Sunday, July 26, 2009

Copy & Paste vs. Block Library

I'm often asked and often see examples of copy and pasting AutoCAD entities through Windows Clipboard.

Because users today are more acclimated to Windows than some of us old dogs who started using AutoCAD in DOS, I see people copy and paste from drawing to drawing. So, the question is:

When should I use Copy & Paste?

First, Copy and Paste are Windows commands. They copy whatever you select to the Windows Clipboard and then make it available to Paste in any Windows program. It's often overused because it's so easy.

The general Copy and Paste commands copy the entities in whatever native format they are in. so if you copy something from a web page and paste it in Word, it generally comes is as html or something other than basic text.

In most Windows programs, there is also a Paste Special command. This can be found under the Edit pulldown menu in most cases. Using Paste Special provides you with the ability to choose how you are going to paste. You can paste something in Word for example as unformatted text. You can paste something in AutoCAD as a type of AutoCAD object.

In AutoCAD, you can choose various copy and paste commands from the Edit pulldown menu as well. You can copy with a base point or paste as a block. When you paste as a block, AutoCAD makes up a name for the block that is a series of letter and numbers. You can tell when someone has done a lot of copy and paste when you look at the names of the blocks in a drawing and see names like that.

Why shouldn't you use copy and paste? If you are using something more than once, then you should take the time to make it a block and save it in a block library. This is when WBLOCK comes in handy. This is also a possible use for Tool Palettes if you have similar types of blocks that you will be using often.

Depending on what you copy and paste and how you do it, you can increase a drawing file size. You also will still have a number of individual entities to contend with unless you paste as a block. If you're going to do that, then you probably should have just made a block to begin with.

Having a block library meets one of the two Cardinal Rules of CAD that my first CAD instructor taught me. Never draw anything twice. This goes for copying and pasting too.

If you do have notes or text that do not fit the bill to be made into a block, then start a piece of MTEXT and right click inside the text window to paste. This will keep the formatting for your text from MSWord and paste it exactly as it was written.

Solar Radiation for Revit MEP in Autodesk Labs

An interesting new download for Revit Architecture and Revit MEP from Autodesk Labs on Solar Radiation.

Use the Solar Radiation Technology Preview to analyze the effects of solar radiation on various surfaces of your conceptual building model.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

AutoCAD Architecture Layer Button

I always knew that there were a lot of buttons available in AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP at the top of the Layer Manager Palette. Had I been more involved, perhaps I would have investigated every one more carefully.

I learned this week that in 2009 and some previous versions there was a button that essentially made a new layer based on AIA standards. I was somewhat shocked that I didn't know about this button and explained Layer Keys to the person, but this magic button did sound far easier.

In the Autodesk discussion groups I found the simple answer to do this in 2010. LAYERDLGMODE. Turning this on made everything better for this user.

So if you are one of the select group that are missing this button, now you know what to do.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Adding AutoCAD OSNAP Toolbar to AutoCAD MEP 2010

Editing the .cui to copy AutoCAD toolbars to AutoCAD MEP 2010

View here.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Presenting two classes at Autodesk University 2009

I am quite honored to have been chosen to present two classes in the AutoCAD MEP field for AU this year.

  • AutoCAD MEP: Setting Up for Mechanical Designs
  • AutoCAD® MEP: Creating Custom Tags
Class schedule and possible changes should be in place later this month for registration to begin in early August.