed, and the Plotter Configuration dialog displays.
    PDF Properties
  10. Click OK to dismiss the Plotter Configuration dialog, and then click the Finish button within the Add Plotter dialog.

At this point you have created a new PC3 configuration that will allow you to generate PDF's from AutoCAD without layer information. To use this plotter, simply open the PLOT command, and select your newly created from the list of Printers/Plotters.

Autodesk Screencast

A quick look at the simplest way to share what you know using Autodesk Screencast

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? For me, video has long been an invaluable tool for supporting end-users first as a CAD manager, and today in my role at CADD Microsystems. I find it possible to record in a minute what might take me five minutes to write in an email (an instant value for me). While the value of a video is greater than that of an email both for myself and the recipient, it's not to say video doesn't come without complications.

I remember some of my earliest technical support videos were not very well received by the people I was sending them to. It took me a while to truly realize just how complicated even the simplest AutoCAD procedure could be. As a result, some of my earliest videos neglected to communicate to the viewer some of the things you don't see on the screen. Did I right-click or left-click to access a tool, or was it a Ctrl key combination? Learning to properly address these details on-screen has (IMHO) been among the most difficult barriers to people effectively sharing their knowledge with others.

First introduced as an Autodesk Labs project, Autodesk recently introduced an incredible tool that Autodesk describes as "a simple way to capture and share what you know." After using Autodesk Screencast for the last several months to assist in supporting some of our customers, I'm not sure recording, editing, and sharing a video could be any easier.

Earlier this week I had a customer contact me asking how they could turn on Point Labels in their AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing. The fix was simple, but writing a step-by-step response would have taken longer than it would for me to show the customer how to solve the issue they were experiencing. I enlisted Autodesk Screencast for the job, and recorded the following video I sent to the customer:

There are plenty of tools that allow you to record and share videos, but what makes Autodesk Screencast unique is the metadata it captures as you record a video. In the embedded version of the video above, a panel displays everything I did within AutoCAD Civil 3D during the recording. If you view the same video on the Autodesk Screencast website, an additional timeline is displayed below the video. This timeline captures the precise moment each command is started, every dialog that opens, and more. Using that timeline, viewers can fast-forward (or rewind) to those key moments in your recording, so even if I neglected to mention something in my audio commentary, Autodesk Screencast still captures every step for viewers.

Although you can record anything on your screen, Screencast delivers compiles detailed timelines for Autodesk Fusion 360, AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, and their verticals. Screencast is a free download from http://screencast.autodesk.com, and with it you can record videos of any length, and share them either publicly or privately at no cost on the Screencast website.

Visit http://screencast.autodesk.com to get started with Autodesk Screencast.

Use Performance Monitor Gadget to keep AutoCAD Virtual Memory in Check PerformanceMonitor thumb

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.

Trick for Stubborn Annotative Objects

After taking off a few days last week I am finally getting back into the swing of things. Just before I left for vacation last week we had a pretty ugly support issue spring up. I really have to commend the folks at Autodesk and Avatech (my reseller) for the help they provided. While troubleshooting the issue I learned quite a bit that I hope to share here on The CAD Geek at some point. No less, even if my time away from the office wasn’t without interruption, it was a welcome retreat to get away, and simply enjoy some time off.

Back in the office, I have just about gotten everything caught up, and wanted to share a quick tip on how to deal with stubborn annotative objects. If you make use of annotative objects inside AutoCAD, chances are you’ve gone to modify an object, and AutoCAD just ignores you. MOVE, COPY, even ERASE do nothing, and you’re left wandering – what now?

AutoCAD Pranks for April Fools Day

Not too long before the launch event for AutoCAD 2010, Shaan Hurley made a post on his blog “Office AutoCAD Pranks”. Shaan’s post ended up being the topic of discussion for one of the more candid conversations the bloggers Autodesk invited to San Francisco had.  I don’t need to tell you what can happen when you gather a bunch of bonafide AutoCAD geeks in the same room.  Needless to say, the pranks we dreamed up ranged from harmless to all out cruel.  In the spirit of April Fools Day I thought I’d share some of these pranks with you the readers of The CAD Geek.

Now, before we begin, some of the pranks you’re about to read may get your fired from your job.  Unless you really want to give your boss a darn good reason to fire you, please use your common sense before actually performing any of these pranks!

Embed messages into the ACADDOC.lsp file.

ACADDOC.lsp gets loaded for every drawing.  Put something like this in the victims acaddoc.lsp file, and wait for their reaction.

image

(alert "Autodesk has detected usage that is in direct violation with the license agreement for AutoCAD 2009.\n\nYour system configuration and usage statistics have been sent to the anti-piracy division of Autodesk.\n\nAutoCAD 2009 will now close.")
(command "_close")

CAD Geek Poll - What are your 2010 upgrade plans?

AutoCAD 2010 Splash Image
AutoCAD 2010 (and most other 2010 products) were launched this week, and the question begins to shift from "what's new" to "will I upgrade". Judging from the last poll I ran here on The CAD Geek, it seems the vast majority of you (45%) are running the latest release (2009), but what does the future look like for you? Will you be upgrading, or sitting out this release? Has the economy changed your upgrade plans, or is it still full steam ahead on your 2010 upgrade?
Vote for the option that best describes your 2010 upgrade plans.
[polldaddy poll=1486456]
Have more to say? Comment on this post, and share your thoughts on upgrading to AutoCAD 2010.

AutoCAD 2010 - First Look at Parametric Constraints

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I just recently returned home from San Francisco, CA where I was privileged enough to join some of the most popular AutoCAD bloggers in the blogosphere for the AutoCAD 2010 release event in San Francisco. Although we stayed incredibly busy throughout the day Thursday, I must say I really did have a great time at the event. It’s always a golden opportunity when you get to have meaningful chats with the people who manage and develop AutoCAD.