The phrase eating our own dog food or dogfooding describes someone or a company using their own created tools to better understand them.
Autodesk Project Chronicle has evolved into a really powerful tool for communicating steps in Autodesk products AutoCAD, Revit, and Inventor where you can see the exact steps and commands used in addition to the video of the screen. While a photo may tell a thousand words, and video tells much more, but Project Chronicle for Autodesk product users tells the whole complete story.
Beginning this week I am going through my 10 years of blogged AutoCAD tips on this blog and creating chronicles and then posting the chronicles here. Project Chronicle is free and can be used to post quick steps on how to do something or show a problem whether online as a URL, posted in response to a discussion forum questions, or as a mobile file as an attachment. It is not intended to be a polished video with transitions and such but just the facts fast and easily with deep Autodesk product integration. You can also record chronicles of other non-Autodesk products but you wont have the same deep product integration of commands and settings. No need to re-play a section of recorded training video over and over or looking for a clue to get the same results for a step someone did not document, with chronicles you can see all the commands used in the Autodesk product even if the trainer forgot to mention or document it.
I am really excited about Project Chronicle and hope people start sharing chronicles and challenge Autodesk University speakers to create chronicles of their classes.
Do you need a free viewer for DWG files ?
If you want to view the DWG/DXF files on a Windows PC you can use the free Autodesk DWG TrueView. Autodesk DWG TrueView 2014 is the same exact software code as AutoCAD 2014 but limited to viewing, converting, publish/plot, and measuring. The plot feature uses the same plot configuration as AutoCAD. It is Autodesk DWG technology known as TrustedDWG. And it is free!
Highlights beyond View & Printing of a DWG:
For Mac, mobile, mobile and cloud there is the free AutoCAD 360 https://www.autocad360.com/
"Autodesk® AutoCAD® 360 (formerly AutoCAD WS) is a free* web and mobile app that lets you view, edit, and share DWG™ files using a web browser or mobile device. Collaborate on designs with anyone, virtually anywhere. Store Autodesk® AutoCAD® technical and project files in an easy-to-access online workspace. Easily open and view .dwg, .dwf, and DXF™ files directly from email. AutoCAD 360 extends the power of AutoCAD beyond the desktop, making design review and approval easier than ever."
Are you crashing when using AutoCAD and Windows 8.1 and have dual graphics cards?
A new AutoCAD product solution/workaround has been published to the Knowledge Base base to address the reported issue.
It has always been a pleasure to publish a guest post from someone in the Autodesk community. It helps the guest author get more visibility among peers as well as shares some valuable knowledge with the readers of this Between the Lines blog, a win – win for everyone.
In AutoCAD 2014, a new tab bar was added to the drawing interface. This tab system allows for simple and quick drawing switching and also added the convenience of opening the parent folder of the current drawing. This may seam like a simple addition but it is one I’ve welcomed with open arms. At one point I even added a lisp routine to my AutoCAD setup that allowed me to accomplish this, so I was quite happy that by simply right-clicking on the tab, you can choose “Open File Location” and an explorer window will open at the files location. Why so happy you might ask? Most firms I’ve worked for use a fairly expansive series of folders to manage their projects. When I’m working in a drawing I often need to look at other files pertaining to the DWG file. pdf’s, images of the site, Excel bill of materials, etc. An option like this makes it so much easier than opening Explorer and navigating from scratch.
I had a user ask me last week “That’s a really handy feature, why can’t I do that in the Mac version?” Well, actually, that feature has been available on the Mac side since the first version 4 years ago. It’s not really even an AutoCAD for Mac function, but one built in to Mac OS X. Simply go to the file name in the top of the drawing window (or the file name at the top of most application windows, Pages, Numbers, even the Microsoft Office suite) and right click to reveal the location and hierarchy of folders all the way to the top. Click any folder and a Finder window will open at that location.
