Random thoughts and helpful CAD links... - Enjoy!

Friday, December 31, 2004

Last post of 2004...

As I attempt to get ready to go out and close out on 2004 and welcome in 2005...

I would just like to say thank you to all those who have been a part of my life. Whether it is personally or professionally (or both). I would also hope I have had a positive impact on you as well. So please enjoy yourselves and have a happy, healthy and safe New Year... and hopefully we can all help make 2005 out to be the best year yet!


Wednesday, December 29, 2004


HELP!!! The cry of many a computer user... regardless of how long you have been using computers, you can always learn something new (or mess something up) . Whether it is a feature, an enhancement, a shortcut or even possibly something that was there all along and simply never discovered.

One of the things I always try and do in all my training sessions is add some self-help content. You know the whole "Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime." thing... (here are some funny alterations of that saying).

I truly believe in that philosophy though... One thing I do not like is for someone to simply get stuck and not try and figure it out, or worse not try and exhaust a few resources in an attempt to help themselves... I have no problem helping those who do try and help themselves.

Here is a few tips (and please feel free to comment or suggest)... when using the Help system built into AutoCAD (which I truly feel is vastly improved with each release) try and look at each of the tabs:

Contents Tab = Volumes organized like the paper manuals we once had (and are still available online through the eStore. Also see below for additional PDF files on your Installation CD that can be copied over to a hard drive or a network folder (sharepoint).

Index Tab = An Index which you can type in commands, system variable, etc... which tries to match what you are typing in. (I use this probably the most).

Search Tab = A searching tool, which can be reused (very helpful tool).

Favorites Tab = Which is like a bookmark holder for any Concept, Procedure, Reference or topic being displayed (from the previous tabs) in the right pane... which can be added/removed easily. Very helpful when looking for something (or find something that might have been difficult to navigate to/from)

Ask Me Tab = Which is very cool and can search through all documentation or specific volumes using Answerworks... there is a History link that can redisplay past queries and results quickly.

If you didn't find what you were looking for (never said it was all encompassing, or easy to navigate) then there is also a link provided to submit comments to the Autodesk Technical Publications group.

Next post I will talk about using the Online Knowledge Base and search for Techincal Documents and Solutions...

Some Additonal References:

PDF Files on your Installation CD-ROM:
acad_acg.pdf = Customiztion Guide
acad_acr.pdf = Command Reference
acad_aqr.pdf = Quick Reference
acad_aug.pdf = User's Guide
acad_dpg.pdf = Driver & Peripheral Guide
acad_nag.pdf = Network Administrator's Guide
acad_sig.pdf = Single Installation Guide
adsk_nlg.pdf = Nework License Guide
adsk_slg.pdf = Single user License Guide
samlite_ug.pdf = SAM-lite Report User's Guide


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tips Galore!!!

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!!!

Tips Galore:


Saturday, December 18, 2004


This subject comes up quite often in the Autodesk Discussion Groups about which format is better, easier, smarter as it applies to any business and it's processes.

Both formats have many pros & cons.

Both formats have viewing & composing tools. Some free (typically downloadable), some at minimal costs... which is truly better is the debate?

Here are some links to help you determine whether DWF or PDF fits into your scheme.

Shaan Hurley's Blog: More DWF vs. PDF &
5 Million DWF Downloads
CADalyst Lab's Review: PDF DWF CSF Which 2D CAD publishing option is best for you?
CAD Forum: What are the advantages & disadvantages of using the ePlot DWF format vs. PDF?
PowerCADD: Message -DWF vs PDF

Free: Autodesk's DWF Writer product information
Free: Autodesk's DWF Viewer product information

Autodesk DWF Composer product information

Avatech Solutions eDemo:
Autodesk DWF Composer eDemo (recommended viewing)
This eDemo is an overview of DWF Viewer, DWF Composer, DWG Viewer, and DWF Writer. See the exciting new 3D viewing capabilities of DWF Composer and how to use DWF Composer with AutoCAD to mark up drawings and communicate with others.

Some PDF Creator links:

Here is a link from Adobe that shows how to use Adobe Acrobat and AutoCAD.

Here is a few good places to gather information on PDF files:

If you have any other links related to eithe DWF or PDF support, creation, viewing... please feel free to EMAIL me and I will review and add the content or link.


Friday, December 17, 2004

PLT files... dead or alive?

