It's that time of the year when a new version of the Mac Operating System OS X "Yosemite" is nearing release and we at Autodesk release a new AutoCAD for Mac version 2015 codename Lightsaber. Rather than being released with Windows product release typically in the Spring, the AutoCAD for Mac relies on many key enhancements of the Mac OS X so it makes perfect sense to release closer OS X when possible. I have been busy with some special projects and the amazing US Navy ship USS America commissioning, but read the AutoCAD Insider blog post and some highlights of the official press release.
I have to take this opportunity to brag and show the Lightsaber found on a coworkers desk this last weekend. I could use one to cut short meeting time and have some fun at AU 2014. I wish Lightsabers were company issued.
New Functionality Helps Mac and Windows Users Work Together More Efficiently
Key new enhancements include:
- Dynamic Blocks. Mac users gain the ability to create and edit Dynamic Blocks—a capability previously limited to Windows users. This feature enables them to insert one block that can change shape, size, or configuration instead of inserting several static blocks.
- Layer States. Mac users can also now save their layer settings as Layer States, which store information like color, linetype, and information about whether a layer is turned off, frozen, or locked. Prior to the 2015 releases, Mac users were unable to view any of the layer states information their Windows colleagues had embedded within a drawing.
- Data Linking. Users who need to link a table to data in a Microsoft Excel file can use the new Data Linking feature, and their table will automatically update as external changes are made. This feature is especially helpful when managing large amounts of information about things like materials or fixtures.
- Quick Select. The Quick Select tool allows users to quickly select objects based on query criteria, enabling users to easily select exactly what they need in their drawing. The Quick Select tool also includes a “preview” option so that users can see what they’re about to select before they commit to the selection.
“AutoCAD for Mac 2015 is a fantastic release with a surprising number of significant new features,” said Graham Merritt, intern architect at FRANCL Architecture. “We’re very pleased with where this product is going.”
“With the newest release and its added functionality, I can finally leave Windows behind and use AutoCAD LT for Mac as my drafting and design software of choice,” said Kendra Swartz, lead designer, Liederbach and Graham Architects.
More enhancements like reverse mouse direction, faster graphics, lasso selection, toggle between Paperspace and Modelspace, Command Preview,Tolerance Object Enhancements,Dimension Enhancements, Cursor Enhancements, Model Space Viewports, MTEXT Enhancements, Text Alignment, Polyline Enhancements.
Additional details about the software, including pricing and availability, are available here.
Two of my amazingly talented Autodesk Office of the CTO colleagues Evan Atherton & Heather Kerrick presented a 3D printed creative memorial plaque to the US Navy & Marines crew and Captain Robert A Hall. Jr. of the USS America LHA 6 last night in the Autodesk Gallery. The plaque had a 3D print of the starboard side of the ship mounted on a walnut wood base with custom metal standoffs mounting glass etched with text and 2D wireframe drawing of the new ship. The USS America is officially being commissioned tomorrow in San Francisco. The USS America was designed using Autodesk's AutoCAD and SSI's ShipConstructor software technology.
I too had the honor to meet the crew and Captain Hall last night.
General Peter Pace and his wife Lynn Pace who is the official sponsor of the USS America LHA-6 and some active duty Marines and an honored guest.
You can work more efficiently within AutoCAD by knowing the keyboard shortcuts and be one step closer to being a power user or CAD Ninja.
Whether it is the one key shortcuts or multiple key toggles it is just plain more efficient and faster to work.
Autodesk has published in addition to the Help documentation a nice web page showing all the shortcuts for AutoCAD. Don't forget you can create your own shortcuts in AutoCAD but I will save that tip for another post.
AutoCAD Shortcut Guide http://autode.sk/shortcuts
Onion Layer Image credit Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr
Layers are a very important component of working with AutoCAD. They control the properties and visibility of your objects. Since layers organize your drawings, using layers inefficiently is a time waster and negatively effects your productivity. Even with the layer automation found in many of the vertical “flavours” of AutoCAD, it is critical to understand layers and use all the tools within AutoCAD to your full advantage. With this deep dive look at AutoCAD layers, Design & Motion explores all avenues of not just using layers, but using them effectively.
