Name That Page Setup and Win (Save) Money

AutoCAD provides an almost infinite number of possibilities when preparing a drawing for plotting. Setting up drawing to plot is like an artist making a reproduction of a painting; the two paintings will look very similar, but they’ll never look exactly the same. This is much like plotting in AutoCAD; you’ll probably find the right combination to correctly plot sheet 1, but reproducing those settings for sheet 2 will likely be a shot in the dark. Even if you do manage to perfectly reproduce those settings for subsequent sheets – how much time did you waste?

You may have seen a quick tips video I filmed for the AutoCAD Exchange with Heidi Hewett where she and I chatted about a solution to this problem – Named Page Setups. Instead of manually configuring the PLOT command for each drawing you produce, why not capture those settings in a way you can quickly and easily apply them to future sheets? This is the exact role Named Page Setups play in every modern release of AutoCAD. Since I could, and well did write several pages on this topic alone in my upcoming book AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD LT 2011: No Experience Required, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version in this post.

Read moreName That Page Setup and Win (Save) Money

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The X Factor – Placing text above and below dimension lines

image Many veteran users already know this tip, as it has been around for a while now. Still, for the uninitiated figuring out how to get text both above and below a dimension line (without breaking the line) can quickly resemble one of those puzzles where you have to get a metal ring off an interwoven mess of bent metal. As you fumble with the metal ring, usually getting it more tangled than when you started, you think to yourself; I know there’s a simple solution, but I just can’t seem to figure it out.

So that everyone understands what I’m talking about here’s a pretty standard dimension line with the text positioned above the dimension line.

Dimension above line

 

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Introduction to the AutoCAD 2009 Action Recorder Video

image Goodness, am I not the worst blogger ever? My apologies to all of my loyal readers; last week was quite a monumental week. As I have mentioned a few times before, The CAD Geek is something I do in my free time. Consequently the time I would have otherwise spent blogging, was spent putting a contract on a house. That’s right, I am about to enter the world of being a first-time homeowner. As I am sure many can appreciate, it’s both exciting, and a little scary! Anyone wishing to make a donation to the "Donnie Gladfelter Home Ownership Foundation" is welcome to. For anyone interested in contributing, I accept all major credit cards through PayPal. Sorry donations are not tax deductible, but they will allow me to blog from the comfort of a couch, not my floor ;-).

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Nonetheless, after going all last week without blogging, I am back with a post to introduce the all-new Action Recorder inside AutoCAD 2009. Looking through my e-mail archive, I can’t tell you how many e-mails I have received from readers such as yourself asking about script files. Personally, I have always liked SCRIPT files because they are relatively easy to learn, and even easier to use. Even still, SCRIPT files intimidated many, and proved elusive to many CAD Users.

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Update Block Attributes Using Excel

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We’ve authored an updated version of this post using AutoCAD 2016. The updated post includes a video demonstration of the process discussed in this post.

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Express > Blocks > Import/Export Attribute Information

My post titled “Quickly Link Excel Tables to AutoCAD” from last August continues to be one of my most popular posts to date. As a result I have received a number of e-mails from readers such as you asking about other ways to link Excel data with AutoCAD data. A popular variation has been asking about a way in which you can link Excel data with AutoCAD Block Attributes. Since Block Attributes function much like a database form, it seems logical that we should be able to use Excel as a data source for those Block Attributes. Sadly there is not a true “Link Block to Excel” command (to my knowledge) within AutoCAD. That however does not mean there’s no workaround to the situation!

I originally developed this workaround back in the days before Sheet Set Manager. At the time I was working on a two-part project, each of which consisted of more than 100 sheets. The kicker was that we had to include the station range of the alignment being illustrated on each plan and profile sheet. Of course, as luck would have it, our road alignments were constantly changing in the early phases of design, consequently making our sheet titles incorrect. I thought to myself – there has to be a better way!

After a little digging around I found two Express Tool Commands which caught my eye; ATTIN and ATTOUT. Using these commands in conjunction with one another I was able to export a text file containing my attribute values, bring that text file into Excel to change and manage values, finally importing that text file back into AutoCAD. Admittedly the process is a little rough around the edges, but at the end of the day – it works!

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AutoCAD 2009: Quick View Layout & Drawing Video Introduction

image Many within the CAD industry (myself included) coined AutoCAD 2008 the “Wish List Release”.  After many years of asking, we were finally given things like annotative scaling and multileaders. AutoCAD 2009 seems to continue that to some degree, but it’s true focus is the UI (User Interface) itself.  Looking back, the last time we have seen a major UI overhaul was with Release 13 when AutoCAD said goodbye to MS DOS and hello to MS Windows. Just the other day I was reading a post at Civil3D.com by James Wedding titled “Death, Taxes, and the Annual Release Cycle“. While his post was mostly about the upcoming AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009, he did make a quote I think embodies what AutoCAD 2009 is all about.  He said “2009 isn’t the revolution, it’s the evolution, and to me that’s a good sign”.

Packed within AutoCAD 2009 you’re not going to find the next Annotative Scaling or Sheet Set Manager.  Instead what you’re going to see is an all new UI that Autodesk will certainly harness in future releases.  While getting used to the new UI will be a paradigm shift in-and-of-itself; I think the true power of the new UI will be seen in the future. Starting with AutoCAD 2009 we’re no longer trapped within a static interface.  Instead we start seeing some dynamic UI elements.  Among these is the new Quick View Layout, and Quick View Drawing feature.

In the past switching between drawings or layout tabs was a blind operation.  We would have no clue what a given drawing or layout tab would look like until we switched to it.  This is where the Quick View Layout and Quick View Drawing feature comes in.  Using this feature we are now able to see a thumbnail for both drawings and layout tabs before we switch to them.  Making this feature even more appealing is the inclusion of additional functions such as plotting. 

A complete introduction to this new feature can be found in the following video:

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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.

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Commas in Sheet Set Manager

image

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?

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