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

Saturday, January 29, 2005

AutoCAD TIP: ARRAY, DIVIDE, MEASURE Blocks with Attributes

If you have been using blocks with attributes you realize the value of doing so. If you use the ARRAY, DIVIDE and MEASURE commands with these blocks, you will notice the attributes are not editable individually (as they take on the values of the one arrayed, or are all the same).

This is a problem.

TIP: Make a new block using one of these blocks with attributes... Now ARRAY, DIVIDE or MEASURE using the new block... when finished, EXPLODE all the new blocks and wallah! You are able to edit the individual block's attributes and then extract if needed.

- Enjoy!

ADDENDUM: ARRAY does not display this problem only DIVIDE & MEASURE.

Friday, January 28, 2005

AutoCAD 2005: Sheet Sets

Sheet Set Manager: Autodesk's Best Practices Series
(Introduction & 5 Parts in PDFfiles):

CAD Digest's "Sheet Sets" Tutorials:

- Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Blog Alert: Scott Durkee's CAD Management Blog

Scott Durkee's Blog
CAD Management Topics & Humor

- Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tips and Tricks - Golden Rules

The following tips will help you produce a better AutoCAD drawing with minimum problems.
Tips and Tricks - Golden Rules

While you are there, why not check out their other pages from CADtech Seminars

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Autodesk's AutoCAD & AutoCAD LT Tutorials, Tips, & How-to Articles

Autodesk's AutoCAD Tutorials & How-to Articles page:

Autodesk's AutoCAD Tips page:

Autodesk's AutoCAD LT Tutorials & How-to Articles page:

Autodesk's AutoCAD LT Tips page:

Do you have a good tip for any Autodesk product?
Submit a tip:

- Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Help! - Part 4

...continued from my previous posts,
Help!, Help! - Part 2 & Help! - Part 3

Training, Training & More Training...

I, like some of you, was a self taught user... my boss at the time handed me the keys to a shiny new IBM-PC which had PC-DOS ?.?, AutoCAD 2.17g, a Houston Instrument's DMP-52 Plotter and a Digitizer (brand forgotten). Yes folks, we are talking CAD Geezer!

The manual(s) were all quite crude (being kind) and this is when I decided to obtain a 3rd Party book... which at that time there weren't many. Eventually books like "Inside AutoCAD" and publications like CADENCE and CADalyst (now one in the same), were available and like many of you old timers, we looked forward to each and every issue. Trying to learn the latest & greatest tip, trick or trap.

After doing this for many years, basically the "school of hard knocks", one finds themselves at a strange point... what else is there? Have I learned all there is to learn? Trust me, I was what I considered a very good user, but felt like I had come to a brick wall. This is when I approached the management with the idea of obtaining formal training. "What?" was the reaction, "Why do you think you need training?" was their response... "You could/should be teaching it!" was another manager's comment. I explained that, like most users, we are creatures of habit, what we continue to do is the same thing or employ the same methods and continue using (or misusing) the application without really knowing is there a better way OR continuously learning what not to do (the hard way)... About the only thing I looked forward to was the next release of AutoCAD (to see what new bells & whistles were offered)...

I finally convinced them to allow me to attend an
ATC (Autodesk Training Center) and take the 3 levels of training being offered. At first the management (always trying to save a buck) wanted me to start out on level 2 (advanced) and skip the Level 1 (basics) class... and this is when the salesperson (whom I remain friends with to this day) said, "I would recommend starting out from ground zero, as there are many things that most users feel they know. But how does one know what they do not know? until someone shows them?" he also said that if I could honestly say that at the end of the level 1 (basics) training, that I had not learned anything new that he would credit my company for the second level.... that is all I (and management) needed to hear and figured all I had to lose was time. So there the ball was set in motion...

Looking back, I am glad he had made that comment/offer. I did learn a lot. Actually picked up a few things I did not know and corrected a few things (bad habits) that I was doing wrong or should I say not in the most efficient manner. And to this day, I realize that many of the basics are still the base for a good user and after teaching, would not want someone skipping a level and then asking many "basic type" questions all throughout the next level. When all is said and done, some of the simplest things, methods, stratedgy are built upon a strong base knowledge.

I continued through the level 2 (advanced) and also learned things that I thought I knew (like Paperspace & XREFs) and was not totally wrong, but like many self-taughters needed another perspective to explain the other possibilities vs. the one or two ways I had learned myself. As with anything in AutoCAD, there are many ways to do something, what is the better, faster or smarter way is not always obvious.

Lastly, since my formal training life began using AutoCAD R13 Windows (yikes!... luckily it was C4 and finally stable) there was this new thing called 3D & Rendering... so I continued on through the level 3 training. Since my discipline (industrial electrical controls & automation) did not require 3D I had only tinkered... this is where I learned the most and actually begin to enjoy that "learning something new" feeling.

