Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How do I find my 2010 product key?

The product key should be listed on the back of the media case along with the new serial number. If you downloaded it from the Subscription website, then you should have received an email with the product key.

If you can't find that email, please contact your Avatech Account Manager or the Autodesk Business Center (ABC) at 800-538-6401 or the Avatech National Support Center at 800-808-7645 for assistance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AutoCAD MEP 2010 is Packed With Great Features!

AutoCAD MEP has been released to subscription customers and will be shipping very soon. Every other release year is a "Feature Release" and for AutoCAD MEP this year is a good one! There are a ton of new features for AutoCAD MEP 2010 so I will try to highlight them here without making it as long as "War & Peace".


AutoCAD 2010, the base program for AutoCAD MEP, has been totally reworked to include contextual ribbon tabs. While initially the new interface my be shocking and unfamiliar, I think you will find that it is easier to use and presents the tools in a more discoverable format. As you transition from one task to another the ribbon dynamically changes to show the commands associated with the objects being edited. For instance, while modifying ductwork a specific ribbon is displayed bringing you the tools you need to edit ductwork within a mouse click.

There is a great new ability to migrate catalogs making it far easier to bring those custom catalogs forward from one release to the next. Additionally there is a new command that allows you to scan legacy drawings for fittings and MvParts that have been updated in the new catalog and then replace them with the new versions.

There is now an option to show or hide MEP objects such as pipe, cable tray & ductwork based on elevation making it even easier to generate clearer drawings faster.

Even creating MvParts is easier now. You used to have to take 3D solids and mass elements and turn them into multi-view blocks before they could be made into MvParts. Now you can convert them directly to MvParts saving you the extra steps and more importantly time.


There are two cool new features for electrical. The first is that when panel board information is out of date the panel board schedule will have a diagonal line through it letting you know it needs to be updated. This feature will increase accuracy and reduce costly errors in the field. The second improvement affects all the electrical devices. There a new grip that allows you to add wire to any device simply by clicking the device and then clicking the add wire grip.


The last section of improvement in AutoCAD MEP is piping and it's huge. Sloped piping has long been a pain point for designers, well cry no more. 2010 has new sloped piping enhancements that will allow users to more easily model plumbing systems.

New sloped pipe fittings have been incorporated as well and even include the Wye fitting customers have longed for.

The pipe properties palette has also been revamped to bring settings such as slope format and branch angles to your fingertips.

There is a new ability to customize the symbols for connection types such as grooved, glued and flanged differently for the 1-Line configurations.

The final new feature is a great productivity increasing enhancement. You can now draw parallel piping which literally allows you to draw two pipes at one time! This will make laying out systems such as reverse return loops a snap.

As you can see AutoCAD MEP 2010 is a great release packed with new features. I believe you will agree that it will increase productivity while reducing errors.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! AutoCAD 2010 is now shipping.

Yes the latest version of AutoCAD is now shipping - AutoCAD 2010. If you're on Subscription you'll be receiving it soon. I've also heard you can download it from the Subscription website.

One interesting thing you'll notice during install is you need a "Product Key". It should be on the same sticker as your serial number. This is unique to the product you purchased and makes it easy to identify what media you installed from after the fact!

There is also an interesting System Requirement with this release. According to Shaan's post on "Between the Lines" you need an SSE2 supported processor (many current systems already have this). If the link doesn't work you can copy/paste this one:

See the complete AutoCAD 2010 System Requirements here or copy and paste:

Please contact the National Support Center if you need assistance or have any questions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there are AutoCAD viruses.

Most AutoCAD-spread viruses are created using VBA, AutoLISP or ARX. To protect yourself from most AutoCAD-spread virus you can do three things.

  1. Keep your current anti-virus up-to-date, scan your system regularly and don't blindly open compacted files (like .zip files). Make sure that you anticipated the file and that the sender is a trusted source.

