Adding Express Tools to BricsCAD

If you’re evaluating BricsCAD to replace AutoCAD, you might be put off by the apparent absence of the Express Tools. Don’t be. First, some express tool commands have been added to BricsCAD as native commands, such as OVERKILL and TXTEXP. Next, the Express Tools menu can be added, thanks to a free add-on by Martin Drese (CADwiesel). Here’s the step-by-step process: Go to the Bricsys Applications page. Start typing “EXPRESS” into the search box. You should be pleasantly surprised to discover that by the time you’ve typed four characters, what you are chasing will already be displayed for you:   …

The best thing about AutoCAD 2017.1 is…

…the fact that one of the Express Tools finally got an update. Not just a minor maintenance tickle or mere absorption into the core code, either. A real update, resulting in not only bug fixes but genuinely useful improvements in functionality. A little background on Express Tools might help put this into context. The history goes back to 1992 and AutoCAD Release 12. In addition to an impressively full set of paper manuals, people with Release 12 (great value at US$500 to upgrade from any earlier release) obtained a Bonus CD containing 2605 files of free add-on goodness. Fonts, LISP, DOS …

AutoCAD 2012 – How to “hatch” using any objects

Here’s a trick you can use in AutoCAD 2012 to fill an area with any objects you like. It’s not actually hatching, but it has several advantages over the real thing: You aren’t restricted to straight line segments as you are with real hatching. Circles, splines, even solid objects, you name it, you can use it. To define the pattern, you don’t have to master an arcane file format or use trigonometry to work out the numbers used in it. Just draw the objects you want repeated. You can easily change the spacing between the objects later, or even change …

Filling the holes in Autodesk’s CHM Help stopgap

It was good to see Autodesk react to criticism of AutoCAD 2011’s browser-based Help with an acknowledgement of the problems and an attempt to provide a workaround by making a zip file of CHM files available for download. That’s much better than ignoring people’s concerns, denying the validity of those concerns or shooting the messenger, which has been known to happen in the past. However, there are some holes in the workaround, only some of which can be filled. Under 64-bit Windows 7, the Search pane is blank, as it is in the CHM Help for earlier releases on that platform. This …

AutoCAD 2009 – Ribbon content for Express Tools

One of the many unfinished aspects of the AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon is the lack of Express Tools content. One enterprising user has put the effort into correcting this, and has posted an Express Tools CUI replacement in this Autodesk newsgroup thread. I have not tested this myself. As usual with CUI, be paranoid. Back up everything before you touch anything. While I wouldn’t normally suggest you do any Ribbon custom work in 2009 in its current state, it shouldn’t hurt in this case as it should be easily redoable once Autodesk has fixed up the worst of the 2009 CUI …