As helpful as that is, that is not where Mac’s kindness for file and folder navigating end. Let’s say I open the parent folder and find a PDF of connector details. I need to insert one of these into my DWG file, so I go back to my DWG and type pdfattach. The dialog opens up to insert the pdf, and now I have to navigate all the way through from the default location (the last PDF I inserted) to the location of the PDF I already have open. There has to be an easier way, right? On the Mac side, there is indeed. To the left of the file name of the PDF we have open, there is a small icon. I can grab this icon and drag it to the folder name in the PDF attach dialog box in AutoCAD. This will automatically navigate to that file location in the dialog box, so you don’t have to drill through your folders to insert the file you already have open. As you can see from the image below, it takes me from my Documents folder.
This works in any dialog box in most applications, so I can use this to insert images as well, let’s say a Google map of the site I want to underlay in AutoCAD. Very handy and just one of the little things I like about using AutoCAD for Mac.
If you like this tip, take a look at my blog www.macncad.com for tips and tricks on both AutoCAD for Mac and general Mac OS X daily life. Also, if you are interested in learning more about AutoCAD for Mac, download the free trial and take a look at my class on Lynda.com where I go over the new features in AutoCAD for Mac 2014.
Thank you Jim!
If you would like to submit an Autodesk related guest post please Email Me for details and consideration.
I have my own private time machine on my laptop. I still run AutoCAD 2.18 from 1985/86 using a Virtual Machine running a 10Mb DOS partition. It is pretty amazing to try and use 1980 software today especially AutoCAD 2.18 without the UNDO command, Autosnaps, real time pan and zoom and so much more. You really realize how far CAD and design software has come.
In AutoCAD 2.18 it was the first release with AutoLISP and only had 90 commands. I run AutoCAD 2.18 on a virtual machine of DOS 5 and a 10Mb disk size maximum otherwise AutoCAD 2.18 will not run. Apparently in 1985 the idea of a hard disk larger than 10Mb was crazy talk.
Here are a couple more screen shots and a quick YouTube video:
My video on YouTube of AutoCAD 2.18 http://youtu.be/070Y8V3Mck4
If you want to try running Windows 1.0 or 1980 software for Apple check out these crazy web hosted virtual machines of software. Perhaps I should see about placing AutoCAD 2.18 in a web based virtual machine for people to try.
List of 28 software you can run at archive.org:
I received both Tricks and Treats for AutoCAD and Civil 3D after posting for readers to send Autodesk product tips and tricks as Tricks and Treats. There are 8 tricks for AutoCAD based products and 3 treats for Civil 3D for you to try.
For the 6 people submitting these tricks and treats I will send them something fun. If they are attending Autodesk University 2013, I will give it to them there and of course buy them a beverage of their choice as a small token of thanks for participating and sharing in the fun.
Thank you Robert, Eric, Greg, R.K., Murray, and Christopher!
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
The AutoCAD for Mac Team would like to get your feedback in a quick survey to better understand your initial feedback and opinion of the product.
Provide your feedback: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K7Q7YW6
In case you were not aware and missed yesterdays news, a new release of AutoCAD for Mac 2014 including free trial download was released. AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD 360 even made a cameo appearances during the Apple live announcement event for their new hardware and Operating System OS X Mavericks. AutoCAD 2014 for Mac is Released
AutoCAD for Mac no longer follows the AutoCAD Windows release cycle but is now aligned with the Apple schedule to take advantage and be able to support major Apple OS updates. Today October 22nd, 2013 Apple announced the release of the next version of OSX Mavericks as well as some new iPads, Apps, laptop and Mac Pro announcements.
Update: Both AutoCAD for Mac 2014 on the Mac desktop and AutoCAD 360 on the new iPad Air were seen in today's Apple new products live announcement event.
Watch the Apple keynote video Watch the Apple iPad Air video
Now there is a new AutoCAD 2014 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac available for trial and purchase.
Micah Dickerson the AutoCAD for Mac Product Manager produced nice overview videos:
The full version 30 day trial is now available for download, so go ahead download and give it a go. http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-autocad/free-trial
If you are customer of AutoCAD 2014 Windows or AutoCAD Design Suite your serial numbers should work on the AutoCAD for Mac 2014.
