AutoCAD 2009 – ViewCube problems?

Having been very effusive in my praise of AutoCAD 2009’s ViewCube feature, stating among other things that “the ViewCube looks like a finished, polished tool”, I may need to backpedal. Those views, along with all of my 2009 Prequel posts, were based on my experience with the Release Candidate.  Although ViewCube was very stable for me in pre-release versions of 2009, I’ve seen severe ViewCube stability problems in the shipping software. I’ve seen the following problems in just a few minutes use of the ViewCube, on two different PCs: Picking the WCS button under the ViewCube and then picking a …

AutoCAD 2009 – Automatic spell checker

I’ve seen quite a few positive comments about the new automated spell checking feature, with some people saying that it alone is enough to make AutoCAD 2009 worth the price of admission. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is a nice feature. If you enter or edit text or mtext, a little dashed red line appears under words that are not in the dictionary. Right click on an unknown word and the menu will offer several suggestions, allow you to ignore the word or add it to the dictionary. It does have limitations, though, such as not working …

AutoCAD 2009 – Layer Palette and performance

If you’ve noticed some normal drafting operations are much slower in AutoCAD 2009 than in earlier releases, try turning off the new Layer Palette and see if the problem goes away. For example, editing viewports with the Layer Palette visible can be completely unworkable. Don’t just auto-hide it, close it altogether. Another problem presented by the Layer Palette is that any layer changes you make are applied as you make them. This sounds great in theory, but if each operation takes a while to perform then that’s much less efficient than the old method where all changes are made at …

AutoCAD 2009 – Action Recorder needs action

One of the banes of AutoCAD over the past few years is the phenomenon of the half-baked feature. A new feature is added to the product with serious design deficiencies and/or bugs and other shortcomings that make it much less useful than it should have been. I’m sure you have your own favourite examples of this. I may expand on this theme in future, but for now let’s concentrate on one brand new and particularly undercooked feature, the Action Recorder. The ability to record and play back macros is undoubtedly something that many users want, and has featured prominently in …

Grammar and AutoCAD

I have a lot of posts about AutoCAD and a few about grammar, but I expect this will be the only post I ever make that combines the subjects. Autodesk founder John Walker, a very prominent figure in AutoCAD’s history, has written an article about the correct use of the apostrophe. While I enjoyed it, I think it’s too insulting to be useful. People struggling with the correct use of the apostrophe are unlikely to get past the part where they are called morons, to read the useful advice below. If you just want simple apostrophe advice without being belittled, …

AutoCAD tip – more on the Oops command

In a comment on my Five More Simple Tips for AutoCAD post, Jeremy had some questions about the Oops command. I thought I would explain the command in more detail in another post so more people will see it. The first thing to understand is that Oops varies from Undo/U in that it only reverses those commands that erase objects. The Erase command is obvious, and the same applies to pre-selecting objects and hitting the Delete key, but the Block and Wblock commands can also erase the objects that go to make up the block. In such cases Oops can …

Five More Simple Tips for AutoCAD

More simple AutoCAD tips, as promised: If you erase some objects, draw a few things and then want your erased objects back without losing the things you drew in the meantime, enter OOPS rather than undoing the commands. At any Select objects: prompt, you can select using a triangle, non-orthogonal rectangle or other odd shapes, by entering the WPolygon (WP) or CPolygon (CP) options. If you have a paper space viewport entirely inside another one, it can be hard to make that viewport current just by picking in it. Try Ctrl+R to cycle through viewports instead. Move some objects, rotate …

Five Simple Tips for AutoCAD

As my forced change to a different blog theme (thanks IE7) has meant the demise of my random AutoCAD tip feature, you may as well have the tips in a blog post instead. Here are the first five. These are fairly simple tips that apply to all recent releases. You probably know most of them, but just in case… If you need to draw circles, slots or rectangles around multiple text objects, use the Express Tools command TCIRCLE (Express > Text > Enclose Text with Object). When using the TRIM or EXTEND command, you don’t have to select any edges. …

Thanks for the welcome

A belated thank you to Kiwi Robin Capper for his welcome to the CAD blog world. Here’s a snap I took of Robin at Autodesk University 2006: Similarly, thanks to Lynn Allen for linking to my post about her famous Cell Phone Story. Here she is, also at AU 2006, presenting me with a signed copy of her excellent book AutoCAD: Professional Tips and Techniques which I won by skillfully (ahem) waving my arms furiously at the right moment during her presentation. Finally, thanks to Shaan Hurley for welcoming me to the blog fold. Here is one of the more …

Customer Service 2 – Don McMillan

My last customer service story was about McDonald’s. This one is about Donald Mc., but there the similarity ends. After I returned from Autodesk University 2006, I decided to buy a DVD from the comedian that Autodesk put on before the Blue Man Group, Don McMillan. As you’re reading a CAD blog, you are probably geeky enough to appreciate this man’s funny engineeroid slant on life. The likelihood is actually 93.6%. (Did you know that 74.7% of statistics quoted on the Internet are made up?) I wanted to show my wife this funny guy and re-live some of the moments …

AutoCAD on Linux – Video

Lots of people get excited at the prospect of AutoCAD running under Linux. I’m not one of those people, but for those of you that are, here’s a video from a Linux enthusiast that shows AutoCAD running in an environment that’s doing all kinds of cool geeky stuff. It’s not mine and it’s from October 2006: YouTube Link Cool if you like that kind of thing, that is. I think the effects would drive me mad after a short period of dorkoid enthusiasm, but of course being Linux it would all be under complete user control. Before you get too …

AutoCAD tip – persuade Open to highlight your drawing

In AutoCAD, when you have a drawing open and you go to open another, does Open automatically scroll down and highlight your current drawing? This can be very handy when you’re working your way though a set of drawings. If this isn’t happening for you, here’s how to make it do so. In Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View tab and turn off the toggle for Hide extensions for known file types. (Windows XP shown). This is the first thing many people do when setting up a new Windows system. If you fit into this category, you …

Autodesk University 2006 Video

I didn’t make this video and it’s old news, but as I contributed some photos and I’m in it, I guess I’m entitled to link to it in my blog now I have one. If nothing else, you can use it to see what I look like (unfortunately). Except I now look different. By the way, I meant everything I said in this video. Autodesk University is an awesome event. Created by Helge Brettschneider, originally posted on Between The Lines by Shaan Hurley. YouTube Link

Lynn Allen’s Famous Cell Phone Story

Whatever the subject, Autodesk evangelist and fellow Cadalyst writer Lynn Allen always gives a very entertaining and informative presentation. If you attend one and you’re lucky, you might get to hear this now infamous story. This footage was taken at Autodesk University, Las Vegas, November 2006. Sorry the sound’s not the best, you may need to turn it up a bit. YouTube Link