The one constant thing about layers is they are constantly in a state of change and it’s very common to perform the same set of state changes on a group of layers. Part 1 of this 8 part series looks at an underutilized feature of layers; Layer Filters. Layer Filters do exactly as named; they provide a quick method to filter your layers, reducing the list of layers into a usable “chunk” and provide tools to work with the filter as a group. When you find yourself repeating this process of performing layer state changes to a group of layers, you need to look at using Layer States, which is covered in Part 2 of our series.
Nothing spurs more heated conversations than not following CAD Standards. Everyone knows they need them, nobody likes to use them, and everybody wants their own. Did you know that AutoCAD has CAD Standards tools to both steer people into using the right standards, and to double check that everything is correct. There are various methods to add layers to drawings, and creating new ones from scratch each time is not productive. Creating from scratch opens up the opportunity for mistakes in naming the layer incorrectly, picking the wrong colour, or setting properties incorrectly. Parts 3 through 5 explore creating standard layers, without creating them from scratch and explores the CAD Standards and Layer Translator tools.
What about the many features in the Layer Panel of the Ribbon? It looks innocent enough, not much different than any of the other panels around it. That is until you expand it and are overwhelmed with icons, options, and the many tools. The entire series dives into the many layer options, including exploring how to present Paper Space Layouts with the help of Layers.
Thanks Mike and Design & Motion!
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 true win – win for everyone.
If you would like to submit an Autodesk related guest post please Email Me for details and consideration.
They plan to have more very soon so look for the notice here.
Do you want to learn more on creating, editing, and using blocks in AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT? This Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT there will be a free live Hangout with question and answers following with Autodesk's own Shawn Niles and Volker Cocco.
Entities such as lines, circles and arcs are used on a daily basis to represent the objects in our drawing. Combining these entities into blocks will not only allow you to create and organize content for easy reuse, it will also assist in easier manipulation of your content and decrease your drawing file size among other benefits.
This AutoCAD/AutoCAD LT Hangout session will cover:
This next session 'Building Blocks: Creating your own reusable content' will demonstrate the commands and functions used to define and work with blocks.
Date: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet
Forum registration link:
Perhaps your favorite trick most AutoCAD users are not aware of is how easy it is to locate the middle of a rectangle or a location fast and accurately by using temporary tracking points and Object Snap Tracking (Otrack F11) and Object Snaps (OSNAPS F3.)
Share Your Tips
But I know you have many tricks and tips you tell your fellow users or just have not shared but deep down you really want to, so in the spirit of sharing and making us all better AutoCAD users please share your tips with the fellow daily Between the Lines blog 20,000 readers. Mention your AutoCAD blog, Twitter, user group, website, book, training videos, company or a shout out to your kids and family. You may not get fame or fortune but you will be read and I might find some prizes to send out.
Post your tip, trick or AutoCAD prank to the comments or email me and I will post them all to the body of this post.
AutoCAD Tips, Tricks & Pranks (Updating constantly from emails and comments):
Updated August 7th, 2014
Need to toggle off OSNAP, POLAR & OTRACK to get the equivalent of the old "None" OSNAP (Object Snap) override from AutoCAD R14 and earlier?
Use a temporary override to disable all snapping and object tracking. Shift + D (or Shift + L for the left-handers.) – Shaan Hurley
Ctrl+Double Click on an attribute
Allow you to edit an attribute (including multi-line attributes) in place.
Change someone's MTJIGSTRING to say something weird. Go to Bob's machine and set MTJIGSTRING to "Hi Bob!" That got a few good reactions.
Little more sinister: UNDEFINE a few often used commands like move, copy etc.
Here is a conversation I started on this topic, with quite a few nice suggestions from seasoned users: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/...
Easy prank: draw a wipeout and hide frames.
Somewhat harder prank: change plotstyle to plot all with dotted linetype.
The AutoCAD Vault Browser? What? yup, there is one. The familiar AutoCAD External References palette mimics the Inventor Vault browser once you have logged into Vault within AutoCAD. You can check your files and its references or attachments In or Out from the Xref browser. I was surprised to find a lot of AutoCAD users didn't realize this can permanently used the Vault ribbon tab or typed all their commands. However, neither of this approaches gives you the visibility of your data the Xref palette does.
