What’s new in AutoCAD 2019 for maintenance customers?

So you’re a long-term customer who has used AutoCAD since it ran on an abacus. You paid for upgrades when you could and switched to maintenance (then called Subscription) when that became the only cost-effective option for keeping current. You’re not about to fall for the subscription (rental) trick; they can prise your perpetual license from your cold, dead fingers. It’s no secret that the value for your maintenance dollar has been poor for years. Autodesk is jacking up maintenance prices in leaps and bounds; is the maintenance being performed at a rate that matches the amount being charged? In …

Importing SketchUp files into AutoCAD

Do you have a SketchUp (SKP) file you need to import into a DWG? Need to know how to do it? Tried it but it didn’t work? This tip is for you. If you’re using AutoCAD 2016 to 2019 for Windows, you can download and install the SketchUp Import plug-in from the Autodesk App Store. If that goes according to plan, this will add the command IMPORTSKP to AutoCAD. You may need to restart your AutoCAD first. It’s straightforward enough; select a file to import and it becomes a block in your drawing. Reading the reviews for this add-on, it’s …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 6, future proofing

This is the sixth and final post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post explains why adding a copy of BricsCAD to your stable of AutoCAD licenses is a good thing for your future and that of your company. A CAD Management thing I did a few years ago was to examine the options for replacing AutoCAD and other Autodesk products. I was an AutoCAD loyalist (albeit a …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 5, LISP

This is the fifth post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post is about BricsCAD being better than AutoCAD at the one thing that made AutoCAD win the race against its competitors back in the 80s – LISP. That is, AutoLISP (added fully to AutoCAD in Version 2.18) and Visual LISP (fully integrated with AutoCAD 2000). If you’re a good AutoCAD CAD Manager, you’ll already know the reasons …

Steve’s BLADE presentation at the BricsCAD New Zealand and Australia Roadshow

Sofoco (Australia) and CAD Concepts (New Zealand) recently ran a series of seminars throughout Australasia demonstrating BricsCAD. I attended the last of these in Brisbane on April 19 and gave a presentation about BricsCAD’s LISP, with reference to AutoCAD compatibility and the tools available to CAD Managers and developers, including BLADE. The talk was aimed at anybody who is writing or maintaining LISP code for AutoCAD or BricsCAD. I had the just-before-lunch slot, which is never desirable for a presenter. People are dozing off and/or bursting to go to the toilet, and time adjustments have to be made if earlier …

Steve at the BricsCAD New Zealand and Australia Roadshow

Sofoco (Australia) and CAD Concepts (New Zealand) are currently running a series of seminars throughout Australasia demonstrating BricsCAD. Here are the dates and locations: Auckland – 9 April 2018, Jet Park Hotel and Conference Centre Christchurch – 11 April 2018, Christchurch Community House Melbourne – 17 April 2018, Airport Motel and Convention Centre Sydney – 18 April 2018, Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport Brisbane – 19 April 2018, Royal on the Park Each seminar is in two parts. The morning session is for leaders and decision makers and the the afternoon is less structured and goes into more details, with informal discussions, questions and answers and …

Why One AutoCAD is smart strategy

OK, so Autodesk may have blown the AutoCAD 2019 rollout, triggering an apology from CEO Andrew Anagnost. OK, AutoCAD 2019 may have the smallest set of significant advances in the history of AutoCAD releases. If you’re wondering, I give it 1/10. The “there can be only one” hype could easily refer to meaningful improvements to the product per year. This year’s improvement is… drawing compare! Still, AutoCAD 2019 is a significant release for reasons beyond the content of the core product. An examination of the One AutoCAD strategy reveals a collective corporate mind that’s smarter than it’s being given credit …

How to get your Wacom Graphire 4 tablet working in Windows 10

I’ve been setting up a new PC at home and one of the things I struggled with was getting my Wacom Graphire 4 tablet working. This isn’t a CAD tablet (remember those?); instead, I use its pressure-sensitive stylus for image creation and editing. Press harder and you get more ink. Turn the pen over and you automatically erase instead of drawing. Press the eraser harder and you get more erasing. I use PaintShop Pro for my image work, by the way, not Photoshop. You can still buy and optionally upgrade PaintShop Pro perpetual licenses, which is how it should be. …

Setting your application or document window size using LISP

I intend to produce a few videos containing tips, tutorials, product comparisons and the like. I’ve set up a cad nauseam YouTube channel, but don’t bother visiting it yet because it’s empty. One of the things I need to do for these videos make sure I’m capturing the screen at an appropriate resolution. I knocked up a bit of Visual LISP to take care of this task quickly and accurately, and you might as well have it. It’s a simple routine that allows you to accurately size either the main AutoCAD application window or the current document window (drawing area) …

AutoCAD 2018 – 2/10, would not rent

It must be March, because another AutoCAD has just been launched. Despite this one being codenamed Omega, I’ve been assured it’s not the final AutoCAD release. The good news is that AutoCAD 2018 is twice the upgrade that 2017 was. But hold your excitement, because the bad news is that 2017 was only a 1/10 upgrade. Autodesk has continued the well-established tradition of acting like a low-quality sausage machine, reliably popping out consistently unexciting products at regular intervals. Here’s what’s in this year’s underwhelming sausage: Xrefs now default to relative path attachment and there are a few associated tweaks including …

