Many moons ago in the AutoCAD world, when you received a command prompt instead of an expected dialog box, you could check the system variables FILEDIA and CMDDIA and make sure they were set to 1. Over the years, CMDDIA has all but been phased out in AutoCAD, although FILEDIA (for FILE DIAlogs) does still apply. Here is a related post on this.
In AutoCAD MAP (and for MAP commands in Civil 3D) however, CMDDIA does still have an effect on many commands. If you run a MAP command and do not get an expected dialog box, check to make sure CMDDIA = 1. This includes command such as MAPCSCREATE, ADEDEFDATA, ADEQUERY, etc. Some other MAP commands such as MAPCLEAN, do not honor this variable and will always display the dialog box.
Below is a simple animation of creating a quick profile in Civil 3D. No, this is not a new feature, but there are new Civil 3D users every day - and if you have never seen or used this feature - this may help you out.
One of the new features you have probably noticed in AutoCAD 2012 is the new command line capabilities. When you start typing something in, AutoCAD automatically starts searching to help you finish the thought. Did you know you can configure how this works?
Run the AUTOCOMPLETE command and take a look at the options.
Autodesk presented a webinar this morning to review the new version of AutoCAD WS 1.4 that is now available for download. If you are not aware of it, AutoCAD WS is a free web and mobile application for viewing and editing DWG files stored in the cloud. The "cloud" in this sense generally refers to storage space allocated to the user by Autodesk, but it was reminded to us that the "cloud" can mean other things such as SharePoint, Buzzsaw, and even your own servers, with the proper setup. It was even hinted that we might see some object enablers appear soon for WS.
Here are links to all of the popular series of Lynn Allen's Tips and Tricks booklets for various releases of AutoCAD.
I have the collection of these and still refer to them when I need to know in what release a particular feature was introduced. But getting to know the new features is what these are all about. Click the thumbnails below to download the version of your choice.
Last month, I wrote an article for the CADSPEED blog describing a great program where Autodesk and Lenovo teamed up to outfit a deserving small business with new hardware, software, and training - at no cost. Yes, you read that right. FREE software, hardware, software, and training. Who? How? When? Why? Check out the article and watch the YouTube videos linked on that page.
So why am I bringing this up again? Because Autodesk and Lenovo are going to do it again! Are you a small business in need of a "Technology Makeover"? Are you running "non-current" Autodesk software? State your case from now until February 23, 2012 on the AutoCAD > Tech Makeover Contest page on Facebook. Your small business could be the next recipient of this awesome deal which includes up to five Lenovo® ThinkStation® workstations and five licenses of the Autodesk® Design Suite software of your choice. Full details and all of the contest rules are available here.
Final winners will be announced on March 22. If you would like to speak with anyone from Autodesk or Lenovo about why they are doing this, leave me a comment and I will put you in touch with the right people.
This tip came to me while working with Cogo points in Civil 3D, but it could apply to many things. A while back I had a tip about setting PICKADD to 0. Now generally, this system variable set being to 0 would annoy most people since it only allows you to select one object at a time. But if you are working with Civil 3D Cogo points, say for example dragging labels to create a dragged state, and you are doing this over and over, setting PICKADD to 0 can be a big help. Doing so means you do not have to press Escape to clear the previous selection. As soon as you pick one point, it is selected and all other selections are cleared.
Remember to turn OFF the Properties Palette when working with Cogo points. If the Properties palette is on, Civil 3D has to look up and display the properties each time a new point (or points) is selected and this slows it down tremendously. Try it both ways and see if you see a difference.
Do you ever use the transparent 'CAL command? It is probably one of those commands that you know, but use so infrequently that you forget about it. So why bother? How can it help? Here are some examples. Oh yeah, I'm not talking about the QuickCalc that runs in a palette - this post is strictly referring to the command line 'CAL command.
Example 1: Use it as a plain old calculator. At the command line, type ._CAL and enter an expression like 32/7 which will return 4.57142857. Okay, that was pretty easy and you didn't have to leave AutoCAD.
Annotative objects have been part of AutoCAD now since the 2008 release, but if you use them infrequently you may have some questions on how certain things work.
One question that I see frequently is related to the ability for annotative objects to have different locations based on the scale. In the example shown here, I have an annotative Mleader, shown in magenta in each viewport. One viewport is scaled 1"=10' and the other is 1"=50' (the actual scales are not important, but just note that they vary quite a bit in this example).