  2. Turn on Virus protection in AutoCAD. Enter VBARUN at the command line and click Options. The default is on, so unless you turned it off or someone turned it off for you you're fine. This protects you from embedded Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro viruses.

  3. Don't use strange LISP routines or add on programs from unknown sources without checking them first.

  • acad2009doc.lsp: An Autodesk-provided file. Is installed with the program.
  • acad2009.lsp: An Autodesk-provided. Is installed with the program.
  • acaddoc.lsp: A user-created file. May or may not reside on your system.
  • acad.lsp: An older file. May or may not reside on your system.

    These files are fine if they were installed by your software, however, some people modify, and share them and that could get you in trouble if you don't know or trust that source.
If you find yourself facing an AutoCAD-based virus, give us a call. We've seen our fair share of these and may be able to help you our with file recovery.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hey! What the heck is this Proxy Object?

Most drawings have Proxy Objects and if you are sharing drawings with others they should be there. You can also populate your drawing with Proxy Objects by saving to an older version. This can be a confusing subject, let me shed some light on it.

So, what is a Proxy Object?
In AutoCAD Architecture if you insert a door, that is a proxy graphic in AutoCAD because AutoCAD doesn't know what that object is and will display a rectangle with some text... unless you install the Object Enabler (OE).

What is an Object Enabler?
The OE allows you to see custom (proxy) objects that are registered in the drawing database by other programs. You can perform very limited actions on that object, move, stretch, change its layer. Think of it as a smart image that has been inserted. If you reopen the file in AutoCAD Architecture it's a door again and fully editable.

To get an OE, you do need to know what program created the object and what program you are using to download and install the correct OE. Or, in options you can also tell the AutoCAD based program to automatically check for "live enablers". The live enablers are a bit finicky though and you may need to use the manual download and install method.

I drew a Helix in AutoCAD 2009 and saved back to 2004 format and opened it in AutoCAD 2005. My 2005 had the OE installed so here's what I see!

Reopen that drawing in 2009 and it still shows as a Helix.

Is it always this simple?

Absolutely not and that's partly why there is so much confusion. Should you need help or have more questions about Proxy Objects or the Object Enabler, call us at 800-808-7645.

Some Trouble with Trimble: Trimble install doesn't see my Civil 3D 2009

I have installed AutoCAD Civil 2009 and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009. When I try to install Trimble Link it only finds AutoCAD Civil. I have tried removing AutoCAD Civil 2009 however it just says it can not find the Civil 3D System. So I have tried Clean installing AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 and it still says it can not find AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009. How can I get this to work.

Trimble Support says to do the following:

Run Regedit and navigate to the following registry


In this registry key you will see a number of entries with one of them being


This is the AutoCAD Civil 2009 system reference.

Delete this entry, uninstall Trimble Link and reinstall.

Remember you must backup your registry before trying this.

Edit your registry at your own risk. Improperly editing the Registry can result in your operating system not functioning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

AutoCAD Architecture 2010 Preview

Autodesk recently uploaded a video to their You-Tube site that showed some of the great new features in AutoCAD Architecture 2010. We'll discuss a few of the features shown in the video.

We're going to discuss 3 of the improvements to AutoCAD Architecure here.
One of the obvious changes is the graphic interface. While the ribbon is still in use; it has been overhauled to completely replace the use of toolbars. There are 5 main tabs of the ribbon that are always active; Home, Insert, Annotate, Render, View & Manage. There are also "contextual" ribbons that activate when certain commands are active like wall that provide access to specific tools associated with creating and modifying walls.The tool tips have been significantly reworked as well. When you hover over a tool you will initially get the name of the tool and a brief description. If you linger over the tool longer you will get a fly out providing more detailed information about the command function.

One last really cool feature they demonstrated in the video was the new ability to edit wall cleanups and endcaps in place. It used to be a painstaking and complicated process to change how they affected a wall but no longer. Now it's extremely easy to get the look you want. Once you're happy with it you can save the changes to the existing endcap or wall cleanup style or you can save it as a new style.