Go check it out if you haven't already. ;-) -Scott Moyse
While in layer manager. When you create a new layers property always add in a wild card layer* to each one. This way when you are in the layer manager and a particular layer property and create a new layer AutoCAD will let you remain in that layer property without kicking out. –CivilGuyKeyboard commands are the fastest way to interact with AutoCAD, but some of the command shortcuts may not be as convenient as they could be*.
You can create your own keyboard shortcuts by editing the Acad.pgp file.
For example, I like to change the shortcut for copy 'CP' to 'CC' (Take a look at your keyboard...) This tip can save hours in accumulated time.
(*Unless you have hands the size of Chewbacca)
If CTRL+C does a copy clip, CTRL+SHIFT+C does a copy clip, with a base point.
There are several methods to find the X,Y and Z coordinates of a particular point. You can use the ID command or look at a line's coordinates in the properties palette for example.
But the easiest method is to hover your mouse on a grip that appears after you selected the object. Do not click, simply leave the cursor over the grip, you will see its coordinates displayed on the status bar.
http://cad- communit y.ning.com/...
Surprisingly a lot of people don't know about using TRIM and pressing the space bar twice to have AutoCAD stay in Trim mode, hold the Shift down while in this mode to Extend lines. One of the single best features in AutoCAD!
Note you can also press space up to three times after a Move command to alter it in different ways, most useful is pushing it twice to get Rotate.
I personally consider the Ortho mode in AutoCAD to be the most inane implementation of this universal CAD function. If you're moving a selection in Ortho and you pick a point as a reference it immediately overrides the Ortho. This is not useful.
I have Ctrl Q mapped to 'Normal' (easy to reach), I use this in lieu of Ortho, not perfect but much faster and more certain than Temporary Tracking. DaryIT
CTRL+SHIFT+U. I don't know how many times I start typing to realize that later on I didn't have my CAPSLOCK key on. a Quick CTRL+A and then CTRL+SHIFT+U slams everything into capitol letters.
I have a few "standard" additions & alterations that I have saved in a word.doc
file that I can just copy paste into the acad pgp file.
The correct pgp file can be pretty hard to find though, so if
(startapp "notepad" (findfile "acag.pgp")) is typed in to
the command line, the correct one will be found right away.
One of my most favorite tricks in AutoCAD is using the "Mid Between 2 Points" temporary snap override. I use it all the time when I need to select a point that is at the midpoint of two other points but there is no grip or snap available. I use it when I am copying, moving and especially when I am mirroring something. To invoke it, when you want to get your midpoint, simply type "MTP" in the command line and then click the two points you want to find the midpoint of.
Here’s one of my favorite pranks. It involves some fairly simple LISP code, but it can go a long way.
Put this in an acaddoc.lsp file so it gets loaded on startup. It works best when this is centrally located and the path included in Options > Files > Support Paths, so you can change it in one place and wreak even more havoc.
First the support function:
(defun f:Speak (str / sapi)
(setq sapi (vlax-create-object "Sapi.SpVoice"))
(vlax-invoke sapi "Speak" str 0)
At the end of acaddoc.lsp, you can use it to have the computer speak to the user when they open a drawing:
(f:Speak (strcat “Hello “ (getvar “loginname”) ” How are you today”))
Variations include isolating it only to someone you dislike:
(setq hitlist ‘(“Bob” “Mary” “Tom”))
(if (member (getvar “loginname”) hitlist)
(f:Speak (strcat “Hello “ (getvar “loginname”) ” How are you today”))
Spread the word to others and your users groups to share their best tips!
OSNAP! You're invited!
Autodesk AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT users are gathering for a series of Hangouts designed to introduce you to the powerful features available in AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. We'll show you time-saving tips and tricks that can be used to increase your productivity immediately. Some of AutoCAD's most precious features - and time-savers - are either buried in the documentation or have been lost in the upgrade shuffle; additionally there are many tools in the Windows Operating System that will increase your productivity.
This next session, ‘Precision Drafting: Object Snaps and Object Tracking,’ will demonstrate the use of Osnaps(Object Snaps), Osnap overrides and Otrack (Object Tracking) when drawing or modifying objects.
Join this session via the Web! Here’s when and how:
Date & Time: July 31 2014 @ 2:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM CT / 11:00 AM PT
Duration: 30-40 minutes of presentation followed by Q&A
Signup Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/659159001
Access Information: Please register prior to the event using the above link.
Date & Time: July 31 2014 @ 2:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM CT / 11:00 AM PT
For more information visit Precision Drafting: Object Snaps and Object Tracking
So you want you AutoCAD Layout to be black just like you model space background for whatever reason or preference you have? Simple to do and here is how to do it. I this video Autodesk Screencast you can see the command steps I use in real-time and hear my voice instead of just looking at images and and text explanation. The post I wrote back in 2007 & 2010 on this topic is one of the top ten read on this blog in over 10 years so apparently there is a common need.
2010 blog post tutorial: AutoCAD Layout Background Color to Solid Black or Other Color
Now the new Autodesk Screencast version!
Do you need to learn how to install or deploy AutoCAD easily onto computers? Don't go installing one by one on multiple machines wasting your time and others, do it fast and easily whether standalone or network licensed using the deployment feature.
We published a video that goes through the entire process of the creation of an administrative deployment image, understanding the deployment options, and how to use deployments to install Autodesk software on your local and network computers.
Detailed narrated tutorial using AutoCAD 2011 http://youtu.be/OmsbKctNnpMYouTube
In AutoCAD 2015 a new User Interface element named Cursor Badges was added. Cursor badges showed a graphical tip next to the cursor on what you were doing. While many appreciated the graphical tip, some users preferred to not have the cursor badges displayed. We have acted on the feedback and added the ability to disable cursor badges in the recently released AutoCAD 2015 SP1 and AutoCAD LT 2015 SP1.
Please make sure to read the important details in the ReadMe document about what has been addressed and important installation notes.
Every time you experience an “unplanned exit” from AutoCAD please make sure to send in a CER report as this is where we get a great deal of clues on the problems details and possible methods to fix it in a hotfix or service pack.
As a result of the detailed information that we received from customers who used the Customer Error Reporting Utility (CER), several problems were identified and fixed. Updates have been made in the following commands and features:
- Occasional crashes when using DB Connect feature on 64-bit machines with 4GB and more RAM.
- Occasional crashes when opening drawing file when a bubble notification is still displayed.
- Occasional crashes when clicking New in the Quick Access Toolbar or the Start Drawing tile on the New Tab page.
- Occasional crashes when clicking the New Tab Plus button after adding LayerFilterComboControl or Filter in the CUI dialog box.
- Occasional crashes when inserting a block from Design Center on the second time.
- Occasional crashes when selecting the "Fully open the drawing file" option that displays when opening a drawing that was saved in the partial open state.
- Occasional crashes when exiting AutoCAD.
- Using the ViewCube dropdown for selecting a saved UCS will not accept UCS names that contain a space.
- The SCALE command is not applied correctly for scale factors less than 1/100th.
- Cursor trails will display on the screen for users with Optimus or Dynamic Switchable Graphics technology.
- Lineweight is applied and displayed for solid hatch objects.
- Additional lines display in the selection highlighting for a solid hatch object.
- Hatch objects do not apply LAYLOCKFADECTL or XDWGFADECTL.
- The angle of a gradient changes the appearance of that gradient.
- Solid hatch objects display the edge color.
- ViewCube will appear on plots under certain conditions.
- Unable to execute SendCommand API in multiple drawings.
- The number of recently used files accepts a maximum of 10. The maximum has been restored to 50.
- This Service Pack includes the Autodesk AutoCAD Security Hotfix. This Service Pack can be applied whether that security hotfix was originally applied to your system or not.
- If you have Autodesk ReCap 2015 installed together with AutoCAD 2015, please install Autodesk ReCap 2015 Hotfix 1 via Autodesk Application Manager.
CURSORBADGE (System Variable)
Controls the display of visual aide badges near the cursor.
Saved in: Registry
Initial value: 2
1 - Turn off all new badges
2 - Turn on all badges (Default)
Badges that will be disabled:
- Selection - cross and window selection
- Add vertex
- Covert to arc
- Hatch inherit property
AutoCAD 360 3.0 for iOS devices has been released and is still free for the standard version providing DWG viewing and editing on the cloud and your mobile devices. The immediate thing you notice about the new version is the apps design has been made to look more iOS 7 styled. AutoCAD 360 Pro gives you added features and storage.