Even in 2D drawing the ViewCube can be helpful in orienting the drawing, but if you really want to disable the ViewCube when you start a new drawing, read further for the solution.
When you start a new drawing, AutoCAD uses a template (DWT). To change the ViewCube setting for new drawings, you only need to edit your template(s). Word of warning it is always a good thing to make a backup of existing files before overwriting them, just in case.
Click the start New button (or the AutoCAD command QNEW).
Great feedback from R.K. McSwain to not use QNEW but the Open command..
I would suggest using the OPEN command to open the desired DWT file instead. If you use the QNEW (or NEW) command to open a new drawing based on a template, you could accidentally save that over a different template, and that will be a problem.
When the drawing template opens, at the command line set the system variable NAVVCUBEDISPLAY to 1 from the default of 3.
Now you just need to Save the drawing as a .DWT (template) and overwrite the existing template.
And just like that the ViewCube should be gone from your display on future new drawings. You would need to do this for all of the templates you normally use.
This common question was identified, and a solution sent to me from my Autodesk colleague Dan Kuhmann of the AutoCAD Test Development team. The AutoCAD Test Development team receives a great deal of bug reports and feedback and some are common and we can point out solutions to help you such as this one. Thank you Cliff!
If you use custom color palettes or colorbooks with AutoCAD you can now use a new web based AutoCAD Colorbook Editor also known as the "ACB Editor." The original web based Colorbook Editor app was released ten years ago with the support of true color in AutoCAD. Paint manufactures such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and Dunn Edwards have also used the ACB files of their color palettes their customers using AutoCAD could download. Once you have added these custom color palettes to your colorbook path in the AutoCAD support paths, you can then select colors from these colorbooks using the AutoCAD color picker and include the color names in bill of material tables or specifications. You could also create your own custom color palettes as ACB files and share with others.
Here is what the old and new Colorbook Editors look like:
Try the a new and improved Colorbook Editor at: http://www.autodesk.com/autocad-colorbookeditor
Note Some commercial color book files like the Pantone contain encrypted data to protect the provider's proprietary settings. The AutoCAD Color Book Editor does not facilitate creating or editing encrypted ACB files."
"Shaan, please stop yelling in uppercase text..."
Oh sorry about that.
See that is the problem that I will show you how to prevent.
Sometimes when you exit AutoCAD you still have the CAPS lock on and then go to your email or instant messaging and appear to be shouting, when you are not. Uppercase text typically in email is considered the equivalent of shouting or yelling. You might think that people would notice their uppercase still on, but after hours of working in AutoCAD I think you are honestly text case blind or in a trance.
So, how do I turn on Uppercase text in AutoCAD? I want to type in all caps in AutoCAD only.
There is an "AutoCAPS" option in the Ribbon Text Editor, in the Tools panel. Start the text command or double click some text to edit, and expand the Tools panel to expose the AutoCAPS option.
Now with AutoCAPS enabled your text will be on in AutoCAD only and you wont have to remember to use your keyboard option and inadvertently end up shouting in email to someone. Note the AutoCAPS is only for MTEXT not DTEXT (thanks Ray.)
This common question was identified and a solution sent to me from my Autodesk colleague and good friend Cliff Young of the AutoCAD Test Development team. The AutoCAD Test Development team receives a great deal of bug reports and feedback and some are common and we can point out solutions to help you such as this one. Thank you Cliff!
Is there a way to tell just by looking at the dimension when "Dimension Override" is used in AutoCAD?
One option for identifying manually overridden dimension values is to use the Reset Text Express Tool: The Reset Text Tool is located on the Express Tools tab of the ribbon or enter the command DIMREASSOC on the AutoCAD commandline.
When prompted to select dimensions,window your drawing and the dimensions with modified text will be highlighted.
