Thursday, June 30, 2005

Busy Week Before the Holiday

I'm out of the office most of this week installing software and doing some 1:1 training at client sites. So, here are just a few tidbits of information for those of you that keep visiting. After all, I don't want you to think I'm not here for you!

Building Systems 2006 Service Pack 1 Available
This service pack addresses a number of issues. Keep your product up-to-date by downloading from here and installing now.

As a related note, I often make one directory on a server for all service packs and download them there.

Autodesk Security Update for 2005 & 2006 Series Products

If you didn't already hear about it, you should visit the Autodesk site and download this security patch. The quoted description from the Autodesk website says, "A security issue has been identified that could allow a local user to gain inappropriate access to another local user's computer. This problem occurs in a number of Autodesk products. You can help protect your computer by installing this update."

CUI Update
There is also an update for the 2006 CUI, which is the Customize User Interface that is the new method for handling customizing menus and toolbars as well as anything else dealing with the user interface.

New Blog
There is another relatively new blog from another hard-working AUGI member, Melanie Stone. Check out this week's topics of Migrating to 2006 and Exchanging Large Files.

That's all the news that's fit to print as they say. I'll be busy in July with training and a big Customer Appreciation Day at the Hotel Roanoke for all my AEC & BSD clients. Be sure and let me know if you'd like to attend and I'll see that you get a free lunch.

For all of you in the U.S., have a safe and happy Independence Day. I'll be enjoying these two events.

I look forward to them every year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hatch Patterns & Other Third Party Products

Sometime after I first started using AutoCAD (R11, DOS), I became aware of customization that was possible in the program and was always on the lookout for extra little routines and products to either make my job easier or to do exactly what I wanted without having to customize AutoCAD myself.

The first product I came across and purchased was called 101 Hatch Patterns. I seem to recall it being about $99. I only needed one hatch pattern that came in it, which was called RipRap. It was a stone pattern.

Each and every time I ordered an upgrade of AutoCAD, I ordered the upgrade or newer version of Hatch Patterns.

When I left a production office and went out on my own, I no longer used the Hatch Patterns product and had forgotten about it. That was until a client was describing what turned out to be the same product during an installation last summer. I was surprised to hear that someone else used this product. I shouldn't be. After all, the company that made it, Compugraphx , wouldn't have been able to stay in business if I were their only customer!

Since last year, I've had several people bring this program up and ask about it. I'm happy that Watson Kilbourne and Compugraphx is still around. There is even a write up in Cadalyst about 100 Hatch Patterns, which is only a name as it really contains 365 hatch patterns.

The other product that I later found and liked doesn't appear to be around any longer. It was a tablet menu called CATS. It contained a lot of really neat little bonus tools and one the reasons it caught my eye was that it had a routine that would make a balloon leader with an incrementing number. Ah, those were the days.

There are lots of other products out there. You should take a look once in a while to see what's out there that might make life easier. After all, that's how we got sliced bread!

A few resources (there are many more) for third party products and other routines. These are in no particular order.


And if you follow Lynn Allen's blog or are an AUGI member and wondering what all the hoopla is about, two of the most dedicated AUGI volunteers have found love through AUGI and one of them is sporting a new engagement ring! Congratulations Mike & Melanie. Best wishes on your new life together. (And be sure to include AUGI somewhere in those vows.)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Good ADT Resources

Anytime I do training, I always offer a resource list. After all, if you don't have other places to find information, you're not going to be successful. My goal is to make you successful in what you do!

I typically spend about 15 minutes showing students in class how to join AUGI, login and show them the forums and the ATP programs. I also show them how to navigate the Autodesk website and where to find the helpful information.

I provide them a list of Paul Aubin's books as well as William Wyatt's and a list of blogs associated with ADT.

Here are my best recommended ADT resources. Please be sure and add any that you think I've overlooked.

Paul Aubin
He's one of the top ADT Gods.
Any and all of his books are excellent. For the best deals, purchase at Amazon because they are good about combining a pair of books for a better price.

Lots of additional information including his AU material can be found at his website.

His new Viz book is now shipping as well.

Mastering VIZ Render for Autodesk ADT Users
Paul F. Aubin and James D. Smell
ISBN #140188024X

Mastering Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006
Paul F. Aubin
ISBN #1418020524

Mastering Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2004
Paul F. Aubin
ISBN #1401848850

Autodesk Architectural Desktop: An Advanced Implementation Guide
Paul F. Aubin
ISBN #140188763

Mastering Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2005
Paul F. Aubin
ISBN: 1401884784

William G. Wyatt
Dr. Wyatt is another great resource and one I've met personally and invited him to do training here for me.

His books are also available on Amazon.

Accessing Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2005
William G. Wyatt
ISBN: 1401883524

Accessing Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2004
William G. Wyatt
ISBN #1401850154

Elise Moss
We use Elise's books in our classroom for some hands-on exercise work. Her books are aimed at the classroom and not intended so much for reference material. They are available from Amazon or from her publisher, Schroff. I know Elise fairly well as we served together on the AUGI Board of Directors and I often pester her about ADT. She also writes many other books on Autodesk products.

Autodesk Architectural Desktop Fundamentals 2005
Elise Moss
ISBN# 1-58503-195-x

Autodesk Architectural Desktop Fundamentals 2004
Elise Moss
ISBN# 1-58503-135-6

Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2004 Intermediate
Elise Moss
ISBN# 1-58503-136-4

Space Planning with Architectural Desktop 2005
Elise Moss
ISBN# 1-58503-197-6

Autodesk VIZ 2005 for Beginners
Elise Moss
ISBN# 1-58503-212-3

Elise also has a website with tips & tricks, tutorials, and her weekly publication, CADzette. Moss Designs

Matt Dillon
Matt is another one of the ADT Gods. He knows ADT, writes about it in an easy to understand format, and teaches. Be sure to attend AU and take one of his classes. His blog is called Breaking Down the Walls. I've mentioned him before.