The AutoCAD 360 Team had this to say about the upgrade
“We collected all the feedback that you gave us over the last 3.5 years, designed, built, tested and designed again. Finally, we asked for feedback from some of you on the stuff we did, and now we’re ready to release all the work we’ve done to the world.”
You can update, or get the free AutoCAD 360 app for iOS in the App Store. One thoi9ng to note is the GPS functionality has been temporarily removed but is coming back.
Here are two DWG files I viewed on my iPhone 5S.
The Autodesk 30 day full trial of the new release of AutoCAD 2015 is now available for download. The 30 day full trial is the full product for you to test drive it and put it through its paces as well as see how your customization and files work in it.
Go give AutoCAD 2015 a test drive:
Autodesk Subscription downloads are available for released 2015 products.
AutoCAD for Mac is still the 2014 version as the release schedule of AutoCAD Mac is different than PC versions.
The blogger team meetup in SF photo by blogger Przemek Marczynski.
I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with several bloggers and Autodesk employees the past few days here in San Francisco. The bloggers from Brazil, US, UK, New Zealand, and the independent republic of Texas arrived Sunday and we met up with Autodesk's Lynn Allen for dinner in Tiburon.
On Monday we had several presentations from the AutoCAD Team and then a great tour of the Autodesk Pier 9 office. I think I got a few attendees hooked on Blue Bottle Coffee and waffles from the SF Ferry Building.
Bloggers attending the event in san Francisco:
Here is what some of the bloggers had to say about the AutoCAD Blogger Council visit:
Blogger Event 2014 CAD Panacea
San Francisco bound for some bloggy fun RobiNZ CAD Blog
AutoCAD Blogger day 2014 – Welcome to Tiburon, CAD Setter Out
Pier 9 What is it and What Does it Look Like - Design & Motion
The word is out today on many new Autodesk new products including the new AutoCAD 2015! I spent the early part of this crazy busy week with several AutoCAD bloggers and Autodesk employees.
The press release was just announced:
New Autodesk 2015 Design Suites Drive Unsurpassed Value for Subscribers
Check out what some of the bloggers had to say about AutoCAD 2015:
What's new in AutoCAD 2015? AUGI Blog
Helpful Thumbnails from the Dark Side ... Curt Moreno aka Kung Foo Drafter
AutoCAD LT 2015: we Lasso the new features LTisACAD Blog
AutoCAD Blogger day 2014 – Welcome to Tiburon CAD Setter Out
2015 Product blog posts from my Design & Motion blogging friends
Why AutoCAD 2015 is the Best Release Ever!
Autodesk Product Factory Design Suite 2015 Released
What's New in Autodesk Simulation Products for 2015
Autodesk Inventor 2015 announced –What's New
Scotty MTEXT Me Up
Autodesk Vault 2015 – What’s New? Revit gets loads of love
Some quotes from bloggers in SF this week:
“I quickly realized that I LOVE IT! I hope all the Autodesk products go to this theme. The darker look is, and maybe this is a bit extreme but, sexy!” – John Evans, Design and Motion blog
“Although they always treat us well, let me add the disclaimer that we will are never "told" or even asked what to say by Autodesk. In fact, they are always open to what some might call negative feedback. When you meet these Autodesk employees in person and listen to them, it becomes clear they truly care about the products they design and create. <end disclaimer>” - R.K. McSwain, CAD Panacea
“…it is refreshing to see Autodesk take the time to optimize a release for usability rather than simply piling on gingerbread.” – CAD Managers Unite, Robert Green
More specific product news coming soon with links to more blogs as well as details on the fun blogger event. If you have published or announced something about an Autodesk 2015 product please send me the link and I will update this post.
In AutoCAD there are in most cases multiple methods to do something but this one is a super simple way to rotate an object. You could use the ROTATE command, select the object then in the properties palette change the rotation, or use the grips and right-click menu which is the fastest and no need to touch the keyboard at all.
Select the object
Right-click to bring up the right-click menu and select Rotate.
Now set your base point and rotation.
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.