BricsCAD’s LISP kicks sand in the face of AutoCAD’s

If you’re a power user or CAD Manager transitioning from AutoCAD to BricsCAD, one of the things you’ll like is that almost all of your LISP routines will just work. That’s not an statement that can be made about various Autodesk products that bear the AutoCAD name, such as AutoCAD 360, AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD for Mac. It’s not just simple old AutoLISP code that runs in BricsCAD, but complex dialog routines that use DCL, and Visual LISP stuff that uses ActiveX. Yes, even on the Mac and Linux platforms. Some DOSLib functions are built in and the rest can …

AutoCAD 2017 for Mac released, still half-baked

AutoCAD 2017 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2017 for Mac have been released. Here’s a video highlighting exciting and innovative new features such as drawing and layout tabs. Despite such stellar advances, it’s safe to say that AutoCAD for Mac remains half-baked, even after all these years. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. According to Autodesk, these are the features missing from AutoCAD 2017 for Mac: LAYDEL, LAYMRG, LAYWALK and LAYVPI Tool palettes New layer notification Navigation bar ShowMotion Ribbon* DesignCenter** Sheet Set Manager*** Steering wheel Feature finder for help Model documentation tools Dynamic block lookup parameter creation/editing Table style …

Any BricsCAD users out there? v.2016

Back in 2010 I asked the question Any BricsCAD users out there? and there were a few of you who had tried to replace AutoCAD with BricsCAD. Most who responded had made the change successfully, others not so much. Six years on, the situation is different. The fact that you can’t buy a permanent AutoCAD license any more has prompted some Autodesk customers to look more seriously at alternative vendors who do provide that option. Bricsys is one of those vendors, and their DWG-based AutoCAD alternative BricsCAD has improved way more rapidly than AutoCAD over the same time period. No, …

AutoCAD 2013 for Mac – the holes live on

A couple of years ago, I reported on the missing features in AutoCAD 2011 for Mac. While some generous souls were prepared to accept something half-baked as a first attempt, even that excuse doesn’t wash when it comes to a third iteration. So how well is Autodesk doing at filling those holes? Decide for yourself. Here’s an updated list of missing features in AutoCAD 2013 for Mac: Quick Properties Palette Layer State Manager New Layer Notification Various layer commands including LAYCUR, LAYDEL, LAYMRG, LAYWALK, and LAYVPI Autocomplete doesn’t work entirely properly, including offering commands that don’t exist Filter Quick Select …

Cloud concerns – tie-in

One of the major attractions of the Cloud for vendors is that it ties in customers, providing a reasonably consistent revenue stream. It is an effective anti-competitive strategy. There are various technical and other methods that can be used to ensure that it’s difficult or even impossible for customers to jump ship. While that’s all very nice for vendors, it’s not such a wonderful thing for customers. Let’s say you’re a CAD Manager who persuades your company to use a great new SaaS service and Cloud storage. Let’s assume it performs well, is secure, has 100% uptime and offers functionality that …

AutoCAD 2012 – Autodesk adds an uninstallation analgesic

One of the more painful aspects of dealing with installations of recent releases of AutoCAD and related products is that although you might run a single setup routine to install what you think is a single application, the end result is a mass of different components being installed. Each of these components is considered a separate program by Windows, and needs uninstalling separately. Frankly, this is manifestly antisocial behaviour. I have complained to Autodesk about this ever since it started happening, but the number of sub-installations has been getting greater rather than smaller. Now Autodesk has provided an uninstallation tool, which …

AutoCAD 2012 – Autoloader mechanism for plug-ins

One of the less obvious features introduced by AutoCAD 2012 is the Autoloader mechanism that has been provided to make installation of plug-ins (current standard Autodeskspeak for add-ons, apps, utilities, routines, etc.) easier for both developers and users. It may not be immediately obvious, but it’s a useful and important addition. This mechanism has nothing to do with the AppLoad command, the Startup Suite, acad*.lsp, the (autoload) function or anything else that existed in earlier releases. This is completely new, it has not replaced or broken any of the existing loading mechanisms, and is, in short, A Good Thing. Developers …

Dealing with blacked-out leader plots in older AutoCAD

Any drawing created in AutoCAD 2008 and later which uses Multileaders will present problems to users of AutoCAD 2007 and earlier. The users of the earlier release will find that rather than having leaders to deal with, they have proxy objects. As a result, it is impossible to edit these leaders in any way other than erasing them. Also, depending on the setting of the PROXYSHOW system variable in the earlier release, the objects may not display at all, or could display only as rectangles. If the user of 2008 or later used the background mask feature when creating Multileaders, …

iPad, iPhone app – good and bad news

Good news! Autodesk has announced an app that will link iPads and iPhones to Project Butterfly. This provides viewing, markup and limited editing facilities. Bad news! Autodesk has decide to call it AutoCAD WS, which is bordering on the fraudulent. It’s not AutoCAD, is nothing like it, and is unlikely to ever be anything like it. I can call my dog Prince, but that doesn’t make him royalty. Unfortunately, much of the mainstream media appears to be blissfully unaware of this. This is gaining Autodesk some short-term column inches, but at the longer-term expense of furthering the myth that “AutoCAD” is going …

Civil 3D 2011 ANZ comes complete with “virus”

If you install Civil 3D 2011 using the ANZ (Australia/New Zealand) profile, when you start it up for the first time, you will see a large warning indicating that the drawing requires an Asian language pack to be installed. It also warns that this is a symptom of the acad.vlx virus: Now I know that in this case it’s not an actual virus causing the problem, but rather the ANZ template drawing being “infected” with this Language Pack requirement. I have had to deal with quite a few incoming drawings in this state, and that’s painful enough without Autodesk also …