Friday, February 27, 2009

Autodesk Security Hotfix - is your data at risk?

Autodesk has released a hotfix to fix a potential security vulnerability in the live update mechanism. This affects AutoCAD 2004-AutoCAD 2009-based products (verticals included).

To see the readme and download the hot fix and see the complete list of affected programs, please visit the Autodesk website here.

or copy/paste the following link into your internet browser.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Drawing "bloat", one possible solution.

Introduced in AutoCAD 2005, you can now use the command line version of the PURGE command ( -PURGE ) to remove Registered Applications (RegApps).

When you add in an add-on program to AutoCAD or even use parts of the Express Tools it will add a RegApp entry into the drawing as a normal and necessary process. If you remove the object that create that RegApp you can use -PURGE R (for RegApps) to get rid of it. This is not available from the purge dialog box (only available from the command line) and using Purge All doesn't get rid of the RegApps.

The best procedure to remove unused items from the drawing:
1 ) Turn on, thaw and unlock all layers
2) Enter -PURGE at the command line, if you don't put a hyphen in front it will bring up the dialog.
3) Enter A for all.
4) Enter again to accept the * for all.
5) Enter N for No you don't want to verify each and every line item.

I run purge all first and then purge the RegApps.

6) Enter -PURGE at the command line.
7) Enter R for RegApps.
8) Enter again to accept * for all RegApps.
9) Enter N for No you don't want to verify each and every one.

The only drawback to the command line version of purge is that you must run it multiple times as it doesn't purge nested objects.

Keep doing steps 2-9 until all lines come up with nothing purged.

If you're on subscription there is a Bonus Pack you can install to add some functionality to the Purge command that will remove empty Text and 0 length lines! Very handy!

Avatech Solutions National Support center can assist you with your drawing bloat/recover/cleanup needs. Please contact your Account Manager for your support information.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Autodesk is closed on Monday 2/16/2009

Autodesk is closed on Monday, February 16, 2009 in observance of President's Day. Clients seeking Telephone and web technical support, Activations and Customer Service portals may experience reduced or delayed services that day. Self-Service portals for activations will be available as usual.

Avatech Solutions offices and departments will remain open that day to serve our clients, however, if a service request is dependent upon an Autodesk resources, a response may be delayed due to the Autodesk closure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ability To Have Multiple Catalogs In AutoCAD MEP 2009!

One of the great new features in AutoCAD MEP is to have multiple catalogs appear when adding parts. The most common use for this is having a custom MvPart catalog along with the default MvParts catalog. This is because most of the equipment used in HVAC design is unique from one manufacturer to the next. If Autodesk were to try to have all that equipment represented in the default catalog, the catalog would be so large it probably wouldn't fit on your machine. As a result designers end up modeling their own equipment and reusing the MvParts from one project to the next. Migrating these custom parts between the releases has been difficult in the past because users had to fold their custom parts into the next release's catalog.

Now with AutoCAD MEP 2009, you can have multiple catalogs listed in the search paths. This means all you have to do add your custom catalog to the search path. But be careful of one common pitfall. Users creating a custom catalog often take an existing catalog, make a copy of it and rename it and then swap the parts out with theirs. When they go to add the new catalog to the search path, they find that their catalog will only show up if it's first in the list. This is because of a duplicate catalog ID. If AutoCAD MEP has two catalogs with the same ID it will display the first in the search path list and ignore the rest with that ID. This can be easily remedied by changing a few characters in the catalog's ID. Take a look at the screen capture to the right.

As you can see I have changed the last 3 characters of the catalog ID to my initials (NMF). I also changed the catalogs description. Not changing the description will cause you to have two catalogs listed, both with the same name. This can be confusing for your users. I found that making these necessary changes is easiest done with a nice XML editor. The one used at right is XML Notepad. It's a free download from Microsoft's website. I recommend only getting it from Microsoft, which ensures you won't get any viruses. You can download it here, XML Notepad

Autodesk Announces AutoCAD 2010

And the list of cool features is a mile long. Check it out at Shaan Hurley's blog.

More information is available on Ellen Finkelstein's blog as well.

Stay tuned to for additional details on the products and maybe we'll talk about when you can see them for yourself sometime very soon.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to fix a blown out Hatch pattern

This little gem has plagued AutoCAD for years and years. You place a Hatch (AR-Conc, Gravel, AR-Sand) at a huge coordinate like 500000, 500000,0 and it just doesn't look right. It's like someone exploded it and the lines went everywhere. This doesn't happen if the drawing is near the UCS 0,0,0 origin.

This is a known issue but it only happens with certain hatch patterns.

You can fix this in AutoCAD (2006 and higher) by making some minor adjustments. By default the origin for the hatch is the UCS origin (0,0,0). However, you can specify a new Hatch Origin to avoid this issue.

Double click the Hatch to bring up the Hatch Edit dialog

First select the option "Specified Origin" in the lower left of the hatch dialog. Then to use a default "Bottom Left" (you have 4 choices here) just check the box "Default to Boundary Extents".

When creating a new Hatch in a drawing like this, ensure you change the option to "Default to Boundary Extents" to avoid this problem.

Suppressing Spaces In Revit Dimension Strings

If you've been using Revit since the 2008 release or earlier you probably know that the dimension strings in Revit can be too long some times. This is because by default Revit puts a space between the foot, the inch and the fraction measurements. A lot of people asked why can't the dimensions be more like how AutoCAD dimensions work. Take a look at the examples below.
Fortunately with the release of the 2009 Revit product line the ability to suppress these spaces was included. You can have the spaces suppressed for a single dimension or for all dimensions in the project. To make the change on a project wide basis, go to the settings pulldown and select "Project Units". Click the button next to the length parameter. Click the ckeck box next to "Suppress Spaces" in the Format dialog box. Click OK on all dialog boxes to apply the change.

You may also want to be able to make this change on an individual basis. To do so, highlight a dimension and select Element Properties. In the element properties dialog box, click Edit / New. In the resulting Type Properties dialog box, Click Duplicate, this is so we don't affect this change across the entire project. In the name dialog box, enter a new name and hit OK. Next scroll down and click the Units Format button in the Text parameter group. Uncheck the "Use Project Settings" check box. Place a check next to Suppress Spaces and finally hit Ok to close all dialog boxes. Your dimensions should now look something like this, much better!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One of my Top Tens

Perhaps one of the most common and easy-to-fix calls I still get on a regular basis, despite having supported AutoCAD for close to 15 years is this:

"I want to edit more than one object at a time in my drawing, but when I try to select more than one object, it deselects the one I picked before."

This is due to a system setting labeled "Use Shift to Add to Selection" in the options dialog box, on the Selection tab. This setting sets the system variable "PICKADD". When this is enabled (turned on or the PICKADD variable set to 1), AutoCAD forces you to hold the Shift key down while picking to select multiple objects to edit.

So, if you want to select multiple objects to edit WITHOUT having to hold the shift key down while picking, make sure the "Use Shift to Add to Selection" is NOT enabled (PICKADD set to 0).