Robin Capper
Robin does a great job with his blog, RobiNZ CAD Blog, from New Zealand.

Chris Yanchar
Chris has a blog, Between the Walls. Chris is the ADT Product Planning Manager at Autodesk.

There are lots of Viz related sites and blogs and books besides those mentioned here. I did mention one in a past blog.

The Autodesk site should be a resource for you. By choosing products and ADT, you have access to webcasts and styles. If you want to learn more about ADT Styles, download a few from here and dissect them.

Autodesk Subscription
As a subscription customer, you can access special e-learning tutorials. You can log in to the Subscription Center or if you have 2006 you can access it from the Help pulldown menu. Autodesk will have your serial number on record and allow you access to extra help features such as e-learning and support.

With your free AUGI membership, you will have access to free training through the AUGI ATP program and the forums. Even if you don't ask a question on the forums, you can read the questions and answers and discussions and learn a lot.

You will also receive AUGIWorld magazine free every other month and the electronic newsletter, HotNews. Lots of great articles and tips on ADT.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

AutoCAD Layer Filters

This applies to any Autodesk product. Layer filters were great when they first came out, but like many Autodesk features users got out of control with them. Generally they are deleted individually. When drawings containing layer filters are inserted into other drawings, the layer filters come along as excess baggage. Too many layer filters can cripple you in performance.

Here are some helpful hints on routines to delete these.

Simply type APPLOAD at the command line to load it. You'll find it and then type LAYERFILTERSDELETE to run it.

((defun C:LayerFiltersDelete ()
(vl-Catch-All-Apply '(lambda ()
(vlax-Get-Acad-Object)))) "ACAD_LAYERFILTERS")))
(princ "\nAll layer filters have been deleted.")

Option #2
The AUGI website discusses these and has the code that can be copied. (may not work from here as text may be formatted.)
(must be member to read; membership is free)

Option #3 always has good, free routines
Layer Filter Delete
When implemented, layer filters were a good idea. However, during normal usage, they tend to add up inside a single drawing. When additional drawings are inserted/referenced, they tend to migrateand add up. Over time hundreds or thousands of filters can end up in a single drawing. This causes the file size to become large,and load time increase, especially when launching the layer dialog.This free tool allows you to delete all filters or only those youselect.LAYERFILTER.ZIP in the Free Stuff section of

In 2005 Autodesk products, there was a problem with Layer Manager opening slowly. There were Service Packs to update this. Be sure you find your specific Service Pack.

Hope this helps, Brad. (Ooops! Did I say that out loud?) :)

Monday, June 06, 2005

ADT 101

If you've never used Architectural Desktop (ADT) and are wondering about it or would like to know the differences between ADT and AutoCAD, here's your chance for some free training.

AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) offers free online training through its ATP (AUGI Training Program) feature. Beginning today and for the next three weeks I'll be teaching a beginning course on ADT. It's very basic with lots of comparisons between ADT & AutoCAD and will just give you an overall view of the program.

You'll need to join AUGI (free) if you're not already a member, but your membership will be well worth it! From the AUGI site, choose Education from the menu bar along the top. Then choose AUGI Training Program from the side sash on the left and Current ATP Courses. Click on the Title of any course and at the bottom of the description you'll have a button to Register. Once registered, you access your material to download in .pdf format from the My ATP in the left hand sash. Material is posted each Monday for the next three weeks.

Under Forums you'll also find a forum under ATP for your course. Post questions and discussions about the course and interact with your fellow students and the instructor through this forum.

D-Day the 6th of June, 1944
Please take a moment to remember those who landed and participated in D-Day to protect our freedom. Many lives were lost on this day in history and we're losing many veterans every day.

Be sure and visit the National D-Day Memorial if you're in my part of the country.

Friday, June 03, 2005

AutoCAD 2006 Ramblings

Did you think I fell off my blogging like so many others seem to be doing? No chance, though I confess this may be the longest time between postings at over a week. Bloggers seem to be dropping off now. I'm determined to stay though!

I've been busy learning new features of AutoCAD 2006 as well as some features that have been added in the last release or two that I don't use. Part of non-use for me is that I'm old fashioned, but also I don't have a direct need for some features. That's no reason not to learn them and find ways to use them and that's where I am now.

Tables are a relatively new feature in AutoCAD and keep getting better. I've never had the need for tables in a drawing, though know that many people do. I just read a very helpful tip on the AUGI forums for anyone that may shed some insight if you import information from Excel (which most people seem to do). It seems to make a difference what version of Excel you are importing from. Excel 2003 has improvements that are helpful when importing into AutoCAD. You can read more of the information in the thread here if you are an AUGI member. (Membership is free.)

I've also had to do some customizing of some .cui files recently. If you aren't familiar with these, CUI stands for Customize User Interface. So, rather than dealing with .mn* files and being able to get the once simple dialog box for customizing toolbars, you are thrown into the CUI dialog which is a shock to the system for us old-timers.

The idea of the CUI is both to make it easier for the common user to customize and to set us up for future releases that will rely on this technology to take us to the next step. I can understand and appreciate that so I need to find peace with the CUI so I can do it more naturally. R. Robert Bell, an AUGI Board member and programmer (as well as long time AUGI volunteer), put it into perspective with this posting which explains who to change your mindset. Good thread.

I'm booked solid for training next week on ADT 2006, Schedules, and ACAD 2006 Update. I'll be sure and pass along anything else new that I find. Often I even learn things in the classroom and from the students. I love learning no matter what the method!