Thursday, February 24, 2005

Profiles To The Rescue!

One of the most popular tips I give users is regarding profiles. I show this to every student I teach no matter what the subject, tell everyone installing Autodesk products, and often pass the information on when a support call comes in where this tip could have saved the day.

AutoCAD saves your user interface (menus, palettes and toolbars) and most options in a profile. You have Windows profiles as well. Your Windows profile is what defines (and remembers) your background wallpaper of your dog and your screensaver, whether it be bikini-clad women or grandchildren.

With vertical Autodesk products such as Architectural Desktop and Building Systems, you can use profiles to change which product you want to emulate. For example, I often set up three desktop shortcuts for Building Systems. Each shortcut loads a different profile. One shortcut is for plain, vanilla AutoCAD. One is for Architectural Desktop. And of course one is for Building Systems. Three icons, three profiles, one software product.

To get back on the subject, if you never created or named a profile, you are using the default one that loaded. Which one varies by product. I generally recommend that when you first install the product, you create a new profile. Call it your name if you like. Then, after you've created the profile, set up your workspace in AutoCAD however you'd like. Add and subtract pulldown menus, open the toolbars you want, set your pickbox size, colors, or other options the way you want to work. Once you have everything set, then Export your profile to a safe place. By safe place, I don't mean in the My Documents folder on your workstation. I mean to a safe network location, floppy disk, jump drive, or even save it locally and then email it home.

To Export all you need to do is choose Options and then the Profiles tab. From there you will see a button on the right for Export. This will create an .arg file.

The reason that I pass this tip out so much is that it can save a lot of time and headaches in so many situations.

  1. Your hard drive goes bad. A new hard drive is installed, but AutoCAD (along with everything else) has to be reloaded. Oh, drat! Do you want to spend the next hour trying to set up your workspace like you had it? Do you even remember everything you had set? ---Profile to the rescue!--- Options>Profiles>Import Profile.
  2. Your company is doing well and they have purchased you a brand new computer. Fantastic! But wait, AutoCAD has to be installed. You find yourself staring at a brand new installation with none of your comfortable settings. ---Profile to the rescue!--- Options>Profiles>Import Profile.
  3. Your co-worker breaks his leg in a freak sunbathing accident. Your supervisor wants you to move into his cubicle and take over. No problem. He was always a slacker anyhow. You should be able to do the job in half the time. Doh! How does he work with his workspace set like this? ---Profile to the rescue!--- Options>Profiles>Import Profile.

You get the idea, right? I don't need to make up anymore scenarios do I?

So stop what you're doing and export your profile now.

Warning! If you were not aware of this previously, DO NOT create a new profile now. Your settings are stored in whatever profile is active. Export that profile.

The biggest mistake I see people make is that they get confused and get all their settings and workspace the way they want them and then choose Add to List and Set Current. That makes a new profile, but when you set it current it becomes current rather than the profile you just customized.

Profiles - less calories, more filling.


dgwilliams said...

Thanks Beth, for this great writeup! I just used this to export my profile, so we can use the same workspace layout. So handy!

Kuldeep said...

Beth, you are expert about CAD writing, write about few more articles on CAD Conversions.

Chuck said...

Thanks for the tip Beth and I totally agree that this is a great time saver. I am curious, is there a way to create a batch script to export the profile automatically? Reason: What if I forget to export the profile after I made one tweak? I am actually using the /p switch on start up link to start a specific profile. It would be wonderful if there was a way to script on windows startup or Autocad exit. Any ideas?