Need more detail on the Reset Text Express Tool? Here's an article about it from Lynn Allen: http://lynn.blogs.com/lynn_allens_blog/2005/08/dealing_with_ov.html
The Reset Text Express Tool won't identify dimensions with DIMVAR overrides (like DIMLFAC etc.) or exploded dims, but will help for the ones whose values have been edited.
Now you just need to find the valid or crazy excuse the person justified to use a dimension override. Trust me there is not many to justify this potential for disaster waiting to happen when the drawing hit the fab floor or construction site.
This common question was identified and a solution sent to me from my Autodesk colleague and good friend Chris Miller of the AutoCAD Test Development team. The AutoCAD Test Development team receives a great deal of bug reports and feedback and some are common and we can point out solutions to help you such as this one.
AutoCAD 360 mobile Version 2.1 was just released in the past few days for iOS users and offers a better user experience than ever. It has been released for iOS first with the Android version being readied for release in the next few weeks.
AutoCAD 360 is a free, easy-to-use drawing and drafting mobile app that allows you to view, edit, and share drawings.
If you have already installed AutoCAD 360 aka AutoCAD WS then just check your updates but if you want to read more and install AutoCAD 360 now simply go to the iTunes App store http://bit.ly/1agHbAG
Here’s what’s new in 2.1:
On the AutoCAD team, we have created a Customer Council program as a way to partner with customers throughout the development of our key features.
The Customer Councils go hand in hand with Autodesk Feedback Community projects like early alpha and beta programs as we want our customers involved in shaping the products they use.
I first found this drawing years ago when it was a test DWG file for a plotter company. A couple years back Florian Römhild of http://engineers-drinks.blogspot.de/ re-drew the guide in DWG format and a few others have also modified the popular drawing like the Whisky Drinks version. I figured I would place the drawing for all to have fun viewing in AutoCAD 360.
I have seen many funny drawing files in my days and some I can’t show, but this is a classic to enjoy plotted, not stirred. What funny drawings have you seen?
If you use an AutoCAD based product for 3D work you will have to consider using the UCS to change views to work on the model.
A common question from AutoCAD users when using the UCS is:
”Is there a method to have the UCS command always default to either TOP or WORLD regardless of what view is selected from VIEW TAB?”
This solution was by AutoCAD Test Development’s Chris Miller.
If you switch to the AutoCAD Ribbon’s View tab and cycle through the views on the Views panel (Right, Back NE Isometric, etc.) you’ll see the UCS changes with each view.
If you launch VIEW (dialog appears) > Expand Preset Views > Select one of the views (like Top) > Set Restore Ortho UCS to No (default is Yes) > OK
Now when you toggle through the views the WCS (default/Top view’s UCS) is retained.
The Autodesk product teams receive several emails from the Autodesk Product Feedback Form. Your feedback goes to the products teams, and they do read them. In many cases team members respond if there is enough detail and time permitting but they can’t respond to every feedback submission, but do try to help when they can.
I type too fast and the AutoCAD AutoComplete gets messed up. AutoCAD’s AutoComplete feature controls whether and how the program fills in the rest of the command or system variable name at the Command prompt. The solution is not to slow down your typing or drink less green tea or coffee, but this tip on disabling the AutoComplete or setting the delay time below should help.
The Autodesk product teams receive several emails from the Autodesk Product Feedback Form. Your feedback goes to the products teams and they read them. In many cases team members respond if there is enough detail and time permitting but they can’t respond to every feedback submission, but do try to help when they can. This solution was by AutoCAD Test Development’s Dan Kuhmann.
Occasionally, for high speed typists the Auto Suggestion list gets in the way. You can stop it all together by typing the command, AUTOCOMPLETE. There is an on/off option and the problem should be resolved.
But, if you want to fine tune it so that you have the advantages of this new feature, the thing that is impacting you is the suggestion list delay time being at 300 milliseconds. Turn that up to 1000-5000 (1-5 seconds) and you should really not have problems with typing commands and sysvars that you know. The benefit would be that you can get the suggestion list when you can't quite remember a sysvar or command. Also, when autocomplete is on, it will start the only option if you type enough of the word... for example BSC is not a command (or pgp alias) but it will start BSCALE because that is the only option that starts with BSC.