PLT files? Anyone use them? Believe it or not I still do... for sets of drawing files to be sent to anyone with a specific printer or plotter that you do not want to send a source DWG file, possibly a printing or plotting service or to simly reprint a single drawing or an entire set (without the need to open the DWG or even have AutoCAD). One thing you do need to know is the specific printer and the driver (typically uses a plotter language e.g.: HPGL, HPGL/2 or HP-RTL) each printer or plotter supports specific language. One of the utilities I like is a freeware utility called PrintFile.

I saw this most excellent post in the Autodesk Discussion Groups specifically in a thread asking about how to plot plt files... the following link was provided by a user simply named J.

How do I view or print AutoCAD plot files?

The page is very well written and has links to some utilities for PLT files. If you have any other links please use the "comments" feature so I can add them for the benefit of others.

Enjoy! - Tracy

Thursday, December 16, 2004

AutoCAD 2005 Webcasts...

Recently a poster in the discussion goups asked about Webcasts for AutoCAD 2005. Terry Drewes was kind enough to provide links to the following archived webcasts.

Note... use IE and disable popup blockers.

If you have any other webcasts, please feel free to email me the URL

Enjoy - Tracy

AutoCAD 2005 Webcasts Archive

Customizing Tool Palettes in AutoCAD 2005
Recorded: Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Speaker: Heidi Hewett
Learn how create and modify custom tool palettes with minimal effort. Regain valuable drawing space while significantly increasing productivity and improving drawing consistency.

Creating Tables in AutoCAD 2005
Recorded: Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Presenter: Heidi Hewett.
Learn how to create and modify tables and table styles. By using the new table tools, you no longer have to draw, move, copy, and edit individual line and text objects to create tables in your drawings.

Managing Sheets in AutoCAD 2005
Recorded: Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Presenter: Heidi Hewett.
Learn how to implement valuable sheet set functionality one step at a time. Open, plot, etransmit, and archive entire sets of drawing sheets from one central location. And, if that isn’t enough, see how you can automate the tedious task of managing and tracking view numbers, sheet numbers, and callout data from sheet to sheet.

Utilizing Fields in AutoCAD 2005
Recorded: Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Presenter: Heidi Hewett.
How smart is the text in your drawings? Learn how to replace your ordinary text and attributes with dynamic field data. Use fields to display drawing properties, plot stamp data, and object properties within text, block attributes, and tables.

Other Webcasts:

Multiply Your Productivity:
Insider Tips on How to Do More with AutoCAD Software
Presenter: Lynn Allen

Migration Tools for IT and CAD Managers

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One thing leads to another...

Just about every single day one is faced with decisions, with this or that, etc...

One thing I have always prided myself with is by helping others. Whether it is to simply lend an ear, offer a suggestion, hook them up, provide a contact or provide a solution. I have met many people while having the pleasure of working in industry or during my many teaching endeavours. I have also helped a few people online in the Autodesk Discussion Groups by providing direct help or simply pointing them in the right direction. Hopefully I have made a positive difference in those whom I have tried to help.

I guess that is part of who I am. Trying to give back some. Hopefully I will have the pleasure of either meeting you in person or online within the discussion groups or via email until then, please feel free to come back and look through the posts here or browse through the links.

Remember that usually one good thing leads to another...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Helpful Links

I have listed a few of my favorite CAD related eZines, Blogs, Web Sites. Please feel free to click away and also send me any useful content.

Thanks, Tracy

The New CADalyst Magazine...

I have always been a subsriber, and was happy when they picked up CADENCE (which was another favorite publication for many years). My wife thinks I am nuts, CAD this and CAD that...

Here is a link the their online site (you can subscribe for yourselves):
Cadalyst Magazine

They also send out a few eNewsletters:

Cadalyst Newsline
Weekly digest of news, Web resources, and productivity tips for CAD users.

Cadalyst AEC Tech News
by Michael Dakan, examines hot topics and technology for AEC professionals . (three issues a month, including special issue on making the 2D to 3D transition)

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News
bu Joe Greco, evaluates software for mechanical design, analysis, and manufacturing. (three issues a month, including special issue on making the 2D to 3D transition)

Cadalyst CAD Manager's Newsletter
by Robert Green, covers topics that concer the CAD manager: standards, training, job descriptions and more. (two issues a month)

Cadalyst GIS Tech News
This new newsletter will start mailing in January. Industry veteran Arnie Williams analyzes the top trends and relevant developments in the GIS and mapping arena: major product releases, open standards, government initiatives, and other factors that affect the way you work.