The best thing about AutoCAD 2017.1 is…

…the fact that one of the Express Tools finally got an update. Not just a minor maintenance tickle or mere absorption into the core code, either. A real update, resulting in not only bug fixes but genuinely useful improvements in functionality.

A little background on Express Tools might help put this into context. The history goes back to 1992 and AutoCAD Release 12. In addition to an impressively full set of paper manuals, people with Release 12 (great value at US$500 to upgrade from any earlier release) obtained a Bonus CD containing 2605 files of free add-on goodness. Fonts, LISP, DOS … Full post

Draping images over surfaces in Civil 3D

Having recently overcome various difficulties to successfully drape an image over a surface in Civil 3D, it may be useful to pass on a few points I have learned. There are various posts and videos out there that helpfully go through this process, but some of them (including Autodesk sources) contain information that is irrelevant or just plain wrong, and none of them contained all  of the information I needed to complete the task.

I used Civil 3D 2015 for this, but the principles apply to all recent releases. Here is the basic sequence required:

  • In the drawing containing the … Full post
  • Restoring the Classic workspace in AutoCAD 2015, 2016 and 2017, etc.

    One of the more common queries on my putting things back to “normal” posts is how to restore the AutoCAD Classic workspace in those releases where it is absent. Since Autodesk removed that workspace it has been too involved a process to fully describe how to do it in the context of my post. In the 2017 version of that post I’ve added a useful link, but as that’s a massive post and the link is buried near the end of it, this may have escaped your attention.

    Here’s the link to Brazilian AutoCAD expert Luciana Klein’s step-by-step … Full post

    AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal”

    The most frequently accessed posts on this blog are the AutoCAD 201x – Putting things back to “normal” series. They also attract a lot of comments:

    Most Commented Posts

  • AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds – 164 comments
  • AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal” – 158 comments
  • AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” – 135 … Full post
  • AutoCAD’s ARRAYCLASSIC command is my fault

    Ever wondered why most keep-the-old-version commands in AutoCAD are called CLASSICxxx but the old version of the ARRAY command is called ARRAYCLASSIC? Why can’t Autodesk be consistent for once? Sorry, that’s actually my fault. Here’s a little history.

    • AutoCAD Version 1.4 (1983) introduced the ARRAY command with Rectangular and Circular options.
    • AutoCAD Version 2.5 (1986) added the Polar option and hid the Circular option (but it’s still there).
    • AutoCAD 2005 introduced a dialog box version of the ARRAY command. The command-line version remained available via the -ARRAY command (with a leading hyphen).
    • AutoCAD 2012 introduced many new array features, … Full post

    Microsoft demonstrates why automatic updates are a terrible idea. Listening, Autodesk?

    I like Windows 10. After some investigation and with some trepidation, I have upgraded two Windows 7 computers and one Windows 8 (ugh) computer to Windows 10. In use, I’m generally very happy with it. It boots fast, works well and most of the more ridiculous aspects of the Windows 8 “let’s assume your computer is a phone” interface are gone. The fact that I can scroll windows using my mouse wheel without first clicking on those windows to obtain focus is a real productivity plus. I would be happy to recommend Windows 10 to all Windows 8 users and … Full post

    AutoCAD 2017 Feature – Share Design View

    An interesting new feature of AutoCAD 2017 is Share Design View, which is invoked using the leftmost button on the A360 Ribbon tab or the ONLINEDESIGNSHARE command. The idea behind this command is to create a web-published snapshot of your drawing that can be accessed by anyone with a browser (they’ll need a fairly recent one).

    This command works as advertised and provides another option to allow limited access to your design information without providing access to your DWG files. It creates a web page containing a view of your drawing and lets you have the URL (link) so you … Full post

    AutoCAD Help suckage to continue – confirmed

    In a recent post on Between the Lines, Shaan passed on the following response from the AutoCAD Team:

    There has been some recent discussions about the built-in help system in AutoCAD 2013, both positive and some criticism.  As our longtime users know, AutoCAD help has been through many evolutions.

    We are particularly proud of the new AutoCAD 2013 online learning environment we recently released (AutoCAD Online Help Mid-Year Updates.) This update addressed several user requested fixes and changes, and we will continue to take our direction from our user’s feedback.

    We do recognize that the online learning environment … Full post

    AutoCAD 2013 – Download from Subscription without Akamai

    Edit (October 2016): see this post to download Autodesk software easily.

    This year, Autodesk appears to have finally got its act together in terms of making software downloads and serial numbers available to Subscription customers quickly after the AutoCAD release. For me at least, the serial numbers and downloads were available as soon as I looked for them, so Autodesk deserves praise for improving matters considerably when compared with the last couple of years.