After it was all over I had obtained my 3 certificates of completion and Release 14 was right around the corner. My instructor (again whom I remain friends with to this day) noticed that I was a very good user, had many good questions and asked if I was interested in ever teaching... more on that later.

So enough about me... how does this effect you?

A few things that I can say are, one can never know it all... NEVER. One thing I have always found by attending or instructing, is the interaction of the students (many of whom I am still friends or in contact with), asking good questions, and seeing the solutions that are presented is just one reason why I enjoy teaching, I too learn lots of new things. How people are using the product, what they are designing, what methods or stratedgy they employ. This interaction is great, some people will ask questions (or pose problems thay are having) and this will be something useful to another who didn't think to ask it. Networking.

We all learn in different ways, (for me hands on is the best way). Here are some learning statistics on retention: if you Hear it 10%, See it 30%, Say it 50% or Do it 70% you figure out what works best for you.

I would highly recommend obtaining training through Autodesk's
ATC Channel.

ATC Locator:

I would highly recommend attending
Autodesk University:

I would highly recommend joining AUGI: they offer online training through their ATP and they are also running CAD Camps throughout the US (some very soon).

Find a LUG (Local Users Group) and network with other users in your area.

If an ATC is not close enough or their schedules aren't in agreement with yours, you might also try your local Authorized Reseller:

If you have other training solutions (resources, links, materials, etc.), please email me.

- Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Help! - Part 3

...continued from my previous post, Help! & Help! - Part 2

Many people know me from either training sessions I have had the pleasure of instructing them at, or possibly online within Autodesk's online discussion groups as a Facilitator. As I mentioned in the first Help! posting, I truly believe in trying to help people help themselves... today it is just as important to know where or how to find the help one needs vs. trying to actually know everything. (you simply cannot know everything.)

For as long as I have used and taught AutoCAD I am always learning something new... whether it be a tip, trick or a trap, there are always other methods and I have always learned something from each and every class I have taught (even if it is what not to do)...

I typically will take this approach when showing students how to use their resources to help themselves.

a.) Use the built in Help facilities...

As mentioned in my first Help! posting, there is a lot of good and useful information within the Help facilities, sometimes it is a matter of finding it that is the hard part... but with each new release of AutoCAD the Help seems to get better or easier to use. Knowing how to use it (or it's various tabs to search for content is the key).

But, if that doesn't work then,

b.) Search Autodesk's AutoCAD Knowledge Base and Support Area...

By using a keyword or keywords (and as with the Help facilities one might have to get creative)... there are a lot of Technical Documents, Solutions or pages pointing to other helpful Technical content (always look for the "See Also" links)...

But, if that doesn't work then,

c.) Search Autodesk's Online AutoCAD Discussion Groups...

Over the years I have found these groups to be possibly THE BEST resource for help... These are Peer-to-peer discussion groups that are hosted by Autodesk. For an Overview and some FAQ, as well as a description of what these discussion groups are all about Click Here.

Please review and understand the discussion group Ground Rules before participating.

And yes, I am a volunteer within the groups, so be kind...

If you are still not able to get results then,

d.) Try using one other AutoCAD Support venues

Possibly contacting your Reseller or use a Fee-based Support venue... One thing, if you are on Subscription part of your benefits include Web Support.

I hope this helps you to help yourself or possibly others.

- Enjoy

Unofficial AutoCAD History Page

Shaan Hurley's Unofficial AutoCAD History Page:

What release of AutoCAD did you start with?

My first exposure to AutoCAD was 2.17g (unofficially known as Release 6).

We were running this "CAD thing" (as my bosses called it) on an IBM PC 8088 with an 8087 Math Co-processor (remember those?)... this was before the days of even Hard Drives, so booting with an Operating System disk (I believe it was actually called PC-DOS and then eventually we were assimilated to MS-DOS) was a necessity (or you got to learn about BASIC!!!)

Trivia: Only old farts like me know what day of the week 01-01-80 is.... do know what day of the week that date fell on? (e.g.: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....) This was the date that a PC would boot to if the internal clock's power/battery was reset or needed replacing.

Anyway, have a look at Shaan's page, very cool looking through the older releases and seeing when commands, features were added or enhanced. If you have an interesting story about your first AutoCAD experiences, drop me an email... it always fascinates me to see what people design or how they use the product or how long they have been using it.

- Enjoy

Autodesk Civil 3D Webcasts

Autodesk Civil 3D Webcasts - Scheduled to run from now through the end of February.

Call In Info for all Civil 3D Webcasts:
USA Toll Free Number: 888-593-9101
USA Toll Number: 1-773-799-3910
Leader: Heather MacKenzie
Passcode: Civil 3D

Various Dates (click link below) all running at 12-1 pm (ET)

Friday, January 14, 2005

Webcast: ABS 2005-01-18

Audience information for webcasts:
Time: 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Audio Information: 888-889-6745 (Outside US/Canada: 1-517-623-4382)
Passcode: 7258558
Leader: Karen Kelleher

Session Topic:
Introduction to Plumbing Design with Autodesk Building Systems 2005

Tuesday, January 18
Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Learn how to create your domestic and sanitary plumbing system designs by taking a closer look at the plumbing tools inside Autodesk Building Systems.