If you see this unplanned exit (crash) from your Autodesk software like AutoCAD, this issue and is not really related to the AutoCAD, but rather the external dependency on Microsoft’s .Net and the Operating System. The solution has been published in the Autodesk Support Solutions.
Fatal errors usually indicate a program corruption or a corruption with something in the operating system.
There are several ways to address the problem.
Reset the program:
Rebuild the user profile in Windows. Fix a corrupted user profile
Uninstall and reinstall .NET.
Uninstall .NET using the Control Panel and install the same version from Microsoft.
Clear the digital signatures and then uninstall and reinstall the application.
See: FATAL ERROR: Unhandled Access Violation Reading 0x0000 Exception at 4048b9h
Turn off Hardware Acceleration:
"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2014\acad.exe" /product ACAD /language "en-US
"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2014\acad.exe" /NOHARDWARE /product ACAD /language "en-US
Update the drivers for the video card. Find Recommended Hardware.
I get asked this frequently and was just asked again which caused me to think, “hey I should blog this.”
I received a set of DWG files from a client and want to clean up the layers to my CAD standards, how do I do it and not take days or having to write code?
The solution is actually quite simple, and powerful. Using the AutoCAD Layer Translator within AutoCAD you can read a specific drawings layers or a DWS (Drawing Standards) file and use them as the target then select the drawings you want to translate layers from to your standard layers and map them or as Michael Beall says “connect the dots”.
Find the AutoCAD Layer Translator:
AutoCAD Command: LAYTRANS
Ribbon: Manage tab > CAD Standards panel > Layer Translator
Menu: Tools > CAD Standards > Layer Translator
AutoCAD Layer Translator mapping problem or non-compliant layers to a target layer of your drawing or standards file.
AutoCAD Layer Translator Settings
When you are done you will be promoted to save the mapping data to use again in a .DWS (Drawing Standards) file.
If you have used AutoCAD you have most likely accidently done something like this since AutoCAD enabled the ability to turn off the Command Line aka Command Window.
“Dude where did I park my Command Line..”
The Autodesk product teams receive several emails from the Autodesk Product Feedback Form. Your feedback goes to the products teams and they read them. In many cases team members respond if there is enough detail and time permitting but they can’t respond to every feedback submission, but do try to help when they can. This solution was by AutoCAD Test Development’s Cliff Young.
Help, I somehow turned off my command line at the bottom of my screen. I tried ctrl and f9....didn't work… OMG $!#**
Here is the easy Solution:
Try Ctrl + 9 (not Ctrl + F9). This should bring your command line back.
You could also try typing "commandline" at the input prompt on your AutoCAD screen.
This is a very common request and need. People receive a DWG file and do not have AutoCAD to open the file. There are more DWG viewers out there than ants at a picnic, but there are only a two that are actually 100% DWG from Autodesk and totally free.
Autodesk DWG TrueView (Windows Desktop):
You can download the DWG TrueView. DWG TrueView is under the hood the the same exact code as AutoCAD. You can view, measure, plot with plot styles, and also convert files. It is a full Windows desktop application that you must download and install.
Get the free Autodesk DWG TrueView http://www.autodesk.com/dwgtrueview
AutoCAD 360 (Cloud Based):
This is where the power of the cloud is great. With AutoCAD 360 there is nothing to install on you desktop, just go to https://www.autocad360.com/ and then view, markup, and collaborate on the DWG file. You can control the people you invite to view it can do in the DWG and even save it as other file types or versions of DWG. You can even use the mobile version apps on Apple and Android platforms and view and markup your DWG files, even offline when you are in the field.
Check out AutoCAD 360 https://www.autocad360.com/
You can access AutoCAD online documentation in several languages using only your Internet browser.
Brazilian Portuguese (Português - Brasil)
Simplified Chinese (简体中文)
You can also download the Help for offline use. Offline Help