    If you’re a Subscription customer about to download AutoCAD 2013, you may be wondering how you can avoid the awful Akamai Download Manager. If … Full post

    AutoCAD 2013 – Download the trial without Akamai

    Edit (October 2016): see this post to download Autodesk software easily.

    It’s AutoCAD new release time again and many of you will want to get hold of the trial software, or download the production software from the trial site rather than the Subscription site for performance or other reasons (the resultant downloads are identical). As in previous years, Autodesk is heavily pushing the use of the Akamai Download Manager to download it, going to what I consider unethical lengths to do so. For a variety of reasons, some of which I’m not at liberty to discuss and others … Full post

    Repost – how to get your picture next to your comment

    This is a revisit of a post I made about three years ago, and repeated a year later. This has become more relevant recently because I changed the default avatars displayed next to comments to use random faces rather than random patterns. If you object to being portrayed as a grinning loon, read on.

    You may have noticed that some people’s comments have an avatar picture next to them (no, not the film with the Roger Dean visuals), while others have a randomly assigned pattern. On this blog, the avatar picture is a gravatar (globally recognised avatar), and … Full post

    Taking control of your command line history

    Thanks to Kean Walmsley’s post on his Through the Interface blog, I have learned something that would have been handy to know for the last decade or so, but which somehow escaped my knowledge. I learned how to increase the size of AutoCAD’s command line history cache. It defaults to 400 lines, which isn’t enough for me. I think this information deserves a wider audience than the ubergeek developers who frequent Kean’s blog, so here goes.

    Although it’s not directly mentioned on Kean’s post, you can find the current command line history cache length setting like … Full post

    AutoCAD 2012 – How to “hatch” using any objects

    Here’s a trick you can use in AutoCAD 2012 to fill an area with any objects you like. It’s not actually hatching, but it has several advantages over the real thing:

    • You aren’t restricted to straight line segments as you are with real hatching. Circles, splines, even solid objects, you name it, you can use it.
    • To define the pattern, you don’t have to master an arcane file format or use trigonometry to work out the numbers used in it. Just draw the objects you want repeated.
    • You can easily change the spacing between the objects later, or even … Full post

    How to make Ctrl+C perform a Cancel

    In a recent comment, I was asked how to make Ctrl+C perform a Cancel. Before I get onto that, here’s a bit of history.

    Back in the Dark Ages of DOS, the way to cancel a command was by holding down Ctrl and pressing C. The last release to work like this by default was Release 13 for DOS, released in 1994. I remember the bother it caused my users who were faced with the Windows version in which Esc was used to cancel things and Ctrl+C copied objects to the clipboard. It took me at least a year … Full post

    Installation tip – save time and space

    If you download AutoCAD or other Autodesk products from either the trial or Subscription sites, the executable you get (e.g. AutoCAD_2012_English_Win_32bit.exe) is actually a self-extracting archive rather than a real installer. When you run it, you are prompted for a destination folder, with a default location such as this:

    C:\Autodesk\AutoCAD_2012_English_Win_32bit

    The actual installer (setup.exe) and all of the files it needs are then unzipped and placed in a folder structure in that location. When the extraction is finished, the self-extracting executable automatically runs setup.exe and the installation proper can begin. Once the installation is complete, the extracted files are left in … Full post

    AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal”

    Edit: If you’re running a more recent release of AutoCAD, have a look at the post AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal” instead.

    The most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. This is followed by AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”, with AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” not too far behind. As it seems many people find these posts useful, here’s an updated version for the latest release. Much of this post is … Full post

    Dealing with blacked-out leader plots in older AutoCAD

    Any drawing created in AutoCAD 2008 and later which uses Multileaders will present problems to users of AutoCAD 2007 and earlier. The users of the earlier release will find that rather than having leaders to deal with, they have proxy objects. As a result, it is impossible to edit these leaders in any way other than erasing them. Also, depending on the setting of the PROXYSHOW system variable in the earlier release, the objects may not display at all, or could display only as rectangles.

    If the user of 2008 or later used the background mask feature when creating Multileaders, … Full post

    AutoCAD 2011 Update 1.1

    As I described earlier, Autodesk recalled AutoCAD 2011 Update 1 because it killed AutoCAD under certain circumstances (e.g. plotting with the layer palette open). Now there’s a fixed version available for AutoCAD and LT. There is no news yet about Updates for vertical AutoCAD variants.

    If you have installed Update 1 and the hotfix, you don’t need to do anything. If you have not installed Update 1, you should install Update 1.1. If you have installed Update 1 but not the hotfix, you can either install the hotfix or uninstall Update 1 and then install Update 1.1.

    Full post