This session will touch on:
Defining and working with plumbing codes and fixture schedules
Laying out domestic and sanitary systems
Sizing plumbing systems
Producing fixture schedules
Generating 1-line diagrams and isometric riser diagrams

Webcast Link:

Outlook Calendar Reminder Link:

Click here for more information regarding Autodesk Building Systems and related products.

Webcast: ABS 2005-02-01

Audience information for webcasts:
Time: 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Audio Information: 888-889-6745 (Outside US/Canada: 1-517-623-4382)
Passcode: 7258558
Leader: Karen Kelleher

Sesson Topic:
Creating Construction Documents in Autodesk Building Systems
Tuesday, February 1
Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Get an inside look at how to efficiently create a fully coordinated set of construction documents using Autodesk Building Systems.

You'll learn how to:
Effectively use Drawing Management
Generate schedules and add to sheets
Place plans and sections onto sheets
Add annotation
Publish sheet sets

Webcast Link:

Outlook Calendar Reminder Link:

Click here for more information regarding Autodesk Building Systems and related products.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

What's new at

What's New at

AEC on CADalyst:

CAD Manager on CADalyst:

GIS on CADalyst:

Manufacturing at CADalyst:

Dialog Box: Letters from the Readers (December 2004)

Product Showcase: The latest in hardware and software (December 2004)

For links to all the latest articles in Cadalyst magazine and on, go to

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Help! - Part 2

...continued from my previous post Help!

AutoCAD's Help pulldown menu contains some very useful information...

Starting with AutoCAD 2004 there is a "New Features Workshop" on the Help pulldown menu (which has been enhanced in AutoCAD 2005). This presents you with Flash enabled screens to show you all the new features within the release. This very helpful in getting someone "New Feature" aware quickly.

Also note on some of the screens there is a circle with a "T" in it which contain tutorials... these (although they are not a substitute for formal training) are also very helpful in getting acquainted with these new or enhanced features.

Here are some excellent resources to help you find/explore further on AutoCAD 2005's New Features:

See Lee Ambrosious' most execellent resource site:

and also check out these other AutoCAD 2005 links to sites/reviews:
Cadalyst Magazine - AutoCAD 2005 Preview
Datec - AutoCAD 2005 Information
Dotsoft - 2005 Preview
Ellen Finkelstein (Author AutoCAD Bible) - AutoCAD 2005
JTB World - AutoCAD 2005 Preview
Ten Links - Autodesk Introduces AutoCAD 2005 Family of Products

Lastly be sure to check out Autodesk's own AutoCAD 2005
Autodesk - AutoCAD 2005 Preview Site
Autodesk - AutoCAD 2005
Autodesk - To Lock or Not to Lock, software activation explained

- Enjoy

Monday, January 10, 2005

BLOG ALERT:Breaking Down the Walls...

Are you an ABS User?

Check it out, Matt Dillion's Breaking Down the Walls Blog:
An online resource for users of Autodesk Building Solutions products

Tracy sent you! :-)

- Enjoy

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Looking For a Few Good Video Tutorials

From Shaan Hurley's Between the Lines Blog:

Looking For a Few Good Video Tutorials

Do not miss a chance to win a license for TechSmith's products SnagIt or Camtasia Studio.

I have recently purchased both, and I highly recommend either.

AutoCAD 2005: Spell check not correcting all words in mtext objects

Spell check not correcting all words in mtext objects

Published date: 2004-10-22 ID: TS100795
Applies to:
AutoCADĀ® 2005
AutoCAD LTĀ® 2005

In some cases, you select mtext objects then run the spell check command. The dialog box stating "Spell Check Completed" is displayed, but misspelled words in the mtext objects are not corrected.

To resolve this issue, there is an updated
acdb16.dll that can be downloaded and replaced on the system experiencing the problem.

Note: See the related Readme file on the download page for instructions on installation.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

BLOG ALERT: AutoCAD User's Blog(s)

Are you an AutoCAD user?

Check out Lynn Allen's Blog

Tell her Tracy sent you! :-)

- Enjoy

Monday, January 03, 2005

BLOG ALERT:Architectural Desktop User's Blog

Are you an Architectual Desktop User?

Check it out, David Koch's The Architect's Desktop Blog

Tell'm Tracy sent you! :-)

- Enjoy

Sunday, January 02, 2005

BLOG ALERT:Civil 3D User's Blog

Are you a Civil 3D user?

Check it out, Angel's Civil 3D 2005 Thoughts Blog

Tell'm Tracy sent you! :-)

- Enjoy

Saturday, January 01, 2005

AUGI CAD Camps of 2005 Announced

AUGI or Autodesk Users Group International

The first five AUGI CAD Camps have been announced.
You may want to look into these one-day events at
the CAD Camp website.