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 …

Tiny tip of the day – ten more Windows shortcuts

My last tiny tip post (Ctrl+Shift+Esc takes you directly to Task Manager) seemed quite popular so here’s another one. This post includes ten more keystrokes that I use to save me time with CAD management, development, documentation and support. All of these use the Windows key, which is located between Ctrl and Alt on most keyboards. These keystrokes apply to Windows 10 but most of them also work with earlier releases. Keystroke Action Win + D Show the desktop (minimize all windows). It’s a toggle, so use it again to put them back how they were. (Win + M also …

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 …

Tiny tip of the day – go directly to Task Manager

Windows software (e.g AutoCAD) taking way too long to perform a certain operation? Apparently stuck in an endless loop? Won’t stop even when you hit Esc? Need to end the task so you can try something else instead? Not even hitting the red X in the corner works? Then you might find this tiny tip handy. Ctrl+Shift+Esc takes you directly to Task Manager. Do not hit Ctrl+Alt+Del. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Enjoy!

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 4, efficiency

This is the fourth 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 more efficient than AutoCAD for some of the things a CAD Manager might need to do. What do I mean? BricsCAD starts up and closes down faster than AutoCAD, much faster in some environments. If your AutoCAD starts up slow (e.g. in some secure proxy server environments), pretty much any job you …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 3, parts on demand

This is the third 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 using BricsCAD as a mechanical and structural parts library for your AutoCAD users. As I mentioned in my last post in this series, I was writing a client-specific AutoCAD 3D training course recently. To demonstrate the concept of revolving profiles, and also to compare and contrast different styles of solid creation, I wanted to …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 2, 3D operations

This is the second 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 using BricsCAD to do things to help out your AutoCAD users who are having problems with 3D operations. Why would you bother using BricsCAD to mess with AutoCAD 3D models? Because sometimes AutoCAD can’t do stuff with them, and BricsCAD can. If you have a user who finally asks for help after fighting AutoCAD …

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. …

Video – 3Dconnexion fine tuning in BricsCAD and BricsCAD Shape

The second video in the cad nauseam YouTube channel is more typical than the first in that it’s a tips and tricks video. In this case it only applies to BricsCAD and Shape users, but future videos will provide information for AutoCAD and other DWG-based CAD applications.

CAD Panacea tip – startup files in BricsCAD

One of the things that might initially baffle a CAD Manager or power user when investigating switching from AutoCAD to BricsCAD is how to set up the startup routines. Head over to CAD Panacea for R.K. McSwain’s concise, handy description of how to do it. Due to BricsCAD’s high level of compatibility, you can maintain a common folder or set of folders containing LISP and other custom files for both applications. That way, you don’t need to do double maintenance during the transition period. I’ve done this successfully in a highly complex custom environment. Some code and other adjustments were …

BLADE – putting things back to “normal”

Disclaimer: I’m making money using BLADE. I’m using it on a paying project right now (well, not while I’m typing this, but you get the idea). I’m developing a routine to automate a massively repetitive task for one of my AutoCAD-using clients, and I’m developing it in BricsCAD and BLADE rather than AutoCAD and VLIDE. I can simply develop faster in the more modern environment, and BricsCAD’s significantly quicker start-up time helps with that. So does the fact that the routine runs several times faster in BricsCAD, making testing the large data sets much more efficient. I’m getting paid on …

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) …

Tip: what to do when your text becomes empty rectangles

Dear person who used the search terms “writing has become empty rectangle in cad” and “autocad text has become an empty rectangle” on this blog, I suspect you probably have a drawing where QTEXT has been turned on. To fix this, enter QTEXT at the command prompt, set it to OFF, and if the problem doesn’t go away by itself then issue the REGENALL command. Pedantic note: the command name is QTEXT, but this controls a system variable called QTEXTMODE. QTEXT OFF is equivalent to both SETVAR QTEXTMODE 0 and just QTEXTMODE 0. In LISP it would be (setvar “QTEXTMODE” …

Tip – making your 3D controller work sensibly in BricsCAD

This tip applies to BricsCAD V14 to V18 inclusive, and possibly other versions too. BricsCAD automatically works with a 3D “mouse” (e.g. 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator controller), and due to the generally excellent performance of BricsCAD in 3D, it works very smoothly and is a real productivity boon for 3D work. If you don’t already have one and you work in 3D, it’s well worth spending a fraction of the money you saved by switching to BricsCAD to get hold of one. Unfortunately, the way BricsCAD reacts to use of this device fails to lock the horizon by default. This means it …

AutoCAD 2018.0.2 arrives

AutoCAD 2018.0.1 is dead, long live 2018.0.2! Here’s the readme. Here’s the 64-bit direct link. Here’s the 32-bit direct link. This supposedly fixes stuff that 2018.0.1 broke, such as the signed VLX thing. Will this one break other stuff? I guess we’ll find out.

AutoCAD 2018.0.1 mystery deepens with silent withdrawal

As I mentioned earlier, the release of AutoCAD 2018 was followed almost instantaneously by the first update, 2018.0.1. At the time of writing, there was no official information about this update. Some information was later made available, but questions remained. Now the update has been silently withdrawn. Go to Autodesk Account > Management > AutoCAD > Downloads > Updates & Add-ons and you will no longer see this: The infamous Autodesk desktop app also shows no sign of this update. So why has it been withdrawn? Autodesk isn’t saying, but thanks to Jimmy Bergmark, we know that installing the 2018.0.1 …

Autodesk updates Design Review

Despite the previously announced end-of-active-life for Design Review (Autodesk’s DWF viewer), there is now a new release available. This wasn’t supposed to happen, because we should all now be using cloud-based solutions. A new version of DWG TrueView was needed to deal with the new DWG 2018 format, and one knock-on effect is that a new Design Review was needed to be compatible with DWG TrueView 2018.  It’s still only 32-bit, so it appears to be a matter of Autodesk just touching it up enough to keep it compatible. Interestingly, the new Design Review is not called 2018. Here’s where …

AutoCAD 2018.0.1 mystery partially resolved but questions remain

As I mentioned earlier, the release of AutoCAD 2018 was followed almost instantaneously by the first update, 2018.0.1. At the time of writing, there was no official information about this update. Some information is now available, but more questions have arisen. If, like me, you don’t/won’t/can’t have Autodesk desktop app running on your systems, the only current official way to get at the download is using Autodesk Account (but read the whole of this post before you go there). That’s also how you get at information about the update. Go to Management > AutoCAD > Downloads > Updates & Add-ons. From there, …

AutoCAD 2018 – disable InfoCenter

Here’s another AutoCAD 2018 download, just in case you haven’t had enough. If you want to disable AutoCAD’s InfoCenter (and you should, unless have a specific reason for keeping it – here’s why), go get the updated download from uber-expert Owen Wengerd’s ManuSoft Freebies page. It works for AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT.